Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Global RFID-ROI Summit 2007 -- London, England -- 01/29-30- Participate the 5th Annual RFID ROI Summit - the event that focuses on achieving real business value from successful RFID implementation. This two-day event will keep you up to date with the latest in RFID technology, allow you to explore new opportunities RFID technology for your business, and associate with peers in the industry. Sectors of the RFID industry present will range from defense and pharmaceuticals to the music industry and retail. See Web site

ISC West International Security Conference and Expo -- Las Vegas, Nevada -- 03/28-30- ISC West is where end-users of security, systems integrators, dealers, and installers cover all their security needs. Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, ISC West will again be one of the premier security events covering most of the security industry. To register, see Web site

CIPATE 2007 - 2nd Annual Beijing International Security Conference -- Beijing, China -- 05/17-19- With a rising focus on the social security of the 2008 Olympics, Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau is responsible for the safety of the event and enforcing the Capital's security. Hosted by the Bureau, CIPATE 2007 is an exclusive official fair before the 2008 Beijing Olympics covering government representatives, police officers, Olympic committee's security division, fire services departments, security consultants, anti-terrorism experts, embassies, customs, and planning divisions. See Web site


Survey shows Americans highly receptive to biometric IDs

Americans remain wary of public surveillance -- see last week's story about the outcry raised when cameras were placed atop a Chicago art installation -- but they have much less concern about the use of biometrics in passports. So say the certification and seal program Truste and its survey partner TNS, who report that not only do 82 percent support the use of biometrics for international travel, but 75 percent support its use in driver's licenses and 73 percent do for Social Security cards. And why are Americans so blase on this topic? Perhaps it is because more than half of respondents agreed with the statement that "it will make it much harder for terrorists to operate within the U.S. with the use of biometrics to establish the identity of Americans," and two-thirds believed it would crack down on identity theft -- a major source of American anxiety these days.

Interestingly, Americans' willingness to go along with biometric identification comes at the same time that they acknowledge the risks to privacy and civil liberties, suggesting that they are comfortable making some trade-offs for heightened homeland security systems. Fifty-three percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the use of biometrics "will greatly reduce personal privacy because the government will be able to track your movements," while 60 percent agreed that "there is a high potential for the government to misuse the information."

Note to the biometrics industry: According to the survey, only 70 percent of respondents had even heard of biometrics prior to the survey. Perhaps it is time for a technology awareness public relations campaign.

-read more in this news release


Terrorists use Google Earth to plan attacks

Among the sites that cannot be viewed on Google Earth, the search company's popular satellite mapping system, is the Vice President's residence at the National Observatory in Washington, D.C. (The White House, strangely enough, is easily seen.) In fact, governments worldwide have worked closely with Google to encourage them to omit or blur all manner of sensitive sights -- mainly military bases and certain critical infrastructure. One place that might need more of this type of consideration is Iraq, where insurgents (or "terrorists," if you prefer) have apparently been using the system to pinpoint their attacks on coalition forces.

According to reports from British troops in Basra, documents seized recently at an insurgent safehouse uncovered Google Earth printouts showing the detail of a British army base, including bunkhouses, lavatory blocks, and parking lots. Another printout of the Shatt al Arab Hotel, presently home to 1,000 British soldiers, included the camp's precise longitude and latitude. "This is evidence as far as we are concerned for planning terrorist attacks," said an intelligence officer with the Royal Green Jackets battle group. "Who would otherwise have Google Earth imagery of one of our bases? We have never had proof that they have deliberately targeted any area of the camp using these images but presumably they are of great use to them."

-read more in Thomas Harding's Telegraph report


WikiLeaks takes the pain out of sharing government secrets

Late last year we reported on an interesting information sharing approach under consideration by the nation's intelligence agencies. Based on the popular Wikipedia model, agents hope to cultivate what is known as the "hive mind" to efficiently share and cull data from varied sources. A good idea, we thought at the time. But it turns out that two can play at this game, and now intelligence agents have a choice: they can share their data with the CIA's Intellipedia, or they can anonymously provide it to the media and government watchdog groups via WikiLeaks. Inspired by the jailing of a Chinese journalist in 2005, the Web site is intended for use in China, Russia, Eurasia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. Corporations may also be targeted.

Concerns about anonymity are first and foremost, because if the system is not secure it is worthless. In order to prevent IP address tracing, WikiLeaks uses an anonymising protocol known as The Onion Router (Tor), which routes data through a network of secure, encrypted servers to hide the leaker's trail. "Imagine a large room jammed full of people in which many of them are passing around envelopes," said security guru Bruce Schneier. "How would you know where any of them started?" Not everyone, however, is convinced that Tor is as secure as some say, and some worry that the system might be overwhelmed by insincere users. "The initiative could drown in fabricated documents, pornographic records or become hijacked to serve vendettas," warns Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C.

WikiLeaks is currently raising funds and testing its software. It hopes to launch in February.

-read more in Paul Marks's New Scientist report; visit the WikiLeaks Web


IT spending worldwide to rise to $1.48 trillion by 2010

End users around the world spent $1.16 trillion on information technology in 2006, and they will increase IT spending at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3 percent to reach $1.48 trillion in 2010, a newly updated IDC forecast on worldwide vertical market IT spending says. In the latest study IDC presents an analysis of vertical market IT spending and opportunities across the regions where IDC maintains a research presence. Highlights from the study include the following:

  • Worldwide software spending is expected to reach $327 billion in 2010, reflecting a five-year CAGR of 7.7 percent. The largest markets are discrete manufacturing, the services industries, and government. The fastest-growing markets are healthcare, communications, and government
  • Worldwide hardware market spending is set to recover in the 200610 period, reaching $562 billion in 2010. IDC sees rising spending on volume servers, peripherals and storage, and networking equipment across regions. It is driven mainly by the robust spending from the home business and consumer, communications, and government sectors
  • IDC expects spending on IT services worldwide to reach $587 billion in 2010, reflecting a CAGR of 5.8 percent from 2005 to 2010. The largest market opportunities reside in government, banking, and discrete manufacturing.


Hi-Tech Security System Targets Suspicious Characters "Before" Crime Occurs

January 10, 2007 11:15 a.m. EST

Richelle Putnam - All Headline News Staff Writer

Baltimore, MD (AHN) - Cernium Inc.'s new technology in video-surveillance systems provides information on suspicious behavior "before" the crime. This behavior-recognition software zones in on suspicious characters and warns the security staff.

John Hopkins University utilizes the security system at its Homewood campus. The results have been astounding, with bike thefts reduced from 25 in 2005 to three in 2006 and crime dropping 20 percent.

The system records such information as the following:

a. How the character moves

b. Whether the person is female or male

c. Whether the person is carrying anything

d. Whether what he/she is carrying appears to be heavy

e. Whether the person moving faster or slower than is typical

The system also alerts security to quickly gathering or dispersing crowds, too-fast or too-slow cars and objects left unattended.

Parking garages are taking advantage of the security system. In Yonkers, NY, a 40-camera system has been installed in the Buena Vista Parking Garage located downtown, and another is planned for the Government Center Garage.

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security are interested as well, but in a slightly different way.

Research funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to find similar video technology that can be used at safer distances to monitor potential terrorist activity.


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