NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Police Officer DNA, Cyberattacks on Control Systems, Domestic Militias, and More

By Carlton Purvis

 

►Some law enforcement officials and investigators say it’s important to have the DNA of police officers on file to help rule them out of crimes and to compare their DNA to unknown DNA at crime scenes. But, “police from Connecticut to Chicago to Los Angeles have opposed what some experts say is a slowly emerging trend in the U.S. to collect officers' DNA,” the Associated Press reports. Steven Rief, former president of the Connecticut state police union, said it raises red flags “from a civil liberties standpoint.” Rief says officers don’t want their DNA placed into a national database that also holds criminal’s genetic data and worries that the DNA could be used to see if employees are predisposed to diseases. “Police in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have been keeping officers' DNA on file for several years,” the AP reports, but experts say the reason the practice has been slow to catch on in the U.S. is because American police unions have more power.

►Anonymous is interested in planning cyberattacks on utilities infrastructure and industrial control systems, according to a DHS bulletin obtained and published by Public Intelligence. Through monitoring Anonymous’ Web site, DHS says the group may not be immediately capable of disrupting industrial control systems, however experienced and skilled members of Anonymous could be able to develop capabilities to gain access and trespass on control system networks very quickly. It also accuses the group of being racist and homophobic.

►The number of militia groups in the U.S. is rising, but the government still isn’t doing enough to keep track of these groups, according to one security analyst. Daryl Johnson runs a company that tracks and studies domestic militias. He used to work with DHS investigating domestic extremism, but he says two years ago the agency stopped monitoring non-Islamic domestic terrorism. “…When you have groups and individuals amassing those amounts of weaponry and explosives, that's a concern. It's a public safety concern, it's a terrorism concern," Johnson told ABC News.

►In other news, a highly contagious marine virus has been detected in salmon in the Pacific Northwest for the first time. It doesn’t affect humans, but it has the potential to kill 70 percent of fish in a fish farm. The virus could have “a devastating impact” not only to salmon farms but to the ecosystems as well, one researcher said. ♦ A hospital emergency room scraps metal detectors in favor of 24-hour armed guards. An official at University Hospital in San Antonio said the metal detectors were more stressful and cumbersome to families and patients and argued that bigger hospitals don’t use them. “There is no evidence that a metal detector is approved safe to protect anyone in our facilities,” the official said. ♦ And earlier this year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced a bill to amend the nation’s privacy laws to protect citizen’s data stored in the cloud from warrantless searches. Five months later there has been no progress on the bill because it lacks Republican support, Wired reports.

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