The Security Week That Was: Sept. 21, 2007

Sept. 21, 2007
A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

SBInet Stumbles

Exactly a year ago in my weekly recap, I wrote about the news that Boeing had landed the Secure Borders Initiative (SBInet) contract to build a virtual fence using things like radar, surveillance cameras, a command and control system, field sensor and more. Now, a year later, they’re catching heat in the national media and from DHS Secretary Chertoff himself over their slow timeline, which would have put them into preliminary testing phases with DHS about three months ago.

Systems integration is the main hang up according to DHS spokesman Russ Knocke, however Boeing describes it as “some remaining technical issues”. News to Boeing: “remaining technical issues” are what you find during the subsequent user testing processes; “major” technical issues are those things that keep you from turning it over to the customer for acceptance testing. It’s apparently a serious enough issue for Chertoff to publicly announce that the government is withholding payment on the system until the project gets moving forward again.

There’s no doubt that integration of a project at this level isn’t a simple thing or even something that can be rushed on a tight timeline (which the project was on from the start), and I don’t write these words to criticize Boeing for their efforts, but we’ve all seen complex systems that combine a multitude of sensors, so we know it can be done. Come on, Boeing, we’re rooting for you because this is the kind of industry project that proves to system specifiers everywhere that our industry has the software, integration and communications expertise which it claims to have.

School Shooting Puts Campus on Lockdown
Two students shot on Delaware State University campus

In a scene reminiscent of the Virginia Tech shootings, the campus of Delaware State University in Dover was locked down early this morning after two students were shot around 1 a.m. (one is in serious condition). The suspect is still believed to be on the loose. Campus and law enforcement officials locked down the campus manually, requesting students stay in the facilities they were then located. The university responded by closing vehicular gate access to the campus, notifying students by phone, posting notices in dorms and on the campus website. DSU has been no stranger to violence upon its students; in August the school lost three would-be students who were executed in grizzly shootings at a schoolyard in New Jersey.

What Was She Thinking?
Fake bombs and airports: Two things that don't mix

From the idiot files comes this story: Woman Arrested for Bringing Fake Bomb to Logan Airport. A 19-year-old MIT student reportedly brought a fake bomb into Boston's Logan International Airport this morning strapped to her chest. The apparatus was reportedly worn over a sweatshirt, and was comprised of a circuit board wired to Play-Doh. The tense scene ended not with shots fired, but with the woman taken under custody. State Police Major Scott Pare summed up the scene best: "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."

In Other News
Smiths and GE split ways; Wiegand hacked; Security Dealer's new editor; AFI Int'l buys into IMAC

Quick bites for your information: GE and Smiths Detection announced at the beginning of this year that they were forming a partnership to deliver solutions to the airport luggage screening market; now, it seems, the deal is off the books due to disagreements on the vision for the partnership. Defcon may be considered an IT security nightmare, but it's becoming a physical security nightmare too. The Wiegand card reader interface was reportedly hacked at the show, reminding us all "it's a lot easier to hack into a company's network if you can get inside the building and on one of their computers." Security Dealer saw a shift in leadership this month, with former editor Susan Brady stepping over to lead the IP UserGroup USA. Deborah O'Mara, a veteran of the industry who has reported on security and integration for almost a quarter century, joins Security Dealer just in time for ASIS 2007. If you see her, give her a big welcome; we're glad to have Debbie in the Cygnus Security Group family. Finally, in the world of security services for labor disputes, AFI International (Canada) has purchased majority ownership in IMAC (USA), creating a merged presence in the high-risk security and business continuity services marketplace.

Ready for ASIS?
SIW team to cover ASIS International Seminars and Exhibits

The team is getting ready for ASIS 2007, which is occurring next week in Las Vegas, Nevada. We've reviewed the seminars schedule and the content looks excellent for this year's show. We're also receiving scores of announcements from the exhibiting vendors and scrambling to get those posted on our site. You can check out our "Live from ASIS 2007" coverage next week at our dedicated ASIS 2007 web page. Editors from, Security Technology & Design and Security Dealer will be crawling the show to bring you the information you need. Stay tuned.

Finally, a look at our most read stories of the week: