Tech as a weapon

In a pair of new reports, the Progressive Policy Institute is pushing for governments to use advanced technologies in fighting terrorism and improving homeland security.

The technologies would allow law enforcement and public safety agencies to improve safety and security not only from terrorists but also from the more common threats faced by agencies that respond to such incidents, according to reports by the institute's Technology and New Economy Project. The Washington-based institute is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council.

In "Using Technology to Detect and Prevent Terrorism," authors Shane Ham and Robert Atkinson provide examples of IT applications to upgrade the nation's ability to stop terrorists before they strike, including data sharing, smart cards and digital surveillance.

In the second report, "The State and Local Role in Domestic Defense," authors John Cohen and John Hurson lay out an agenda for state and local government to modernize systems to prepare for emergencies of all kinds, including terrorist attacks.

These governments need to develop coordinated plans and use specific types of databases to ensure they can effectively respond to terrorist threats to public safety, the report said.

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