May 22, 2002
Sign of the times?

Today I spent the better part of the morning downtown doing battle with a piece of software. (I think I won, but the French and Russian judges are still quibbling over the score.) The building I visited is one I've been to several times before. At first, you just told the security guard in the lobby where you were going, then hopped on the elevator. The elveator would drop you in a closed hallway, so once you got to your floor, you needed someone to come and get you because the doors were locked. Of course, sometimes you'd get lucky and follow someone who had a badge in, just like you would at a gated apartment complex.

The last time I was there was not long after 9/11. Things had changed to a near-Defcon1 level of security. You had to sign in with the security guards, show photo ID, and leave something valuable (I left my driver's license) as assurance of who you were. And of course you had to be let into whatever floor you were visiting.

Today I walked right past the guards and discovered that the doors in the elevator hallway were no longer locked. I could have walked in, helped myself to some office supplies, and gotten away without anyone knowing who I was or even that I'd been there. Which makes me wonder - Are we over the anxiety from 9/11, even as Team Bush has suddenly decided they must tell us about every possible future terrorist threat, or is this just the result of some bean-counter deciding that all that extra security was having a too-big effect on the bottom line?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 22, 2002 to National news