September 11, 2001
The adverse effects of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States are still felt to-date. Multiple industries have amended their policies, the government has employed a series of critical security measures, and the hearts and minds of the American citizens have been changed. While some of the security policies implemented were temporary- an immediate response arising from the concern of safety- others have resulted in permanent transformations in the American life. The U.S. government has tightened security in three primary sectors: air travel, immigration, and the public sector.
The most immediate and apparent changes after the terrorist attacks took place in the air travel industry. Initially, airport security was provided by private firms contracted by individual airlines. However, the Congress introduced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in November 2001, to be in charge of all the security functions (Dodaro et.al. 2011). The new body also implemented an array of security policies. For starters, travelers are supposed to check in two hours before their flights. There are limitations on the items that passengers can bring; food, bottled water, and other similar liquids are not allowed through security.
Aircrafts also underwent major overhauls. The cockpit doors on airplanes are now reinforced and bulletproof, to avert unauthorized accessibility. Some aircrafts also have CCTV cameras, which enable pilots to monitor cabin activities. In addition, pilots have the mandate to carry firearms.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack evoked a significant shift in the manner the U.S. government handles immigration, forming new bodies and tightening restrictions on the persons allowed in and out of the country. Firstly, the Department of Homeland Security was created, to replace the Immigration and Naturalization Service (United States, 2003). Until 2003, the INS agency had been in charge of all the immigration functions, ranging from visas to border security. The Department of Homeland Security performs numerous duties including, screening and collecting data on foreign travelers, interviewing people of particular nationalities as well as sharing information with other countries.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Congress signed the Patriot Act into law. This regulation extended federal officials’ powers to track the American citizens’ personal information (Dodaro et.al. 2011). For instance, the federal agencies listen and record telephone conversations. If they suspect you of being a terrorist, they have authority to tap your phone and ask for copies of your phone records.
The concern that many Americans still have is whether the country has become any safer from terrorist organizations. The undeniable truth is that a few gaps still exist in the security department. However, Americans are far safer from the kind of tragedies that befell the state a decade ago. For instance, it is hard for terrorists to get into the country, and even more difficult to execute any criminal activity. The security at airports has been tightened, with the advent of bio-sensors and more efficient detectors.
One challenge that the U.S. Department of Security is still grappling with involves hacktivism- the merging of political activism and computer hacking. LulzSec, one of the renowned hacktivist groups, once attacked InfraGard- a partnership between enterprises and the F.B.I agency. It also attacked the US Senate and the Central Intelligence Agency websites (Flamini & CQ, 2013). Thankfully, the US security department and legislators can limit the growth of hacktivism through a statutory intervention. This policy will serve to increase penalties for cyber crimes committed by hacktivist groups. The government can also employ an educational reform that limits internet users’ risk to cybercrime activities while encouraging computer learning in a setting that does not result in joining internet gangs.