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Could The Brussels Attack Have Been Prevented?

Despite the uptick in terrorism and public transportation related events, people generally feel safe about public transportation. For good reason, around the world, improvements have been made to security and the process of accessing public transit resources. The technologies behind mass transit have also improved.

Both the US and UK cite a steady decrease in both fatalities and injuries related to passenger transit across the board over the past several decades. This is especially important when talking about Brussels as rail, subway and air transit are more prevalent modes of transportation.

The assumption of safety from the general public isn’t unreasonable. You wouldn’t expect a business to knowingly put your life at risk. In fact, in most cases, if you could prove a business did so without clearly disclosing the fact, you would have grounds for a rather substantial lawsuit.

But there’s something that everyone seems to be overlooking about the bombings at Maalbeek Metro Station and Brussels Airport:

Brussels Terrorists

This is what the surveillance footage looks like for a facility that more than 23-million people visited in 2015 along according to data from the Brussels Airport media department and Anna.aero.

THIS IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE AND NOTHING SHORT OF NEGLIGENCE.

There’s a good chance that if you whip out the phone in your pocket right now or crank up the webcam on your laptop, that it would take a better shot than this. There’s a good chance that the convenience stores down the street can take a better picture than this. If you’re a Mammoth Surveillance customer, I GUARANTEE your cameras can do better than this (get to know more about West Hartford CT security cameras installation) Even much of the on-the-ground social media shares coming in about the attacks featured sharper, clearer images, even amidst the chaos and confusion.

Threats to global security aren’t a surprise. Much of the world’s “evil” forces have a face and a location. And thanks to intelligence programs around the world, many have a name and tons of personal information to back it up. According to the New York Times, we’ve even send U.S. Officials to Belgium prior to the attacks to assist in creating systems and plans for dealing with potential threats.

If you’re looking for an example of what I’m saying, here’s a quick example. These are from the 4K cameras on the back lot of Mammoth Surveillance:

“But that’s zoomed out!” you say?

Here’s a close up shot of the van in the lower right using the same image:

If this equipment is accessible to a local small business, it’s certainly within reach of a well funded transportation system or international airport.

We blurred the plate for privacy purposes, but you can clearly read the text at the top of the rear door which is smaller. Not to mention the details on the cracks in the sidewalk and such.

This doesn’t begin to account for facial recognition software or similar tools. Tools such as ForensicGPS allow security teams to take the images streamed in from digital surveillance systems and create fast, accurate matches against databases, track people through multiple areas of coverage and even identify suspicious behavior using artificial intelligence.

While the cost of these additions might be more than what a small business might have in their budget, they’re far from inaccessible to larger businesses. Especially when you consider that Brussels Airport has reported slow but consistent growth for multiple years.

Surveillance technology has reached a point that many groups, including the Electronic Freedom Foundation and The Washington Post, regularly feature stories debating the legality of such systems when it comes to monitoring the public. The tools are powerful and effective.

I have zero doubts that if a system like this was installed at these locations, there wouldn’t be a need for manhunts or unidentified attackers. In fact, when used with existing identification information on the attackers, it might have prevented the attacks entirely. Instead, an aging relic of surveillance cost more than two dozen people their lives in March of 2016.

The technology is out there, easily accessible and very affordable when compared to the loss of life, reputation and—If we’re being honest—profits after something like this. That doesn’t take into consideration the costs of repairs.

But at least businesses can rebuild. Families cannot. Their loss is forever and our hearts go out to them.

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