When technology makes the headlines in A NEGATIVE WAY, it sometimes turns out that the real story is not about technology, but about the people tasked with implementing that technology.
Such was the case recently when the headlines blared something to the effect that the surveillance systems in Arizona along our border with Mexico are not working. At first glance, it appears that this is a technology story — something about how the promise of protection has not been realized because of faulty product design.
However, a closer reading of the facts suggests an even more troubling scenario, although perhaps not one that reflects as badly on the technology itself.
Turns out the problem is people. The cameras and other technology along our border were not installed properly. There are suggestions of “shoddy work” on the part of the installing company, but nothing that points to a problem with the technology.
Which leaves our industry's reputation unsullied, at least in this case — or does it?
The question is: Can the performance (or theoretical performance) of a technology ever be completely separated from how it is used? Aren't the operation of technology and its operators inextricably linked in every situation?
Ultimately, our success in protecting the Homeland will be a direct function of how well we choose the right tools for a job, and how well we use those tools effectively to do the job.
Technology is worthless unless it is effectively used, and if the headline says that it isn't working — as it does in the case of our Mexican border — then all of us end up sharing the blame for not doing the job.
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