The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Jan. 14-20, 2006

Jan. 20, 2006
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives his weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession

He's still around. Bin Laden reemerged on Thursday with a tape that popped up via Al Jazeera television. Despite claims of making preparations to attack the West on its own soil (and a proposal of negotiated "truce" with his terrorist organization), intelligence officials aren't seeing what they call credible threats or an increase in chatter. While most of the U.S. has simply shrugged it off and questioned its authenticity (indications point to the audio tape having been recorded in the last month), the Los Angeles area responded swiftly, upping security at transportation and city infrastructure. Get the details on how that city responded.

Powering Up

Meanwhile, more than half of the editors in the security industry are up here in New York right now to see some new product offerings from Altronix. You know them as power supplies, but that's changing. They're rebranding unique product lines with the introduction of the HubWay series for UTP video, RS422/RS-S485 data and distributed power on Cat-5 or better lines. Also in the mix is the Maxim access control power and controller product series; product specs aren't quite out yet, but it's suffice to say that the Maxim line is going to give installing dealers a lot of versatility. Finally, there's another access option, with the StrikeIt power and controller series for panic devices, that gives a programmable timed release feature, and 12/24VDC outputs for access control accessories and a couple other whiz-bang types of features. See the press release here. The expansion in product line reflects a move not be pigeon-holed as just power, says Altronix's President Alan Forman. Power over Ethernet products are also in the company's future, though not quite ready yet.

We All Get Along When Money Is at Stake

Our industry has always been fiercely competitive, so when Mitsubishi and Siemens bought stakes in GE subsidiary CommerceGuard, a few of us in the industry were a bit surprised to see this kind of international collaboration. The move brings GE's CommerceGuard container security device into broader markets, with Siemens able to help the unique technology conquer the European market, and Mitsubishi able to give a unique push in the Asian ports market. In summary, the technology is a simple magnetically attached device that indicates whether or not a container has been tampered with (i.e., opened up). It's landed a lot of interest from manufacturers and retailers wanting to make sure their goods aren't being stolen, and from DHS persons to make sure contraband and bomb-making materials can't be illicitly inserted into a container bound for U.S. soil. Watch Him Closely Taking a cue from international terrorist profiling operations that look as closely at a person's demeanor as they do at their baggage, the TSA is exploring the detection of visual behaviors as key indicators of terrorism. One such place the behavioral analysis program is being used is at the T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. Finally, a quick look at the favored stories of the week, as chosen by you and your peers in our industry: