The security week that was: 04/15/11 (politics and security funding)

Security funding & politics

Wouldn't it be nice to separate security from politics? Wouldn't it be nice if homeland security funding was solely assigned based on risk and impact and not subject to Congressional favoritism? Am I being ridiculous and naïve?

You don't have to answer that last question. I know those are dreamy ideas that will never live in the quagmire of a political environment. Case in point is new legislation this week called HR 1555 from Rep. Lowey of New York that would seek to trim down the number of urban areas that would receive UASI homeland security grants. The money of these grants is for emergency planning and anti-terrorism, and the number of cities that receives these grants has grown substantially, starting at just a few and now numbering 64.

On one hand, Lowey's proposal (which was also an amendment provision to HR 1, the House appropriations bill) is politics agnostic – it would limit funding to the top urban areas. But on the other hand, Lowey's own location (a county part of the NYC metro area) would stand to benefit heavily because the pool of UASI dollars would be split by fewer big urban areas. Again, it's just a dream if you ever think politics can be separated from funding.

Patents, patents and more patents
And there are a bunch of lawyers in the mix...

It's sue everyone week in the security industry. We started off this week covering news about ObjectVideo's patent lawsuit against Bosch, Sony and Samsung over three video analytic patents the company holds and which it believes those companies infringe. The SIW article shares the complaint and OV's side of the story; the other firms weren't willing to comment. What's clear is that OV has made substantial changes in its business to set itself up as more of an intellectual property firm.

Then there was our news of the lawsuit where Grandeye is suing Sentry 360 over panoramic surveillance technology. There's quite a dispute between the two companies, and it all goes back to the former IPIX company that developed technology so many years and years ago. IPIX thought it was going to make a killing the world of real estate (I was covering the real estate industry at the time and remember this well), but it turned out that the physical security industry was also a fresh field. Unfortunately the “immersive” video technology hasn't taken off like a lot of the proponents believed it would. Maybe someday it will, but it's been promoted for years and I still rarely see panoramic video in use at an end-user's property.

Finally, there's a company named Walker Digital that is in “sue everyone” mode. Some of the victims of its patent litigation complaints are big names: Google, Amazon, Groupon, LinkedIn, Myspace, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic and the list goes on and on like some old scroll. There are companies in the security industry affected as well. ADT Security Services, Arrow Security, Iveda, Tessco, Westec and others were all part of a suit that alleges their remote video monitoring services infringe on Walker's “Internet surveillance system and method”. Sounds to me like Walker Digital is on a fishing mode running its trolling motor, and just hoping enough companies will pay them to shut up that they can make a tidy profit...

In other news:
Dodgers' security, Fluidmesh ownership, Central station alarm monitoring tech

The Dodgers are beefing up stadium security after a beating. ... Monitronics took home a false alarm reduction award. ... Agilence picked up assets from now-defunct video analytics firm Vidient. ... Columbia, Mo., is looking at downtown cameras. ... Fluidmesh had an investment/ownership change. ... NIST has a new tool out for residential fire sprinkler designs. ... SD&I's Natalia Kosk reports in on change in central station monitoring technologies. ... TSA Chief Pistole more or less told the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee the equivalent of "I don’t answer to you." Ouch.