This week in New York, strict security operations are underway at the United Nations General Assembly 2018. Safety is the highest priority as President Donald J. Trump and other world leaders prepare for high level meetings and discussions, at the UNGA stage, which began on 18th September.

Diplomatic security is busy facing the largest protective effort of the year, as important dignitaries descend on the United States of America and visit New York in motorcades. The majority of attendees in attendance arriving from countries globally.

With safety being the most important factor on the streets of Manhattan, some key roads are closed, and heightened law enforcement and state department police are placed in strategic positions. Protestors of various international groups are a concern and have to be carefully managed, so the city avoids caotic disruptions, and harmful demonstrations.

According to reports, nine months of planning go into this 10-day UN General Assembly. Security official are responsible for setting up monitors and vast surveillance systems to oversee the event, and be vigilant for threats to the members and dignitaries.

Fifteen state and federal partners are tasked at working with 750 other team players to establish a significant band-with of security. Threats to the UN General Assembly are varied; in addition to camera monitoring security, there is a need for physical protection as well high security for potential cyber hacking.

Last year, the cost of the efforts to protect the UNGA were stated to be close to 30 million US dollars. New York Police Department Officers (NYPD), the cornerstone of Manhattan safety, is coping with the arduous management of barrackading entrances with concrete blocks, and blocker vehicles.

Recent reports state that cyber officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA), are investigating a data breach which has affected thousands of British Airways customers.

British Airways’ chairman and chief executive, Alex Cruz, has apologized for the “sophisticated, malicious attack” that hacked into customer credit card details. It is feared that the criminals have had access to utilizing the personal information to the point that people have had to cancel their credit cards. Seemingly 380,000 payments have been affected due to the two-week hack.

Since the recent introduction of the new Data Protection Act, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the long-time British international airline could face fines in the millions. Although no passport, frequent flier details, or travel information has been invaded it is confirmed that the names, addresses expiration dates, security numbers, and credit cards numbers have been compromised. Concerns loom over the fact that this type of incident can lead to secondary data hackings.

British Airways suggests all customers who have made purchases via the British Airways app or website should notify their financial institutions immediately.

Reports from the BAE newsroom has announced that BAE has formed “a new strategic partnership with Flexera, to help government agencies moving to the cloud better manage their software licenses and more accurately plan and budget for their future information technology (IT) needs”.

A statement by Cindy Grogan, Vice President of Global Alliances at Flexera, expresses excitement at the partnership, “Together with BAE Systems, we are providing government agencies with a secure mission-ready cloud that arrives fully-embedded with the tools necessary to mitigate the complicated and potentially costly hardware and software license management challenges many agencies fear when moving to cloud environments”.

The U.S.governments and U.S. military rely on BAE Systems for national security related to cyber, as well as on the ground, in the air, and on the oceans. Flexera, who was named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Software Asset Management tools, oversee and help companies buy and sell the necessary software and cloud services, which are suitable for reducing risks to security.

Government agencies will be able to analyze details, and data as they collaborate, confident that information shared, will be conducted under the highest security standards available in IT technology.

With the famous yearly Apple launch taking place tomorrow September 12th, and the exciting buzz about all the latest tech features on the soon to be released newest devices, whether it be a high-resolution camera, developed screen size or image definition, there are those out there who are thinking about one thing only – safety.

Digital facial recognition technology has become extremely prevalent in relation to the security of an individual’s phone and personal data kept within, however, should there be an emergency and one needs a line of defense, many are relying on downloaded applications for personal safety.

Some options of free apps that offer private alerts are choices that can be easily installed into one’s mobile device and are becoming increasingly popular displays in the directory on a person’s phone screen.

bSafe
A personal safety app in which users create a “social safety network” of individuals who are notified in case of an emergency or in situations where the user feels unsafe.

Circle of 6
An app for everyone. It’s fast, easy to use and private. Originally designed for college students to prevent sexual violence, we also know it’s handy for teenagers, parents, friends, or all communities seeking to foster healthy relationships and safety. Need help getting home? Need an interruption? Two taps let your circle know where you are and how they can help. It’s the mobile way to look out for each other on campus or when you’re out for the night. A simple tool to prevent violence before it happens.

