• Lawmakers Question DOJ Funding of Unproven Predictive Policing Technology

    Lawmakers asked the Justice Department to account for how it funds and oversees so-called predictive policing programs, especially whether the programs actually reduce crime, and the potential to amplify biased results that harm marginalized groups. “We ask DOJ to help ensure that any predictive policing algorithms in use are fully documented, subjected to ongoing, independent audits by experts, and made to provide a system of due process for those impacted,” the lawmakers wrote.

  • Informant Motivation

    The effective recruitment and deployment of informants is critical to law enforcement and intelligence agencies being able to identify and manage threats. Accurately identifying a source’s motivation for providing information enables an informant handler to better influence the informant’s behavior. A new framework has been devised to help informant handlers better identify motivations.

  • Sarcasm Detector for Online Communications

    Sentiment analysis – the process of identifying positive, negative, or neutral emotion – across online communications has become a growing focus for both commercial and defense communities. Sentiment can be an important signal for online information operations to identify topics of concern or the possible actions of bad actors. The presence of sarcasm – a linguistic expression often used to communicate the opposite of what is said with an intention to insult or ridicule – in online text is a significant hindrance to the performance of sentiment analysis.

  • Scanning People with Their Shoes On

    Taking shoes off for scanning at airports is one of the most inconvenient parts of flying and one that can slow the security screening process. But one day soon, even those without a “pre-check” status may be able to keep their shoes on, step on shoe scanner, walk through a next-generation body scanner and speed safely on to their boarding gates.

  • Unlocking Unique Chemical Signatures in Tires

    Skid marks left by cars are often analyzed for their impression patterns, but they often don’t provide enough information to identify a specific vehicle. A new approach could provide law enforcement new tools to track down those who flee a crime scene.

  • Improving Vehicle Inspections at Security Checkpoints

    Federal agencies screen an average of 235,000 vehicles every day for illegal contraband, explosives and other potential threats in the United States. Currently, federal law enforcement personnel (LEP) perform a visual search of the undercarriage using mirrors, or, if available, an under-vehicle inspection scanner. The scanning units are expensive, have moderate resolution and require vehicles to go only five miles per hour. DHS S&T is changing that.

  • Researchers Developing Tech to Mitigate Interference for Wideband RF Systems

    The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is a scarce resource that is becoming increasingly congested and contested as demand for spectrum access continues to grow. Within this crowded environment, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) RF systems are hampered by mission-compromising interference from both self- and externally-generated signals. Researchers aim to develop new tunable filter, signal canceller architectures to protect wideband radios.

  • Combatting Terrorism with Environmental DNA

    Forensic science experts are refining an innovative counter-terrorism technique that checks for environmental DNA in the dust on clothing, baggage, shoes or even a passport. The technique traces the source of dust on suspect articles to match a soil profile of a specific area or overseas country.

  • Drone Detection Test

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) law enforcement and police departments from Connecticut, and New York recently partnered with the Connecticut State Police (CSP) to assess their ability to hunt and stop unauthorized drones from interfering with commercial aviation.

  • Deployment of Emotion-Recognition Technologies in China Threatens Human Rights

    Emotion recognition is a biometric technology which purports to be able to analyze a person’s inner emotional state. These biometric applications are used by law enforcement authorities to identify suspicious individuals, and by schools to monitor how well a student is paying attention in class. China is deploying the technology to allow the authorities to better monitor forbidden anti-regime thoughts among citizens who are subject to police interrogation or investigation.

  • Swarming Drones Concept Flies Closer to Reality

    A swarm of twenty drones has recently completed the largest collaborative, military-focused evaluation of swarming uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the U.K. The exercise was the culmination of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory’s (DSTL) “Many Drones Make Light Work” competition

  • Robot Seeks Out Chemical Agents

    Scientists have successfully tested a fully autonomous robot that will help defense and security personnel dealing with hazardous scenes. The development of the robot means that humans and machines can now share the burden of detecting and report dangerous chemicals over large areas.

  • Baltimore Aerial Investigations Associated with Small Improvements in Solving Crimes

    A preliminary report about an effort to use aerial surveillance to aid police investigations in Baltimore finds that the effort was associated with small increases in the rate at which police solved serious crimes, but an overall evaluation of the program will require a wider review of citywide police efforts, according to a new report.

  • Face Surveillance and the Capitol Attack

    After last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the attempted insurrection. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) says it objects to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. “There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically and legally, to justify its use,” the EFF says.

  • Identity Verification in the Age of COVID-19

    Face masks have become a way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now wear them nearly everywhere we go—at grocery stores, on public transportation, in schools, at work—any situation that requires us to be around others. But what about at places that require a higher level of security, like airports?