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Über dieses Buch

This book critically discusses the role of technology for counter-terrorism in general, and for securing our vulnerable open societies in particular. It is set against the backdrop of the terrorist threat posed by the combined forces of Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh in the foreseeable future.

The book commences by illuminating current and foreseeable tactics and weapons used by these implacable enemies – weapons that may well include chemical, biological, radiological and potentially even nuclear (CBRN) devices. In a second part, it introduces technologies already available or in development that promise an increase in safety and security when it comes to the dangers posed by these terrorists. This part also includes a critical discussion of advantages and disadvantages of such technologies that are, quite often, sold as a ‘silver bullet’ approach in the fight against terrorism. Controversies such as those triggered by the abuse of millimeter wave scanners deployed at several Western European airports will demonstrate that there are costs involved with regard to human rights. The third, analytical part takes the critical discussion further by arguing that the uncritical fielding of new surveillance and control technologies in parallel with the on-going outsourcing and privatization of key services of the state could well lead to dystopias as envisaged in a rather prescient way by the so-called cyperpunk novels of the 1980s. The book concludes with the question that any liberal democracy should ask itself: how far can we go with regard to hardening our societies against terrorist threats?

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Terrorism as a Threat to Open Societies

Abstract
In the introduction, I offer an overview of the book and the issues discussed in it. I introduce the individual chapters, but also familiarize readers with the basics of risk assessment and risk management as parts of the field of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). In particular, I briefly talk about criticality, vulnerability, and threat, to then address questions on how to manage or mitigate risks posed by terrorism. In that regard, I highlight the role of technology in countering this threat and its relevance for both CIP and Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR). In a nutshell, the introduction aims at firmly anchoring the book in the field of CIP/CIR in order to give it a shelf life that goes beyond the current threat posed by Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh.
Peter Lehr

Part I

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Actions: The Return of Urban Guerrillas

Abstract
In this opening chapter of the first part of this book, I analyse the current threat of terrorism as regards the safety and security of our cities and our open societies. The themes of vulnerability of these open societies, and the criticality of certain parts of urban infrastructures the existence and smooth functioning of which we tend to take for granted form the backdrop to the discussion of the growing threat to our cities, moving from assassination-style attacks of, for example, the German Red Army Faction and the bombing attacks of the IRA against the City of London to mass-casualty attacks targeting our Western way of life and our ‘sinful’ cities as such by actors associated with Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh on the one hand and attacks by way of weaponizing ‘mundane objects’ such as cars, vans, trucks or simple knifes for that matter. My main argument here is that our growing urban sprawls now provide terrorists with an ‘urban jungle’ Marighella could only dream of when he wrote his Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla in the late 1960s.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 3. Reactions: The New (Para-) Military Urbanism

Abstract
In this chapter I argue that the new wave of urban guerrillas needs to be countered by appropriate counter-measures by law enforcement, paramilitary and military forces who also have to move into cities in order to defend them. I start the chapter with a more detailed introduction into the art of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), commenting on the difficulties of protecting our open societies against modern forms of terrorism or ‘urban guerrilla warfare’. Next, I critically discuss the two basic (ideal type) models on how to respond to the terrorist threat: the Criminal Justice Model (CJM) and the War Model (WM). Drawing on riots in a number of French banlieues (suburbs) and on the London 2011 riots, I also point out that terrorists are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the outbreak of latent conflicts in modern urban sprawls. I conclude this section with a first brief look at the question of how far liberal democracies can go in order to respond to the terrorist threat.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 4. Consequences: The Urban Space as a (Limited) Battlespace

Abstract
In this short concluding chapter of the first part, I bring all the argumentative strands together to then comment on the ‘action-reaction’ pattern that became obvious: terrorists act, counter-terrorists react – and so do politicians and academics. I argue that an array of various solutions has been offered to break through this cycle – amongst them technology as the proverbial ‘silver bullet’.
Peter Lehr

Part II

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Identification: Biometrics, or a Real-Time ‘Who Is Who’

Abstract
In this first chapter of the book’s second part, I argue that the best way to deal with terrorism is to nip a planned terrorist attack in the bud. One way to do so is by discerning innocent citizens who have a right to be at certain locations from those who have not, and whose intentions are dubious, via a swift and reliable but non-intrusive identification and verification process. I introduce the main biometrics that are used in this regard, first discussing physical biometrics such as facial recognition, iris scans, voice scans or fingerprints, to then move on to behavioural ones such as one’s gait. Since most of them are not (yet) fool proof, especially not as stand-alone technologies, I make the case for multimodal-based biometric systems which currently are under development.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 6. Prediction and Postdiction: Real-Time Data Mining and Data Analytics

