The security week that was: 12/19/08

Dec. 19, 2008
A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Even more thoughts on biometrics

Last week, in this column, I mentioned the interview with Unisys' Mark Cohn. That interview discussed the research his company had done on biometric adoption and comfort levels for consumers. Mark's main point was that biometrics, according to their data, had reached a "tipping point" where consumer confidence in the technology was reached that would allow even greater adoption on a mass scale.

This week we found another excellent article, written not by SIW but by the good folks at, which looked at some overall trends in biometrics. In the article, Isabelle Moeller, general manager of the Biometrics Institute, said that biometrics still faces issues with public perception. The article touches a bit on public perception (though curiously, it didn't reference the statistics that had just come available from Unisys), but also gives a consumer-level overview of biometrics and different form factors. The most interesting part of the article for me was to learn that researchers are even considering tongue scanning as a biometric form factor. That one for sure is going to take a while before the public would (if ever) be comfortable with such an idea. Talk about invasive!

When exactly biometrics hits a tipping point that it becomes part of a consumer's daily, digital life is hard to predict, but in the government security space, biometrics isn't slowing down. The Department of Homeland Security announced that the US-VISIT program was expanding the list of persons who would need to use the program when visiting the U.S. That program captures 10-digit fingerprint data and a facial photograph of U.S. visitors for biometric recognition and identity verification upon entry and exit.

Defining your role as CSO
ASIS and ANSI release CSO standards

If you're leading security for your firm, we recommend you take a look at the new ANSI-approved "CSO Standard" which was developed by ASIS International. The document looks at the responsibilities and roles of CSOs at private and public organizations, and what the reporting structure for such a position might include. It also provides input on the background for hiring such a position -- valuable information for those of you already in such a role or aspiring to take on such a job. As Jerry Brennan, who headed the CSO Standards committee for ASIS, elegantly defines the role of the CSO as the following: "a single governance position at the senior level being accountable for crafting, influencing and directing the organization-wide security-related risk and protection strategies in a manner that is compatible with that enterprises' structure and culture."

In other news:
S2's new support center, Ohio State research on analytics, Sports event security, more

S2 Security Corporation, makers of the S2 NetBox and S2 Enterprise IP-connected physical security management systems, unveiled its new customer tech support center, which required a facility expansion. ... Boeing has officially completed its acquisition of DRT, a company which makes wireless communications systems used for homeland security and defense applications. ... The fight against piracy became even more unilateral, with China joining a pirate-fighting force near Somalia.

Two Ohio State University researchers are part of a team working on a project which involves tying together panoramic imaging and video analytics processing. ... iN Control Security is acquiring Cal-Bay Controls. ... NFL stadiums are playing host in 2009 to a series of training workshops for collegiate sporting event directors and security staff. ... Niscayah (formerly Securitas Systems) is feeling the global economic downturn and is restructuring with 600 layoffs planned.

Oddball security stories of the week
Dumb criminals and a security idiot

Dumb criminals: Mall security officers at Cross Creek Mall in North Carolina discovered a bag filled with drugs and cash left in the food court area after a couple enjoyed some of the fine cuisine typically found in such places. The bags contents included thousands of dollars, cocaine and marijuana. They turned the matter over to police and an arrest of the couple followed.

Dumb security: A security guard at Harrah's New Orleans casino was the victim of a shooting and has no one to blame but himself. The poor chap was spotted playing with his gun via the casino's video surveillance system just before he shot himself in the leg. He was in stable condition following the self-inflicted shooting, and thus doesn't earn a Darwin award, but we'd guess he's not a likely candidate for more armed security jobs in the future.

Finally, here's a look at the most read stories of the week: