Internal Security and Technology: Opportunities and Challenges

Author/s: Dr. John Hardy
1st Edition Year: 2021
Edition: First Edition
Current Edition Year: 2021
Language: English


Technology is a key driver of change in domestic security operations. It creates new capabilities and new opportunities for the collection and analysis of a broad range of data, intelligence and evidence. It is also enabling new and improved methods of detection, surveillance, identification and analysis that directly affect internal security. This creates many advantages, including new tools, new forms of data and new avenues for accessing and understanding information. It also creates fresh challenges, such as ensuring agencies have access to the skills and resources required to utilize technology effectively, with powers to match the pace of operational innovation, able to pre-empt countermeasures where possible. This paper takes a look at this complex landscape, amid the rapid developments brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and considers the UAE’s position in relation to it.  Despite the challenges, the UAE is exceptionally well placed to take advantage of technological advances to improve internal security, due to its experience in acquiring advanced systems, its well-developed capacity to leverage cutting-edge technology and leading industry skills, and its culture of innovation.

This paper is divided into four main sections that examine key issues within the complex relationship between technology and internal security. The first section examines technological drivers of change. These are the physical and digital technologies that drive significant changes in the security domain. The second section examines opportunities for states to harness technology as an asset in protecting and enhancing internal security. These include the new tools and data that are available to intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The third section considers the challenges for states in implementing technological solutions, including developing the expertise, legal authorities and protective countermeasures required to operate technological security solutions effectively. The final section examines the range of policy implications arising from technological influences on internal security. These include the investment needed to develop the requisite skills and knowledge for states to use technology to their advantage, while also denying those advantages to threat actors. Fortunately, the UAE is well positioned as a security actor in this area, benefiting from recent experience in implementing high-tech solutions to policy challenges, a demonstrable willingness to invest in the future, and a culture of innovation that can be applied to both  technology and internal security.



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