Abstract
In this chapter, I focus on data-mining and data analytics. It is obvious that without integrated databases set up for collecting, collating, managing and disseminating data derived from various identification, monitoring and surveillance systems, all efforts in this direction would be in vain – which is why we need to discuss such computerized databases first. But databases are just the beginning: nowadays, computers can tap into the World Wide Web to proactively search all kinds of social media including listen in on phone calls to detect suspicious behaviour, to profile individual terrorists or suspects. This process is known as data mining and acquisition, and similar to what many private companies such as Google or Facebook routinely do ways as well. I argue that currently, the ‘holy grail’ of data-mining and acquisition is to be able to do so in real time, while ‘it’ happens. With a discussion of this current cutting edge of research and the implications for our civil liberties, I conclude this chapter.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 7. Detection: Scanning and ‘Sniffing’ Technologies

Abstract
Even the best efforts of counter-terrorism specialists sometimes come to naught when an individual or a group with ill intent slips through the net for one reason or another. Hence, in this chapter I look at yet another ‘silver bullet’ in the shape of technology that enables us to see beneath the layer of clothing, or beneath the canvass of a backpack, in order to decide whether there is a threat or not – especially in the vicinity of access points of locations where many people congregate, thus offering an easy-to-attack soft target. The technologies in question are metal detectors, full-body scanners, explosives detection systems, and explosives trace detectors. I also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various systems, in particular highlighting the controversies around the first generation of full-body scanners.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 8. Surveillance and Observation: The All-Seeing Eyes of Big Brother

Abstract
As the marauding attacks of Mumbai and Paris or the various recent vehicle attacks in Nice, Berlin, London and Barcelona demonstrate, many terrorists select ‘soft targets’ in the shape of unprotected locations where a crowd usually can be expected. But even if they are bound for hard targets, terrorists are likely to move through public space. In order to heighten the security of such public spaces as well, and in order to prevent an impending attack from taking place, surveillance and observation devices could serve as an early-warning system enabling us to initiate counter-measures. Currently, CCTV systems as well as ‘Smart’ CCTV systems offer us this opportunity – which is why in this chapter, I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such systems, to then take a critical look at Augmented Reality (Mixed Reality) as an up-and-coming tool in the fight against terrorism (and criminality in general). Some Chinese police forces for example already make use of ‘smart glasses’ in order to identify suspects just by looking at them. I conclude this chapter with some critical remarks on this ‘Minority Report’-style policing of the (near) future.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 9. Protection: Defensible Spaces

Abstract
In this chapter, I discuss passive and mostly ‘low-tech’ defences in the shape of barricades (i.e. counter-intrusion devices) and citadels (i.e. facilities hardened against terrorist or criminal attacks). After all, in my opinion, these modern avatars of time-honoured brick-and-mortar curtain walls still have a formidable role to play in the times of global terrorism: basically, they are our last line of defence against terrorists who have managed to evade all other high-tech measures described above without being detected and are now ready to strike. Hence, I will take a look at modern city walls such as the City of London’s ‘Ring of Steel’/Ring of Glass’, at modern citadels such as One World Trade Center in New York, and at barricades (temporarily) deployed to deny access to certain areas.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 10. Threat Displacement Instead of Threat Eradication: Some Concluding Caveats

Abstract
In this brief concluding chapter of the book’s second part, I will offer a couple of warnings or ‘caveats’ before moving on to the more fundamental discussion of the merits and demerits of using technology as a sliver bullet against terrorism in the third part. First of all, I argue that the introduction of available technologies, especially off-the-shelf solutions, has been a rather slow and tedious one. Secondly, I argue that all the security measures discussed do not completely eradicate the threat posed by terrorists: they rather displace it to areas just outside the defence perimeters. And thirdly, I point out that some attacks simply cannot be prevented as long as we are not prepared to deploy plenty of sniffers, scanners and other detection devices all over the city.
Peter Lehr

Part III

Frontmatter

Chapter 11. The Quest for Silver Bullets: Implications for Our Construction of Citizenship

