The global downturn will push countries to provide smarter, more cost-effective Homeland security, potentially curbing procurement of expensive gadgetry and quickening a trend to more international cooperation.
According to Reuters, counter-terrorism will remain an important priority for all governments, not least because security is a vital pillar of economic confidence and multibillion dollar business sectors such as tourism and transport are often targets of armed groups.
But budget pressures will force policymakers increasingly to identify waste and question big-ticket purchases of technology, a trend underpinned by worries in the west that intrusive monitoring poses a risk to civil liberties, analysts say.
“People often think there’s a need for pervasive Orwellian surveillance, but in fact networks built on trust can provide the effective intelligence required,” said Henry Crumpton, a former senior official of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
“We must ask ourselves in all seriousness how long we can continue to drain our economies in a futile attempt to secure everyone and everything at all times,” Raphael Perl, Head of the Action Against Terrorism Unit at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told Reuters.
“Even if it were possible, which it is not, the societal danger from erosion of human rights and civil liberties from extreme security measures is real, is increasing, and has been greatly underestimated in terms of sinister implications.”
Since Sept. 11 2001, governments around the word have spent heavily on airport screening, import inspections, data mining systems and electronic monitoring of everything from emails, Internet chat rooms to city streets and offices.
But London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies thinktank said in its 2009 Military Balance global defense review that “defense spending seems bound to come under close scrutiny” by governments around the world hit by recession.
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