• Meet the Maggot: How This Flesh-Loving, Butt-Breathing Marvel Helps Us Solve Murders

    Not all superheroes wear capes – some live in rubbish bins, garbage dumps and on dead bodies. Maggots, the humble little legless larvae, are actually nature’s antibacterial soldiers. Their ability to survive and thrive in decomposing matter is making them our new secret weapon in forensic entomology – the science of using insects to solve crimes.

  • Gunfire or Plastic Bag Popping? Trained Computer Can Tell the Difference

    There have been 296 mass shootings in the United States this year, and 2021 is on pace to be America’s deadliest year of gun violence in the last two decades. Discerning between a dangerous audio event like a gun firing and a non-life-threatening event, such as a plastic bag bursting, can mean the difference between life and death. Engineering researchers develop gunshot detection algorithm and classification model to discern similar sounds.

  • Consortium to Combat Targeted Crowd Attacks

    Ten universities formed a consortium to combat terrorist and criminal attacks on soft targets such as schools, hospitals, shopping malls and sports stadiums. “The challenges of keeping people safe in soft targets and crowded spaces gets more complicated every day,” said one expert.

  • Aviation Self-Screening Concept and Prototype

    DHS S&T has awarded $2.5 million to Vanderlande Industries to develop a passenger self-screening concept design and prototype that streamlines TSA PreCheck operations.

  • One and Done: Experts Urge Testing Eyewitness Memory Only Once

    If a witness was confident the very first time their memory was tested, there’s too high a chance that a contaminated, it is likely that their identification is correct. But if they are not confident the first time their memory was tested, there’s too high a chance that a contaminated memory will convict an innocent person. Experts say that in order to prevent wrongful convictions, only the first identification of a suspect should be considered.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case of Surveillance of Muslims

    A decade ago, three Muslim men filed suit against the FBI, alleging the Bureau deployed a confidential informant who claimed to be a convert to Islam to spy on them based solely on their religious identity. On Monday, the Supreme Court heard the argument by the administration that it has the right to invoke the protection of “state secrets” to withhold information from the plaintiffs.

  • Protecting Soft Targets

    There is a need to construct a versatile system designed to protect the vast array of so-called soft targets such as stadiums, schools, and places of worship. After an eight-month competition among the nation’s biggest universities, DHS awarded Northeastern University a $36 million, ten-year contract to develop such a system.

  • WMD Threat Sensors Deployed on Police Vehicles

    DARPA’s SIGMA+ program completed a 3-month test in Indianapolis, in which CBRNE sensors were deployed on IMPD vehicles.

  • U.S. Tightens Export Controls on Items Used in Surveillance of Private Citizens, other Malicious Cyber Activities

    The Commerce Department has released an interim final rule, establishing controls on the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of certain items that can be used for surveillance of private citizens or other malicious cyber activities. 

  • Weapons-Detection Algorithm Studied at Las Vegas International Airport

    This summer, DHS S&T demonstrated a new advanced algorithm to better detect non-explosive weapons like guns, knives, and other items that are prohibited on commercial aircraft in a real-world setting at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

  • Surveillance Equipment: Scrutiny Necessary for the Police, Manufacturers

    Facial recognition, body cameras and other digital technologies are increasingly used by police departments, municipalities and even gated communities, but these tools, manufactured by private companies, raise the specter of unchecked surveillance.

  • Calif. Sheriff Sued for Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data With ICE, CBP, Other Out-of-State Agencies

    License plate scans occur through Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs): high-speed cameras mounted in a fixed location or atop police cars moving through the community that automatically capture all license plates that come into view, recording the exact location, date, and time that the vehicle passes by. The information can paint a detailed picture of our private lives, our daily schedules, and our social networks.

  • Forensic Analysis of Lipstick Trace

    Forensic scientists find a new way of identifying brands of lipstick at a crime scene without removing evidence from its bag.

  • Detecting, Identifying Small Drones in Urban Environment

    DHS has awarded $750K to a Texas company to develop a detection and tracking sensor system that can identify nefarious small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in an urban environment.

  • An App for Safe Handling of Drones

    Nearly every day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents come across drones that may have been used to facilitate the movement of illicit drugs or people across the southern border. These drones usually carry smuggled narcotics and often contain surveillance cameras; however, they could easily be modified to carry other threats or hazards.