Local leaders address security concerns after Paris attacks

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Action News reporter David Henry reprots on how local leaders are addressing any security concerns here. (WPVI)

Local leaders are addressing any security concerns in Philadelphia in light of the Paris attacks.

Mayor Nutter sought to reassure the public that spectators and runners participating in the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend will be as safe as possible.

"We're paying attention, we're taking this seriously... life has to go on. But we want you to know that we're on top of this," Nutter said.

The area around the start/finish line will once again be a secure zone, with extra tight screening at checkpoints.

The mayor explained, "It is strongly recommended, strongly recommended, that spectators and runners limit what they take into the race area, bringing only essentials."

The police and emergency officials say they are ready to respond to multiple attacks like those carried out in Paris. It is a continuous state of preparedness, but heading off attacks has become more difficult than ever.

There's evidence the attackers in Paris did their planning on the dark web - communicating with apps that are impenetrably encrypted.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says, "There are manufacturers, including manufacturers like Apple and others, that are creating these systems, these applications on smart phones that not even they can break."

The so-called "perfect forward secrecy" technology is now being used by Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

There is no master key that can unlock encrypted messages. The police and the FBI agree, that is the biggest threat to preventing terrorist attacks, like the coordinated assaults in Paris.

FBI Special Agent in Charge William Sweeney explains to us, "We do have, with other law enforcement agencies, have great difficulty trying to track what folks are doing online, and changes to encryption technology are a hindrance. So we got to come up with ways to work around that, and I think the public needs to track that issue."

Commissioner Ramsey is urging the public to contact lawmakers to try to convince them that the police and other law enforcement need to be able to access that encrypted material, of course with a proper court order.

Related Topics:
securityParis terror attackphilly newsCenter City Philadelphia
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