Kitestring
This app checks up on you with a simple text message. Reply to the message to check in. Stay connected. If you don’t check in, Kitestring sends your emergency contacts a personalized alert message. Nothing to download. And you don’t even need a smartphone. Best of all, it’s totally free.

Life360
A family net-working app released in 2008. It is a location-based service designed to allow friends or family members to share their location with each other and communicate with each other.

React Mobile.
This is a powerful personal safety app that turns your smartphone into a powerful lifeline. Our safety app features a “Follow-Me” feature that lets you share your GPS location with friends and family so they can track your whereabouts in real-time and follow you to safety.

Red Panic Button.
Contact various emergency services or your panic contact list. Red Panic Button app features include SMS panic message, email panic message, Twitter or Facebook panic statuses with your GPS location.

Scream Alarm.
As the name suggests, a loud scream in a woman’s voice starts if you press the button on the screen. You have to push the button again to stop the screaming. There are no other features, just press the button on your Android phone and let the woman scream in the offender’s ear.

SOS – Stay Safe
This is an innovative discreet personal safety app for women, elderly citizens and anyone who needs assistance in an urgent situation. Using revolutionary patent-pending technology, you’re able to request assistance with no effort.

Watch Over Me
An ingenious app that turns the smartphone into an emergency alert system. It’s just the latest mobile tool that is helping people reach out for help when they need it. Different from other safety apps

The PEAK of the Atlantic hurricane season is known to fall anywhere between mid-August to the end of October and this week is proof of that, as Hurricane Florence emboldens its way towards the Carolinas. Predicted to be a close catastrophic category 5, Florence is speeding towards the South East coast of the USA.

What is most unique about this hurricane, is the havoc it will create as it arrives head-on into land bringing with it extraordinary high rising sea levels and dangerously severe wind gusts, in the range of 150mph (230 kph). Officials are calling it “life-threatening”.

Security concerns are not just for the safety of residents in the area, but there is fear that the storm direction will fall close to multiple power plants, industrial waste facilities, coal ash pits, as well as poultry and hog farms.

As Hurricane Florence crosses a warm Atlantic ocean, all the components of nature are in place, to fuel its intensity. Governors of South Carolina and Virginia have ordered mandatory evacuations for coastline residents and those in low-lying areas. President Trump approved a state of emergency for North Carolina on Monday. Other states that have been declared emergencies are South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. More than a million people are being impacted by this storm.

Meteorologists are fearing wide-spread heavy rain, lightning, thunderstorms, along with flooding and tornadoes from tropical cyclones caused by this weather pattern. The communities affected could be without power for weeks and need to take cautionary measures.

People are being warned to be proactive and take this hurricane advisory seriously. It is important to fill up cars with gasoline, and store up on emergency supplies and provisions that will last at least 3 days, if not more.

Weather forecasters are keeping an eye on other hurricanes, following the wake of Florence, namely, Helene and Isaac.

Some experts are predicting that Hurricane Florence could be one of the largest and most dangerous hurricanes in the history of the United States.

As Tokyo, Japan prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, one of the main focuses of the organizing committee is security. Efficiency at the many venues will be critical as officials formulate a tight structure of monitoring officials, staff, media, visitors, coaches, and athletes.

Nippon Denki Kabushiki Gaisha, NEC Corp. a Japanese multinational provider of information technology (IT) Services and products, has developed a NeoFace facial recognition system technology that shall be introduced for the first time, to the Summer Olympics Games 2020. Japanese officials are welcoming the system, which is reported to eliminate forged documents and assist with the faster processing of attendees.

The biometrical identification technology, to be used at the Summer Olympic Games 2020, is most similar to those located in airports across the world. It will also be implemented at the Paralympics.

Databases will store approved facial images that are collected from accredited persons related to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Executive Director of Security, Tsuyoshi Iwashita, feels confident that the facial recognition system technology will alleviate much stress from the highly popular Olympic festivities from a security point of view as well as expediting the flow of the Olympic event movement in its entirety.

Following reports on what is said to be an attempted assassination attack on Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, last week, in the country’s capital, Caracas, the U.S. remains vigilant during a time of vulnerability to various forms of terrorism.

