News & Notes
London Terrorist Attacks Put Spotlight on Mass TransitJust hours after the underground train and street bus bombings in London last month, U.S. security executives protecting mass transportation systems from New York City to San Diego were ramping up higher-level actions as well as rethinking future moves.
Obviously, there will be more fixed and mobile security video. See an article elsewhere in this issue on that topic. But there are other developments, too. Various firms such as L-3 Communications Security & Detection Systems of Woburn, Mass., are developing explosives detection systems that could better adapt beyond airport use. L-3 already has a mobile x-ray screening system that the Italian Border Police Service uses.
Emergency alerting is another area in which transit security execs are looking. Companies as varied as Roam Secure of Arlington, Va., and AirVisual of New York concentrate in this niche. AirVisual’s RoadViewer traffic information system helps alleviates many of the problems first responders experience due to everyday traffic by providing them a live view of actual traffic conditions, says CEO Tom Hansen.
HS Official: Chemical Plants Need SecurityIn written remarks to be delivered to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and repeated before Congress June 15, Robert Stephan, a high-ranking aide to the secretary, noted that the nation’s chemical plants have not done enough to protect themselves from terrorists, imploring the federal government require such plants to beef up their security measures.
“The existing patchwork of authorities does not permit us to regulate the industry effectively,” wrote Stephan, as reported by USA Today.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) noted that chemical companies, notably including its 132 member companies, have spent $2 billion on security. “We actually have been asking for federal legislation to make sure the entire sector is regulated for security,” said ACC managing director Martin Durbin.
A Dedication and a New BeginningIraq’s effort to stem the tide of illegal border breaches is one step closer as a new border security facility was recently dedicated and now open for business. The Zayd Border Denial Point is the first border fort to be formally dedicated and handed over to the Iraqi government. More coverage on this project will be in an upcoming Security magazine.
NCISS Weighs in on Identity Theft LegislationThe National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS), the nation’s largest association for investigation and security services companies, is working with Congress to prevent any unintended damage to the court system and commerce caused by overly broad regulatory language meant to protect personal identification information.
The council proposed a number of measures for the legislation, including:
Data brokers should conduct thorough credentialing of new accounts and those where a review indicates that a new check is in order.
Congress should ban Internet sales of personal identification information to the general public.
Penalties, such as fines and jail sentences, for the misuse of personal information should be increased.
Data providers should be required by federal law to notify consumers when their information has been accessed illegally.
Congress should prohibit the use of Social Security Numbers on identification documents such as healthcare insurance cards, drivers’ licenses and state permits.
Investigators and other licensed professionals who can demonstrate a need for information and have submitted to a background investigation should have continued access to personal data.
“We support the protection of personal identification information and welcome every opportunity to work with Congressional leaders to address this important issue,” said Brian McGuinness, NCISS president and president of McGuinness & Associates Inc., of Miami. “State licensing processes and existing laws, regulations, standards and restrictions already govern access to and distribution of personal identification information. We need better enforcement and stiffer penalties for those caught breaking the rules.”
As recent security breaches at data brokers and financial institutions have led to calls for immediate regulatory and legislative action, NCISS fears that private security and investigators are fearful the current atmosphere may pressure public officials to create overly broad legislation.
Particularly of concern is a proposed suggestion that private companies be barred from obtaining Social Security Number information and other unique identifiers. While this could prevent access to private information for some identity thieves, the council points out that a large portion of such thieves are tracked and caught through their use of these identity codes at private businesses.
Honeywell and CSI Team Up at DromoRacetrack officials from the Dromo One indoor race track in Orange, Calif., teamed with Honeywell, Syosset, N.Y., and California Systems Integrators (CSI) to install a new DVR, 15 stationary cameras and one Honeywell RapidDome PTZ camera. But the surveillance system ended up doing more than catching aggressive drivers in their cart-style car; it allowed spectators to watch live, up-close footage of races on Dromo One’s large plasma screen.
The entertainment application was brand new for the RapidDome camera, but Bill Wendlandt, regional sales manager for Honeywell, and CSI principal Mark Ostgaard were confident that the camera could serve the dual purposes of security and entertainment. Using a joystick, they set the camera to follow an automated tour around the racetrack. Then, using the camera’s unique mimic function, they saved the automated tour route in the camera’s memory, so no joystick or operator would be needed.
The racetrack also upgraded to a 16-unit Fusion DVR from Honeywell, which provides resolutions up to 720x480 and can capture 480 images per second with premium image quality. Fifteen stationary cameras are located throughout the Dromo One’s facilities for security purposes only. Visit www.csisecuritygroup.com and www.honeywellvideo.com.
SIA Hands Out Homeland Security HardwareAt this year’s Government Sales & Marketing Summit, held June 14, the Security Industry Association (SIA), announced its 2005 recipients for the annual Homeland Security Awards. This year’s honors were given to U.S. Representatives Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Bonilla, who has served over 15 years in the House, has been a strong advocate for agriculture and food security, border security, the military and small businesses. He serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, and is a senior member of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, and the Subcommittee on Defense. He recently introduced legislation to improve the country’s border security efforts.
Having served more than 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Hoyer is currently in his second term as Minority Whip, the second highest ranking Democrat in the lower house of Congress. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Hoyer serves on two very important subcommittees relevant to SIA: the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Housing; and the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. His support of federal law enforcement initiatives has shown the Congressman’s support for security related issues such as the COPS Program, which allocates funding for cutting-edge crime-fighting technologies.