Enviro-Newsbrief September 8, 1998 ** EMERGENCY PLANNING ** EPA Data on Internet Will Increase Threat Of Terrorism, Industry- Sponsored Study Says. Daily Environment Report, September 8, 1998, ppA-1-2. The possibility of a terrorist attack against US chemical facilities will increase if certain information about those facilities is made easily accessible on the Internet, according to the Aegis Research Corp. The company did not estimate the scope of the actual terrorist threat facing US chemical facilities. It also did not assess the negative impact of not making certain chemical information available to the public via the Internet. The study repeated warnings of a 1997 study that stated any threat of attack that now exists at US chemical plants would increase "by a factor of seven" if EPA were to place chemical risk management information on the Internet. The report was sponsored by the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The CMA's plan for making data available for the public includes security checks on data users and for licensing agreements that make it illegal to collect data from various sources and place the data on the Internet. The Aegis estimate that chances of a terrorist attack would increase sevenfold was made by applying numerical values to pieces of information of potential use to someone planning an attack. "The ease of access and anonymity afforded by the Internet," as with some other electronic media, meant that it scores higher than other options for information access. Aegis suggested that some of the following "critical information" not be placed on the Internet: the amount of chemicals at a given facility, the distances those chemicals could travel away from the facility by air, and the residential population surrounding the facility. "Unfortunately, the information that makes the [risk management] data valuable to a terrorist is basically the same information that it makes it valuable to the general public," said the report.
Back to the Top
Website maintained by Michael R. Meuser