Showing posts with label Law Enforcement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Law Enforcement. Show all posts

June 15, 2019

Don't Call Me Sir!

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Don't Call Me Sir!
In a split second, the officer zeros in on me and admonishingly says: "I’m not a Sir!" I’m taken aback, as I watch the officer speak, their face hardened and angular and their full mustache rising and falling with their words.

It's Pride Month, and I learned a valuable lesson in sensitivity, respect, and diversity and that in short: 

Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Jewish Lives Matter, All Lives Matter!  We are all children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 8, 2017

Bad Boyz

Bad boyz, bad boyz what you gonna do?

When the bad boyz come to hurt the girls.

The bad boyz better watch out. 

Feminism is alive and well. 

Women are individuals full of rights and fights. 

No one will take away what is theirs by G-d given creation of their soul and body. 

Whoever tries to is destined to the dustbins of history. 

Bad boyz, bad boyz...better recognize that women are people too.

And they are smart, resourceful, powerful, and good. 

Sugar and spice and everything naughty and nice. 

911, 911, 911...take this bad boyz away.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 13, 2016

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

So true story...

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it's wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that's not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word "terrorist."

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it's probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee...I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up...that's good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, "I called you about this suspicious vehicle."

He goes sternly, "Well, what's suspicious about it?"

I described the obvious...how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word "terrorist".

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, "That's not suspicious!" Then he concedes, "but I will give it a ticket."

He must've seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, "Well Sir, you're the expert!"

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

"ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies."

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, "An Affordable Weapon" and the statement that "low security" gatherings "are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations."

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 31, 2016

Politicized Justice

DC is in partisanship chaos once again, but this time it's our very justice system at the heart of it. 

There is widely publicized internal fighting at the FBI and Department of Justice over whether and how far to investigate, let alone ever prosecute, emails and foundation issues from a presidential candidate. 

As the FBI can only investigate, they have no jurisdiction over whether prosecutors are willing to then take the case forward. 

Downtown today, there were signs that said:

"I Need Some Good News.com"

This was referencing the new soundtrack of "Good News" by Ocean Park Standoff, but it could easily summarize the standoff between the FBI and Justice Department and the political parties lining up behind them. 

So there is certainly the need for some good news, as a dour mood settles over the capital and the people around the nation watching this play out so awfully, where politics have gotten in between us and our candidates and doing what's right. 

From the song:

"I need some good news baby 'cause the world's gone crazy."

When even our law enforcement authorities can no longer function without impediment, and when there is no core impunity from political infringement and recriminations, we know even our most basic system of justice has gone awry with political dysfunction. 

Yes, it's crazy and it's definitely not good news for the progress and righteousness of this great nation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2016

Alarming Graffiti Message


I actually stopped to read and photograph this graffiti or should I all it a cry for help.

First of all the "artist" was considerate and put it on paper (that was taped up), and not directly on the street pole.

Second, there are some incredibly thoughtful, alarming, and prayer messages on this in both English (as well as in Asian, and Hebrew languages), such as:

- "Jewish prayer for no rape."

-  "Abusive bee." "Bee pose," "Queen bee," "Bee wisdom," and "Bee Sting"

- "Abusive spiritual teachers being arrested"

- "We are angelic"

- "I pray for diversity in the bee colony"

- "I pray for a well taught dog"

- "Goddess may the dog be happy"

- "Hashem [G-d] causes the generations to realize they are one"

- "Temple of the animist"

- "Freedom of religion."

- "Kosher U.S.A. Government"

- "Thanks MD/DC Service Dog."

There is more, but I couldn't make out all of it.

There is a also a drawing of a girl in a sitting position with her knees up and sort of smiling.

What strikes me most in this are the numerous references to some sort of abuse, likely sexual with the references to things like prayer for no rape, abusive bee, bee sting, bee pose, and abusive spiritual teachers being arrested.

I feel very unsettled by this, like someone is in trouble and this is a call for help from the community.

All the identification with religion, spirituality, and G-d make this even more significant in terms of the spiritual questioning and perhaps confusion from it all.

