Networks and Terrorism: Dad's Army Reborn

How do we cope with a world so interdependent that disruption in one area can have quite unforeseen consequences elsewhere?

The World Today Published 1 March 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 4 minute READ

Chris Wright

on secondment from the Ministry of Defence to head the New Security Issues Programme, Chatham House

Striking fuel tanker drivers rapidly jeopardising food supplies to shops is one example. And what if such weaknesses are targeted deliberately as part of a terror attack? Government can help but everyone needs to be mobilised – as in much darker days – to defend the benefits our networked society brings.

When the draft civil contingencies bill was published in June for three months of consultation, there was an outcry over the powers the British government was proposing to grant itself. By contrast, media commentary was sparse on the final version made public on January 7. The general sense was that it was not a story. Government had listened to public responses and feared threats to our civil liberties were unlikely to transpire. The bill was not perfect, but there was nothing that could not be put right during the normal process of legislative scrutiny. Big Brother, like Godot, had still to arrive.

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