The Security Week That Was: A Recap - May 6-12, 2006

Residential and commercial monitoring companies -- ever had an upset customer? SIW contributing author Bob Harris thought you might have had a few of those, so this week we published his column that addressed ways to help defuse the situation and to help retain those angry customers and even turn them into allies. Harris will be writing a monthly column for our Dealers and Central Station Monitoring sections, and if you're in that business, it's a must-read. Check out his current column on SIW.

On the other hand, if you're in the world of loss prevention, SIW contributing columnist Liz Martinez addressed bleak facts about LP in a column that seeks to define the problems LP is facing -- plus how to solve them. From problems of corporate buy-in to the "our-hands-are-tied" liability issues facing LP officers, Martinez looked at what is going wrong in LP today (read the column here). In June, she turns from the "problems" to the solutions. While we're on the subject of loss prevention, it's worth noting that ASIS International has published a book from two of its CPPs which addresses legal liability issues in shoplifting cases.

Live from IFSEC 2006

Security Dealer's Peter Harlick traveled to Birmingham, England, this week to attend the IFSEC show, which is the UK's largest security show, held every year at this time and catering not only to dealers, but to integrators and end-users as well. Despite a prediction from a Frost & Sullivan analyst who said that "The fire and intrusion detection equipment markets, although large, are growing saturated," Harlick reports that the industry isn't feeling that those markets are struggling, and he says the industry as a whole has been very positive about long-term potential in the European market. Check out Harlick's three reports, beginning with the IFSEC Day 1 Report, exclusively on

While at IFSEC, I asked Peter to swing by Arecont Vision's booth, where they were demonstrating a new camera that pieces together four high-resolution network cameras into one package that can then offer 360-degree surveillance (see story). These cameras seem to be taking off. Polar Industries introduced a similar product at ISC West in Las Vegas, and, of course, IPIX has been known for their products in this market area for some time. It's a new tool in the bag for a security director or a dealer looking to place full-view surveillance in areas of unobstructed views, like in the center of a lobby, in a broad parking lot or other similar area.

Privacy Issues

Security vs. Privacy will be a lifelong debate for our industry. To keep you informed on this subject, I want to point out a few recent stories that address this concern.

First, at a Smart Card Alliance conference, the debate was over privacy issues of long-distance readers of smart cards, even up to 30 feet away.

Secondly, banks are taking more and more precautions in terms of privacy as it relates to account access and identity theft. Citibank, we reported last week, is using a three-factor authentication with a thumb drive that dynamically generates a new password for each log-in. For a different kind of application, we turn to U.S. Biometrics. The company's biometric authentication devices are going into bank kiosks made by Real Time Kiosks; again, the point is to ensure valid account access. Also in the financial services world, network security companies Edentify and Innerwall have teamed up for a two-step identity validation and authentication process.

In the world of air travel, a UK journalist performed a simple test of identity security. By picking up a boarding stub discarded by another passenger, he was able to pull a great amount of detail on the man's life. His story ("An Airline Ticket to Fraud") is a great wake up call for how physical and IT security staff have to partner to make sure that data collected for personal identification doesn't weaken a customer or an employee's overall personal security.

Checking the Faces

Finally, to close this week's recap, I want to mention a story that grabbed our attention primarily because it involved a cutting edge technology (facial recognition), a common document (a driver's license), and a very cool application (at the Wisconsin's driver's license bureau). The sum of the story is that a facial recognition algorithm is working behind the scenes comparing faces taken for Wisconsin driver's licenses to make sure that false driver's licenses aren't making their way to the streets. The system looks at current individuals' photos and compares them to a database of photos from other licenses. The goal is to make sure that one person isn't creating a false identity and able to create an additional license in another name. See the full story.

And, as always, a look at our most popular stories from the last seven days: