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April 7, 2010

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Sophisticated security vital

THIS is the largest World Expo I have ever seen, and I certainly will try to visit it after it opens, time permitting.

Security is always an important consideration at events like these. At World Expo 2010, strict controls on people traffic are important, as well as police patrols across the venues. Scientific security checks need to be in place at entry points to counter the threat of terrorist attacks.

Terrorism is a modern-day phenomenon that seeks to exploit mayhem, murder and public panic for political ends. To minimize the risk when dealing with large crowds, the authorities must use advanced surveillance technology. In many a premeditated attack, terrorists would typically bury explosives in a building in advance of an event, then sneak into the venue disguised as service people carrying food or other commodities into an exhibition. Terrorists also may smuggle disassembled weapons into the site before reassembling them later. They would normally choose the most crowded time of an event, when strict safety checks may be more lax. Cordoning parking lots off from proximity to exhibition sites is one method of deterring car bombs.

The science of "artificial intelligence" has made great strides. The United States is establishing databases of fingerprints and DNA for criminals across the country and terrorists around the world. Using "artificial intelligence" as part of security at the World Expo involves the use of closed-circuit television networks and photographic data to detect suspicious people entering the venue.

The job of vetting all those who enter a site such as World Expo 2010 is a big task that requires coordination and manpower. People-friendly awning structures and video images may help ease anxiety for those lining up at security checkpoints. When visitors draw close to those checkpoints, they should be automatically funneled into a single queue so that security officers can easily monitor individuals through closed-circuit television systems.

I was also a security advisor to the Beijing Olympic Games, so I am aware how well China is now equipped with the most advanced detection equipment in the world. My life's motto is "making the impossible possible," and that extends to security at World Expo.

I wish Shanghai every success in making this World Expo a landmark and safe event.

(This message has been abridged to suit space limitations.)


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