Abstract
In this first chapter of the book’s third part, I set the scene by discussing our conception and construction of citizenship. My core argument here is that new technologies, especially security-related technologies, change our view of what it means to be a citizen. In particular, I draw on the ‘Agency of Things’ as well as the ‘Internet of Things’ to highlight the relevance of technology in that regard. Since it is not only about technology per se but also the willingness to make use of it without too many critical questions asked, I also discuss some controversial views of politicians who seem to be willing to trade civil liberties for more security. I conclude this chapter by pointing out that we are already on a slippery slope in that regard, sleepwalking away from being citizens of liberal democracies towards being citizens of less liberal states driven by an ‘us versus them’ dichotomy much more pronounced than it is right now.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 12. Archipelagos of Fear: CT Technology and the Securitisation of Everyday Life

Abstract
In this chapter, I re-examine the transformation of our cities under the impression of recent terrorist attacks from a critical perspective. I argue that a ‘discourse of fear’ enables a process that turns ever more of our public spaces into ‘safe spaces’ which are essentially ‘quasi-public’ only – quasi-public in the sense that they can be accessed only by those citizens fortunate enough to have the right credentials, thus excluding or ‘othering’ all those we deem to be ‘undesirables’, however defined. I point out that this exclusion already is a common practice – and not necessarily connected to the threat of terrorism. Rather, in my view a ‘hostile architecture’ has emerged that targets everyone who does not fit in. To defend my point of view, I discuss concepts such as ‘defensible space’, ‘architecture of fear’ and ‘archipelagos of fear’ in the shape of loosely connected inner-cities citadels and gated communities in the suburbs.
Peter Lehr

Chapter 13. Undemocratic Means: The Rise of the Surveillance State

Abstract
In Chap. 11, I already raised the ‘what if’ question regarding the imagined slippery slope from liberal democracies to more authoritarian and far less liberal or democratic states. In this chapter, I show where this ‘what if’ journey towards ever more safety and security could eventually lead by discussing the Chinese government’s current plans to roll out a ‘Social Credit Score’ system that assigns each Chinese citizen an individual ‘social score’ – a score that can go up and down depending on their action and how ‘trustworthy’ they are. I argue that this total surveillance goes for beyond ‘nudging’ as employed in Western democracies, but that for those who score high, it actually does not look like surveillance but like a game – hence, we basically witness the ‘gamification’ of social control. I then compare these developments to surveillance measures already existing in the West and conclude that we are actually not that far removed from China’s version of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World.’
Peter Lehr

Chapter 14. Democracy Transfigured: The Dawn of the ‘Umpire State’

Abstract
In the previous chapter, I focussed on the state. However, answering the question on how modern security technology impacts on our liberal democracies requires a look at actors other than the state as well – actors that are per definition non-state actors but who, in some regard, act like quasi-state actors. In this chapter, I assess these private actors in a critical perspective to see how they influence our daily lives. My main argument, following James Madison, is that ‘the state’ as such is running the risk of being reduced to an ‘umpire state’ in the shape of a political actor who, as a primus inter pares (first among equals) mediates conflicts between private actors in the shape of powerful corporations but is no longer able to control their ‘quasi-feudal’ domains. But, since our ability to predict the future arguably is quite limited, I end this chapter with a couple of thought-provoking questions: could it be that this fear of many ‘Big Brothers’ instead of just one is as overblown as the fear of terrorism?
Peter Lehr

Chapter 15. Outlook: The Need for ‘Critical’ Critical Infrastructure Protection Studies

Abstract
In this final ‘outlook’ chapter, I pull out three main issues that should be taken home as the main lessons of this book. Firstly, I draw attention on the importance of the art of critical infrastructure protection (CIP) as an effort to ‘control the uncontrollable’. Secondly, I highlight the urgent need of a ‘critical’ critical infrastructure protection approach that steers away from the solely technocratic approach chosen so far. And thirdly, I conclude with the warning that a focus on counter-terrorism technology as a ‘silver bullet’ to the detriment of addressing the root causes of terrorism might lead to an ‘arms race’ between terrorists and counter-terrorists that cannot possibly be won especially not by us ordinary citizens who might well end up ‘temporarily’ surrendering civil rights in vain, and without getting them back any time soon since the war on terrorism is an interminable one.
Peter Lehr

Backmatter

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