• License plate scanners in Canada under fire from privacy commissioners

    British Columbia’s privacy commissioner is not happy about the way police departments are using their license-plate scanners; in a report released last week, Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said changes must be made to the Victoria police department’s Automated License Plate Recognition Program (ALPR), after it was discovered that the program could be used as a surveillance tool

  • DARPA seeking surveillance technology to predict future behavior

    DARPA has teamed up with scientists from Carnegie Mellon University to create an artificial intelligence system that can watch and predict what a person will “likely” do in the future, using specially programmed software designed to analyze various real-time video surveillance feeds; the system can automatically identify and notify officials if it recognized that an action is not permitted, detecting what is described as anomalous behaviors

  • Scanning social media as a tool for biosurveillance

    DHS is considering observing and scanning social media Web sites to collect and analyze health-related data which could help identify outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health and national security risks

  • Searching social media sources by geography

    Geofeedia, has created a group of algorithms that can search multiple social media sources by geography in real time; the postings, pictures, and tweets that show up in the results of a search are geolocation-enabled, are free, and results can be streamed on a mobile device, computer, or tablet. Businesses may have to pay a fee for more intensive searches

  • Israel’s operation in Gaza: limited goals – for now, I

    In an impressive military move early Wednesday morning, Israel killed Ahmed Jabari, the top military leader of Hamas and a few of his lieutenants; even more impressively, and more meaningful strategically, the Israel Air Force (IAF) attacked dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip, destroying hundreds of Hamas missiles and rockets; the most important targets were storage facilities where mid-range Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles were being kept, and dug-outs from which these missiles would be launched; in a few minutes, Hamas’s strategic ace in the hole was destroyed; but what are Israel’s broader goals, and can these goals be achieved?

  • Powerful debugging program to help U.S. nuclear deterrence

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have used the Stack Trace Analysis Tool (STAT), a highly scalable, lightweight tool to debug a program running more than one million MPI processes on the IBM Blue Gene/Q (BGQ)-based Sequoia supercomputer; LLNL plans to use Sequoia’s impressive computational capability to advance understanding of fundamental physics and engineering questions that arise in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) program to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without testing

  • Increasing the efficiency of wireless networks

    A “spectrum crunch” is quickly being accelerated as customers convert from traditional cell phones to smartphones and tablets; new method, which doubles the efficiency of wireless networks, was developed by researchers; it could have broad impacts on the mobile Internet and wireless industries

  • Israel, for the first time since the October 1973 war, fires warning shots into Syria

    The civil war in Syria has taken an ominous turn on Sunday as Israel, for the first time since the October 1973 Yom Kippur war, fired into Syria to warn the beleaguered Assad government that Israel would not tolerate shelling from Syrian territory into Israel; on four separate occasions last week, mortars from Syria fell in the Golan Heights, an area Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war; it appears that the mortar fire was not intentional, but rather stray rounds, the result of errand shelling; on Saturday nine days ago, a few Syrian tanks entered a no-man’s land near the Israel border, in violation of the 1974 cease-fire and force-separation agreement between Israel and Syria

  • U.S.-Iran tensions rise as Iran tries to disrupt U.S. reconnaissance flights in Gulf

    Tensions between the United States and Iran increase as news emerged last week of an attempt by four Iranian fighter planes, on 1 November, to shoot down a U.S. Predator drone engaged in a surveillance mission over international water in the Persian Gulf

  • CIA-commissioned climate change report outlines perils for U.S. national security

    U.S. national security leaders believe that the accelerating pace of climate change will place severe strains on U.S. military and intelligence agencies in coming years; the reason, according the National Research Council, the U.S. top scientific research body: climate changes will trigger increasingly disruptive developments around the world; a 206-page National Research Council study, commissioned by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence services, concludes that states will fail, large populations subjected to famine, flood, or disease will migrate across international borders, and national and international agencies will not have the capacity or resources to cope with the resulting conflicts and crises

  • Supreme Court to hear police DNA-collection case

    The United States Supreme Court last week granted certiorari in Maryland v. King; in the case, Maryland law enforcement stands to lose the right to require a DNA collection as part of booking procedures for certain felony crimes; a similar law was passed by Congress in 2004 for federal arrests, and twenty-four other state legislatures have also passed such laws

  • Cleanup of most contaminated U.S. groundwater sites unlikely for many decades

    At least 126,000 sites across the United States have contaminated groundwater that requires remediation, and about 10 percent of these sites are considered “complex,” meaning restoration is unlikely to be achieved in the next 50 to 100 years due to technological limitations; the estimated cost of complete cleanup at these sites ranges from $110 billion to $127 billion, but the figures for both the number of sites and costs are likely underestimates

  • Nanostructured material stronger than a speeding bullet

    Providing protection against impacts from bullets and other high-speed projectiles is more than just a matter of brute strength; while traditional shields have been made of bulky materials such as steel, newer body armor made of lightweight material such as Kevlar has shown that thickness and weight are not necessary for absorbing the energy of impacts; new tests of nanostructured material could lead to better armor against everything from gunfire to micrometeorites

  • DARPA seeks multi-band, portable sensor to provide soldiers with clear images

    Clip-on or helmet-mounted camera system would fuse useful aspects of visible, near infrared, and infrared images into a single shot under all weather and visibility conditions; the Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization program, or PIXNET, technology would ingest the most useful data points from each component sensor and fuse them into a common, information-rich image that can be viewed on the soldier’s heads-up display, and potentially be shared across units

  • New strategy for fingerprint visualization

    Identifying fingerprints on paper is a commonly used method in police forensic work, but it is not easy to make those fingerprints visible. Now, scientists have developed a new approach for making such fingerprints more readily readable