Is the UK ready to host the increased threat of terrorism?
11th October 2009
With increased guile, terrorists are identifying clever new tricks to hide potentially dangerous devices.
One such way is within the regular mobile phone. What may look like a regular phone – same shape, size, colour, appearance etc. – may actually be a very sinister object.
In 2008 the BBC reported that Italian police discovered a .22 calibre pistol during a raid. Nothing out of the ordinary really, except for the fact that it wasn’t a regular pistol. In fact it was gun disguised as a mobile phone. With a regular digital screen and standard keypad, the disguised pistol allowed the user to fire four rounds in quick succession using the keypad of the mobile phone (http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/technology/newsid_7750000/7750010.stm).
In addition, the standard mobile phone has been adapted in a variety of other ways to aid criminal activity. For example, a hidden flick knife type blade may be attached to a mobile phone between the battery and back cover.
Or a mobile phone could be altered to enable taser gun capabilities. This allows up to 900,000 volts to be applied to an unsuspecting victim using this discreetly adapted device. Further adaptations include the mobile phone bomb – the push of a button or the ring of a tone can have catastrophic consequences.
As the host of the Olympics in 2012, the UK expects a huge increase in visitors, and with this comes an increased risk of terrorism. There are devices in place to help identify sinister devices, for example scanning equipment in airports.
However, this machinery is limited. In general it must constantly be manned, in addition to the fact that some scanning equipment cannot examine devices such as mobile phones anyway. The UK needs to question what is in place to identify these adapted devices to identify possible terror threats in the future, particularly in light of the Olympics.
But with such varied alterations to the standard mobile phone it will be very difficult to identify a genuine device in comparison to its possible menacing alter ego.