The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Dec. 30-Jan. 5, 2007

Sometimes the world news is a reminder of how you should approach corporate security. And in what was arguably the most important news story of the week -- Saddam Hussein's execution -- there's a strong lesson to be learned, and that lesson begins with personal screenings and cellular phones.

The execution, which was billed as a formal government judicial exercise, was captured in video on the crude image sensor of a cellular phone, and the video went on to be the most sought after footage of the week, propelling Saddam Hussein up to No. 2 in Google's ranking of the week's search terms, just behind James Brown. Not only did the video stir the emotions of Sunnis and Shiites who saw the video as an act of Shiite retribution (Hussein was a Sunni), but it also called into question the formality and security of a government that cannot even control its own executions.

Interestingly enough, news reports indicated that the judicial guards did perform a person-by-person screening to keep cell phones and other electronic devices out of the execution area, but now reports have placed a bit of suspicion on one of the judicial guards himself.

Finally, because news isn't useful if you can't learn from others' mistakes, consider these:

1) Are there locations in your own facilities where cellular phones and other devices that offer still image, audio or video capturing capabilities should be banned?
2) Is it time to re-examine your own personnel and vehicle screening procedures?
3) Do devices like digital cameras with USB connections, which can be used as portable storage devices, belong in all aspects of your corporate environment?
4) How do you coordinate your security department with event planning staff so that security doesn't come into a corporate event as an afterthought, but remains a central player and adviser throughout the process?

Md. and Va. Can Get Smart Cards Working, but Not TWIC
States unveil smart card for first responders, while national TWIC smart card program hobbles along

The Richmond Times reported this week that the states of Virginia and Maryland will be unveiling a smart card system for first responders. The cards, which should be launching later this month, will include personal biometrics and identity data. It's designed to ensure that, in the case of a major emergency, responders can be authenticated at the scene.

And while two states can launch a program and get it going quite rapidly, the DHS Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program still can't stand on its own two feet, despite five years of effort. The goal was to have a smart card for marine transportation workers that would identify the workers, allow for electronic access control, and attest to the fact that they had undergone a background check to clear them for work at U.S. ports. Now the DHS is saying they won't have the technology ready any time soon to use the cards for their electronic access control purposes. Incidentally, the cards are going to cost marine transportation employees $159 per card -- all that for a card that will simply be used to match a person's face with a picture on a card before the trucker can enter a secure part of a port!

In Other News
Acquisitions, contracts and resignations

Integration firm Peace of Mind Technologies has landed a video surveillance project with Hilton Hotels in Newark. ... Brady Corporation has bought an Italian wiring identification firm but currently doesn't plan to bring that product group to the U.S. market. ... National Nuclear Security Administration chief Linton Brooks is resigning following a repeated pattern of security breaches at the nuclear agency. ... Residential alarm services firm Home Security Systems out of Lock Haven, Penn., has been acquired by Select Security. ... InterTECH, a security systems integration firm from Pennsylvania, has acquired the assets of former competitor E-Quip in Maryland.

Losing One of the Best
In memoriam: Roger Leadabrand, Bosch Security Systems

It is with a sad heart that we mention the unfortunate passing of Roger Leadabrand, who most recently served as Bosch Security Systems' vice president of sales for the Western U.S. region. Leadabrand had given many years of service to the security industry, through Bosch and previous companies such as Detection Systems and Radionics. He had always been a strong business advocate for security installing and integration firms.

As Shamus Hurley, president of Bosch Security Systems, said in a short memorial message, "Roger will be dearly missed not only by his family, friends and community, but by all Bosch associates, industry peers and the many friends he knew in the security industry."

We ask those of you in this industry to remember Leadabrand's wife and children in your thoughts and prayers.

We close this week's issue with a look at the five most read stories of the week: