Legal Report: Legal Issues
11/28/2007 - Rulings on data security and religious discrimination; plus legislation on fire safety, security guards, and food safety.
Book Reviews: Best Practices \ Case Studies
11/28/2007 - An attorney and former police officer, the author is particularly strong on legal issues. He raises questions about the applicability of constitutional rights when private security personnel take action, an opportune inquiry at a time when the government looks to the private sector as a major homeland security resource.
11/27/2007 - U.S. companies must be cautious in dealing with foreign militia groups as the government cracks down on payment schemes.
Legal Report: Terrorism
11/27/2007 - Several new bills introduced by lawmakers focused on helping states respond to acts of terrorism. The bills would have established grant programs to help fund states' first responder activities; the bills also would have established grants for terrorism-related training and technical assistance for state officials.
Legal Report: Fire Safety
11/27/2007 - A bill (S. 620) that would have provided federal grants to install sprinklers or other fire suppression or prevention technologies in college and university dorms died in committee. The funds could have been used by public and private institutions to provide fire-safety equipment in all campus housing including sorority and fraternity houses.
Legal Report: Physical Security
11/27/2007 - Several bills introduced in the 108th Congress would have given companies tax breaks or incentives to purchase security equipment. Such equipment included physical security devices and fire-safety technology.
Legal Report: Privacy
11/27/2007 - One bill (S. 1350) considered by lawmakers would have required that companies victimized by an electronic security breach notify customers that their information may have been compromised. The bill, which was similar to one that took effect in California this year, was considered in committee, where hearings were held, but was not brought to a vote.
Legal Report: Port Security
11/27/2007 - Two bills were introduced to address port security issues. The first bill (S. 1400) was approved by the Senate but was not considered in the House. The bill would have established an integrated coastal-observation system with several goals, including fighting terrorism and monitoring storm activity. The system would also have collected data on the marine environment and ocean life. Another Senate bill (S. 193), which would have required that the Department of Energy evaluate radiation detection systems for use at U.S. seaports, failed to win approval in its Senate committee. The system would have been used to detect the presence of a dirty bomb being smuggled into the U.S. aboard a cargo vessel.
Legal Report: Training
11/27/2007 - Two bills (S. 930 and H.R. 3266) designed to provide funds and training to first responders failed to go further than being considered in committee.
Legal Report: Physical Security
11/27/2007 - Two bills (S. 957 and H.R. 1889), introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) respectively, would have required that aircraft cabin-crew members be certified and trained on security and safety procedures. Despite bipartisan support, neither bill garnered committee approval.
Legal Report: Investigations
11/27/2007 - A law (P.L. 108-159) renewing the expiring provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act includes a provision stating that information about certain internal investigations need not be communicated to the target of the investigation until the inquiry is completed.
Legal Report: ID issues \ Identity Theft
11/27/2007 - A bill (H.R. 1731) designed to increase criminal penalties for identity theft was signed into law (P.L. 108-275) by the President. The law creates the crime of aggravated identity theft for crimes that involve felonies, such as bank or mail fraud. This crime carries a sentence of two additional years in prison added to the felony conviction. Those who commit identity theft while also perpetrating a criminal act will be given an additional five years in prison.
Legal Report: Proprietary Information Protection
11/16/2007 - A federal appeals court has ruled that file-sharing software, such as Grokster, does not infringe on the copyright of entertainment providers. In its ruling, the court noted that new technology always disrupts established markets but that "time and market forces" often balance the interests of the various players. MGM has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case. (MGM et al v. Grokster, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 03-55894, 2004)