Morning Security Brief: Drone Experiments, Gun Laws, and More

By Teresa Anderson

►The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is reporting that it obtained documents on the use of drones by the U.S. Marshals Service. The documents, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, were heavily redacted but reveal that the Marshals Service experimented with drones in 2004 and 2005. The ACLU argues that any domestic use of drones should be public knowledge and points to a new bill (H.R. 637) that would require government agencies to register all drones, get a warrant to use them for surveillance, and prohibit the domestic use of armed drones.

► New York legislators have enacted new restrictions on the ownership and use of firearms. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) into law. According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, “New York will be the first state in the nation to ban any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds and run instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale." The press release goes on to explain that the law allows "authorities to track ammunition purchases in real time to alert law enforcement to high volume buys," and it includes "a statewide standard requiring recertification of pistol permits every five years." The law also "closes a private sale loophole to ensure all gun purchases are subject to a background check, and toughens criminal penalties on those who use illegal guns.” The law also imposes new reporting requirements for mental health professionals who suspect that a patient might be dangerous and own a gun. Thousands of protesters gathered in Albany yesterday to protest the law, which they say violates their Second Amendment rights.

► Also in the news: Wired's Danger Room reports, "The Pentagon’s fleet of next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters has been cleared to resume flying, six days after the discovery of a half-inch crack in an engine blade led to the grounding all 50 or so training and test jets." And according to Reuters, a speaker at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, California, claimed that he could open a secure box manufactured by Knox Co. The box is most frequently used by commercial properties to store keys. The boxes can be opened by first responders to gain access to a building. The speaker, Justin Clarke, who is a researcher with the cybersecurity firm Cylance Inc, said he designed a key to open the box. According to the Reuters article: “Dohn Trempala, an engineer with Phoenix-based Knox, told Reuters he found it hard to believe that Clarke had succeeded in fabricating a Knox Box key, noting that similar claims in the past have turned out to be false.”



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