Morning Security Brief: Ferguson Protests Go Digital, Biometrics Questioned, and Chilean Airport Robbed

By Lilly Chapa

 The suburban town of Ferguson, Missouri, has turned into what witnesses are calling a war zone for the fifth day of unrest since police shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. In the first two days of protests, police responded to looters and vandals, but since then the protesters have remained mostly peaceful, according to the Huffington Post. However, police and SWAT teams have been responding with tear gas, rubber bullets, and mine-resistant vehicles. At least two reporters, a local elected official, and an alderman have been detained by police. But the protests aren’t just being carried out on the streets. Hacktivist group Anonymous has crippled the city’s phone and Web site systems and released police officers’ personal information earlier this week. The hackers demanded that police stop harming citizens and called for the release of the name of the officer who shot Brown. When this didn’t happen, they posted photos of the police chief’s house and family. Eventually the hackers relented, posting: “We recognize that Jon Belmar has had enough damage done to him. We will save the rest of our energy for the true perpetrator.”

Despite the growing reliance on biometrics across private and public sectors, the U.K. Parliament is taking a closer look at the technology and whether it is secure enough. The Parliament announced earlier this week that it is conducting an inquiry into data protection, loss of privacy, identity theft, and other technical and legal issues involved in using biometrics for day-to-day applications. “It is anticipated that this trend will continue over the next decade, particularly as the financial costs, and computational resources required, decrease,” the inquiry announcement stated. The U.K. decommissioned its Iris Recognition Immigration System in 2012 after eight years of use due to technology troubles, but biometrics are still used for e-passports and residence permits in the United Kingdom. To submit comments to the Parliament on biometrics, visit this link through Sept. 26.
Eight armed men robbed an airport security van of more than $10 million at the main terminal of the Santiago, Chile, airport earlier this week in what a Chilean official called “an embarrassment.” Following the robbery—one  of the largest in Chile’s history—the security chief of Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, was fired, according to BBC. The thieves entered the cargo of the airport dressed as ground personnel and held up the guards, who had left their weapons at airport security, and emptied the van of the money.


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