Review Category : Security News

MTA Plans to Place Surveillance Equipment on Subway Trains

subway“If You See Something Say Something” is the motto that is plastered all over the subway stations of NYC. And soon, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be able to see something too, in fact they will be able to see everything.

The MTA plans to place surveillance equipment in one of their newest trains by the end of this year.  While the videos won’t be watched live, they could provide crucial information in criminal cases.

Could this be a new trend, following the MTA surveillance system project in Maryland?  Perhaps, but the MTA wants to first see how the program goes (fiscally, effectiveness, etc.) before it starts to outfit all of the system’s trains with surveillance equipment. If the plan does go through, we think that it will be a great way to make the MTA a safer way to travel, especially late at night and in deserted areas. After all, there is no better deterrent for a criminal than knowing that there is a surveillance system watching him.

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iPhone Encryption System is More Vulnerable to Hackers Than You Think

appleiphoneapps-security2Does your company use the  iPhone 3G (or 3GS) as an important business tool? You may be ecstatic with your fancy new play-toy now, but maybe it’s time to take a long pause and consider the risk involved with the product you are using. According to one prominent iPhone developer and computer hacking expert, the 3G’s enterprise-friendly encryption is extremely weak and very vulnerable to hackers, to the point that it can be cracked in as little as two minutes with the right freeware.

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Man Resorts to Suicide When He Loses iPhone

504x_iphone-message-suicide21Men in black suits are hastily tearing through an apartment, their hearts beating as fast as hummingbirds’,  worrying that they might be the next victim if they don’t succeed.  14 stories below, at the base of the building lies a man, dead because he lost a phone.

A shipment of prototype iPhones was set to be sent to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California from their manufacturer, Foxconn in China, but panic erupted all throughout the company when someone realized that the case was short 1 phone.  Fast forward only days later and the man in charge of the shipment was found dead at the base of his apartment after being searched, interrogated, and allegedly tortured.

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Update: Maryland Holding Off on Audio Surveillance on Trains And Buses For Near Future

finishedserviceMaryland’s acting transportation chief has chosen to scrap an internal proposal to use listening devices on its buses and trains for recording conversations of passengers and employees, citing concerns about privacy as the motivating factor in his decision. After inquiries from the Baltimore Sun Monday about reports of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s top official asking for the opinion of the state’s Attorney General’s office on the legality of this surveillance, acting Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley ordered the request withdrawn and stated,

“It certainly should have been vetted at the department level and it was not.” “We have not weighed the issues we should weigh before making a decision like this.”

Staley said the question of surveillance was raised legally before it could be discussed thoroughly policy-wise and that she will now spend time deciding whether to move forward with the program. By backing off the proposal, Swaim-Staley may avert a confrontation with the General Assembly. Some legislators have already expressed the thought that the plan would have led to opposition legislation almost immediately. (Via the Baltimore Sun)


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Apollo 11 Tapes Being Refurbished 40 Years Later Due to NASA Blunder

setupcamera_540 In a surprising revelation Thursday, NASA acknowledged that they treated one of the iconic recordings in American history like just another tape, erasing the Apollo 11 moon footage years ago in an effort to reuse the tape. Luckily for NASA, Hollywood is the land of second chances, and that is exactly what the agency is getting.

Lowry Digital, of Burbank Calif., is digitally sharpening and cleaning up the ghostly, grainy footage of the moon landing, making it even better than what TV viewers saw on July 20, 1969. Even more remarkable about their effort is that they are working with only four copies of the landing that NASA was able to pick up from across the world. In a move that seems eerily similar to re-releasing a film on its anniversary as a means of promotion, the first group of restored footage was released just in time for the 40th anniversary of the landing.

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Maryland's MTA Wants to Install Audio Surveillance on Buses and Trains

5012The Maryland Transit Administration may install audio surveillance equipment on its buses and trains to record conversations of passengers and employees, according to a letter sent by the organization to Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office.

The document searches for legal guidance on whether installing this equipment would fall under the jurisdiction of Maryland’s anti-wiretapping law. MTA Administrator Paul J. Wiedefeld noted in the letter that the MTA has already taken the step of using video cameras for security aboard its vehicles and writes, “As part of MTA’s ongoing efforts to deter criminal activity and mitigate other dangerous situations on board its vehicles, Agency management has considered adding audio recording equipment to the video recording technology now in use throughout its fleet.”

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South Africa's ATMs Armed with Pepper Spray Malfunction

atmdogsFearing robbers, people tend to take out money from ATM machines during the day; however, with a new precaution set in place in South Africa, no ATM machine is safe- day or night. These new ATM machines come fully equipped with pepper spray that automatically goes off once a hidden camera detects someone trying to tamper with the machines.

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GPS Electronic Monitoring Becoming Tool in Fight Against Domestic Abuse

rhianna_02Last month, Texas joined a coalition of seventeen states that protect victims of domestic violence and interpersonal violence by using GPS electronic monitoring systems. This tracking system enables authorities to both monitor a convicted offender and to realize when he or she goes to certain locations of interests, such as a victim’s home or place of employment.

Diane Rosenfeld, who is a Harvard Law lecturer and a very important figure in the campaign to get GPS electronic monitoring used in many states, stated in an interview that the system can be a key tool in the fight against domestic violence due to its ability to establish boundaries when they are broken, and because warning could be given to the victim if need be.

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GPS Being Used to Save Pine Trees Killed by Beetles

whitebark-pine-trunks-702938-swWe’ve seen GPS tracking systems being used for some very unusual purposes, but this is the first time we’ve seen GPS used to help save the environment, and in this case – trees. Foresters in Jackson, Wyoming, have decided they will begin using GPS to track the damage to whitebark pine trees being killed by beetles. U.S. Forest Service officials are using a budget of $150,00 to start the survey of beetle damage in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The forest officially contains about 400,000 acres of whitebark pine, but the species has begin to decline due to beetle attacks. The process will begin with mapping through an aerial survey, with the survey then being used to map the pine population and to help lay out the area that will be used for the GPS. This work should be completed by next spring. Foresters specifically want to know where the damage is worst, and why some pockets of pines appear to be unaffected.

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GPS Fleet Tracking Growing Strong in the Middle East

82765-imageSmart Infrastructure, a highly influential IT provider based in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia, is making a difference in the day-to-day operations of the nation’s companies and corporations with the new GPS Fleet Software developed by High-Tech Solutions. HTS is the Dubai based specialist for GPS vehicle tracking and fleet solutions. The GPS Fleet Software allows companies and corporations to pinpoint the exact position of their vehicles. It does this through a GPS black box that sends the location of the vehicle position to a head office where an operator can observe and control vehicles as they see fit. The Fleet Software also generates a logbook and data about driving times and driving behavior. This product has become particularly popular in Saudi Arabia, but it is also being used by companies in the Middle East in countries such as Quater, as well as Europe.
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