Two drones filled with explosives detonated while flying towards the South American President during an open-air live broadcasted speech, to his military, in Venezuela.

In recent Washington DC hearings, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Neilsen and U.S. Secretary of defense, James Matteis, both conveyed great concern regarding the capability of combating weaponized drone attacks.

A newly released bulletin by the DHS warns about the threat of weaponized drones, and the risks of the act of coercion, especially the targeting of commercial airlines. The updated bulletin states that terrorists could try to use such instruments as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with ground remote control to bring down aircraft. The FAA is aware of such possibilities and views such threats as serious intimidation.

Known tactics which terrorists are capable of using are strapping guns to drones as well as attaching deadly explosives. These methods have been used on battlefields by terrorists and have proven to cause devastating damage.

As it stands, passengers traveling on commercial planes are subject to a high level of screening inside the airport building before boarding a flight to their desired destination; forthwith, measures will be elevated to ensure there is also tremendous security outside airports and the respective vicinity.

In addition to explosives and guns, the DHS bulletin warns of toxic chemicals “toxins and poisons”, as posing a grave threat from drone attacks.

Security officials already have made it a high priority to focus its attention on identifying suspicious passengers, insider threats, and concealed explosives, but since weaponized drones have now become the latest threat, the challenge to keep people safe in public spaces is rapidly evolving.

RealNetworks, a Seattle based company, specializing in digital software, is optimistic in working to find solutions to the U.S. school shooting epidemic, by offering to schools in North America, a free version of its facial recognition system.

The intention of the system is to check the face of each student attending their educational institutions. The database of such schools, contains information related to problematic students, expelled students, sex offenders, plus even disgruntled employees, and is able to identify individuals according to their profile.

Numerous school shootings in the U.S. have undoubtedly generated great concern for faculty, parents, and students alike, and adopting an eye facial recognition system such as this provides hope of better security and safer spaces.

RealNetworks can be complimented for providing SAFA Facial Recognition solution, with NO COST, to every K-12 school in the U.S. and Canada. In a statement on July 17, from Seattle, the company released the following:

“a leader in digital media software and services, today announced the free and immediate availability of SAFR™ for K-12, an AI and machine learning based facial recognition solution to help enhance safety in over 100,000 K-12 schools in the United States and Canada. At no cost, and for the first time, K-12 schools can now confidently apply state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to better protect the school environment. “

Experts are confident that had such equipment been installed throughout the buildings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, an Expelled student, Nicolas Cruz (the perpetrator), would have quickly been identified and contained by security personnel, thus preventing an uncontrollable mass attack.

RealNetworks, are demonstrating intentions of being part of the solution to preventing painful school shooting incidents that can possibly be prevented with the correct equipment to assist with intervention.

“School safety has become one of the top national issues in the United States in 2018,” said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks. “We are proud to give our leading-edge SAFR for K-12 technology solution to every elementary, middle, and high school in America and Canada. We hope this will help make schools safer.”

The 2018 Aspen Security Forum just closed its doors after a week of intense intellectual security events at Deloitte Base Camp. Attendees have gone home with forum badges, master programs and packets as keepsakes, but the most valuable souvenirs are the memories of listening to keynote speakers such a Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI; Kirsten Neilsen, Secretary of Homeland Security; Daniel Coates, Director of National Intelligence; and Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, US Department of Justice, to name just a few.

One of the topics on the 2018 Aspen Security Forum agenda, aimed at “China Rising”, moderated by David Ignatius, Columnist and Associate Editor, The Washington Post, who led a panel of experts, Michael Collins, Deputy Assistant Director, East Asia Mission Center, Central Intelligence Agency; Marcel Lettere, Former Under Secretary of Defence for Intelligence, Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador of Singapore to the United States; Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“ Having consolidated power and extended his term, President Xi Jinping is now the mightiest Chinese leader since Mao. And, his rise to political primary coincides with a moment in history when China itself is rising – economically, militarily, and geopolitically. It coincides, too, with a moment in history when America is both withdrawing from the global stage and riven internally by toxic partisanship. Is China on its way to becoming the new global hegemon and, if so, what are the geostrategic implications?”

