• Chemical weaponsNew drug to combat the effects of nerve agents

    Sarin is a colorless, odorless liquid fatal even at very low concentrations. Serious sarin poisoning causes visual disturbance, vomiting, breathing difficulties and, finally, death. A ground-breaking study describes the development of a new drug which counteracts the effects of sarin gas.

  • HijabCalif. Muslim woman sues Long Beach police for forcibly removing her headscarf

    Kirsty Powell, an African American Muslim woman, has on Monday sued the police in California, charging that her headscarf, which she was wearing for religious reasons, was forcibly removed by officers after she was arrested on outstanding warrants. The suit states that Powell “suffered and continues to suffer extreme shame, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress” as a result of her experience at the police station.

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  • European securityEU should establish U.S.-style intelligence agency: EU president

    The terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, just as the earlier ones in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), were a reminder that central pillars of the EU, such as the “area of freedom, security, and justice,” are being challenged. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission — the executive branch of the European Union (EU) – said that the EU member states’ mindsets and willingness to cooperate – crucial ingredients in the fight against terror – have not lived up to the challenge. The enduring lack of coordination between security services, police, and judicial authorities, at the national and the European levels, needs to be urgently tackled to reduce Europe’s vulnerability to such risks. To address and resolve these problems, and bolster European security in the face of terrorism, Juncker has proposed a European “Security Union.”

  • HackingFBI does not know how the $1m iPhone hack works

    The  FBI does not know how the hack which was used to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C works, even though the agency paid about $1 million for the technique. The identity of the hackers who sold the technique to the agency is a closely guarded secret, and the FBI director himself does not know who they are.

  • CounterterrorismU.S. employs Israeli “roof-knocking” air strike tactic

    The U.S. military is now employing a controversial air strike technique called “roof-knocking,” which was widely used by Israel during the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in summer 2014. The approach involves dropping small munitions in the roof of a house in which terrorists are suspected to be hiding, or which is suspected of being a storing facility for terrorists weapons. The purpose of dropping the small, harmless munitions on the roof is to alert civilians in the house that they have a few minutes to escape to safety.

  • SurveillanceSnowden revelations led to “chilling effect” on pursuit of knowledge: Study

    By Nadia Prupis

    National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden’s 2013 mass surveillance revelations caused a drop in website browsing, particularly in internet searches for terms associated with extremism, an example of the most direct evidence yet that the spying operations exposed in the leak had a “chilling effect” on the lawful pursuit of information, an impending report has found.

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  • Cyber warfarePentagon “dropping cyberbombs” on ISIS

    Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work has said that the U.S. military is “dropping cyberbombs” on ISIS. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. Cyber Command had been given its “first wartime assignment” – attacking and disrupting ISIS cyber infrastructure. in the last few months, the Pentagon has allowed more information to be published about the U.S. military’s cyberwar against ISIS. Work, describing the Cyber Command’s operations at a news conference, said: “We are dropping cyberbombs. We have never done that before.”

  • In the trenchesGeneral Dynamics completes USAF Space Fence radar array ground structure

    General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies earlier this month completed the construction and walk-through of the 7,000 square-foot radar receive array structure which is part of the U.S. Air Force Space Fence radar system. With the array structure complete, the General Dynamics Space Fence team will dismantle the 700,000-pound steel structure and ship it to Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, for reassembly and integration into the Space Fence system.

  • ForensicsHair analysis is flawed as a forensic technique

    Since 1989, seventy-four people who were convicted of serious crimes, in large part due to microscopic hair comparisons, were later exonerated by post-conviction DNA analysis. A new article highlights the statistical failings of microscopic hair analysis in criminal investigations, noting that more than twenty characteristics can be used to describe or identify a single hair, but many are subjective.

  • EarthquakesCitizen seismologists enhance the impacts of earthquake studies

    From matchbook-sized sensors plugged into a desktop computer to location-tagged tweets, the earthquake data provided by “citizen seismologists” have grown in size and quality since 2000, according to the field’s researchers.

  • BioterrorismNew Yorker sentenced to 16 years for trying to buy ricin

    It was a scary scenario: Chinese national Cheng Le, living in New York City, attempted to order ricin through the so-called dark Web. Ricin is a highly potent and potentially fatal toxin with no known antidote. What did Le plan to do with the ricin? Nothing good. According to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, “In Le’s own words, established at trial, he was looking for ‘simple and easy death pills’ and ways to commit ‘100 percent risk-free’ murder.”

  • SurveillancePrivacy advocacy groups ask NSA to halt changes to data sharing rules

    More than thirty organizations sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the National Security Agency, urging them to halt reported changes to the rules governing when and how the NSA can share the data it collects through overseas surveillance.

  • Killer robotsPressure mounts to keep human control over killer robots

    Fully autonomous weapons would go a step beyond existing remote-controlled drones as they would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention. Although these weapons do not exist yet, the rapid movement of technology from human “in-the-loop” weapons systems toward “out-of-the-loop” systems is attracting international attention and concern. Countries should retain meaningful human control over weapons systems and ban fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic said in a new report. The concept of meaningful human control will be a centerpiece of deliberations at a week-long multilateral meeting on the weapons, opening 11 April 2016, at the United Nations in Geneva.

  • Robot warshipSea Hunter, world’s first robot warship

    At the Pentagon nowadays, you are starting to see robots everywhere. They dispose of bombs, and throw out the occasional first pitch. They help Marines improve their target shooting. And, if they are human-robot teams that entered last year’s DARPA Robotic Challenged Finals, they drive vehicles, use tools, open doors, climb stairs, and do all sorts of other things. Now another robot — one designed and built by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — happens to be the very first robot warship.

  • SurveillanceFour questions Belgians should ask about the Patriot Act

    By Lacey Wallace

    The Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks added a sense of urgency to calls for Belgium to enact its own counterterrorism bill. It is a call the French government has already answered. Increased use of surveillance is a worldwide trend. There is no guarantee, however, that even with the most sophisticated surveillance technology out there today, passing a bill or law to collect private information on citizens will protect us from terrorist threats and violence. Even more vexing: the nature of intelligence gathering means we may never know exactly how many attacks have been prevented by the Patriot Act, the French surveillance law — or a similar law that Belgium may soon pass.