Gore: Intrusive technology may make us less secure

Tuesday, 14 October 2003, 2:29 PM EST

The relentless drive for more intrusive technology to help improve security may result in a society that is less secure, warned Al Gore, former vice president of the U.S., speaking Tuesday at the Carnahan Conference on Security Technology in Taipei.

Advances in technology allow governments to track the activities of individuals more closely and collect greater amounts of information than ever before, Gore said. But greater access to information does not automatically result in greater security, he said.

The obstacle to improved security is not inadequate access to information but the inability of governments and law-enforcement agencies to effectively analyze and process the information they already have, Gore said.

Citing the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 as an example, Gore described how detailed information related to the hijackers, such as phone numbers, addresses and airline frequent flier numbers, was available to U.S. authorities one week prior to the hijackings. However, the government had no effective way of connecting the dots and preventing the Sept. 11 attacks as this information was held in different computer systems, he said.

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