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Internet 'kill switch' proposed for US A new US Senate Bill would grant the President far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of, or even shut down, portions of the internet. - The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects "shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined. That emergency authority would allow the Federal Government to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people," Joe Lieberman, the primary sponsor of the measure and the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, told reporters on Thursday. Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who meets with the Democrats. (CNet News)
'Naked' scanners may increase cancer risk “While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high,” Dr Agard said. "Ionizing radiation such as the X-rays used in these scanners have the potential to induce chromosome damage, and that can lead to cancer." (News.au.com)
NY bomb attempt reignites security camera debate The thwarted Times Square car bombing has fueled the debate over security cameras and expensive surveillance for major cities, possibly providing a business opportunity to the security industry. - The bomb scare and quick capture of the suspect prompted U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York and others to ask for at least $30 million more in federal aid for video and security measures for New York City. That would be in addition to the $20 million in federal funding that has already been appropriated for 2010. (Reuters)
Police cameras to flood Manhattan to prevent attacks The system "will greatly enhance our ability and the ability of the police to detect suspicious activity in real time, and disrupt possible attacks," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. The high-tech system, modeled on the "ring of steel" in London's financial district, is already in service in lower Manhattan, where Wall Street and the World Trade Center reconstruction site are located. (Agence France-Presse)
Israeli Security Expert to Canada: 'Full Body Scanners Useless' Sela, who helped design the security system at Ben-Gurion International Airport, has some 30 years' experience in the field. He warned the lawmakers, “You are reacting to incidents instead of being one step ahead of them” when the acquisition of the scanners was announced, days after a Nigerian national tried to blow up a U.S. airliner in December. (Arutz Sheva)
Groups ask DHS to suspend full-body imagers More than 30 privacy and civil liberties groups are asking the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the use of full body imagers at airports, saying there is evidence that privacy safeguards don't work and the devices are not effective. (CNN)
Group Protests Scanners at KCI On Saturday, the “Liberty Restoration Project” protested the new security measures. “I would rather see the airport, rather the airlines, chose their own security,” said protester Gabe Gryder. “We prefer the government get out of the way of the airlines. (NBC)
Metro heightens security After two suicide attacks on Moscow's subway, Metro tightened security on the rails Monday. - The exercises are funded through a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative grant. (WTOP)
House moves to limit use of full-body scanners Under Hart’s plan, security personnel in airports, or other public facilities, would be prohibited from using the scanners as a primary means for ensuring the safety of a respective facility. The bill says that screeners must first use an alternative method of screening, such as a metal detector, as the primary inspection method. Only if a person is deemed a potential threat by security personnel after using a primary screening method may a whole-body scan be required. (Idaho Reporter)
U.S. air travelers complain about body scans The United States began testing the devices in a pilot program after the September 11, 2001, attacks, but the pace of use has increased since a passenger with a bomb hidden in his underwear tried to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day. ... The complaints ranged from concern about genitals being seen and the use of the devices on children, to anger over passengers not being told they could request a pat-down search instead and potential health worries from the scans. (Reuters)
Child rape charge rocks TSA Logan employee pats down air travelers at scan stations - A Transportation Security Agency worker who pats down members of the flying public was charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl yesterday. (Boston Herald)
Obama's National Cybersecurity Initiative: Privacy and Civil liberties are Damned -- Puts NSA in the Driver's Seat On March 2, the Obama administration issued a sanitized version of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), releasing portions that discussed intrusion detection systems on federal networks.
The announcement was made by former Microsoft executive Howard A. Schmidt, appointed cybersecurity coordinator by President Obama in December. The partial unveiling came during the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, an annual industry conference for security professionals.
CNCI's 2008 launch was shrouded in secrecy by the Bush administration. Authority for the program is derived from a classified order issued by President Bush. However, the contents of National Security Presidential Directive 54, also known as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54/HSPD 23) have never been released for public scrutiny.
"Virtually everything about the initiative is highly classified," the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote in a 2008 report, "and most of the information that is not classified is categorized as 'For Official Use Only.'" (Global Research)
Travelers file complaints over TSA body scanners The letters belie the TSA's claims about the disclosure policies related to the use of the technology and of the general level of concern related to its use, said Ginger McCall, staff counsel at EPIC. "The TSA has been reassuring people that travelers will be made aware of what these machines are and of the alternatives that are available," McCall said. The complaints suggest otherwise and appear to show less support for the technology than the TSA has let on, she said. (Bloomberg)
Letter to Bennie G. Thompson Chairman Committee on Homeland Security U.S. House of Representatives, from Gale D. Rossides, Acting Administrator of the TSA Thank you for your letter of January 21, 2010, regarding the privacy concerns that the Committee on Homeland Security has raised about the capability of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) to store, print, record, and export images.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is committed to providing world class security while preserving privacy in our security programs. The AIT program meets this commitment through TSA's screening protocol that ensures complete anonymity for passengers undergoing AIT scans. TSA has not deviated from these operational protocols, which were first published in a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) in January 2008 before any devices in the AIT pilot went' into operation. That PIA, and every PIA update since, states, "[w]hile the equipment has the capability of collecting and storing an image, the image storage functions will be disabled by the manufacturer before the devices are placed in an airport and will not have the capability to be activated by operators." (Transportation Security Administration)
Accused Christmas Bomber Listened to Music, Slept "Well, I mean, it was a threat, of course, it was a threat because initially, he was trying to blow up the plane but he didn't succeed. I mainly treat him this way because of how he reacted towards what he was doing. And what his actions told me on the plane was that he was in over his head, and that he didn't exactly know what he was doing would entail." (National Public Radio)
Airport scanners 'may be unlawful' "National security policies are intended to protect our lives and our freedoms, but it would be the ultimate defeat if that protection destroyed our other liberties." (UKPA)
MSP airport security: Whole-body scanners are likely, but not everyone's on board Congressional hearings continued Wednesday into a dramatic overhaul of the nation's airport security system, which could see the metal detectors at airports across the country replaced by far more costly whole-body imaging scanners designed to see below clothing and which many say would have stopped the attempted Christmas Day underwear bomber before he stepped onto a plane (Minn Post)
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