Also, is this person disabled/blind--note the reference to the service dog.

I hope that this person(s) are okay and that if they are in danger and need help: go immediately to your parents, the police, school authorities, or a social worker.

People in the community care, and especially G-d hears your prayers.

Whoever might be hurting you needs to be dealt with by the authorities, and please G-d, you will be alright. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 5, 2015

Climbing The Tower, Remembering 9/11






It's the weekend before the anniversary of 9/11, and today in full gear, about 100 firefighters and police officers climbed the 28-story tower in Rockville 4 1/2 times today equaling the 2,000 stairs in the World Trade Centers.

This to remember the 343 firefighter and 71 police officer heroes that fell that fateful day.

Also, to raise funds for the firefighter burn fund. 

While some are war weary and would rather forget or pretend it never even happened...

It is so important that we not forget the devastating terrorist attack by Islamic extremists on 9/11 that took us by surprise and cost this nation so dearly. 

Reckless pacifism, appeasement, cowardice, and running from the fight without defeating the enemy and restoring societal order will only bring the fight to us. 

We need ongoing vigilance, investment and improvements to homeland security and our national defense, and the spread of freedom and human rights across the globe.


(The interview with the firefighter was narrated by me, Andy Blumenthal)

(Source Photos: Me as well). 

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February 18, 2015

Stop Harassment Now

I took this photo on the Washington, D.C. Metro. 

"If It's Unwanted, It's Harassment."

Only a day or two later, some ladies came to me complaining that they had been harassed on the Metro.

Apparently, they had been on the platform waiting for a train and a young man was first staring at them, then coming around them menancingly, and then following them. 

Thank G-d, they got away, but it was a frightening situation that left them wanting to actually move away. 

Residents in the metro D.C area and customers of Metro should not have to ride in fear. 

We need more police and surveillance cameras on the Metro system now!

Signs are a great reminder, but law enforcement action is what is really needed and called for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 27, 2014

Drones Neighbor Against Neighbor

Fascinating perspective in the New York Times today on the future diabolical use of drones.

Yes, drones can be used for defense, law enforcement, search and rescue, neighborhood watch, agriculture, and even Amazon or Pizza Hut deliveries. 

But what about the darker side of drones--used neighbor against neighbor, where anyone can buy a fairly sophisticated drone for merely hundreds of dollars and use it against others in the community.

- Want to use the (surveillance) camera to spy on your neighbor?

- Want to use its claws to pick up and steal something?

- Want to airlift and plant evidence or contraband and frame someone unjustly?

- Want to distract someone or cause an accident or fatality?

Ok, I am going a lot further than the NYT article...but really what prevents people from doing these things and more?

The article does mention new FAA policies "prohibiting drones from flying [over stadiums] near major sporting events."

But think about a drone in the hands of a terrorist with a dirty bomb or G-d forbid, even a WMD, and the drone swooping into a densely populated area like a stadium or even Times Square...what would prevent this--perhaps, nothing?

Think about it...this is about to become a lot more dangerous world because drones are not just for the good guys anymore, and the bad guys may not care about FAA regulations and penalties. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to outacontext)
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November 4, 2014

100 Times Harassed!


After my last blog on stopping sexual assault, a colleague brought this other video to my attention.

32 million views and 120 thousand comments and counting. 

This young lady walks around the streets of New York for 10 hours in jeans and a t-shirt and is verbally harassed a 100 times--not including winks and whistles. 


Women (and men) should not have to live in fear, shame, or be abused doing nothing but living their lives peacefully and respectfully. 

Darn, can the folks out there show some respect and decency.

This could be your mother, wife, sister, or daughter...think about it.

Video sponsored by IHollaback
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Stop Sexual Assault

Saw this poster coming off the Metro today in Washington D.C. 

"It's on all of us to stop sexual assault."

It reminded me of this article I read in the DailyMail about this father of a 14-year girl in India that was raped in her home by a medical supply salesman. 

The young girl was raped and impregnated by a 45-year old man who boasted that he was "too well-connected" to ever be prosecuted. 

After some time passed, the father invited the rapist to dinner!

