• Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Explosives, Narcotic Detection

    DHS S&T is applying emerging technologies in the development of artificial intelligence / machine learning technologies – and searching for ways to use these technologies to identify dangerous compounds, like those found in explosives and narcotics.

  • Utah Supreme Court Upholds Right to Refuse to Tell Cops Your Passcode

    The Utah Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors violated a defendant’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when they presented testimony about his refusal to give police the passcode to his cell phone. The Utah court’s opinion is the latest in a thicket of state supreme court opinions dealing with whether law enforcement agents can compel suspects to disclose or enter their passwords.

  • What if Law Enforcement Could ‘See’ Through Walls?

    New technology allows law enforcement to easily and safely identify whether any individuals are inside a room when direct line-of-sight is not an option. This is especially critical when conducting breaching operations, searching for trafficked individuals or in potential hostage situations, where the device gives responders precious intelligence and situational awareness while reducing the risk of physical harm to themselves.

  • Preparing U.S., Partners for Radiological Response

    After the September 11th attacks, security professionals worried that terrorists might detonate a “dirty bomb” – an explosive device enhanced with radiological source materials. Responders for this type of event had to be trained.

  • EFF to Supreme Court: Fifth Amendment Protects People from Being Forced to Enter or Hand Over Cell Phone Passcodes to the Police

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) last week asked the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling undermining Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and find that constitutional safeguards prevent police from forcing people to provide or use passcodes for their cell phones so officers can access the tremendous amount of private information on phones.

  • Forensic Science Method for Firearm Identification Is Flawed

    Like fingerprints, a firearm’s discarded shell casings have unique markings. This allows forensic experts to compare casings from a crime scene with those from a suspect’s gun. Finding and reporting a mismatch can help free the innocent, just as a match can incriminate the guilty. But a new study reveals mismatches are more likely than matches to be reported as “inconclusive” in cartridge-case comparisons.

  • Striving for a More Secure World

    PNNL experts work with international partners to tackle cross-border biological and chemical threats. PNNL’s border security focus can be traced to the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. U.S. policy makers became concerned about the security of nuclear material in the newly independent states of the former U.S.S.R.

  • AI Bots Are Helping 911 Dispatchers with Their Workload

    In the middle of a storm, 911 call centers often find themselves inundated with reports of fallen trees, flooded roads and panicked residents. Every call matters, but with multiple reports of the same incident pouring in, the pressure on emergency services can become overwhelming. Amid the chaos, a technological ally has emerged: artificial intelligence. AI is quietly revolutionizing non-emergency calls in 911 dispatch centers.

  • “Surveillance: From Vision to Data” Explores History of Surveillance

    The term surveillance may suggest images of high-tech cameras or George Orwell’s ever-watching Big Brother, but surveillance involves more than watching and being watched. To understand surveillance and its consequences, look to data: who collects it, what information is compiled, how it is interpreted, and ultimately, why it matters.

  • Not the Usual Suspects: New Interactive Lineup Boosts Eyewitness Accuracy

    Allowing eyewitnesses to dynamically explore digital faces using a new interactive procedure can significantly improve identification accuracy compared to the video lineup and photo array procedures used by police worldwide.

  • Researchers Blow Whistle on Forensic Science Method

    Like fingerprints, a firearm’s discarded shell casings have unique markings. This allows forensic experts to compare casings from a crime scene with those from a suspect’s gun. Finding and reporting a mismatch can help free the innocent, just as a match can incriminate the guilty. But a new study reveals mismatches are more likely than matches to be reported as “inconclusive” in cartridge-case comparisons.

  • Cities Should Act NOW to Ban Predictive Policing...and Stop Using ShotSpotter, Too

    Sound Thinking, the company behind ShotSpotter, is reportedly buying Geolitica, the company behind PredPol, a predictive policing technology. When companies like Sound Thinking and Geolitica merge and bundle their products, it becomes much easier for cities who purchase one harmful technology to end up deploying a suite of them without meaningful oversight, transparency, or control by elected officials or the public.

  • Apple and Google Are Introducing New Ways to Defeat Cell Site Simulators, But Is it Enough?

    Cell-site simulators (CSS)—also known as IMSI Catchers and Stingrays—are a tool that law enforcement and governments use to track the location of phones, intercept or disrupt communications, spy on foreign governments, or even install malware.

  • There’s a Cop in My Pocket: Policymakers Need to Stop Advocating Surveillance by Default

    All this year, U.S. leaders have attempted to pass a wave of misguided online security bills, designed to break that encryption and place Americans in a panopticon of surveillance by default. Encryption, cybersecurity, and technology policies, like the RESTRICT and EARN-IT Acts, with nonexistent tradeoffs address symptoms, not problems, and they do it badly.  

  • The Scourge of Commercial Spyware—and How to Stop It

    Years of public revelations have spotlighted a shadowy set of spyware companies selling and servicing deeply intrusive surveillance technologies that are used against journalists, activists, lawyers, politicians, diplomats, and others. Democratic nations (thus far) lag behind the United States in executing spyware-related policy commitments.