Combining Internet Computing, Biometrics and Sensors to Leverage Deterrence

David J. Smith

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2013; 4: G54-60

Deterrence is a concept much more ancient than the Cold War and far broader than mutual assured destruction – MAD – which came to characterize the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. The requirements of deterrence will vary, however, excellent knowledge and intelligence about the opponent will always be necessary. Deterrent calculations must take into account not only the cultural context and decision making procedures of the other side, but also multiple personalities, agendas, relationships and group dynamics. Consequently, psychological profiling from afar has become a mainstay of intelligence analysis. Developing computer technology, including the boom in mobile devices, can help gather information, process and analyze it and deliver messages to target audiences. For the first time, someone with the right tools can reach into the office, car, medical facility, bedroom, and even bathroom to collect information and deliver targeted messages back to the same. Gathered and analyzed properly, such information could be a real boon to extending influence, including deterrence. Of course, this raises a plethora of legal and ethical issues that must be seriously examined. Nonetheless, the technology is out there.


Keywords: deterrence, psychological profiling, hypertargeting, intelligence