The rapist came. 

The father overcame the rapist, and repeatedly burned the man's genitals with hot thongs.

The rapist died.

This one rapist will certainly not be doing this again. 

While blatant violation of the law and vigilantism is not okay, the poster is right that we need to "stop sexual assault."

Statistics in this country are that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted before they graduate. 

Unacceptable!

Laws protecting women (and men) from sexual assault need to be strengthened, penalties stiffened, and we all need to be on the lookout for inappropriate behavior and speedily report this to law enforcement.

And no one should be above the law and basic morality. 

"It's on us."  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 24, 2014

Driving Identity Theft

It's been only about 4 months since my mom passed, and now my dad becomes very sick from chemotherapy and ends up in the hospital for a week.

His red and white blood count were extremely low, but thank G-d, the doctors were able to save him.


However, he is in a drastically weakened state and now looks like he will need regular assisted living just to get by every day. 


This has been horrible to see someone who has always been so strong, smart, and there selflessly for all of us, to be in this condition. 


We found a nice place for him, but even the nicest place isn't his place and doesn't allow the independence he (and we all) always cherish. 


On top of it, I get a letter in the mail with more than half a dozen tickets on his car.


It's impossible, because he hasn't been driving due to his illness.


We run down to check his car, and sure enough someone stole his plates (and replaced them with another set). 


They did this to his car that has handicapped tags.


In the meantime, they are driving around through tolls and doing G-d knows what.


The police were helpful--they came as soon as they could--took a report, the plates that were switched onto his car, and dusted for fingerprints.


I will never forget standing there just after my joint surgery--when not three hours before, I thought to myself, maybe things are finally calming down. 


Hopefully, the police will catch whoever did this. 


In the meantime, I take comfort knowing that G-d is the ultimate police force. ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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January 5, 2014

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

I started watching The Following on Netflix. 

If you haven't seen it, the show is a portrayal of a serial killer.

This criminal has a near cult like following of people who want to kill, like him, and they do. 

It is a frightening portrayal of people who murder, gruesomely.

They do it almost nonchalantly, like second nature. 

They have no remorse, quite the opposite, they are deeply committed to what they do (e.g. through stabbing, burning, choking, etc.)

And they connect with each other, and the main serial killer, in their brutal acts of murder. 

The show is deeply troubling in that there seems to be so many people out there who savor this, and that the authorities struggle to try to stop them. 

Last year, the Wall Street Journal explored the science behind violent criminals. 

They found in more than 100 studies that "about half of the variance in aggressive and anti-social behavior can be attributed to genetics."

The study of this is called neurocriminology.

When this predisposition of genetics is combined with "early child abuse," an individual is more prone to commit violent acts. 

This is the old, "nature and nurture," where our biological predisposition combined with our specific environmental factors, in a sense, make us who we are. 

Understanding these contributors can help to both predict behavior and recidivism, and very importantly help with early treatment by "making it possible to get ahead of the problem" through therapy, medication, and so on. 

People can be the worst type of animals, killing not only for food or because they are threatened, but actually for the joy of it.

The show is scary, but the reality is even more frightening as we battle heredity and environment. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 23, 2013

Mothers Against Shaving Driving

So you think drinking and driving is bad...it is!

But look what this person is doing while driving. 

No, not texting.

No, not putting on makeup.

This guy is actually shaving while driving an automobile, and he's at an intersection. 

What is he thinking?

Are people really that busy that they can't find a few minutes to shave in the morning in the bathroom?

Of course when this guy has an accident, G-d forbid, he'll make up some shameful lying story to get himself off the hook.

Oh, it was the other person's fault or the accelerator stuck--it's defective.

Where are people's sensibilities? 

Here's a band-aid for the nick you got while shaving this morning. 

Next time use a bigger mirror and keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2013

Some Game This Is


I remember as a kid, my grandfather lived down the block from us on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. 

He was old and not in the best of health with a heart condition, hearing aids, and more. 

One day, he was coming home from the bank, and he went into the elevator in his building. 

He was followed by a punk, who after the elevator door closed, proceeded to grab my grandfather and choke him until he was unconscious. 

