• How real is the threat of cyberattack on the United States?

    Some experts compare the economic impact of a major cyberincident to the 2003 Northeast blackout, which cut service to fifty million people in the United States and Canada for up to four days; economists place the cost of that event between $4.5 [billion] and $10 billion — which they regard as a blip in the $14.2 trillion U.S. economy

  • House sponsors of the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act hopes for quick Senate approval

    The The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act by an overwhelming majority; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) says: “When you’re talking about science and technology and national security….those are elements we should all be able to work together (on); Democrat, Republican, and that’s what we saw on the House floor”

  • Intellectual Ventures: A genuine path breaker or a patent troll?

    Intellectual Ventured has amassed 30,000 patents, spent more than $1 million on lobbying last year, and its executives have contributed more than $1 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and committees; the company says it wants to build a robust, efficient market for “invention capital”; critics charge that some of its practices are closer to that of a patent troll

  • Farmers, ranchers urged to be aware of agroterrorism

    South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says all aspects of agriculture can be targets of terrorists, but Johnson said meat production is the most vulnerable; “Livestock are the number one target for terrorists attacking the agriculture system…. If you want to get a bunch of cattle sick at once, it’s not rocket science on how to do it”

  • Muslim religious group: Airport body scanners violate Islamic law

    A leading Muslim organization in the United States issues a ruling saying that whole-body scanners violates Islamic laws on modesty; the organizations urges all Muslims to choose pat-downs instead; TSA says that the pat-down option is available to all passengers

  • McAfee: China leads world in hacked computers

    A new study finds that more personal computers in China — about 1,095,000 computers — than in any other country have been hacked to make them zombies, then grouped into botnets to engage in massive e-mail attacks on Web sites; the prevalence of botnets is a sign of how vulnerable computer networks are to infiltration

  • Engineers group gives Illinois infrastructure low marks

    The ASCE says that the dilapidated Illinois infrastructure is endangering the state’s future prosperity; the group examined nine infrastructure elements; the two that got the highest grade – C+ — are aviation and bridges; the others fared worse

  • New Hampshire considering banning biometrics in ID cards

    The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill which would ban biometric data, including fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA, palm prints, facial feature patterns, handwritten signature characteristics, voice data, iris recognition, keystroke dynamics, and hand characteristics from being used in state or privately issued ID cards, except for employee ID cards

  • Student sues TSA, saying he was detained for five hours over English-Arabic flashcards

    A Pomona College student who takes Arabic classes in school was stopped by TSA and FBI agents at the Philadelphia International Airport because he was carrying English-Arabic flashcards; the student, backed by the ACLU, is suing, charging that he abusively interrogated, handcuffed, and detained for five hours; TSA says the student’s behavior was erratic

  • A nuclear Iran may be good for U.S. defense industry

    A defense expert says that the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran will lead to growth in exports of American weapons systems, training, and advice to U.S. Middle Eastern allies; this would give the American defense industry a needed shot in the arm; Boeing has been making noise about shifting out of the defense industry, which would mean lost American jobs and would also put the United States in a difficult position should it be threatened by a rising military power like China; “a nuclear Iran could forestall such a catastrophe”

  • FBI wants two year retention for ISP data

    Since 1986 U.S. phone companies have been obliged to keep records of who makes calls, who they call, when they call, and how long the call lasts; Now, the Feds want to include Web activity tools; it is not clear is whether the FBI means which Web sites are visited or the specific URLs

  • Free U.S. access to European financial data may end

    In the wake of 9/11, the EU gave the U.S. government free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement; the Civil Liberties Committee of European MPs has just recommended that the EU reject renewal of the treaty; for the United States such access is essential to the fight against terrorists and their finances

  • Robust homeland security market in 2010

    The homeland security market has grown by 12 percent in the last year, and the trend will continue in 2010; homeland security budgets in the government and public sectors around the world continue to grow despite economic downturn, budget cuts, and belt tightening; in the United States, the proposed 2011 DHS budget will see an increase of nearly 3 percent, and the homeland security portion of the Department of Defense’s budget will see an increase as well; the 2010 business outlook for homeland security products and services remains strong, buoyed by the increased security threats; organization of mass events like the Olympics and commonwealth games; infrastructure modernization programs in different countries; protection of critical infrastructure; and Border protection

  • Homeland security challenges for the Washington D.C. police, II

    Cathy Lanier, the chief of the Washington, D.C. police, says the one thought that keeps her awake at night is the threat that has not occurred to anyone — the failure of imagination as to what may come next; “What is it that we haven’t thought of that could happen?…That still scares me because I know it is there”

  • U.S. conducts scientific research to find more effective interrogation techniques

    Denis Blair, director of national intelligence, told legislators that the U.S. intelligence community is conducting “scientific research” to find better, more effective research techniques to use on terrorists