RE: Building ‘Security’

Wade Tillett on Fri, 2 Nov 2001 11:32:22 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> RE: Building ‘Security’

to: Parkway Reality Services, Ltd. attn: Janice L. Holzman After the implementation of the new building ‘security’ measures, the lobby is now crowded with people waiting in line to check their id’s. Presumably to ‘ease the pain’, Security guards are standing near the elevator banks passing out M&M’s. This is a massive infringement on the freedom of movement of the tenants of the building. It is extremely inconvenient, and more importantly, extremely intrusive. Besides the plethora of obnoxious surveillance cameras that already existed in the lobby, must we now endure photographic identification and logging in order to access our place of work? Could you please demonstrate how the newly instated ‘security’ measures will actually make us safer in our building? Is this really a security measure or merely the semblance of security? Are we really any safer, or are we only being encouraged to ‘feel safer’ in a transparent attempt to make the building more ‘exclusive’, more ‘secure’, but most of all (and only) more marketable. Fear, which was regrettably what the terrorists hoped to instill, is now being used as an engine to increase marketability, through the increase of visible services. The ‘security’ measures implemented are hollow semblances, only increasing the visibility of representative safety, rather than increasing actual safety. Please, remove the bogus security systems of identification and surveillance. These are so easily thwarted that it is hardly worth mention. If you really wish to increase security, concentrate on inoculating the major possible threats inherent in this building, in a non-intrusive manner. Yellow plastic pylons at the turnaround are not going to stop a terrorist from driving a truck bomb into the lobby, especially if he does not care for his own life. Neither is a 6″ concrete curb. Besides, at least half of the building has two lanes of South Water Street actually running between three of the five rows of structural columns and directly underneath the elevator banks and exit stairs. Needless to say that no one shall escape if the exit stairs, elevators, and structural columns were to be blown up from underneath by passing vehicles. At one point last week, I counted no less than four semi-trucks, four delivery trucks, and a concrete truck on adjacent Lower Stetson drive. These were parked there for more than two hours without drivers. ‘Danger: No Idling. Fresh Air Intake Above.’ -reads the sign at the loading dock on lower South Water Street. Depending on where the intakes are located, one might not even have to enter the building to distribute a biological agent to all tenants in the building through the air distribution system. Simply inserting it into the fresh air intake might be enough. Have air distribution intakes been secured? Is the water main to the building protected? Is the water potability monitored? What about the sprinkler standpipe system, waste lines, or electrical distribution? I saw at least one unlocked electrical cabinet on South Water Street, and numerous exposed pipes going into the building at lower Stetson. Are these protected? How are service technicians such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing and elevator contractors regulated? Are window-washers security screened, as they have rooftop access? The concourse level is open to the public, with its shops and food services it is filled with unrestricted people. What is to stop any of these people from a terrorist attack, dropping a bomb in a waste basket? What about arson? Or even false fire alarms that would concentrate people into the exit stairs, allowing for release of biological agents, or small fire bombs within a contained area, as well as allowing direct exit of the perpetrator? But of greater and more realistic concern, three of the four revolving doors have been locked, and gates installed at the north side of the elevators between the three east elevator banks. This makes it difficult to get to the north exit doors from internally dumping exit stairs. Is there still adequate exiting from the emergency exit stairs at the exit discharge level in case of a real emergency? Was the exiting capacity verified? Is the new exit path clearly marked? The three locked revolving doors still have glowing exit signs above them, with no indication that they are now locked. Is this safer? Is the loading dock to the building restricted? All parcels coming into the building via messenger, mail, or delivery through the dock are potentially hazardous. What is the purpose of a photo id and a handwritten signature for messengers? What possible good does this do? What does this prevent? How about the parking garage? Are valeted vehicles checked for explosives? If they are, have the vehicle owners been notified? What if those who we are supposedly protecting against are tenants in the building? Are tenants security screened? If they are, have you informed them? To whom are the surveillance videos available? To whom is the access log of tenant activity available? Are these databases available to tenants with employees? Are these databases available to law enforcement, the FBI, CIA, or NSA? Are these databases linked to criminal or terrorist databases? If so, this is overly intrusive. If not, what good does it do? For how long will these logs be kept? What individual information is linked to these logs? Why should we trust Parkway Realty Services, Ltd. with this information? Especially when no explanation of how this information will be used nor why it is needed has been offered. Is there a publicly available privacy plan? Is there a publicly available building security plan? Thankfully, only two of the five times I went up to the office today did I voluntarily go to the front desk and use my access card. The other three times I walked right by the front desk and went up the elevators with no problem or hassle (or access card). Which leads me to wonder, who is being forced to sign in? Is everyone? Is anyone? But most importantly, is it being done on an equal basis? Finally, my point in writing this letter is not to raise a spectre of ultra-paranoia, but to express my disgust that the ‘security’ measures implemented do little more than to construct a (presumably marketable) false facade of ‘security’ at the expense of privacy and freedom. I, personally, do not wish to pay this price. And you can keep your M&M’s too. Sincerely, Wade Tillett Suite 2320 233 N. 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