The security week that was: 02/11/11 (Egypt's impact on global security)

Egypt and global security

Although there were still doubts about what would become of Mubarak’s reign after he spoke to the crowds last night, today it became clear when Vice President Omar Suleiman announced today that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned and that power was being transferred to the armed forces. Suleiman became the effective leader of Egypt in this move, and the military followed up later by saying that the nation will not be governed by military rule and that the civil processes would remain in place.

The change is historic, and most historians are crediting Egypt’s stability to Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Thus, his resignation raises many questions as to how such a political shift will affect global security. I raised that same question in our forums, and I invite you to share your thoughts there, or in the comments section of this article. Already, the leadership has received a request from Palestine’s Hamas group requesting Egypt intervene in terms of the Gaza territory. That is particularly significant because Hamas, thought by some to be a political party, is still considered a terrorist organization by many nations. How a new Egyptian government handles groups like Hamas can forever shape the global security landscape.

While Mubarak has resigned, it’s important to understand that there has not been a real power shift in Egypt because Suleiman is credited as having a strong allegiance and loyalty to Mubarak. President Mubarak -- under pressure to have some form of succession -- brought in Suleiman as vice president last month. Suleiman came over from leading Egypt’s intelligence efforts. That in itself raises eyebrows of the protesters (some are calling for Suleiman to remove himself as well), but the intelligence background and the reputed extensive relationships he has had with the United States do at least point to some continuum of stability – if he can stay in power and not face the same levels of protest that effectively deposed Mubarak.

Growth of video surveillance in cities
Cities defend investments; Smaller towns pick up on trend

Municipal video is exploding, it seems. The trend of adding camera systems in urban and even suburban districts is no only for big cities like New York, Atlanta, and Chicago, but it’s being adopted by all manner of cities. And it’s being adopted with all manners of technologies. I was speaking yesterday with an industry insider who is working with one Florida city to deploy a mobile video solution that allows video to be streamed city-wide, not just from the fixed cameras at street corners, but from moving police cars as well.

Municipal video, of course, has its detractors. Chiefly that would be the ACLU, which asserts that taking video of persons in public invades personal rights to privacy in public (a confusing argument, but one that they have advocated). By and large, most cities have found that residents have been in favor of camera systems – especially when those cameras help displace criminal activities from their neighborhoods. Chicago recently defended its camera system, noting that camera systems can be effective cost-saving measures for law enforcement. We picked up a story from USA Today detailing growth in smaller cities’ adoption of video surveillance, and if municipal video is of strong interest for you, check out Secured Cities, a new conference coming to Atlanta in May on this exact topic.

In other news
Dell enters video storage market, Hackers steal oil company data, Healthcare violence, Bank standoff

PC maker Dell announced this week that it’s getting into the video storage market through an OEM partnership with Pivot3. ... IT security firm McAfee reported that computer hackers based in China recently stole sensitive information from Western oil companies. ... Don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar on Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry. IAHSS President-Elect Bryan Warren will discuss the warning signs that security professionals in the healthcare industry need to lookout for when it comes to violence. ... A teenager's robbery of a bank in North Carolina turned into a tense hostage situation. A person trapped inside (who the robber was unaware of) helped police stay apprise of the situation, which ended with gunfire leaving the hostage-taker dead.