Nytt

Det er iverksatt ekstraordinære sikringstiltak etter at MI5 har advart om at terrorister søker biologiske våpen. Listen over farlige bakterier, virus, gifter og sopper osv er utvidet.

The Government has moved to tighten security in laboratories that handle deadly bacteria and viruses after giving warnings that terrorists were seeking access to biological weapons.

The range of potential agents covered by the Antiterrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was increased in April by adding another 40 to the list, including several that affect only animals.

The extra agents, which included the viruses responsible for polio, rabies and West Nile fever, were added after a warning from MI5 that terrorists were seeking actively to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear devices in attacks. The list now includes 45 viruses, 21 bacteria, 2 fungi, 13 toxins and 18 animal pathogens.

The regulations already provided for about 300 laboratories that handle such pathogens, listed in schedule 5 of the Act, to be subject to strict supervision.

This includes controlling access through devices such as electronic and digital locks fitting alarm systems, and introducing security measures that delay intruders for long enough for police to reach the scene when the alarms go off. There are also tight controls on storage and transport, and on the movement of people in and out of laboratories, with a comprehensive log of movements.

Controlling the staff employed is equally important, as the involvement of doctors employed by the NHS in the recent bomb attempts makes clear.

The Home Office requires careful checking of references, including phoning the authors of references, verification of employment history for at least three years and gaining information on unspent convictions. Foreign nationals need to show a full passport and a Home Office document confirming the individual’s immigration status and permission to work in the UK.

Man kunne tenke seg at langt flere arbeidsplasser kunne bli omfattet av lignende tiltak, hvis utgangspunktet er samfunnsmessig sårbarhet. Lege-terroren vil få konsekvenser for det internasjonale helsemarkedet. Datasikkerhet er et annet område, som omfatter tusenvis av arbeidsplasser. Hvis kontrolltiltak ble innført på arbeidet, vil de også måtte omfatte privatlivet, hvis de skulle være vanntette.

Laboratories put on guard over theft of bioweapons