The thug took his wallet and left my grandfather on the floor of the elevator. 

Now, today I saw on the news about the Knockout Attack Game--and some "game" this is.

The attacker runs up behind the person unbeknownst and with full force slams their fist against a person head, knocking them unconscious, and when successful, this is done with one punch! 

In other cases, an entire gang will attack, punching and kicking a victim until they stop moving. 

While I couldn't locate the exact video that happened in a neighborhood in NY to a Jewish woman, this video of an attack on a Muslim girl in London about a year ago, approximates it very closely. 

While some victims of these attacks end up with broken jaws, skulls, shattered teeth, internal injuries, bleeding and more, others are not so lucky and end up dead. 

I never forgot what happened to my grandfather and the cowardly schmuck that attacked this old, helpless man--but at least, he apparently did it for the money. 

In these knockout attacks, when they ask the attackers why they do it, the response is for the fun and laughs. 

What a commentary of our society, when people brutally attack other people--not for money, revenge, self-defense, or principle--but simply to see others needlessly suffer and to take a form of intense joy in it. 

Perhaps, there are certain crimes for which the L-rd above must look down and mete out his own version of justice, in a way that restores order to this world of hope and despair.
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May 19, 2013

Women, Not Things

In the context of the brutal raping and murder last year of a 23-year old women on a bus to the disgusting rape of a 5-year girl more recently in India, the Wall Street Journal (17 May 2013) has an article on "To Wed Your Rapist, or Not: Indian Women on Trial."

It is an eye-opening article about the prejudices and horrible injustices that women face in India and other countries--and it's not only due to the misogyny of some, and power- and pleasure-seeking of others, but it is based also on justices, lawyers, law enforcement, legislators, and spiritual figures in society that perpetuate the oppression of woman. 

Some societies are stacking the deck, so women cannot reasonably win due protection--from legislators who do not write and pass substantive and equitable laws to protect women, to law enforcement that will not commit the resources to pursue the rapists and women beaters, to lawyers and judges that raise ridiculous demands for proving guilt and sentencing, and to spiritual leaders that blame the victim rather than hold the perpetrators to task. 

These people who are supposed to bring justice to the victims, instead add insult to injury. Some of these include:

- Ruling against rape victims because they didn't successfully fight back. For example, a "lower court ruled that she was lying citing among other things the fact that she could have scratched the man's genitals, but didn't."

- Professing that victims are at fault for causing the rape, such as by wearing skirts, having male friends (i.e. "asking for it"), or otherwise dressing or behaving immodestly. At the extreme, one prominent spiritual figure actually held that the victim could've avoided trouble if she had "chanted a prayer, taken one of her attackers by the hand, and called him 'brother'"--as if one can convince an attacker not to attack by holding their hands and gushing brotherhood.

- Teaching that rape is not possible for strong women or those of a labor caste. A 2005 textbook stated, "In normal circumstances, it is not possible for a single man to hold sexual intercourse with a healthy adult female in full possession of her senses against her will." Oh, really? I doubt these teachers would like to test this hypothesis on their beloved mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters.

In Indian and other societies where women are so degraded, there is a standing notion of a rape victim having to marry their rapist--to make things right. Yet, how can this resolve anything? As if the incident of rape is not enough, the victim must endure a lifetime of rape--and by an individual without character or soul, who could commit such a brutal, violent act to begin with. 

Forcing the victim to marry the rapist does not spare a woman the challenge of marrying normally after such an traumatic act, but rather it precludes her from ever having an opportunity to rid herself of the pain and shame, and go on to be with someone who truly loves and respects her as a person, and not an object. 

As long as societies marginalize women through their beliefs, teachings, and systems of injustice, women will not be spared the agonizing harm they suffer by men who abuse their status of power. But as the old saying goes, "what goes around, comes around,"--what is incredible is that so many of these people just see it going, but don't see it coming. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2013

Remembering Every Moment


I saw a frightening movie a while back about a girl that had been drugged and brutally raped. 

In the movie, the girl is eerily warned, "You won't remember, but you will never forget!"

