The security week that was: 03/07/08

A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession


2. Container security. We may now have widespread scanning of containers, but that's not the end-all of container security. We have the technology to secure containers individually and to manage that automatically (and this is true no matter which camp you are in: RFID, GPS, Comp/wireless, etc.).

3. Real ID: There's no coalition building here, and in fact, Chertoff is stooping to scare tactics to try to sell this project, which would have to be footed by the states and ultimately you and me. The scare tactic du jour is that "Your state's citizens won't be able to fly on airplanes unless you adopt the Real ID proposal." Ok, so if a big state didn't adopt Real ID, they don't think the airlines would pressure DHS to allow traditional driver's licenses as approved identification? Economy has always trumped security (that's why Zippos were allowed aboard planes but Bic lighters weren't -- bizarre as it was).

4. Europe's air security partnerships. Guess what? We're looked at as Big Brother. We're the country wanting sovereign nations to turn over specific aviation user information to the U.S.. Maybe we don't understand that EU countries hate terrorists as much as we do, but that they aren't willing to turn private information over to another nation and give up information control forever. Maybe we'll overcome that objection, but I'm not seeing the needed traction here.

5. Cybersecurity. I don't even know where to start. High turn-over of government cyber-security staff is one indicator. The word on the street is that this is changing and DHS is getting better at realizing that information systems are just as important as chemical plants, but you wouldn't know it from past DHS actions.

6. Katrina and FEMA. I don't even need to explain this one. Homeland security isn't just protecting against Osama bin Laden. Let's hope the lessons were learned.

All in all, I'd give the DHS a grade of a "B". What they've managed to do isn't perfect, but it's well above average considering the hurdles. I'm not going to armchair pundit them to death, because we all know how slow security is to change, and yet they have made security changes happen relatively quickly. If you want to comment on their changes, we have a homeland security discussion forum set up, you can join and lambast them or praise them all you want. If you want to hear what Chertoff and Ridge are happy about, you can read their column here.

Quick bites in the news
UTC goes for Diebold, new leaders at GE Security, more

UTC made what many are calling a hostile take-over bid for Diebold. After being repeatedly turned down and being somewhat ignored by the board of Diebold, UTC came out with a per-stock price offer for Diebold that was aimed at shareholders. … Pennsylvania-based security and monitoring firm Select Security has purchased SecurityNet, another Penn. firm. … GE Security named new general managers and president for the Americas. Those GE names are ones you probably already know well from other prominent firms.