• Autotalks Deploys Smart Traffic Signals in Alpharetta, Georgia

    When an emergency vehicle comes speeding towards an intersection, drivers know to pull over and give the ambulance or firetruck the right of way. Israeli automotive technology firm Autotalks takes that one step further by sending a wireless signal from the emergency responder to the traffic lights so the signals will automatically change to stop cross traffic.

  • There Is Nothing Conservative About What Trump Is Doing in Portland

    Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump threaten to send more federal troops to cities with Democratic mayors, ignoring the adamant objections of mayors, governors, and local sheriffs. “How greatly have traditional conservative values of federalism and limited government been transformed,” Paul Rosenzweig and Arthur Rizerwent, two conservative commentators, write. Video evidence shows that these CBP “agents are not merely protecting federal property; they have detained citizens who aren’t violating any law and used the power of their presence to chill civil protests and disobedience.” The writers add: “This is a complete corruption of conservative ideals…. The consequences of this radical expansion of federal law-enforcement authority are enormous—and none of them are likely to be good.”

  • Preparing for an Explosive Attack

    Explosives are a popular choice among terrorists for causing disruption, casualties and destruction. Although chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons may cause much more damage, explosives can still be the first choice because they are relatively easy to make, transport and use. DHS S&T says it wants to make sure that state and local leaders have choices, too, by arming them with technology to plan for worst-case scenarios and mitigate the fallout of terrorist attacks.

  • Homeland Security Was Destined to Become a Secret Police Force

    Since early July, men in military-style uniforms have waged battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon, using tear gas and nonlethal munitions; video and photographs have shown scenes of urban warfare, with what looks like a regular army moving on unarmed protesters night after night. Masha Gessen writes that the use of CBP agents against unarmed protesters is the inevitable culmination of the creation, nearly twenty years ago, of DHS: The use of the word “Homeland” in the department’s name tracks the rise of the national sense of vulnerability, as “homeland” means “the country insofar as it is endangered.” The U.S. used to protect itself against other nations and their hostile military forces, Gessen writes, “but now it had to fear individuals. This is the premise on which secret police forces are built. Their stated purpose is to find danger where normal human activity appears to be taking place….. The logic of the secret police, however, dictates that it perpetually has to look in new places for threats.”

  • A Growing Online Black Market

    As instances of online identity theft continue to rise over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, new research helps shed light on the shady world of cybercriminals and how it operates. “The cybercrime marketplace, like most e-commerce, has continued to expand and carding forums are the most widespread formats in the West for exchanging illicit goods,” said a researcher.

  • Study of U.S. Mass Shootings Suggests Two-Pronged Policy Approach

    Over the past thirty years, mass shootings have fueled calls for changes in gun ownership and concealed carry legislation, but few studies have evaluated whether permissive gun policies deter mass shootings, and none have determined if their effects are the same on firearms homicides.

  • Seismic Background Noise Drastically Reduced Due to COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

    Global COVID-19 “lockdown” measures - the quarantines, physical isolation, travel restrictions and widespread closures of services and industry that countries around the world have implemented in 2020 - resulted in a months-long reduction in global seismic noise by up to 50 percent, representing the longest and most prominent global seismic noise reduction in recorded history.

  • Anti-Asian Hate Crime during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Under the Hate Crime Statistic Act, hate crimes are defined as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, gender and gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, the United States has seen a surge of Asian Americans reporting racially motivated hate crimes.

  • Using Epidemiological Models to Explain Spread of Social Unrest, Rioting

    Do social unrest and riots spread as infectious diseases do? Researchers used the SIR epidemiological model, known for modeling infectious disease spread, and applied it to social unrest. The SIR technique separates the population into susceptible, infectious, and recovered individuals. “Within a rioting context, someone ‘susceptible’ is a potential rioter, an ‘infected individual’ is an active rioter, and a ‘recovered person’ is one that stopped rioting,” explained one researcher. “Rioting spreads when effective contact between an active rioter and a potential rioter occurs.”

  • DHS Authorizes Domestic Surveillance to Protect Statues and Monuments

    You might not imagine that the U.S. intelligence community would have much stake in local protests over monuments and statues, Steve Vladeck and Benjamin Wittes write, but you’d be wrong. An unclassified DHS memo, provided to Lawfare, makes clear that the authorized intelligence activity by DHS personnel covers significantly more than protecting federal personnel or facilities. It appears to also include planned vandalism of Confederate (and other historical) monuments and statues, whether federally owned or not. “[W]e do not accept that graffiti and vandalism are remotely comparable threats to the homeland [as attacks on federal buildings] — or that they justify this kind of federal response even if, in the right circumstances, such activity would technically constitute a federal crime,” Vladeck and Wittes conclude.

  • Showcasing Cybersecurity Technologies

    Twelve innovative cybersecurity technologies available for commercial licensing from four U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories will be showcased to the public during a series of free webinars starting this month.

  • Coming Soon? A Brief Guide to Twenty-First-Century Megadisasters

    When it comes to calamities, Jeffrey Schlegelmilch thinks big. In his upcoming book, Rethinking Readiness: A Brief Guide to Twenty-First-Century Megadisasters, he explores menaces that potentially could change not just lives or communities, but entire societies. He groups these into five categories: climate change; cyber threats; nuclear war; failures of critical infrastructure such as electric grids; and biological perils including pandemics. Schlegelmilch answered questions about megadisasters in light of recent events.

  • Flood Bot: New Flood Warning Sensors

    Ellicott City, Maryland, suffered devastating floods in 2016 and 2018. The disasters left residents and officials wondering how technology could help predict future severe weather, and save lives and property. Scientists offer an answer: The Flood Bot network.

  • German police under the pall of right-wing extremists

    German security experts warn about the lax, ineffective way in which German security authorities have dealt with the growing presence of extreme far-right elements in police ranks, calling the rejectionist attitude of the police leadership dangerous. This is consistent with findings from Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). On 9 July, Interior Minister Seehofer presented the BfV’s 2019 annual report. He spoke of sharp rises in anti-Semitic, right-wing extremist and racist crimes in Germany, and called right-wing extremism the country’s greatest security threat.

  • The Numbers Don’t Lie: White People Are Not More Likely than Black People to Be Killed by Police

    Black people represented 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they make up 25 percent of the deaths in police shootings. White people represented 62 percent of the population — and make up 54 percent of the deaths in encounters with police. Last week President Trump, in a CBS News interview asserted that “More white people” are killed by the police every year. Matt Miller, an expert on police and policing at Northeastern University, describes Trump’s response as a “grotesque” misdirection that fails to account for the fact that Black people are killed by police at a higher rate than white people. “He is using the truth to tell a lie,” Miller said of Trump. “Or at the very least to mislead, which in either case shows an indifference to the critical question: Why are Black people still dying [at such high rate] at the hands of law enforcement?”