That line leaves an indelible mark--that something can be so horrific, so scaring that you can't recall it, and can't forget it. 

Now there is a new device coming to market that helps you recall everything.

Memoto is a 5 megapixel tiny camera (36 x 36 millimeters) with an embedded GPS that is worn around the neck, like a necklace. 

When clipped on, it starts taking the phones and when put down or in a pocket it shuts off. 

The Memoto takes 2 photos a minutes (1 every 30 seconds or nearly 3,000 a day if worn all the time).

The photos are stored in an accessible cloud app that uses GPS to sort the photos on a timeline with a date and location stamp.

Photos are private by default, but can be shared using traditional social media, such as to Facebook or Twitter. 

The battery lasts about 2 days and is rechargeable by connecting to your computer at which time the photos are uploaded to Memoto's servers. 

Wear, photograph, recharge/upload and repeat. 

Privacy issues abound with a device like this--imagine wearing this into the bathroom, locker room, bedroom, or even a private corporate meeting--lots of embarrassing and compromising no-no's here!

At the same time, imagine all the precious or memorable moments in life that you can capture and enjoy--it's the realization of the photographic memory you've never had, but always wanted. 

Also think of that rapist or other criminal approaching you--getting photographed, caught, and punished--so that the victim really does remember, and can forget with a new peace of mind. ;-)
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May 6, 2013

The Help Button Is Only A Kiosk Away

Great job by the ANAR (Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk) Foundation in Europe to aid abused children. 

The ad is hidden from adults, and the message is only visible to children--based on their height and angle of viewing. 

To the abused child, they see: "If someone hurts you, phone us and we'll help" with a number to call to get help in an anonymous and confidential way. 

To the accompanying adult, they see: "Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it."

This is a great reminder to adults to behave themselves in how they treat children, and a way to get critical assistance information to children discreetly. 

Learning from this, I'd love to see a similar campaign here in the U.S. to help child abuse victims, as well as other variations to help abused women, human trafficking victims, and others--by finding technological innovations to help them get the message in ways that their abusers don't necessarily detect and which can't easily be blocked from their victims.

Perhaps, one way to do this is to widely deploy emergency, push button, help kiosks where victims can easily reach out for assistance, where otherwise they would have no way to call for help--such as when their phones, money, passports, and so on have been confiscated. 

Their are a lot of people hurting out there and we need to get to them to tell them that there is help available, that they will be protected (and mean it), and that they can easily reach out and we'll be right there for them. 

Now that's an easy button to really help people. ;-)
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March 13, 2013

Balancing Cybersecurity And Citizen Freedom


There is a very interesting discussion of the protection of Federal Networks and the Fourth Amendment in “Cybersecurity, Selected Legal Issues,” Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress (3 May 2012). 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in conjunction with the National Security Agency (NSA) rolled out EINSTEIN, an intrusion detection system (IDS) in early iterations, and later an intrusion prevention system (IPS) at all Internet points of presence (POPs) for the government.

The system works through copying, storage, and deep packet inspection of not only the metadata for addressing information, but also the actual contents of the flow. This handling is necessary in order to identify suspicious malware signatures and behavior and alert the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) in order to block, quarantine, clean, and respond to the attacks and share information about these.

However, the civil liberties and privacy issue with EINSTEIN is that according to the Fourth Amendment, we are protected from unreasonable search and seizures. Thus, there are concerns about the violation of the Fourth Amendment, when DHS monitors and inspects addressing and content of all email and Internet communications to and from federal agency employees and the public–including not only from government email accounts and systems, but also from private email accounts such as Yahoo and Gmail and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

 The justification for the use of EINSTEIN includes:

1.    The government cannot reasonably get warrants in real time in order to safeguard the federal network and systems at the speed that the attacks are occurring.

2.    The government places banners and user agreements on all Federal networks notifying users of monitoring, so there is no expectation of privacy in the communications.

3.    The monitoring is conducted only for malicious computer activity and not for other unlawful activities—so “clean” traffic is promptly removed the system.

