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November 2007
Homeland Security

Customs Controls

The European Union is bringing in complex and costly new customs controls to deter terrorism and improve cross-border product flow.

    Russia's Oil

    Oil exports have brought prosperity and international status to Putin’s Russia. The oil boom may not last much longer, say experts at Alfa-Bank, Chatham House, International Energy Agency, and the Council of Foreign Relations.

      Legal Report

      Security Officers

      A bill (H.R. 2703) introduced by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) would require that all security officers undergo a federal and state background check covering the previous ten years. The applicant would be precluded from getting the job if he or she had been convicted any one of a number of crimes, including illegal firearms possession, burglary, buying or receiving stolen property, unlawful entry, reckless endangerment, making threats of terrorism, or any crime of violence. Other offenses may disqualify the applicant from a job as a security officer if that crime is relevant to the ability of the employee to provide reliable security services.

        Airport Security

        A bill (H.R. 1413) that would establish an airport security pilot program to screen airport workers with access to secure and  sterile areas of airports has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee. To proceed, the bill must now be taken up by the full House of Representatives.

          Agriculture Security

          A bill (H.R. 1717) that would establish a national agricultural and biodefense facility has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee. H.R. 1717 is also pending in the House Agriculture Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

            Terrorism Insurance

            A bill (H.R. 2761) introduced by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) that would reauthorize the government-based terrorism insurance program for ten more years has been approved by the House Financial Services Committee. The measure must now be considered by the full House of Representatives.


              A bill (H.R. 964) introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) that would make the use of spyware illegal in certain circumstances has been approved by the House of Representatives and has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

                Employment Discrimination

                A bill (H.R. 2831) introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that would revise employment discrimination laws has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate has agreed to consider the measure.


                  A bill (formerly S.B. 25) prohibiting hiring and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill, which was signed into law by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, would make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, or gender identity. Unlike federal discrimination laws, which apply only to those with 15 or more employees, the Colorado law will apply to all employers in the state.

                    Alarm Monitoring

                    A bill (formerly S.B. 453) signed into law by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen will require that, when responding to an alarm, monitoring companies attempt to contact the property owner twice—by telephone or other electronic means—to determine whether an alarm is valid before dispatching police. Tennessee is the second state to enact such a law. Florida passed a similar measure last year.

                      Sexual Harassment

                      A court has ruled that an employee may proceed with assault charges as well as claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress against her employer. In the case, the employee was physically assaulted by her supervisor. After an investigation into the incident that led to the supervisor receiving sexual harassment training, the employee was forced to work for him again. After the supervisor began undermining the employee’s work, the company claimed that nothing could be done to curtail the inappropriate activity.

                      SM Online

                      Information Sharing

                      Most of the country’s state and regional intelligence fusion centers don’t engage the private sector in their information collection and sharing efforts, says a report to Congress.

                        Religious Discrimination

                        An employee who was fired for refusing to attend spiritual and meditation sessions fashioned after Buddhist and Hindu belief systems may pursue his religious discrimination lawsuit against his company, ruled a federal appeals court.

                        Malicious E-Mail

                        There’s been a sharp decrease in the amount of malicious e-mails sent in the first half of 2007, says a top security vendor. Likely reasons include better network defenses and a growing caution among employees about opening suspicious attachments.


                          A single comment about a worker’s accent is enough to allow the worker to proceed with a discrimination claim, ruled a federal appeals court.

                          Password Encryption

                          Check out a free new Windows utility that lets users securely encrypt all their passwords on their computer.

                            Harmful Horseplay

                            An employee may pursue a negligence claim against his coworker after an incident of horseplay left him physically and psychologically injured, ruled the Delaware Supreme Court.

                            Malware Rising

                            A new report forecasts that there will be strong growth in the anti-malware business over the next several years. A main driver is the increasing organization and skill of cybercriminals.

                              Medical-Record Privacy

                              An employer acted improperly, ruled a federal appeals court, when it fired a woman for refusing to sign a medical release form about her mental health.

                              Passports and Visas

                              Passport and visa security are highlighted in a July report on border security by the government’s watchdog. Recommendations address taking better advantage of security features in the future.

                                Africa's Report Card

                                Governance in Africa is terrible, but it’s improving slowly. Even small improvements can drive investment and create jobs, according to a World Bank study.


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