A week of high level discussions with the most powerful minds together at the 2018 Aspen Security Forum, highlighted the subject “ A New Nuclear Arms Race”, moderated by Michael Gordon, National Security Correspondent, The wall Street Journal, with panelists, Bonnie Jenkins, Former Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, US Department of State; Frank Klotz, Former Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration; Franklin Miller, Former Senior Director for Defence Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council and Andrew Weber, Former Assistant Secretary of Defence for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

“Reminiscent of the Cold War, the US and Russia are racing to develop a new generation of more powerful nuclear weapons, making the prospect of cataclysmic war more realistic than at any time in generations. Can the nuclear arms race genie be put back in the bottle?”

Another hot conversation in the media that deserved a key panel was “Taking Fate into our Own Hands”, moderated by Terry Moran, Chief Foreign Correspondent, ABC News, who led panelists, Emily Haber, Ambassador of Germany to the United States,; John McLaughlin, Former Acting Director and Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Michael Murphy, Deputy Assistant of State for European and Eurasian Affairs; as well as David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States.

“Thus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel famously summed up Europe’s reaction to Trump’s America First agenda. For the first time since its founding, the strength of the NATO alliance is being questioned. Would a President who said that he was elected to “represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris” really go to war to save Vilnius? And, it appears that Europe is as much in the President’s crosshairs for trade imbalances as China. In short, is the Trans-Atlantic partnership, the bedrock of the global order since WWII, being consigned before our eyes to the dustbin of history?”

All in all, it was indeed a valuable week of international and national discussions and debates, with experts from all over the world, and everyone looking to find the same solid solutions – sound security for a better world.

Highly regarded companies such as Goldman Sachs take great pride in boasting on their websites how “implementing facial recognition correctly”, may demonstrate great potential towards protecting one from a breach in cybersecurity. Securing the activity of one’s finance details with such advanced facial recognition technology has proven to be a positive and effective trend.

Microsoft, however, is questioning whether facial recognition technology is working for everyone’s advantage. In a recent blog posting, titled FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY: THE NEED FOR PUBLIC REGULATION AND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY, written by Brad Smith – the Microsoft President is crying out for “the need for government regulation”.

Smith makes a passionate plea, due to what he considers the rapid evolution of technology and devices, “Advanced technology no longer stands apart from society; it is becoming deeply infused in our personal and professional lives”. He is demonstrating his concern about government tracking. In some instances Smith highlights how positive facial recognition technology is indeed useful for finding missing children or helping first responders identify a terrorist, however, the issues he feels a strong objection to is how facial recognition relates to “US government projects related to separating children from their families at the border”.

The elaborate details Smith illustrates in his blog post, regarding how facial recognition ought to be addressed through government regulation are many, but the emphasis in his starting points, clearly show his concern is focused on personal privacy and personal consent.

• Should law enforcement use of facial recognition be subject to human oversight and controls, including restrictions on the use of unaided facial recognition technology as evidence of an individual’s guilt or innocence of a crime?

• Similarly, should we ensure there is civilian oversight and accountability for the use of facial recognition as part of governmental national security technology practices?

• What types of legal measures can prevent use of facial recognition for racial profiling and other violations of rights while still permitting the beneficial uses of the technology?

• Should use of facial recognition by public authorities or others be subject to minimum performance levels on accuracy?

• Should the law require that retailers post visible notice of their use of facial recognition technology in public spaces?

• Should the law require that companies obtain prior consent before collecting individuals’ images for facial recognition? If so, in what situations and places should this apply? And what is the appropriate way to ask for and obtain such consent?

• Should we ensure that individuals have the right to know what photos have been collected and stored that have been identified with their names and faces?

• Should we create processes that afford legal rights to individuals who believe they have been misidentified by a facial recognition system?

The President of Microsoft bespeaks passionate objectives in the area of facial recognition technology, “this is a national issue that requires national leadership by our elected representatives”.

To read the entire blog by Microsoft President, Brad Smith visit: https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/07/13/facial-recognition-technology-the-need-for-public-regulation-and-corporate-responsibility/