• Imposter detectionEye tracking technology helps in imposter detection training

    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screens nearly one million people every day and secures and manages 328 ports of entry all over the country, including in remote areas. Verifying the identity of every single person entering the United States is a vital step in halting human trafficking, drug trafficking, and other smuggling attempts at the border. In addition, security screening prevents criminals and terrorists from entering the country. Imposter detection thus crosscuts the entire Homeland Security Enterprise, as well as state, local, and tribal law enforcement and even front line soldiers in our military.

  • TerrorismBee colonies-inspired tool to help dismantle terrorist cells, criminal social networks

    Researchers have designed an algorithm, inspired by the intelligent and social behavior of bee colonies, which allows law enforcement to attack and dismantle any type of social network that poses a threat, whether physical or virtual, such as social networks linked to organized crime and jihadist terrorism. The possible applications of this new bio-inspired algorithm, which helps to make optimal decisions in order to dismantle any type of social network, are many and varied: from dismantling a criminal network to facilitating the design of vaccination strategies capable of containing the spread of a pandemic.

  • First respondersSelecting to right first responder technology

    With the abundance of tools and technologies available to assist first responders, it is important to address questions such as: How do the tools perform in real-world response situations? Can they withstand uncertain environments? Are they easy to use when a responder is wearing protective gear? How heavy is the technology? Will it weigh down, or fit within the gear of a responder who is already wearing their full kit? To help first responders answer these questions so they can make informed decisions about technology acquisition, DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) First Responders Group (FRG) hosted a 3-day Urban Operational Experimentation (OpEx).

  • EncryptionHow WhatsApp encryption works – and why there shouldn’t be a backdoor

    By Antonis Michalas

    A battle between national security and privacy is brewing. Governments and secret services are asking encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp to allow them access to users’ data, arguing that access to messages will allow authorities to thwart future terror attacks. Ultimately, though, if someone thinks that removing WhatsApp encryption would be the solution to the problem of terrorism or crime, then they don’t understand the actual problem. Even if you were to remove the end-to-end encryption from WhatsApp, criminals could create their own, similar, software that would allow them to communicate securely, while ordinary users would lose the ability to send genuinely private messages.

  • Muslim surveillanceSecond judge approves settlement on NYPD Muslim surveillance

    The second of two federal judges has approved a settlement with the New York City Police Department that protects New York Muslims and others from discriminatory and unjustified surveillance. The new rules govern when and how investigations are conducted, and provide for an independent civilian representative inside the NYPD who will act as a check against surveillance abuses.

  • Science & securityNSF-funded research continues to support national security

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is usually associated with supporting scientists who go on to win Nobel Prizes, leading exploration of the planet’s polar regions, and enabling discoveries about the universe, from the subatomic world to distant galaxies. But the foundation also has ties to national defense that go back to its beginnings, as a product of the U.S. government working to enhance security during and after the Second World War. The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 called for the creation of an agency to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.” NSF’s founder, Vannevar Bush, said: “It has become clear beyond all doubt that scientific research is absolutely essential to national security.”

  • ForensicsNew technique reveals a suspect's age by analyzing blood splatters

    Researchers have discovered a new method of forensic analysis which could more accurately predict the age of criminal suspects based on samples of blood and saliva found at crime scenes. The study tested a technique which uses a form of artificial intelligence or “machine learning” to analyze a specific set of biomarkers in blood samples. The researchers were able to accurately predict the age of sample donors to within four years on average.

  • ForensicsCrime scene fingerprints can move away from the original mark

    New research has discovered that crime scene fingerprints can move after they have been deposited. The project, found a thin layer of material from a print can migrate across surfaces away from the original mark. Over a period of up to two months that material, around four millionths of a millimeter thick, will spread away from deposited fingerprint ridges, depending on the host surface.

  • WiretappingNo wiretapping at Trump Tower: Senate, House intelligence leaders

    Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top two lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday issued a statement to confirm that there is no evidence to back President Donald Trump’s assertion that Trump Tower was under surveillance. On Wednesday, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, said there was no proof Trump was wiretapped during the administration of Barack Obama.

  • WiretappingU.K. intel agency dismisses claim it helped wiretap Trump as “utterly ridiculous”

    High-level British intelligence officials have angrily rejected an allegation that the U.K. intelligence service helped former president Barack Obama “wiretap” Donald Trump during the 2016 election. White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated the claim in his Thursday press briefing. A spokesperson for the U.K. intelligence service dismissed Spicer’s claim as “utterly ridiculous.” A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday: “We’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored.”

  • SurveillanceIf surveillance cameras are to be kept in line, the rules will have to keep pace with technology

    By William Webster

    The growing prevalence of cameras and greater understanding of the many ways in which we are surveilled has led many – including the current commissioner, Tony Porter, to voice concern that Britain is “sleepwalking into a surveillance state”. This raises critical questions about whether we can be confident that all these cameras are being used in a way the public would approve of – and if not, whether regulation can force CCTV operators into line. In the future, surveillance camera processes will become more opaque, more sophisticated, and potentially integrated with data from a variety of sources, including social media, meaning decisions about who to survey and who determines intensive surveillance will be determined by big data and algorithms. Any regulatory framework that does not or cannot keep up with the pace of change will soon become worthless.

  • LeaksThe WikiLeaks CIA release: When will we learn?

    By Richard Forno and Anupam Joshi

    This week’s WikiLeaks release of what is apparently a trove of Central Intelligence Agency information related to its computer hacking should surprise no one: Despite its complaints of being targeted by cyberattackers from other countries, the U.S. does a fair amount of its own hacking. Multiple federal agencies are involved, including the CIA and the National Security Agency, and even friendly nations. These latest disclosures also remind us of the cybersecurity truism that any electronic device connected to a network can be hacked. If the United States is going to be successful at securing its crucial government information, it must do a better job managing the volume of information generated and controlling access to it, both authorized and otherwise. Granted, neither is an easy task. However, absent fundamental changes that fix the proverbial cult of classification, there likely will be many more WikiLeaks-type disclosures in the future.

  • BiometricsAging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems

    Images of our faces exist in numerous important databases – driver’s license, passport, law enforcement, employment – all to accurately identify us. But can these images continue to identify us as we age? Biometrics experts set out to investigate what extent facial aging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems and what implications it could have on successfully identifying criminals or determining when identification documents need to be renewed.

  • Personal protective equipmentBulletproof origami shield to protect law enforcement

    Engineering professors have created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement from gunfire. The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy. When expanded — which takes only five seconds — it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns. The ballistic barrier is made of twelve layers of Kevlar.

  • Airport securityTSA continues to use unscientific, unreliable program blamed for profiling

    Thousands of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers use so-called “behavior detection” techniques to scrutinize travelers for yawning, whistling, being distracted, arriving late for a flight, and scores of other behaviors that the TSA calls signs of deception or “mal-intent.” The officers then flag certain people for additional screening and questioning. Documents the ACLU has obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that the TSA itself has plenty of material showing that such techniques are not grounded in valid science — and they create an unacceptable risk of racial and religious profiling. Indeed, TSA officers themselves have said that the program has been used to do just that.