The pain, suffering, fear in the eyes of those inside the Twin Towers as well as those watching, in front of them or around the world through TV, related or not, was evident. As the towers fell and turned into rubble, so did the hope of life of those inside, in the minds of their friends and families. This day alone changed the entire picture of how national security and terrorism were viewed, the threats it offered and how to deal with them.
The wounds of those who suffered loss had not healed up that another terror struck on July 7 2005 inside our home. Innocent lives were still at risk. More needed to be done. This resulted in revised security measures, dealing with terrorism and threats to national interests, domestic and foreign. Although the wisdom of the so-called War on Terror is a hot topic for debate, let's discuss how these revised security measures, instruments, regulations and others have impacted the lives and rights of common citizens in Britain.
Every nation has interests to protect. However, in an attempt to wage war on terrorists, real and imaginary, our nation is chipping off basic civil rights of its citizens including the right to privacy, while assigning extra powers in the name of national security. There is large ground to cover, as this has been done in various different parts as new rules and amendments in documents serving as the foundation of our nation.
In light of these new amendments, UK authorities can detain suspects for 28 days under the Terrorism Act 2006, from 14 days previously, as stipulated in Criminal Justice Act 2003, without filing charges. Although authorities have been asking for an indefinite detention period, it is largely opposed. The government's request to increase this period to 90 days has been opposed by the parliament, subsequently marking earlier Prime Minister Tony Blair's first defeat in the House of Commons in 2005 (Civil Rights Movement, UK, 2008).
New revisions to Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2003, termed stop and search, now empower police authorities to stop and search anyone, with or without any reason for suspicion, in an allocated area, the whole of Greater London at this point. Since this revision, there has been a significant increase in the number of stop and searches by the police, rising by 300% for Asians only soon after the effectiveness of this law, having highly negative impacts on the overall community relations.
Under new amendments in the security stratum, surveillance has been increased on British nationals in many aspects. From recent accounts, there are now 4.2 million CCTV cameras operational in the United Kingdom, proportionality 1 CCTV on every 14 citizens. Statistics show that a single British citizen can be captured on various CCTV screens across UK approximately 300 times per day, inferring that you might be viewed while having lunch, waiting, talking on the phone anywhere across UK.
The government has plans to create a centrally administered database containing voice messages, texts, emails, and browsing patterns under the new Communications Data Bill, to be proposed in 2009. Telecommunication companies are now required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for twelve months(British Broadcasting Corps, 2008).
Security issues have severely affected