Morning Security Brief: Canada Blocks Foreign Firms From Telecom Overhaul, False Alarms, Facebook Statuses, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Canada says it will not allow foreign companies to participate in a multibillion dollar project to overhaul its telecommunications systems over security concerns. The government has invoked a national security exemption, usually used for military procurements, to bypass trade obligations. “The government of Canada’s email, data centre and telecommunication systems are inextricably linked to one another; they are the key tools used in the creation, transmission/communication and storage of the government’s information, and must be appropriately protected in order to create a secure ‘cyber perimeter,’” says a statement released by Canada’s Office of Public Works and Government Services. The exemption limits competition to Canadian companies and requires winning bidders to hold SECRET-grade security clearances, The National Post reports.

►City officials in Las Cruces, New Mexico say that 99 percent of alarm notifications are false alarms. The city is discussing new regulations that would require verified response. This means police would contact the owner of the property to verify there is a real emergency before sending officers to the scene. Officials say the false alarms waste police manpower and tie up dispatch. Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima says the city is also considering requiring homes with alarms to have cameras outside to verify an alarm is legitimate. Last August, Detroit said it would no longer send police to alarms after finding that 98 percent alarms were false.

►Callum Haywood, co-founder of Squared Logic IT Solutions LLP, created, a webpage that streams data from public Facebook statuses and Foursquare on “who’s taking drugs, who wants to get fired, and who has a new number.” The site is populated from publicly available data from Facebook. “Just make sure your Facebook privacy settings are sufficient, for example don't publish status updates containing potentially risky material as 'Public' because then they have a good chance of showing up in the public Graph API. You don't even need an access token to get this info, but the problem is not with Facebook themselves, when used correctly, their privacy controls are very good. The problem is how people simply don't understand the risks of sharing everything,” Haywood writes on the site.

►In other news, two Utah cities are getting federal funding to hire veterans as police officers. “The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that the City of LaVerkin is receiving $125,000 to hire one officer, and the West Jordan Department of Public Safety is getting $500,000 to hire four officers,” the Associated Press reported. ♦ A Popular Science piece discusses how climate scientists routinely face death threats and hate mail for their work. ♦ And DHS tells Arizona to focus on catching criminals and terrorists --  not immigration enforcement.



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