Morning Security Brief: Tribal Law Enforcement, Intelligent Video, Airstrike App, and More

By Carlton Purvis


 ► The Tribal Law and Order Act makes funds available for Native American tribes whose law enforcement agencies participate in Uniformed Crime Reporting. The number of tribes participating in UCR quintupled between 2008 and 2010, The Crime Report reports. The FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics trained tribal law enforcement on the reporting standards and tribes are eligible for Byrne grants for their participation. When the program first started, only five tribes participated. “In 2010, 144 tribes reported, with 22 tribes eligible for more than $700,000 in federal law enforcement grants,” the blog reported.

► “Intelligent video” and “digital fencing” are two of the technologies credited with driving the growth of the security industry in the Gulf. “The region is one of the security industry's most lucrative, companies in the field say, but they have of late been updating their strategies to gain larger slices of the business,” The National reports. One of these strategies involves developing security features that can be integrated both at the construction stage of building and fitted to existing buildings. Intelligent video technology is expected to generate millions. “The market for IP-based surveillance systems, which generate digital video feeds that can be easily shared, is estimated to be worth about $100 million within the Gulf,” The National reports.

►After two of his soldiers were killed in a rocket attack, Army captain Jonathan Springer created a smartphone app that he says would help soldiers find the direction of enemy fire and call in accurate air strikes, but at the moment, the Army isn’t interested. Springer spent about $30,000 developing the app that combines a compass, map, and camera into one tool. “The app is designed to give soldiers exact coordinates for where enemy fire is coming from. They can then send that information to their command centre, who will decide whether to call in an air strike, or send a rescue helicopter to help wounded troops,” the BBC reports. Springer pitched the app to the Army, but they declined interest, he told the BBC. Instead, he's selling the app in the Apple Store. Whether it really would work in the field as intended is unknown.

►With the increased reliance on drones and the global race to acquire them, the U.S. should be prepared for the possibility of cyber-physical attacks, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institute. Because drones are essentially armed computers that use that same Internet-based technology of smartphones, they are susceptible to similar communications interruptions. In 2009, insurgents were able to intercept video feeds from drones transmitting information on unsecured newtworks. “To believe that drones will remain the exclusive province of responsible nations is to disregard the long history of weapons technology. It is only a matter of time before rogue groups or nations hostile to the United States are able to build or acquire their own drones and to use them to launch attacks on our soil or on our soldiers abroad,” the report states.

► In other news, a BNET columnist says he passed through a TSA checkpoint using a fake ID from a novelty store. ♦ Wired examines the rise of the spy blimp. ♦ And a Somali accused of ties to two Islamist militant groups will be tried in civilian court after possibly being held on a ship since April, fueling the debate on whether to prosecute terrorism cases in civilian or military court.


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