Tag Archives | Security

Texas Proposes ‘Anti-Groping’ Law Against TSA, Feds Threaten To Ground All Flights

Texas has been the first state to propose a bill that will disallow TSA agents from groping passengers. The federal government stated that if the state were to approve such a bill, the TSA would be forced to ground all flights. Makes me think of something Thomas Jefferson stated, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Via The Raw Story:

A bill that would criminalize TSA agents who conduct airport patdown searches was scuttled Tuesday night after the federal government threatened to ground all flights out of Texas.

The proposed law would have levied misdemeanor charges against security agents who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

An earlier version of House Bill 1937 would have made such action a felony. [Story continues]

Fox 7 reports:

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Cisco Systems Sued For Helping China Monitor Internet

Computer-science29The Financial Times reports:

Senior executives at Cisco Systems worked closely with Chinese government security agents to tailor hardware and software they knew would be used to track, detain and torture followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a US federal lawsuit filed last week.

The suit accuses the networking company’s chief executive John Chambers and leaders of Cisco’s China business of close collaboration with Beijing, citing statements on company websites, at trade shows and in internal documents.

The 52-page complaint was brought by the Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, which has handled other legal issues for Falun Gong followers, on behalf of residents in the US and survivors of some said to have been killed in China for their participation in Falun Gong activities.

Cisco has faced criticism in the past for allowing its routers, which have the greatest share of the world market by revenue, to play a crucial role in China’s massive internet blocking and surveillance.

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Why Do Gadget Makers Wield A ‘Kill Switch’?

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Mark Milian writes on CNN:

When you buy a video game from Best Buy, you don’t give the retailer the right to barge into your house whenever it wants. So why do we give that permission to software companies?

Most popular smartphone operating systems and other electronic gadgets include what security researchers refer to as a kill switch.

This capability enables the company that makes the operating software to send a command over the Web or wireless networks that alters or removes certain applications from devices.

Apple, Google and Microsoft include this function in their platforms, along with a few lines in their usage agreements describing the policy. Google and Apple executives say this feature is important in order to protect against malicious software.

“Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal in 2008.

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Rep. Proposes Enclosing Congress Within Plexiglas Bubble

United-States-CongressNo, it’s not an Onion headline. Indiana Republican Dan Burton wants to encase the House of Representatives within impenetrable Plexiglas for protection from the outside world. CBS News writes:

An aide to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) tells CBS News that the Indiana Republican plans to introduce legislation next week that would encase the House Gallery in “a transparent and substantial material” such as Plexiglas that would keep members of the public from being able to throw explosives or make other attacks on members on the House floor.

Burton has introduced similar legislation in the past. It reads in part, “The Architect of the Capitol shall enclose the visitors’ galleries of the House of Representatives with a transparent and substantial material, and shall install equipment so that the proceedings on the floor of the House of Representatives will be clearly audible in the galleries.”

A past version of the legislation, which will be reintroduced in the wake of the shooting of Rep.

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BrumiLeaks, CCTV and the Attempted Murder of Democracy

Birmingham

Brummie: a native of the British city of Birmingham.
— Oxford English Dictionary

Whilst the WikiLeaks founder was languishing in a prison cell in London, a storm was brewing in England’s second largest city Birmingham, where leaked emails reveal the lengths that advocates of surveillance cameras will go to further their agenda. The BrumiLeaks may appear less controversial than the WikiLeaks that have dominated mainstream headlines in recent weeks, but they do more to lift the lid on just how the surveillance state continues its steady creep forward and why eternal vigilance is required by freedom loving citizens. A perfect example of what is happening the world over – for Birmingham read a town near you.

The Birmingham story so far …

Last month Birmingham City Council was named and shamed as the UK local authority that had spent the most on surveillance cameras between 2007 and 2010 [1]. The council and police in Birmingham also found themselves embroiled in a public relations disaster after they failed to properly consult residents about the installation of hundreds of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in leafy Birmingham suburbs – part of a project named ‘Project Champion’.… Read the rest

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The Lobbyists Behind ‘Naked Scanners’

full.body.scan[1]Wondering what exactly prompted the TSA to adopt the outrage-provoking “nude body scanners”, which are both controversial and of questionable effectiveness? The Washington Examiner explains:

The degradations of passing through full-body scanners that provide naked pictures of you to Transportation Security Administration agents may not mean that the terrorists have won — but they do mark victories for a few politically connected high-tech companies and their revolving-door lobbyists.

Many experts and critics suspect that the full-body “naked scanners” recently deployed at U.S. airports do little to make us more secure, and a lot to make us angry, embarrassed and late. For instance, the scanners can’t see through skin, and so weapons or explosives can be hidden safely in body cavities.

But this is government we’re talking about. A program or product doesn’t need to be effective, it only needs to have a good lobby. And the naked-scanner lobby is small but well-connected.

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Engineer Invents Underwear To Protect Privacy At Airport

Shielding Underwear

Rocky Flats Gear/AP

If it’s easy enough for an engineer to manufacture underwear to maintain some privacy when going through the body scanners, how long before people wear entire outfits like this rendering the scans useless. The New York Daily News reports:

While holiday travelers may not get through this week without a Transportation Security Administration agent touching their junk, a man in Colorado has a new invention he says will prevent anyone from looking at it.

Jeff Buske has created a special kind of underwear with strategically placed fig-leaf designs he says will shield TSA scanners from viewing fliers’ private parts and keep travelers safe from radiation emitted from the notorious “backscatter” x-ray machines.

Buske, an engineer, said his briefs, bras and inserts, which he’s marketing under the name Rocky Top Gear, use a special metal that protects people’s privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings.

“The object is…to protect the public, educate people and ultimately see these X-ray machines put in the Dumpster,” Buske told CBS4 Denver.

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How To Israel-ify America’s Airport Security

c1a61f52fdee1e3e142f9c0130e7_grandeSecurity screening at North American airports is inconvenient and invasive, yet at times seems as if it’s all for show. How could it be done better? In Israel, they examine behavior rather than shoes or crotches. The Toronto Star enlightens us:

While North America’s airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel’s, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience. Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Israel’s largest hub, Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, has not been breached since 2002. How do they manage that?

The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

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Fighting Monkeys With Monkeys…

The more we train our fellow primates for tasks once relegated to human beings, the closer we are as a species to seeing the Statue of Liberty half-submerged in a shoreline. Sara Sidner writes on CNN:
Grey Langur Monkey

New Delhi, India — Chotu is not happy to see visitors. He is busy scratching himself and intensely surveying his surroundings when he’s approached.

He and his buddies Pinki and Mangu are in the middle of their eight-hour shifts. They have important jobs to do. They are some of more than 100,000 security forces protecting people during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

But Chotu and his gang are a special force trained to put a stop to any monkeying around near the stadiums. Chotu, Pinki and Mangu are langur monkeys.

Their trainers said each one has the ability to scare off 50 potential attackers — namely the wild smaller macaque monkeys that roam the streets and buildings of Delhi.

The wild monkeys are known for some naughty habits. You can’t blame the macaques; they’re just being themselves. The wild monkeys are in a densely populated city where they occasionally have run-ins with humans — especially if there is a chance to snatch some food.

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