Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Many opponents of a physical fence along the borders have criticized its cost and the difficulty of building it, but it seems as though the proposed "virtual fence" has problems of its own:
The Bush administration's program for building a virtual fence along the nation's borders will be delayed at least another month because of problems with integrating technology, and Homeland Security Department officials are now threatening to go back to the drawing board.

Homeland Security hired defense contracting giant Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to develop the so-called SBInet program, which is supposed to use technology, personnel and infrastructure to control the borders. Under the first phase of the contract, Boeing was supposed to develop an integrated system for 28 miles of border in Arizona by June.

But the department has refused to accept Boeing's solution because of ongoing technical glitches.

"I am not going to buy something with U.S. government money unless I'm satisfied it works in the real world," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday. "And if it can't be made to work, I'm prepared to go and find something that will be made to work, although I'll obviously be disappointed."

The Influence Peddler thinks about the time it might take to get this system to "work." (H/T Kaus, who's also wondering about what a teacher's anecdote might mean for enforcement patterns.)