• U.K. to store all phone calls and e-mails

    The U.K. Home Office plans to create a massive database to store every person’s e-mails, phone calls, text messages, and Internet use; police and security services would only be granted access to the information after seeking permission from the courts

  • Consulting firm settles H-1B discrimination case

    Against the backdrop of growing controversy over the H1-B visa program, Department of Justice fines consulting firm which advertised computer jobs for H1-B visa holders only; company was accused of discriminating against qualified U.S. workers who would have been eligible for the jobs

  • Secret wiretap warrants double since 9/11

    A Justice Department report shows FISA warrants for counterterrorism, espionage cases up

  • Senate Democrats criticize political involvement in toxic chemical decisions

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says extensive involvement by EPA managers, White House budget officials, and other agencies has eroded the independence of EPA scientists charged with determining the health risks posed by chemicals

  • FDA: Heparin contamination may have been deliberate

    Blood-thinner heparin costs manufacturers $900 a pound; a similar chemical, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, costs $9 a pound; Chinese drug manufacturer uses the latter chemical to produce fake heparin — causing the death of nearly 100 and sickness of thousands around the world; FDA initially said this was a case of “economic fraud,” but now says something more sinister may be afoot

  • DHS grants Maine Real ID extension

    Unless a state received a Real ID extension from DHS, then the driver’s licenses it issues to its residents must be Real ID-compliant by 11 May or state residents will not be able to board a plane, open a bank account, or enter a federal building; Maine’s application was not to DHS’s liking, so the state missed the extension application deadline; DHS decided to give the state 48 hours to comply

  • Security concerns over U.S. decision to outsource e-passport production

    The U.S. Government Printing Office’s (GPO) decision to outsource the production of the new e-passports to companies in Europe and Thailand makes legislators, security experts worry; Thailand is an unstable country with a tradition of corruption and rising Islamic terrorism problem; the Dutch company which operates the Thai e-passport production facilities filed court papers in October 2007 charging that China had stolen the company’s patented technology for e-passport chips

  • DOE penalizes Battelle for lax worker safet at national lab

    Department of Energy penalizes Battelle $250,000 for lax worker safety procedure at Idaho National Laboratory; this is the latest in a series of penalties imposed on contractors operating national labs

  • DHS insists on states' complaince with Real ID

    DHS wants all states to incorporate biometric and RFID technologies into the driver licenses they issue — or risk having citizens of states which fail to do so being barred from flights and federal buildings; the states argue that they do not have the funds to implement this mandate; DHS says it may be willing to be flexible, but at the end states would have to comply

  • Worries about drugs in the U.S. water supply increase

    The annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology is being held in Seattle this week; among the major topics: Pharmaceuticals contaminating the U.S. water supply; 7,000 scientists and regulators from 45 countries attend

  • Company involved in largest U.S. meat recall admits it was at fault

    In February Hallmark/Westland Meat was forced to recall 143 million pounds of meat — the largest recall in U.S. history — after it was revealed that the company processed cows which were potentially sick; a week after the recall, the company went out of business; company’s president admits company was at fault

  • U.S. defies EU on bilateral visa waver agreements

    Most EU countries have visa waiver agreements with the United States — but not 11 of the 12 states which joined the EU since 2004; the EU wants to negotiate a package deal for these countries, but the United States prefers bilateral deals so it can pick and choose among the new EU members; the EU says this violates the EU rules

  • Data sharing among local, state, and federal law enforcement grows

    The 9/11 attacks demonstrated the need for more information and intelligence sharing among law enforcement services a the local, state, and federal levels; more and more intelligence sharing systems are being put in place by private companies to help law enforcement cope with — and meaningfully and effectively use — the vast new sources of data now open to them; privacy advocates worry

  • FSIS exemplifies growing inadequacy of U.S. food inspection regime

    Decline and fall: In FY 1981, FSIS spent $13.22 per thousand pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, the figure had fallen to $8.26 per thousand pounds; in FY 1981 FSIS employed about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, FSIS employed fewer than 88 workers per billion pounds

  • Resistance to a U.K. hedge fund's effort to control CSX

    Ever since the 2006 Dubai Ports World’s takeover of management operations in major U.S. seaports, Congress has shown increasing irritation with attempts by foreign companies to own U.S. critical infrastructure assets; there is a growing resistance in Congress to U.K.-based TCI to take control of rail operator CSX