• SurveillanceFace Surveillance and the Capitol Attack

    By Jason Kelley

    After last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the attempted insurrection. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) says it objects to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. “There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically and legally, to justify its use,” the EFF says.

  • ID during COVIDIdentity Verification in the Age of COVID-19

    Face masks have become a way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now wear them nearly everywhere we go—at grocery stores, on public transportation, in schools, at work—any situation that requires us to be around others. But what about at places that require a higher level of security, like airports?

  • DetectionK9 Chemistry: A Safer Way to Train Detection Dogs

    Trained dogs are incredible chemical sensors, far better at detecting explosives, narcotics and other substances than even the most advanced technological device. But one challenge is that dogs have to be trained, and training them with real hazardous substances can be inconvenient and dangerous.

  • ID during COVIDFace Recognition Software Improving in Recognizing Masked Faces

    A new study of face recognition technology created after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that some software developers have made demonstrable progress at recognizing masked faces.

  • SurveillanceEFF Urges Federal Appeals Court to Rehear Case Involving Unconstitutional Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program

    By Nathaniel Sobel

    In May, the Baltimore Police Department launched its Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) Pilot Program. For six months, three surveillance aircrafts operated by a private company called Persistent Surveillance Systems flew over Baltimore—covering about 90 percent of the city—for 12 hours every day. The planes produced images that even at a resolution of “one pixel per person” allowed the police to track individual’s movements over multi-day periods, especially when combined with the police’s networks of more than 800 ground-based surveillance cameras and automated license plate readers.

  • Law enforcementBanning Chokeholds

    George Floyd’s murder was egregious but not unique. Many police agencies hold the position that they don’t train officers to use chokeholds, but they are continuously used by officers to regain compliance. Abrief just released by the Center for Justice Research (CJR) at Texas Southern University offers comprehensive recommendations for key stakeholders, at all levels, to consider in the advancement of police reform in their respective jurisdictions.

  • Knife attacksNew Body Armor Offers Better Knife Protection

    The number of knife attacks in Britain has increased over the past few years, while police officers and correctional personnel must contend with an increasing threat from makeshift weapons, such as shanks and spikes. PPSS Group the other day announced a replacement for their polycarbonate-based stab resistant body armor. According to company CEO Robert Kaiser, the new body armor is lighter, thinner, more effective, and more functional.

  • SurveillanceNSA’s Post-9/11 Mass Surveillance Program, Exposed by Snowden, Illegal: Court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence’s surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was unlawful, and possibly unconstitutional. Critics of the program say that in addition to violating privacy rights, the program’s was ineffective: Billions of phone calls and email messages were collected and scanned over the years, but only a handful of terrorism suspects were seized, and even fewer were convicted.

  • ExtremismAntifa Protester Suspected of Killing Trump Supporter in Oregon

    By Masood Farivar

    For the first time, a self-identified member of the militant movement known as antifa has been implicated in a fatal shooting and is reportedly under investigation in the killing of a supporter of President Donald Trump on Saturday in Portland, Oregon. If Reinoehl is implicated in the case, it would mark the first time in recent years that an antifa supporter has been charged with homicide, said Brian Levin, an expert on terrorism and extremist movements. Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist, says “We’re getting these situations where people with opposing perspectives are going in as volunteers” to enforce their views in violent ways, while the police “are not exactly sure what to do in this circumstance,” he said. “I think it’s going to be inevitable if you keep having situations like this, things are going to get out of hand.”

  • ExplosivesChemical Fingerprint for Explosives in Forensic Research

    The police frequently encounter explosives in their forensic investigations related to criminal and terrorist activities. Chemical analysis of explosives can yield valuable tactical information for police and counterterrorist units.

  • Explosives detectionNext-Generation Explosives Trace Detection Technology

    Explosive materials pose a threat whether they are used by domestic bad actors or in a theater of war. Staying ahead of our adversaries is a job that DHS DOD share. The two departments’ research and development work is no different.

  • Bomb-sniffing locustOne Step Closer to Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts

    Researchers found that they could direct locust swarms toward areas where suspected explosives are located, and that the locusts’ brain reaction to the smell of explosives can be read remotely. Moreover, a study found locusts can quickly discriminate between different smells or different explosives. “This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” says a researcher. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

  • CybersecurityShowcasing 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.

  • SurveillanceEFF Launches Searchable Database of Police Use of Surveillance Technologies

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, the other day launched what the EFF describes as “the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies,” created as a tool for the public to learn about facial recognition, drones, license plate readers, and other devices law enforcement agencies are acquiring to spy on our communities.

  • SurveillanceLarge-Scale Facial Recognition Is Incompatible with a Free Society

    By Seth Lazar, Claire Benn, and Mario Günther

    In the U.S., tireless opposition to state use of facial recognition algorithms has recently won some victories. Outside the U.S., however, the tide is heading in the other direction. To decide whether to expand or limit the use of facial recognition technology, nations will need to answer fundamental questions about the kind of people, and the kind of society, they want to be. Face surveillance is based on morally compromised research, violates our rights, is harmful, and exacerbates structural injustice, both when it works and when it fails. Its adoption harms individuals, and makes our society as a whole more unjust, and less free. A moratorium on its use is the least we should demand.