We now have information on 800,000 people in our terrorist databases. We have “big data,” as the people would say who pretend to know something about it. Big Data, they often claim, will solve the problem. To my mind, we have a big search, analysis and distribution problem, and despite “big data” claims of prowess, connecting the dots before a terrorist strikes is never going to be an easy thing.
In Security Debrief’s fourth annual April Fools coverage, we’ve collected some stories the rest of the media somehow missed.
When I attend various meetings around DC on cyber issues, I often see confusion and challenge – good people trying to resolve confusing issues, wrestling with individual – as well as the country’s – social and political demons. Cyber is a new kind of land. It has no physical dimension. There are no borders or boundaries, and everyone seems to be a part of something that no one can control. People in DC are bit lost right now, and there are some distinct cultural reasons why.
By Alex Sorin
The news of the violent gang rape of a young Indian woman on a public bus and her subsequent death has shocked the world and led to protests and unrest. While increased security is by no means the sole solution, certain security measures can help alert law enforcement of similar incidents and assist in catching the perpetrators. While surveillance technology can help, just as critical is an Incident Management System.
Many companies are examining the possibility of switching to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a method of significantly reducing their IT infrastructure capital costs. Here is but another example of how short-term versus strategic thinking is creating havoc in American business. The dangers associated with BYOD far outweigh the short-term benefits. Convenience and a perception of cost reductions appear to again be trumping sound security practices.
Facing a deadly IED threat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Government developed an array of technologies to protect American troops against improvised bombs. With the troop draw down underway, these technologies are being brought home and could be valuable assets to homeland security professionals facing an IED threat in America.
While the United States successfully thwarted another attempted bombing of a domestic inbound aircraft by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the disrupted plot should tell Americans two important things: our intelligence and security agencies are doing excellent work, and continued vigilance is the price of security. We need every available tool to combat and protect against terrorists, and this means speeding up the rate at which America procures and implements counter-terrorism technology.
Sunday’s LA Times contains a story that every Member of Congress and homeland security stakeholder ought to read. For the first time that I can remember, AMO Chief Michael Kostelnik, CBP’s main evangelist for acquiring Predator UAVs for border enforcement, admits that the results have NOT been impressive, especially in helping capture illegal drug runners.
I recently published a piece in Defense Media Network about the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence (CoE) initiative. This is an important effort in building America’s homeland capabilities and in developing homeland security as profession. Homeland agencies receive security solutions, the CoE receive work and research from intelligent students, and the students themselves acquire the skill sets and experience needed to propel them into homeland security careers.
For better or worse, social media is the billboard of our lives in today’s digital world. Recent news stories detailing how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was monitoring media outlets, news sites, and other social networking platforms have raised some eyebrows, but it would be completely irresponsible for DHS, intelligence, or law enforcement authorities to ignore these valuable resources and the information and insights they can provide.