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Description: Discussion of the pros & cons of higher security levels.  Tomorrow’s surveillance technology may be considerably more effective, but each uptick in protection will typically come at the cost of more intrusion into the privacy of ordinary people. For now, the public seems to find that trade-off acceptable, so scientists around the world have intensified efforts to perfect the art of surveillance, hoping to catch villains before they strike. 

Research laboratories envision tools that could identify and track just about every person, anywhere – and sound alarms when the systems encounter hazardous objects or chemical compounds. Many such ideas seem to leap from the pages of science fiction: An artificial nose in doorways and corridors sniffs out faint traces of explosives on someone’s hair. Tiny sensors floating in reservoirs detect a deadly microbe and radio a warning. Smart cameras ID people at a distance by the way they walk or the shape of their ears. And a little chemical lab analyzes the sweat, body odor, and skin flakes in the human thermal plume — the halo of heat that surrounds each person.

Source: BusinessWeek

Date: 8/8/2005


 Discussion Questions:

1.  At what price should security come?

2.  Security that reduces risks of physical and property damage may:

a.  increase costs of a firm

b.  reduce the rights of the people

c.  prohibit world trade

d.  reduce cultural exchanges


3.  Artificial noses in doorways and corridors and sensors can:

a.  sniff out faint traces of explosives on someone’s hair

b.  sound alarms when hazardous objects or chemical compounds are

c.  ID people from a distance by the way they walk, or the shape of their ears

d. analyze body heat halos

e.  all of the above


4.  Tomorrow’s surveillance equipment will be:

a.  more invasive

b.  more effective

c.  much more cost effective

d.  more discrete

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