Public Safety

  • Improving disaster response amidst budget crunch

    As lawmakers struggle to cut the budget and reduce spending, some are seeking find ways to be more efficient with disaster response and recovery funds; the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee held a hearing to explore ways to make the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) disaster response more efficient

  • NPIA rolls out mobile fingerprint technology

    New mobile fingerprint readers allow police in England and Wales to check an individual’s fingerprint against a national database — and do so in two minutes; more than half the forces in England and Wales have already received the new devices

  • Private contractors outnumber government security two to one

    A recent survey found that the number of private security contractors outnumber police officers two to one around the world; in some countries, the difference between private security contractors and law enforcement officials is even more significant; the report also noted several critical emerging issues as a result of the increasing use of private contractors including oversight, the role of government, and concerns for public safety

  • DHS seizes ancient Egyptian relics in smuggling bust

    Last Thursday DHS officials made an announcement that seemed more fitting for a Hollywood movie — agents had broken up an antiques smuggling ring that had illegally shipped ancient Egyptian artifacts to the United States; among the confiscated goods was a sarcophagus that dated back to the seventh century B.C.

  • Minneapolis man single-handedly battles Islamic extremism

    Individuals like Abdirizak Bihi, who single handedly tries to keep young Somali-American teenagers from becoming radicalized, are part of a growing trend that officials in Washington call “CVE,” combatting violent extremism; since the 9/11 attacks, there have been fifty-one domestically produced jihadist plots or attacks in the United States and that number is steadily growing

  • U.S. troops deploy biometrics in the field

    Biometric databases in Iraq and Afghanistan are helping U.S. troops combat violent insurgents; in an ambitious move, troops have sought to capture iris scans, facial photographs, and fingerprints from men of fighting age especially those who have been detained for insurgent or terrorist ties.

  • BVS combats jail cell phone smuggling

    Prisons across the United States are struggling to prevent cell phones from falling into inmates’ hands; in 2010 more than 10,000 contraband cell phones were confiscated from inmates in California prisons; to help officials crack down on these contraband items, Berkeley Varitronics Systems has developed a suite of sophisticated cell phone detectors that can “sniff” out phones even when they are hidden in the most obscure places

  • The art of signature replication

    A Rockville, Maryland company’s signature replication technology is so advanced, DHS sends its agents there to learn; using sophisticated computer software and its Autopen signing machines, Damilic is capable of replicating signatures that so closely resemble the original hand written version, forensic scientists are needed to be able to tell the difference

  • Qaddafi's Tripoli suicide plan

    Libya’s prime minister confided in Russia’s envoy to Africa that Col. Qaddafi has a suicide plan for Tripoli if the rebels took over the city; the regime plans to shower the city with missiles and destroy it rather see the rebels control it; Libya has plenty of surface-to-surface missiles, and so far it has not used any of them against the rebels

  • Deterring cyberwar, police gear and the law, guarding the guardians

    Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the current U.S. cyberdefense policy as “too predictable”; he added that “[the current policy is] purely defensive. There is no penalty for attacking us now. We have to figure out a way to change that”; he said the new U.S. cyberdefense policy is the first step toward correcting current deficiencies; a Massachusetts company is selling local police forces a new iPhone app that scans a suspect’s iris and matches it to a national database of felons; there are questions about whether or not this app — which costs $3,000 — violates the Constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches; the former mayor, the police chief, and member of the city council of a New Mexico border town have been charged with smuggling guns to the Mexican cartels; some of these guns have been linked to at least eight murders in Mexico

  • Tough new Alabama immigration law divides community

    A sweeping new Alabama immigration law is generating sharp controversy and unease with many likening it to a return to the state’s brutal Jim Crow laws; among the strict immigration measures passed last month, undocumented immigrants are banned from enrolling in or attending college, applying for work, and landlords are restricted from renting property to illegal aliens; the law even requires school districts to check the immigration status of children; the bill has drawn fierce criticism from immigration advocates, churches, and civil liberties groups.

  • Senator Schumer demands release of northern counternarcotics strategy

    Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) is demanding that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) release its Northern Border Counternarcotics strategy immediately; the strategy was due on 5 July as stipulated by a law passed in January; the law came in response to a to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that only thirty-two miles along the nearly 4,000 mile U.S.-Canada border had “an acceptable level of security”

  • AntiSec hacks IRC Federal, posts passwords online

    Last Friday, AntiSec, a prominent hacking group, announced that it had successfully infiltrated the servers of IRC Federal; the company has contracts with several major government agencies including the Department of Justice, the Army, Navy, and NASA; in an announcement on their website, AntiSec wrote, “We laid nuclear waste to their systems, owning their pathetic Windows box, dropping their databases and private emails, and defaced their professional looking website”

  • Five years on: Israel-Hezbollah 2006 war

    Five years ago today, a war broke out between Israel and Hezbollah after Hezbollah fighters made a foray into Israel, killing several soldiers and carrying the bodies of two of them back into Lebanon; despite the uneven scale of death and damage — Israel has inflicted much more damage on Hezbollah and Lebanon — the war was initially perceived as an Israeli defeat because Israel was unable to stop Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel during the entire conflict; more recently, though, this initial conclusion has been revised somewhat, with some analysts pointing out that the Israel-Lebanese border has been quiet during the past five years — the longest period it has been so quiet; a respected Israeli military analyst says that the 2006 war was an Israeli failure — and unless Israel changes its definition regarding who the real enemy is, the next Israel-Hezbollah war will be and Israeli failure as well