Public security, also termed as public safety, is one of the many functions of the government which ensures that the citizens of the country and the persons in their territories are safe and protected from different threats to their well-being. In the US, it is the duty and responsibility of a government agency known as The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to safeguard everyone and guarantee public security.
Two most common threats to the public’s welfare are terrorism and cybercrimes.
Per definition, terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
The top priority or main mission of the DHS is in defending the people against terrorist attacks. Although technology has played a big role in helping to monitor communications and movements of suspicious groups, it also opens new opportunities for ill intentioned individuals.
Cheaper and more abundant technology has made our lives more comfortable but is now more easily available to anyone who might want to abuse it. A good example is encryption; less than a decade ago it was an expensive and complicated tool used by few; now it is what we all want to protect our privacy but it also enables terrorists to “go dark” and operate without getting detected or recognized.
Encryption is a big help in protecting our personal data but also a means for terrorists to hide or store information. Counter terrorist organizations are in a constant challenge between trying to deter threats and upholding privacy rights, but luckily are still managing to do their job.
The internet, a blessing and a curse, allows every person the ease and convenience of communicating, doing business, socializing, working and shopping online. As helpful as it is, the more dependant we become on the internet the more vulnerable we get.
Data is the new oil.
Whether you like or not, nearly everything we are and have is stored or accessable online.
Whatever you do and wherever you go, data is extracted and used for commercial or security reasons.
However, the data gathered or provided by you can also be accessed by cybercriminals. There is a hardly a day that you do not hear of some victim of cyber crimes like
- Identity theft
- Data theft
- Hacks and phishing
Be it personal data, sensitive information or just shopping preferences, every piece of data has some kind of value for someone, making it worth stealing.
How Technology Made A Difference
Technology is rapidly evolving, making our lives potentially better, but also opening new opportunities for criminals and terrorists alike. Terrorists or rogue nations do not need expensive military hardware to cause harm, and thugs do not need ski masks and getaway cars to rob a bank; you can come a long way with some good hardware and an internet connection
To stay one step ahead of the bad guys, the US government takes strategic steps to uphold public security and safety.
- Funding cyber security programs to enable government agencies maintain public safety
- Increasing the availability of shared IT services for cyber security
- Empowering individuals to promote cyber security awareness
Although technology has introduced new risks, it is playing a big role in keeping our physical environment safer. Databanks, surveillance possibilities and sophisticated communication help government agencies better recognize, localize and prevent danger.