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EPA Data on Internet Will Increase Threat
Of Terrorism, Industry-Sponsored Study Says

Enviro-Newsbrief                             September 8, 1998


EPA Data on Internet Will Increase Threat Of Terrorism, Industry-
Sponsored Study Says. Daily Environment Report, September 8, 1998,

     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.

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