The use of technologies plays an important role in the relationship between security and insecurity. However, are they really the best answer? When do we feel secure? And what do we really need in order to be secure?
Long before the terrorist attacks in New York, security was an important item on the political agenda. Since then, however, the term has increasingly become an overused buzzword. Again and again we are shown that we must protect ourselves against an apparently omnipresent threat.
We need more security – do we need more security?
In the public debate, technology is frequently presented as an infallible guarantee for security. The entire sector, above all the development and production of security technologies, is largely dominated by commercial interests. The "security society" has become a profitable business.
The conviction that security is a situation that we must keep striving for anew and that can above all be achieved by means of technical innovations has become a standard argument. It is often forgotten, however, that on a day-to-day basis security is created through human actions and that it is not an absolute and sacrosanct concept. In this way, reflection on individual and social needs is restricted.
Freedom as contradiction
Security is thus represented as being a superordinate social asset and appears to be scarcely compatible with other values of a democratic society: freedom, privacy and social justice are pushed into the background.
Freedom, however, is a basic precondition for a democratic state system. It is only if we are able to pursue our lives according to our own ideas that society as a whole can continue to develop. Guaranteed supplies and security against threats are the basis on which this is possible. Accordingly, a modern state should guarantee both.
TA between society, business and politics
TA has assumed the task of pointing out the side-effects of technical developments. How far should prevention measures be allowed to go? What do EU citizens feel about this? TA's interdisciplinary approach and its participatory methods bring together previously separated fields and representatives of different interests.
ITA projects on the topic of security deal amongst other things with the relationships between security, surveillance technologies and privacy (surPRISE) and a system for supporting decision-making in the procurement of security technologies (Dessi). We were also involved in the development of a list of criteria for EU security research (PRISE), which is intended to ensure that account is taken of ethical, normative and basic right aspects.
Selected projects related to Safety and Security
Decision Support on Security Investment
The use of geodata on mobile devices
Data generated by smartphones or tablets give away more than our location
Increasing resilience in surveillance societies
An overview study with regard to possible surveillance risks
Developing participatory solutions for ethical and legal challenges of new information technologies
Regulations for privacy enhancing security technologies in Europe
Surveillance, privacy and security: SurPRISE evaluates the acceptance of security technologies among Europe's citizens