Following the trail

The Home Office has revealed that people travelling on the Tube and rail networks could be subject to airport-style security checks. A research brief by the department sets out plans for a search for new technologies capable of screening the high volumes of passengers using the networks, the results of which are due next spring.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on July 7 2005. the DfT carried out trials into the use of mass passenger screening at five mainline rail and tube stations in London in 2006 (see link to Ipsos Mori report). The use of airport-style screening was ruled out in 2008 on the basis that technology at that time meant it was not feasible to introduce 100% screening of such large passenger flows at the thousands of entry points on the UK rail and underground networks.

Of course, where policy initiatives by our political class are concerned, there is usually an ‘EU element’ hidden behind them and screening of train and tube passengers is such an element. On 31st May 2012 the EU Commission issued a Commission Staff Working Document on Transport Security; sections 4.1; 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 (pages 4/5) are particularly relevant.

Just saying……………

Update: With thanks to IPJ (comments below) this is of interest

 


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5 Responses

  1. IanPJ says:

    London Underground has been working on live systems using Neural Networks since early 1990.
    This document written in 2004 gives a clear overview of the technology of mass surveillance, including the London Underground work.
    http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles2(2)/algorithmic.pdf

  2. Dave H says:

    Well, if it is anything other than walk through without stopping then it’ll just discourage people from using the rail network even more. Given that most airport security is just theatre (the real work is done elsewhere), I don’t hold out much hope for them managing to do anything useful at railway stations. I wonder which security companies are behind the latest push?

    How many rural stations, where it’s easily possible to lob something across the tracks onto a platform from a field, are going to be protected by all of this?

  3. @Dave H:

    “How many rural stations, where it’s easily possible to lob something across the tracks onto a platform from a field, are going to be protected by all of this?”

    I think you miss the purpose of the concept sir… Which is to scare as many people shitless as possible at every available opportunity. A deployment on the basis of where there is most danger, is of no interest.

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