chapter
18 Pages

Introduction: Technologies of (in)security

ByKATJA FRANKO AAS, HELENE OPPEN GUNDHUS AND HEIDI MORK LOMELL

This book, as its title reveals,1 aims to explore the inherent duality and dialectics between our striving for security and the simultaneous production of insecurity which can result from these efforts. Striving for security is an ambivalent project which carries in itself a potential for creating its opposite – a heightened sense of insecurity. This became obvious in a recent Norwegian conflict between airport-security personnel, primarily Securitas guards, and aircraft crew, such as pilots and flight attendants. In March 2007, the general managers of the three major Norwegian air carriers sent a letter to the airport authorities stating their concern about the excessive security checks. They indicated that the ‘unfortunate culture developed by the security personnel’ (VG Nett 17 March 2007) is in fact damaging to the overall air security. At smaller airports, aircraft crew can be subjected to as many as 10-12 screenings per day. Pilots argued that the frequent controls are often experienced as harassment and make them less capable of doing their job, thereby producing insecurity for the passengers. Crucial issues here are trust and suspicion. Pilots, who are entrusted to fly planes with hundreds of passengers, are yet too suspicious to be allowed to take a lunch break without a security and an identity check. As a result of the conflict, it was decided that the private security personnel would take a course in human relations and would be put under intensified surveillance of about 600 CCTV cameras at Oslo airport, thus creating yet another potential conflict in the work place. Now, the security personnel find themselves under suspicion – ‘We are being treated as criminals’ is their argument – and their union has complained about the development to the Norwegian Data Inspectorate (VG Nett 22 March 2007).