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Wide area surveillance is defined here as the ability to detect a threat anywhere over a wide geographical area such as a large city, a county, a State or even an entire country. Since the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001 in the United States, this issue has become critical for countries that are concerned with broad and indiscriminate large-scale terrorist threats.
The US White House Office of Homeland Security has recognized this problem and has correctly pointed out in its National Strategy for Homeland Security (July 2002) that effective wide area surveillance in a large country like the United States can only be accomplished with the broad participation of the public.
In a first embodiment a widely used electronic device such as a mobile phone, a PDA or a watch having telecommunication capabilities, and the associated wireless networks thereof are used as a basis to provide a new type of technology platform for a nationwide surveillance system to detect a potential terrorist threat.
The system provides all the necessary automated components for unique identification, two-way communication, geolocation and associated electronics
Assuming that such monitoring capabilities are directly built in mobile phones and that this capability is either mandated by Governments or by organizations such as the FCC in the United States or is voluntarily adopted by mobile phonemanufacturers who realize the benefit of providing such new dual use technology to its consumers (either as a swappable sensor module or a built-in component), the following scenarios can be envisioned.
A third basic technology that is used herein is any of the emergency systems currently in place including the 911 system and the emerging Enhanced 911 (or E911) system in the United States. Additional emergency response systems include the Homeland Security networks being put in place in the US, military networks, police networks or systems that are either existing or being installed by individual industries, States or Governments concerned with given security issues.
In addition to the above applications, by using advanced micro and nano fabrication technologies, a single "Homeland Security" chip may be built that includes on a single chip the functions of wireless communication, geolocation and external threat detection for chemical, radiological and biological hazards or a combination thereof.
The mobile phone and threat assessment technology may include anti-tampering features for some security applications and may allow transparent dial in into the surveillance networks, as described below.