• Rapid DNA technology verifies relationships after mass casualty events

    Rapid DNA technology developed by DHS S&T has recently been used to identify simulated “victims” in several mass casualty exercises across the United States. The technology greatly expedites the testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the only biometric that can accurately verify family relationships.

  • Australia: Five-Eyes nations should require backdoors in electronic devices

    Australia attorney-general George Brandis said he was planning to introduce a proposal to Australia’s four intelligence-sharing partners in the Five Eyes group — the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada – to require technology companies to create some kind of a backdoor to their devices. Australian leaders have emerged as strong proponents of allowing law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to gain access to the information and communication records on devices used by terrorists and criminals.

  • Rapid DNA technology verifies relationships after mass casualty events

    Rapid DNA technology developed by DHS S&T has recently been used to identify simulated “victims” in several mass casualty exercises across the United States. The technology greatly expedites the testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the only biometric that can accurately verify family relationships.

  • Bringing transparency to cell phone surveillance

    Modern cell phones are vulnerable to attacks from rogue cellular transmitters called IMSI-catchers — surveillance devices that can precisely locate mobile phones, eavesdrop on conversations or send spam. Security researchers have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when these surveillance devices are being used.

  • Israeli data startups driving N.Y. ecosystem

    By Viva Sarah Press

    The ability to interpret big data and find the needle in the haystack of information to help in decision-making is crucial. Israel startups thrive at finding needle-in-the-haystack information in order to make sense of the data and help in decision-making. “Data is a natural resource. Data by itself is like bricks. It’s all about what you do with it,” says Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense.

  • Helping explosive detection canine teams across the U.S.

    Dogs are uniquely suited to sniffing out explosives – their sense of smell is more than a million times stronger than a human’s. Harnessing this natural ability to help law enforcement identify explosives requires specialized training and testing. Many detection canine teams, however, have limited access to critical training materials and limited time to establish rigorous training scenarios. DHS S&T’s Detection Canine Program has developed an initiative to support these needs for the nation’s more than 4,000 explosives detection canine teams.

  • Extracting useful insights from a flood of data is hard to do

    A mantra of these data-rife times is that within the vast and growing volumes of diverse data types, such as sensor feeds, economic indicators, and scientific and environmental measurements, are dots of significance that can tell important stories, if only those dots could be identified and connected in authentically meaningful ways. Getting good at that exercise of data synthesis and interpretation ought to open new, quicker routes to identifying threats, tracking disease outbreaks, and otherwise answering questions and solving problems that previously were intractable.

  • Coroners unable to agree on cause of death, or whether a case merits inquest

    Around 507,000 people die in England and Wales every year. Nearly half (45 percent) of these deaths are reported to coroners, who investigate those believed to be violent, unnatural, or of unknown cause, to find out the identity of the deceased and the circumstances of his or her death. A former top detective turned university researcher has published his findings that coroners in England and Wales are seemingly unable to agree on what caused a person’s death or whether it merits an inquest, even when faced with identical case information.

  • Face Recognition Challenge seeks better face-identification software

    Have you developed software to identity faces in general web photographs? Can your software verify that a face in one photograph is the same as in another? The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) announced the launch of the Face Recognition Prize Challenge (FRPC). The challenge aims to improve biometric face recognition by improving core face recognition accuracy.

  • What it takes to be a forensic fingerprint examiner?

    Being a forensic examiner seems glamorous on TV. But working in a crime lab requires long hours of intense focus that are anything but action-packed. This is especially true for fingerprint examiners, who must focus on minute visual details that would leave most people cross-eyed. It’s not a job for everyone.Experts are developing tests to help identify people with the pattern-matching skills needed for analyzing fingerprints.

  • Using antimalarial compound to detect bloodstains

    As seen on crime shows, investigators use a combination of luminol and other substances to light up bloodstains at crime scenes. But now, researchers report that combining luminol with artemisinin, a natural peroxide and antimalarial treatment, reduces the risk of false positives compared to the traditional method.

  • Tech firms urge Congress to enact surveillance reforms

    More than thirty leading internet companies have sent a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee asking for reforms to the law used for carrying out mass surveillance. The letter concerns Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The act must be renewed by Congress before the end of the year. Over the years, the U.S. security agencies have creatively interpreted the law to allow them to store information on potentially millions of U.S. citizens – even though the law specifically requires the opposite.

  • Eye 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.

  • Bee 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.

  • Selecting 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).