Morning Security Brief: Domestic Drones, License Plate Data, Information Breach Disclosure, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►Plans by police forces to increase domestic drone use have civil rights groups raising the alarm. Lawmen say the drones will give law enforcement a greater capacity in a number of different missions. "This is boys with their toys gone wild,” says Dotty Griffin of the ACLU. The ACLU says drones give police more power for “fishing expeditions” and warrantless surveillance. “There’s really just no checks and balances on the system as this point,” she said. Police say the drones will help supplement a variety of missions, including keeping SWAT members safe in high risk situations, Reuters reports. “As a law enforcement agency not only to we have to deal with criminal activities, we also have to go hunt for the missing child, the Alzheimer patient that’s wandered off…,” said deputy chief Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office.

►Privacy rules restrict what police can do with their own databases, but a private company out of California exploits a loophole in the laws and has a growing database of 550 million license plates, California Watch reports. Vigilant Video sells its own brand of license plate scanners and has created a National Vehicle Locator service. When license plate data is collected by police, much of the information is discarded after a period of time. Vigilant Video uses “scout cars” that drive around scanning plates and make their database available for law enforcement to search. “Roughly 1,200 new users working in law enforcement are signed up to search the location system every month,” a Vigilant Video sales manager said.

►Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says private companies should put more trust in prosecutors and government agencies when it comes to security breaches, rather than keep them an internal secret, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in New York this week. “Cyber security experts say that corporations rarely acknowledge breaches, and often keep them secret from law enforcement out of fear that news of a compromise will damage their reputation, hurt stock prices and possibly lead to further attacks,” Reuters reports. Bharara said the practice is “unacceptable” and that companies should “get over it.”

►A researcher at a British think tank says the money paid to pirates for ransom off the coast of Somalia is having a positive and developmental effect on the local economy. ♦The DHS inspector general says Illinois wasted millions of dollars trying to implement Project Shield because of equipment and training problems.♦ And a new GAO report says DHS floods industries with irrelevant cybersecurity advice.


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