• Automakers help Detroit emergency services

    General Motors, Ford Motors, and the Chrysler Group joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Quicken Loans, and several other businesses in the Detroit area to donate $8 million for new ambulances and police cars, on the same day that emergency manager Kevyn Orr started his job.

  • In 2012, Microsoft received 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information

    On Thursday, Microsoft released the number of law enforcement requests it has received for information on its hundreds of millions of customers. By releasing the information, Microsoft is now putting itself on the same team as Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and other Web businesses which have published reports on law-enforcement request for customer information. In 2012 Microsoft received a total of 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information.

  • Justice Department agrees 1986 snooping law should be reviewed

    The U.S. Justice Department said earlier this week that it supports reviewing legislation which allows U.S. law enforcement officials to read someone’s e-mails without a search warrant. The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) states that federal authorities only need a subpoena issued by a federal prosecutor, not a judge, to search through a person’s e-mails which are older than 180 days or which have already been opened.

  • Gun manufacturer to leave Colorado after governor signs gun bill

    Colorado governor John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signed a state gun control bill which will expand background checks and limit ammunition magazine capacity. The measure is notable because Colorado has been considered a firearm-friendly state.

  • NRC rejects plan for Maryland nuclear reactor

    A plan to build a third nuclear reactor in southern Maryland was postponed last week as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) upheld an earlier decision to squash the project. the primary reason for the rejection is the fact that the applicant’s parent company, Electricite de France, is 85 percent owned by the French government. U.S. law forbids foreign ownership of U.S. nuclear reactors.

  • Debate rages over U.S. purchases of smallpox medicine

    The U.S. government paid Siga Technologies $463 million to buy enough smallpox drugs to treat two million people. Expert sharply disagree about the wisdom of the move: some say it was a reasonable purchase at a reasonable price, while others say the government purchased too large a quantity of the drug and too high a price.

  • Google’s assault on privacy: a reminder

    A year ago, on 1 March 2012, Goggle launched its privacy-eroding policy of combining and collating users’ information across all of Goggle’s products. Google offers no opt-out option. Forcing consumers to share every aspect and nuance of their Internet practices with the company was not enough for Google. Yesterday, the attorney generals of thirty-eight states reached an agreement with Google concerning Google’s practice of spying on Wi-Fi users. The company sheepishly admitted that its Street View Vans collected 600GB of user data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks, and was fined a measly $7 million.

  • Facebook’s Likes expose intimate details, personality traits of millions

    Research shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from “traces” left by seemingly innocuous digital behavior, in this case Facebook Likes. Study raises important questions about personalized marketing and online privacy.

  • Ohio’s Perry nuclear power plant was vulnerable to sabotage

    A report issued last week said that operators at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio found a vulnerability in the security of the plant last year, and that that vulnerability could have put the public in harm’s way. The utility operating the nuclear plant reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the plant’s security program for monitoring underground pathways and other unattended openings were insufficient to detect and prevent unauthorized access to the protected area.

  • CAST’s webinar on perimeter lighting

    The CAST LED Perimeter Lighting System has won many awards and recognitions in the lighting and security industries in 2012. On 20 and 21 March, it offers an “In-Depth Perimeter Lighting Webinar.”

  • Facebook new search feature has cyber experts worried

    A new Facebook search feature has security experts concerned. They  are warning users of the site to strengthen their security settings to avoid embarrassment and to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

  • Chinese hackers infiltrate Wall Street Journal’s computer systems

    Chinese hackers with government connections have infiltrated the computer systems of the Wall Street Journal, in the second such Chinese attack on a major U.S. media outlet. WSJ says the hackers were trying to monitor its coverage of Chinese affairs.

  • Google wants to limit law enforcement’s access to e-mails, users’ information

    In 2012 Google received 16,407 requests for user data, which affected 31,072 users or accounts. More than half of the requests were accompanied with a subpoena, the others were not. Google is planning on lobbying Washington this year to persuade lawmakers that they should make it harder for law enforcement to gain access to  e-mails and other digital messages.

  • Twitter’s information policy frustrates police, delights customers

    Twitter’s robust approach to customers’ privacy has caused consternation among law enforcement agencies, who say that Twitter’s refusal to hand over information on users of the service, except in rare cases, has frustrated criminal investigations. Twitter’s user, though, appreciate the company’s scruples.

  • Part Three: Bechtel and the Y-12 security breach

    With an annual security budget of $150 million, the Y-12 Nuclear Complex at Oakridge, Tennessee, prided itself on its high-tech security system built to protect more than 179 tons of uranium. After Sister Megan Rice, age 82, and two confederates, both senior citizens, too — the three were armed with nothing but wire cutters and flashlights — broke into the Y-12 facility on 28 July 2012, one security guard was fired. Numerous investigations and reports, however, show that last July’s incident was but one in a series of security failures and breaches at nuclear sites under the supervision of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In May, Sister Rice and her aging collaborators will stand trial. Bechtel, a major contractor sharing responsibility for the documented security lapses at Y-12, has just received a federal nuclear plant security contract worth more than $22 billion.