What the papers say: Airport security tag proves a hit

A conference at the opening of a new Centre for Security and Crime Science at University College London highlighted how science and technology are helping to fight the threat of terrorism, and proved a media draw.

Trials of an EU-funded passenger-tagging system, under way in Hungary, were  revealed and proved more popular with the press than moves to counteract radioactive ‘dirty' bombs. However, Optag project leader Dr Paul Brennan admitted the system would not have ‘stopped attacks like September 11'.

Mindful of accusations of infringing civil liberties, the scientists accentuated positive spin-offs, such as rapidly finding lost children. ‘It is a powerful surveillance tool. It has the potential to ensure passengers get to the gate in time' (Brennan, The Times, 13 Oct). Civil libertarians failed to spot the positives, and bloggers complained that bbc.co.uk ‘doesn't go into pesky [civil liberty] details' (slashdot.com, 14 Oct).

Centre director Gloria Laycock said: ‘We don't want to live in Fort Knox; we don't want a dystopia' (Daily Mail, 12 Oct) - referring to the nightmare environment, much-used by science fiction writers, in which characters lead dehumanised, fearful lives, often to the benefit of futuristic machines.

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

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