4.    Privacy protections are ensured though review mechanisms, including Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) reporting to Congress every six months and a sunset provision requiring monitoring reauthorization every four years.

This tension between monitoring of Federal networks and traffic and civil liberties and privacy is a re-occurring issue when it comes to cybersecurity. On one hand, we want cybersecurity, but on the other hand, we are anxious about this security infringing on our freedoms---whether freedom of expression, from search and seizure, from surveillance, or from potentially costly regulation, stifling innovation, and so forth.  It is this tension that has stalled many cybersecurity bills such as the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), The Computer Security Act of 2012 and more.

In the absence of a clear way forward with legislation to regulate and enforce, or incentivize, standards and best practices for cybersecurity, particularly for critical infrastructure protection, as well as information sharing, the White House released Presidential Policy Directive/PDD-21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience to establish DHS and other federal agency roles in cybersecurity and to manage these on a risk-based model, so that critical infrastructure is identified, prioritized, assessed, and secured accordingly.

While PDD-21 is a step in the right direction, it is an ongoing challenge to mediate a balance between maintaining our values and constitutional freedoms, while at the same time securing cyberspace.

One thought is that perhaps we can model cybersecurity after the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 that separated federal military from domestic national guard and law enforcement powers. Using this model, we can create in cyberspace a separation of cybersecurity from our borders outward by the federal government, and within the domestic private networks by our national guard and law enforcement.

Thus, we can create stronger security radiating out at the national periphery, while maintaining our important freedoms within, but always working together to identify and neutralize any and all threats to cyberspace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 3, 2013

A Seeing Eye


This video from NOVA is an amazing display of the surveillance capabilities we have at our disposal.

ARGUS-IS Stands for Automated Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System.

Like a "Persistent Stare," ARGUS provides continuous monitoring and tracking over a entire city, but also it has the ability to simply click on an area (or multilple areas--up to 65 at a time) to zoom in and see cars, people, and even in detail what individuals are wearing or see them even waving their arms!

Created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARGUS uses 368 imaging chips and provides a streaming video of 1.8 gigapixels (that is 1.8 billion pixels) of resolution and attaches to the belly of a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone. 

ARGUS captures 1 million terabytes of a data a day, which is 5,000 hours of high-definition footage that can be stored and returned to as needed for searching events or people. 

The Atlantic (1 February 2013) points out how using this over an American city could on one hand, be an amazing law enforcement tool for catching criminals, but on the other hand raise serious privacy concerns like when used by government to collect data on individuals or by corporations to market and sell to consumers. 

What is amazing to me is not just the bird's eye view that this technology provides from the skies above, but that like little ants, we are all part of the mosaic of life on Earth.  We all play a part in the theater of the loving, the funny, the witty, and sometimes the insane. 

My Oma used to say in German that G-d see everything, but now people are seeing virtually everything...our actions for good or for shame are visible, archived, and searchable. ;-)

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February 1, 2013

Hold That Smartphone!


So coming home yesterday, there is this lady sprawled out, sleeping on the Metro.

Lots of people sleep on the train...especially after a long day and when the weather is the pits out there.

However, this lady falls asleep with her smartphone just lying out on her lap--no hands on--just plop sitting on her skirt. 

A couple of guys to my right start laughing and then saying what's that lady doing--someone is going to steal her phone.

They nudge another passenger standing in front of the lady to tap her and let her know.

The passenger begrudging does it and then the guys yell over from a couple of row away--"Hey lady! You better hold on to your phone or someone's going to grab it and run!"

The lady opens her eyes sees the phone just sprawled out on her lap, fidgets with it for a moment, and then of all things--she just falls right back to sleep again with the phone laying there unattended. 

These two guys on the train are roaring about it--one starts saying that he saw someone grab another person's device on the train just the other day and run right out the train door with it. 

At this point, the lady is sound asleep and now snoring away on top of it and her smartphone is rising and falling with her laborious breathing. 

Hey folks, this lady may not have gotten enough sleep the night before, been drinking a little too much, or may not have been the brightest bulb to begin with--but we've all got to be careful out there--hold unto your valuables and your smartphones is quite that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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