Technology will undoubtedly play a more and more important role in counter-terrorism efforts. Today remote controlled drones fly over Afghanistan and Iraq searching for terrorists and other threats. Phone calls from all over world coming in to the U.S. are monitored by the NSA.
Video cameras have become so ubiquitous in England that it is a surprise not to see one from almost any city street in London. A recent project is installing hundreds of cameras in neighborhoods in London that are predominantly Muslim. The cameras have automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. The data captured will be stored for two years.
The question many in the community have is how will the data be used today? The project was allegedly approved as a public good measure to prevent vehicle crimes. No one is too surprised to learn it is really an effort to monitor the Muslim community.
Raises the question — is an invasion of civil liberties for the protection of the greater good legal, or better, right? Yes this is profiling, but facts and evidence can not be denied. Radical Islamic terrorists have been responsible for significant violence in England and a few events in the US. If one of these cameras leads to a policeman pulling over a terrorist with guns and bombs aboard his or her vehicle it will likely be deemed indeed for the greater good.