The discovery of an alleged European terror plot revealed this week apparently owes at least some of its success to voice print technology, according to the Associated Press (News - Alert). Cutting-edge voice print technology enables law enforcement to electronically match voices to owners, allowing for investigators to not only listen to the content of terrorist “chatter,” but actually identify some of the operatives.
The biometric technology of voice print, which is often compared to fingerprinting, is increasingly employed by many law enforcement agencies as an anti-terror tool. Many government security organizations are already considering how a voice database could be configured to help thwart future plots, in the same way many agencies already maintain and share fingerprint or DNA databases.
In this particular case, the AP reported that British eavesdropping agency GCHQ deployed voice identification software to help uncover the plot that officials say has targeted Germany, the U.K. and France. “Advances in these types of technology have been key in thwarting plots and catching suspects,” a U.K. government official told the Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his work.
The reported plot against European cities, in which suspects allegedly spoke of a shooting spree in the style of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 that left 166 people dead, has triggered travel warnings and refocused attention on al Qaida activities on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where several of the voices were recorded.
This week, the U.K. and U.S. governments both warned citizens and travelers of an increased risk of terrorist attacks in Europe, focusing on France and Germany. The British government has raised its terror alert level for travellers to France and Germany, from “general” to “high.” Popular tourist sites and cultural treasures such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower are under close surveillance.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf