Police analytics has been gaining more and more attention (which means FrontLine readers will see more on this topic in future editions). When the Ottawa Police Services began looking into it, they identified some 150 police analytics centers in the United States alone.
As the complexity and reach of global threats continues to increase, the demands on public safety and first responders are also growing.
Recent reports – including studies by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and public safety organizations around the world – have confirmed that first responders want timelier mission-critical information to decrease response times and detect and mitigate threats before they happen. Interestingly, this is similar to what militaries around the world need for the battlefield.
The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that five states – Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Utah and West Virginia – will participate in a policy academy on emergency communications interoperability.
“Interoperability” refers to how federal, state and local emergency responders communicate with each other by voice, data and video on demand and in real time. Interoperable emergency communications are essential to effective public safety, response and recovery operations in the wake of disaster.
The Government of Canada has launched its public consultation to engage with Canadians on the evolving cyber security landscape.
Until mid-October this year, the Government of Canada will be engaging and consulting with Canadians about the trends and challenges of cyber security. Topics will include the evolution of the cyber threat, the increasing economic significance of cyber security, the expanding frontiers of cyber security, and Canada’s way forward on cyber security.
Canada and the United States came together from April 26 to 28, 2016 to assess technologies that can help their respective emergency management officials and responders communicate and exchange information more efficiently during an emergency situation touching both sides of the border. The experiment provided key insights to inform future investments in cross-border communications technologies and the results will be documented in a joint Canada-U.S. after action report.
General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada has officially launched four new public safety and security solutions that provide first responders around the world with integrated mission-critical communications systems that will help save lives.
Built on the company’s SHIELD Ecosystem, these turn-key, fully integrated solutions provide interoperable fixed and mobile digital communications to ensure the right information is available at the right time.
(Feb 2009) High Altitude Aerial Platforms & Payloads: New in-depth report includes detailed analysis of today?s persistent market, its inhibitors, drivers, and opportunities, combined with penetrating technical examination of both flight platforms and payloads. The report covers a wide spectrum of upcoming military and private industry business opportunities in areas as:
“He can either stand with us or with the Child Pornographers.” With those words, in response to a question from Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews may have put an end to Bill C-30, The Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act. The short title of the bill, which no doubt gave rise to Toews comments, is the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
Changing Culture in Changing Times
A fundamental culture shift is taking place among First Responders (police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel) as they seek to adopt and adapt the technology tools and applications that can affect all aspects of their ability to serve the communities they are sworn to protect.
It's More Than Gadgets and Gizmos
In the ‘non lab coat’ world of law enforcement, security and first responders, “technology” is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. That ‘end’, of course, is the successful performance of operational duties, which have enormous public safety ramifications as well as real risk to the men and women who perform them on our behalf.
When my generation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel thinks of data sharing in the field, we have visions of Squad 51 using their Biophone; a combination voice and telemetry radio communications system. Paramedics could call the base hospital and not only talk to the doctor but could also send live cardiac data by way of electrocardiogram rhythms.
Canada has all the elements of a national public alerting system, but many important, time-sensitive public safety messages from government agencies aren’t getting through to the public.
The possibilities for alerting the public are almost endless – and the technology exists to enable them – but there are barriers to progress in this area.
We know that attacks on critical infrastructures from criminal threats, corporate or industrial espionage and/or politically motivated sabotage, could threaten public safety, impact national security, or even create economic upheaval or environmental disaster. What we may not know is that a large percentage of critical infrastructures is actually privately owned and that private security forces are becoming the primary protectors of vital infrastructure.
The face of public safety is changing because information and communications technologies are permitting First Responders to understand the environment facing them on a mission. For example, if firefighters or police had a complete picture of the event as they were about to respond, they would be better able to deal with the challenges once they arrive on scene. An EMS call could potentially save more lives, for instance, if the paramedics could send high resolution images of the injury to an attending but remote medical specialist.
To make ground operations safer during a fire, the Kingston Fire and Rescue (KFR) department has implemented a 'Learning from Our Experiences' program that will share information between various crews within its organization. After all, safer operations on the ground during a fire means that all firefighters go home at the end of the call. The question is - will it work?
Kingston Fire Chief Harold Tulk.
When considering protection of key infrastructure, big companies come easily to mind. The energy grid, telecommunications networks, and the big banks are all a part of Canada’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) strategy. The fact is, however, that smaller companies can contribute enormously to the necessary resiliency of this very same CIP strategy.
Concerns surrounding children and teens sending sexual messages, nude photos and videos via text messaging is on the rise, yet the vast majority of kids are unaware of the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with their actions. Since adolescents are less inhibited by technology, it’s important they are aware of the risks and know how to deal with situations these new technologies present.
Espionage has been described as “the second oldest profession, and just as honourable as the first.” The practice of intercepting wireless signals existed at the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. The disciplines of electronic warfare (EW) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) evolved over the years. The doctrine of Information Warfare (IW) reached its peak in 1994, and cyber espionage then emerged in nation states. China and Russia were quick to add the concepts to their arsenal, which evolved throughout the 20th century into “the last, best-kept secret of the state.”
Usually critical of government (in)action on criminal justice and security issues, I was uncharacteristically upbeat when asked by FrontLine Security to comment on the state of current progress on border security in Canada. Such unusual confidence comes from the simple but unmistakable fact that – despite all the foot dragging, doubletalk, cost overestimates, institutional rivalries and the ‘we’ve always done it that way’ attitudes – progress has been made, and more is clearly on the way.
So often, for those of us who deal daily with the vulnerability of our critical infrastructures, what we do for a living feels like selling insurance to people who are just trying to survive day to day.
While preparing for this edition, I wanted to improve my own knowledge of cyber security. In my search, I discovered some rather interesting facts and some downright scary issues. As is usual in many matters related to security, I found the usual industry trick, which is to scare the customer, define the problem and sell your product to avoid it, and, eventually, improve upon this protection with even more costly technical fixes.
We sometimes make decisions without thinking about how we would defend them. Remember the sign that used to hang in most print and copy stores: You can get it cheap, fast or good – pick any two.
Have you ever found yourself, in an emergency, a few hundred yards away from a public safety colleague – police officer, fire fighter, or paramedic – yet unable to transmit vital information to him or her? It happens all too often. Radio systems, cell phones, PDAs, and other devices are not always configured, aligned or even designed to allow inter-agency communication. Often the communications are seriously limited by the available technology. At other times, the agencies lack the proper protocols, governance or knowledge of how to communicate with each other.
Novice SCUBA divers first learn to find “up”– where the surface and safety lie, basically the direction of bubbles – knowing “up” enables them to maintain normal orientation and control. While this may seem obvious and intuitive, it is not. When you are 60 feet down (3 atmospheres) and lose visibility and orientation, it is easy to panic and make fatally bad decisions.
In the Spring 2007 edition of FrontLine Security, I described the work underway to develop voluntary partnerships between those who own and operate our critical infrastructures and their U.S. and Canadian governments. These partnerships will help establish trusted mechanisms to share information between governments and the critical infrastructure (CI) sectors; information that is essential to address the threats and hazards that could disrupt the reliable delivery of basic services such as telecommunications, electricity, water, fuel, and natural gas.
Proactive Cyber Defence doctrine compels an enterprise to act by interdicting and disrupting an attack preemptively in self-defence to oppose an attack against their computer infrastructure.
It’s on CNN
Watching a recent CNN video of a staged Cyber attack showing a large turbine generator self destructing, may have caused some to dismiss the story as yet another attempt to sensationalize and shock an increasingly desensitized TV audience. As the report unfolds, however, one learns that the video was created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a training experiment, code named Aurora. It’s time to pay closer attention.
Motivated partially by self-preservation, but also by a “carrot & stick” combination of grants and threats of litigation – the public and private sector “information sharing and analysis” that occurred prior to Y2K was unprecedented.
Radar surveillance systems have long been proven to be effective security tools in military applications – and now are affordable enough to be used by homeland security and law enforcement agencies that have tight budgets.
Accipter Radar tracks displayed at Operations Centre
The protection of critical infrastructure is a key national security issue in a way that it has not been since the ‘snakes and ladders’ days of the late 1950s and the early Cold War civil defence program. Today’s threat has changed from Soviet rockets to various state and non-state actors armed with an equally wide variety of weapons. With this revolution in military affairs, has come a renewed interest in asymmetric confrontation of the Superpower and its NATO and Western Allies.
Many threats and hazards have the potential to undermine the security and safety of Canadians. These threats and hazards can be man-made, such as acts of terrorism, or they can be natural, such as floods, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The ability of the public safety and security community to manage these emergencies and disasters can be aided by information technology. In particular, ‘geospatial’ information technology (technology that ties information to a location – a mapping system) is proving increasingly useful to emergency managers.
It’s been a little over a decade since I began my quest for the holy grail of computing: the delivery of sustainable information INTEROPERABILITY. Known by many names over the years, the terminology that is growing on me is “semantic interoperability.” The objective, most can agree, is the “guaranteed access to quality information requisite to making sound business or operational decisions.” So why, after more than a decade, does this goal still appear as elusive as ever?
Advances in the ability of scientists to predict severe weather disturbances and natural disasters will not protect the public if warnings don’t get out. That message was recently delivered by Dr. Ian Rutherford, executive director of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), to Canada’s broadcast regulator. He recounted how newly acquired Doppler radars have doubled the technologically possible warning time for tornadoes since one touched down in Edmonton in 1987 when he was in charge of the Alberta city’s weather service.
Traditionally, a nation under attack defends itself at defined perimeters of land, sea and sky. Now, the growth of digital technology has pushed homeland defence beyond these boundaries into the virtual plane where the Internet is a continuously morphing front.