• FISA Section 702 reform bill a good Start, but improvements still needed: Critics

    Last Wednesday, the draft of the House Judiciary Committee’s bill to reauthorize and reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was made public. Section 702 permits the government to collect the content of communications of targets who are non-Americans located abroad, including communications they may have with Americans. Critics urge Congress to pass significant and meaningful reforms to Section 702 which address the serious constitutional concerns it raises, or allow that surveillance authority to expire.

  • Scientific basis of fingerprints too weak for legal certainty

    It may surprise many, especially those susceptible to the CSI effect, but fingerprint evidence is not conclusive beyond a reasonable doubt. A new American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) working group report on the quality of latent fingerprint analysis says that courtroom testimony and reports stating or even implying that fingerprints collected from a crime scene belong to a single person are indefensible and lack scientific foundation.

  • Why a congressional ban on bump stocks is unlikely

    Even in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, it appeared that nothing could shake the immovable stalemate over gun rights in Congress – but a strange thing happened: Republicans started talking about tightening regulations on firearms. But until Congress can prove otherwise, and Republicans in particular move from rhetoric to legislation, it’s reasonable to expect this latest bipartisan opening to meet a similar fate to the bipartisan move, in the wake of Sandy Hook, to expand background checks: That attempt, led by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), could not overcome a Senate filibuster.

  • Changes needed to news coverage of mass shooters: Researchers

    Reducing news coverage of rampage shooters’ personal information, like their names and photos, could be a deterrent to future mass shooters, according to researchers. The researchers identify three consequences of current news coverage, which typically includes publishing names and faces of mass shooters in initial and follow-up coverage: mass shooters’ fulfillment and incentive to achieve notoriety; competition among offenders to maximize victim fatalities; and copycat and contagion effects.

  • Russia breaks into U.S. soldiers' iPhones in apparent hybrid warfare attacks

    The U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, in charge of finding ways to counter emerging threats, recently issued warning about the dangers of Russia’s hybrid warfighting concepts, saying that the U.S. military as a whole may be ill-suited to respond to them in a crisis. Now, American troops and troops from NATO member states say they have been subjected to a campaign of surveillance and harassment via their cellphones, the internet, and social media, a campaign which is the hallmark of the “Russian New Generation Warfare.”

  • Days before LV shooting, DHS warned of threats by “lone offenders” to public events

    On 20 September, only days before the Las Vegas mass shooting, DHS issued an 11-page report warning that “unaffiliated lone offenders” were one of the biggest threats to large public gatherings. The report did not refer to Las Vegas, but rather noted security concerns about public events – including sports events — in the South-Central areas of the United States. The 20 September report is similar to an unclassified, for-official-use-only “Joint Special Event Threat Assessment,” issued by DHS and the FBI in December 2016, which warned of the threats to public events in Las Vegas, especially New Year celebrations. “Unaffiliated lone offenders and [homegrown violent extremists] are of particular concern,” the document said.

  • The biggest domestic terrorist threat to Americans: White American men

    Radical jihadists directed or inspired by ISIS, al-Qaeda, or materials posted on the internet, pose a threat in the United States – and in Europe. In the United States, however, the bigger threat has come from a different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion – be it Islam or another religion: White American men. Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

  • Killer turned semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones – legally

    Stephen Paddock’s shooting spree lasted about 12-14 minutes – but he was able to kill 59 people and wound more than 500. The reason: He used a technique called “bump stock” to turn two of his semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones, capable of firing between 500 and 800 rounds a minute. Automatic rifles are heavily regulated and difficult to buy in the United States, but the perfectly legal bump stock method allows would-be mass shooters to circumvent the automatic weapons ban.

  • Firearm-related injuries account for $2.8 billion in ER, inpatient charges each year

    A study of more than 704,000 people who arrived alive at a United States emergency room for treatment of a firearm-related injury between 2006 and 2014 finds decreasing incidence of such injury in some age groups, increasing trends in others, and affirmation of the persistently high cost of gunshot wounds in dollars and human suffering. Although firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, efforts to understand national trends in incidence, prevalence and risk factors, as well as a quantifiable financial cost of firearm-related injuries, have been limited.

  • Mass casualty incidents and the overlap between trauma systems and hospital disaster preparedness

    A single patient with a gunshot wound (GSW) to a vital body part (e.g., head, chest, abdomen, or major artery) will stress a typical community hospital. The more than 500 people who were injured in Las Vegas on 1 October have been transported to a number of hospitals around Las Vegas and have overwhelmed some of the hospitals closest to the scene. A number of the injured are in critical condition and hence the death toll is likely to rise. Among other issues, this tragedy illustrates the overlap between trauma systems and hospital disaster preparedness.

  • “This movement has escaped your disapproval”: Evangelicals urge Trump to denounce alt-right

    Members of the leadership of several evangelical Christians late last week urged President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists more forcefully and unequivocally — specifically those in the alt-right. A letter circulating among pastors who belong to the group notes Trump’s efforts to denounce the white supremacists, but urges the President to go further in condemning the alt-right “by name.” “This movement has escaped your disapproval,” the letter said.

  • Brain-controlled drones are here

    Single unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) directed by joysticks, radio controllers, and mobile phones are already accomplishing a variety of useful tasks, such as aerial photography and security patrols. But using multiple drones requires multiple human operators, and this presents a coordination problem. Now a single operator using emerging human-brain interfaces can control a swarm of drones, making possible new classes of applications.

  • Deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history: at least 50 killed, more than 400 injured

    A 64-year old gunman barricaded himself in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, then fired thousands of rounds from several automatic weapons on an outdoor country music festival taking place outside the hotel. At least 50 people have been killed and more than 400 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas. This is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The Las Vegas police reported that two police officers have been killed.

  • Six things to know about mass shootings in America

    America has experienced yet another mass shooting, this time at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is reportedly the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs.

  • Israeli intelligence helped foil dozens of terror attacks worldwide

    Israel’s intelligence agencies have stepped up cooperation with their foreign counterparts leading to the prevention of dozens of terror attacks around the world. Following the coordinated terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015, the intelligence branch of Israel’s General Staff made a decision to concentrate more on collecting information from foreign terrorists who had ties to Middle Eastern terror organizations.