The security week that was: 03/21/08

Super security for the giant game

A month after the Super Bowl, we’re now hearing lots of reports about how security and emergency response was handled for Super Bowl XLII. Why the lag? Well, to paraphrase the movie Fight Club, “the first rule about security is that you don’t talk about security" -- well, at least until after the threats have passed.

So there’s a lot to be learned about how the big game was secured. SIW was in touch with a Phoenix integrator and a detective at the Phoenix Police Department to talk about a very unique surveillance program. They designed a system around temporary placement of cameras that would allow them to quickly respond to threats and serve as a force multiplier. Unlike many systems, the idea wasn’t to permanently attach units in locations, but to go with designs that could be moved relatively quickly, and which used a wirless mesh backbone. Our story on the Phoenix P.D.’s surveillance operations can be read here on our CCTV page features section, and it covers some of the firms involved in case you're interested in a who's who. OnSSI noted that the IP video management solution that Phoenix used was their own; read OnSSI’s announcement about how they were involved in the project here.

We also heard of a solution using vehicle tracking through GPS to keep track of where teams and officials were. It was partly for scheduling and partly for security.

Additionally, responders at the game used an innovative mustering solution. It was based on high-tech ID badges from The Datacard Group that could tell where responders were (only approximately – it wasn’t full personnel tracking) and what skills each responder had in case there was a major incident.

Additionally, GuardTrax GPS solutions were used for monitoring and managing security personnel in a real-time manner.

We’re sure there are more players who were involved -- shoot us a email if you took part in securing Super Bowl XLII -– and the incredible thing is the level of cooperation, layering and integration that was required to keep Super Bowl XLII pretty quiet. Sure there were some incidents (including a gunman with 200 rounds of ammunition who planned a massacre but thought better of it and turned himself into police), but the game, as far as fans were concerned, went off without a (security) hitch.

[Speaking of big competitions and big venues to protect, we heard today that Panasonic will be supplying some 2,000 of the surveillance cameras used in video applications for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing. It's full steam ahead for our industry...from Phoenix to Beijing and onward.]

Other big news for the week
L-1 gets prime contract, SIAC expands focus, big retailer’s credit card breach

Our friend Jeff Kessler, an independent analyst and consultant (who you undoubtedly know from his days with Lehman Brothers and his continued involvement with the Securing New Ground conference), made sure we were closely aware of L-1 landing the prime contract for the U.S. Passport Card program. … SIAC recently broadened its focus beyond security/burglar alarm ordinances and is now working with cities on creating fair and reasonable fire alarm ordinances. … The Hannaford Bros. grocery chain was victim to the theft of some 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers, and reports say that led to 1,800 cases of fraud. SIW’s Security2LP blogger Curtis Baillie, an independent retail security consultant, has the updates and commentary on this serious retail issue. Finally, if you haven’t checked out our new website dedicated to IP/networked security solutions, then point your browser over to

We close this weekly recap as always with a review of some of the most popular stories of the week: