► There’s a new statute on the books in Georgia that aims to address fake ID use by making the penalties harsher. The new offense, aggravated identity fraud levies a $250,000 fine and holds potential for 15 years in prison for the offendor. "It went in to effect July 1. Before then, the penalty for using a fake ID was probation and a small fine. Critics say the penalties are too harsh and don’t fit the crime. The penalties are on par with possessing up to 10,000 pounds of marijuana,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
►Homeland Security is telling law enforcement to be vigilant in protecting utility facilities in the United States. "While DHS has no specific, credible intelligence of an imminent threat posed to the private-sector utilities, several recent incidents highlight the ongoing threat to infrastructure in the utility sectors from insiders and outsiders seeking facility-specific information that might be exploited in an attack," Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said Wednesday.
►A federal jury awarded $10 million against TASER International Inc. for the wrongful death of a teenager who died after being shocked in the chest by a TASER. The jury found that the company failed to warn that discharging the device near the heart could cause cardiac arrest. The model in question was the X26 ECD.
►Drug trafficking is down in Afghanistan, but the drug trade still undermines progress in government. "While opium poppy cultivation has decreased overall, it is predominately concentrated in southern and southwestern Afghanistan where the narcotics trade continues to fuel corruption and insurgency," William Wechsler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats told the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Wednesday. Experts testified that the drug trade would continue to undermine political and economic stability and growth as troop drawdown began. Afghanistan supplies 77 percent of the world’s opium.
►Arizona government created a new Web site to help build its border fence after a new law went into effect Wednesday that allows the state to use private donations to finish the task. BuildTheBorderFence.com allows people to donate online and also has instructions for donating money by check or money order. State lawmakers want to finally build a uniform fence across the 370-mile border. Currently, only one-third of the border has fencing acceptable to lawmakers. “No other state has tried such a tactic,” The Arizona Republic reports.
►A WNYC reporter shows how easy it is to hack into voicemail using cheap programs online. ♦ New data shows that maritime pirates are trying more but succeeding less. ♦ And the U.S. is airing TV spots in Mexico and Central America to raise human trafficking awareness.