From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: NSA surveillance data in court | Border ghost towns | Calif. earthquake warning system
Date: Thu Jun 26 11:00:52 MDT 2014
Body:
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DAILY REPORT
Thursday 26 June 2014 vol. 8 no. 146

In Today's Issue

Terrorism
Judge rules use of NSA surveillance-based information in terrorist case is legal

Lawyers for Mohamed Mohamud, a U.S. citizen who lived in Oregon, have been denied a motion to dismiss his terrorism conviction, with the court affirming the legality of the U.S. government's bulk phone and e-mail data collection of foreign nationals living overseas. Mohamud’s defense team claimed the surveillance violated his constitutional rights, and that federal prosecutors did not make available to the defense evidence obtained via the surveillance. U.S. District Judge Garr King upheld Mohamud’s conviction, saying that suppressing the evidence collected through NSA surveillance "and a new trial would put defendant in the same position he would have been in if the government notified him of the (surveillance) at the start of the case.”

Border security
Proposed border security surge threatens to create ghost towns along the border -- again

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrolhas apprehended more illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley in the first eight months of fiscal 2014 (160,000) than it did for all of fiscal 2013 (154,453). Last May, agents apprehended over 1,100 illegal immigrants per day in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas officials have now authorized the Department of Public Safety(DPS) to send additional law enforcement personnel to patrol areas along the Texas-Mexico border at a cost of $1.3 million each week for the remainder of the year. Some residents compared the proposed surge, announced last week, to 2013’s Operation Strong Safety, which, these residents say, resembled a police state which created ghost towns along the border where illegal immigrants became afraid to go to work or send their children to school for fear of deportation.

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Disasters
Experts urge deployment of earthquake warning system in California

Scientists say that California has “99.7 percent chance of experiencing a severe earthquake -- magnitude 6.7 or higher on the Richter scale -- within the next 30 years.” These scientists are urging Congress to consider funding the full-scale deployment of an early-warning earthquake system on the western coast of the United States following successful testing of a prototype and positive results from similar international systems.

Information security
DHS receives top FISMA score for the second year in a row

DHS has received the top score in the annual Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), making it the only agency to achieve a score of ninety-nine two years in a row. The act, passed in 2002, requires the Office of Management and Budget to report on federal agencies’ implementation of set processes designed to secure federal IT infrastructures.Analysts credit the achievement to DHS' Office of Inspector General's (OIG) push for continuous monitoring of IT systems and standards. The OIG uses commercial vulnerability scanning tools and open source management software to form a system that routinely scans the agency's networks for compliance with FISMA metrics.

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Cybersecurity
Is Facelock the password alternative we’ve been waiting for?
By Philip Branch

One of the problems with using passwords to prove identity is that passwords that are easy to remember are also easy for an attacker to guess, and vice versa. Nevertheless, passwords are cheap to implement and well understood, so despite the mounting evidence that they are often not very secure, until something better comes along they are likely to remain the main mechanism for proving identity. But maybe something better has come along. Researchers propose a new system based on the psychology of face recognition called Facelock. But how does it stack up against existing authentication systems? The idea certainly sounds interesting and the technical challenges in implementing such a system do not seem great. But there are difficult questions regarding cost, selection and security of images that need to be answered before it becomes a practical alternative to passwords.

Syria
OPCW says Syria has completed handover of chemical weapons, but some are skeptical

Syria handed over the remaining 100 tons of toxic material to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last Monday. The final consignment, publicly delayed, consisted of about 8 percent of the total 1,300 tons that the country is believed to have possessed. Despite the celebratory mood, many in the West look at the Syrian and OPCW announcements skeptically due to conflicting information.

Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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Superbug
Canadian dirt containing Kryptonite for superbugs

A fungus living in the soils of Nova Scotia could offer new hope in the pressing battle against drug-resistant germs that kill tens of thousands of people every year, including one considered a serious global threat. A team of researchers has discovered a fungus-derived molecule, known as AMA, which is able to disarm one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistance genes: NDM-1 or New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1, identified by the World Health Organization as a global public health threat.

Water
Groundwater could be polluted with heavy metals by fracking flowback

The chemical makeup of wastewater generated by "hydrofracking" could cause the release of tiny particles in soils that often strongly bind heavy metals and pollutants, exacerbating the environmental risks during accidental spills, Cornell University researchers have found. Previous research has shown 10 to 40 percent of the water and chemical solution mixture injected at high pressure into deep rock strata, surges back to the surface during well development. Researchers found that the same properties that make the mixture so effective at extracting natural gas from shale can also displace tiny particles that are naturally bound to soil, causing associated pollutants such as heavy metals to leach out.

Also noted

Climate change is biggest threat to London SMEs as severe weather threatens supply chains | U.S. Africa Command hosts academic symposium on “Human Security” | Supreme Court rules warrants mandatory for cell phone searches | Earthquake early warning system could tweet alerts | Earthquake Engineering Lab at UNR celebrates grand opening | Oil train data show heavy traffic, including in Washington | Britain’s nuclear clean-up bill soars to £110 billion | Feds launch nuclear safety inquiry following leak | State Dept. bolsters social media campaign against ISIS, Al-Qaida, others | Long absent, nuclear expert still has hold on Iran talks

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Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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Progress and Modernity in Arab Societies
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