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

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

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

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

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.


Wade Tillett

Suite 2320
233 N. Michigan Ave.

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