• Growing opposition in Germany to new surveillance measures

    In the aftermath of the Christmas 2016 market attacks in Berlin last December, the German government written several sweeping surveillance and data retention laws, which were narrowly passed by the Bundestag. Many of these laws will go into effect 1 July. Civil libertarians, opposition parties, and some security experts have criticized the new powers as diminishing privacy without adding much to security. These politicians and NGOs say that a spate of security measures just go too far.

  • IDF chief of staff: Hezbollah has forces in “every 3rd or 4th house” in Southern Lebanon

    The IDF’s chief of staff said on Tuesday that the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the removal of all armed groups from the area. Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that Hezbollah was ensconced in some 240 villages and towns in southern Lebanon, and remains the most immediate threat to Israel.

  • Gun policy preferences across racial groups

    In the wake of recent mass shootings in Alexandria, Virginia, and elsewhere in the United States, a new study looks at factors that drive support for gun control among whites, Latinos, and blacks. The researchers found support for all forms of gun control is stronger among Latinos and blacks than whites. For example, 74 percent of blacks and 61 percent of Latinos, but only 55 percent of whites support an assault weapons ban.

  • Decision to defund the Earthquake Early Warning system criticized

    The Trump administration’s decision to defund the Earthquake Early Warning system is being criticized by experts. The “administration’s failure to fund the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system threatens this vital program and potentially the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people on the West Coast from California to Alaska,” says one expert.

  • At least 600 U.K high-rises have combustible cladding installed

    British Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons on Thursday that investigators have found combustible cladding on “a number” of publicly owned tower blocks similar to Grenfell Tower. “Shortly before I came to the chamber, I was informed that a number of these tests have come back as combustible,” she said. The prime minister’s said her office estimated that 600 high-rise buildings in England have cladding similar to Grenfell Tower.

  • Cuomo pardons 9/11 ground zero worker facing deportation

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has pardoned an undocumented immigrant who worked on to help clean up ground zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The pardon would help Carlos Cardona fight deportation proceedings. Cardona was convicted in 1990, when he was 21-year old, for attempting to sell a controlled substance.

  • How U.S. gun control compares to the rest of the world

    The shooting in Virginia that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, as well as the shooting in a San Francisco UPS facility that left four dead on the very same day, have generated – yet again – the standard set of responses in the wake of a mass shooting in the United States. The details of any such tragedy often emerge slowly, but a few points can be made. While deaths from mass shootings are a relatively small part of the overall homicidal violence in America, they are particularly wrenching. The problem is worse in the United States than in most other industrialized nations. And it is getting worse.

  • Helping troops fight in coastal urban environments

    As nation-state and non-state adversaries adapt and apply commercially available state-of-the-art technology in urban conflict, expeditionary U.S. forces face a shrinking operational advantage. New program aims to develop advanced battle management/command and control tools and a comprehensive interactive virtual environment to test novel concepts for future expeditionary combat operations.

  • Rapid DNA technology verifies relationships after mass casualty events

    Rapid DNA technology developed by DHS S&T has recently been used to identify simulated “victims” in several mass casualty exercises across the United States. The technology greatly expedites the testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the only biometric that can accurately verify family relationships.

  • Australia: Five-Eyes nations should require backdoors in electronic devices

    Australia attorney-general George Brandis said he was planning to introduce a proposal to Australia’s four intelligence-sharing partners in the Five Eyes group — the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada – to require technology companies to create some kind of a backdoor to their devices. Australian leaders have emerged as strong proponents of allowing law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to gain access to the information and communication records on devices used by terrorists and criminals.

  • Rapid DNA technology verifies relationships after mass casualty events

    Rapid DNA technology developed by DHS S&T has recently been used to identify simulated “victims” in several mass casualty exercises across the United States. The technology greatly expedites the testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the only biometric that can accurately verify family relationships.

  • Cost savings of LA county crime reform initiative uncertain

    While a California ballot initiative reducing penalties for some criminal offenses promised to save local governments money, quantifying such savings will require significant changes in the way local agencies track workloads, according to a new report. The researchers concluded there was too little information available to create credible estimates of cost savings, despite there being evidence that many of the departments saw a drop in workloads.

  • Grenfell Tower disaster: how did the fire spread so quickly?

    In the middle of the night, while most residents were sleeping, a devastating fire started at Grenfell Tower in London. From an engineering perspective, there are a number of factors in the design of the 24-storey tower block that may have contributed to the speed and scale of the blaze. Most of the current guidelines across the world contain detailed design requirements for fire safety such as evacuation routes, compartmentation and structural fire design. But Grenfell Tower was built in 1974. At that time, the rules and regulations were not as clear and well-developed as they are now.

  • New materials to make buildings better, safer

    A new type of construction material, called cross-laminated timber, is currently approved for buildings with up to six stories. Designers would like to use it in taller buildings because it is environmentally sustainable and can speed the construction process. To use it for those taller buildings, the industry needs to understand how the timber would perform during a fire. NIST experiments are measuring the material’s structural performance and the amount of energy the timber contributes to the fire.

  • Stacking countermeasures for layered defense against chemical, biological threats

    Just as we must protect computer systems against assaults in the form of viruses and trojans in the cyber world, we must protect our soldiers from a multitude of chemical and biological threats on the battlefield. No one countermeasure can mitigate every threat, which is why the Joint Science and Technology Office at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is developing a portfolio of novel capabilities and medical countermeasures to protect our troops.