Just weeks ago leaders from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), released a press statement confirming continued efforts to protect U.S. elections.

“Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference. Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.”

“Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord. They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics.”

The departments continue to emphasize, “the United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations.”

The executive order that President Donald J . Trump signed on September 12, clarifies that persons attempting to undermine or disrupt the electoral process will be seriously punished.

However, following the Mid Term elections in the U.S.A, which took place this past week, which is voting for seats in the Senate and House, it doesn’t seem as though the interference is coming from outside international sources; the interference is coming from within America’s own wall….and the issue is between two American parties.

In Broward County, Florida, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is appealing for the removal of Brenda Snipes, Supervisor of Elections. Reports and accusations of fraud are escalating as lawyers descend on Florida, the epicenter of a national election fight between the Democrat and the Republican party.

The question remains how 78,000 extra votes were found after election night was over and victory was announced to Governor Rick Scott. A recount of the ballot has been ordered and State Judge Carol Lisa Phillips has ruled it “a violation of the Florida Constitution” as well as”the state’s public records act”.

Immediate inspection is to take place, due to suspicion of Brenda Snipes’ “questionable” secretive history and the allegations of not turning over requested records.

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO FOUGHT TO PROTECT THEIR COUNTRY –

VETERANS DAY, NOVEMBER 11th –

100th ANNIVERSARY 1918-2018 (World War 1)

A recent bill has been signed by President Donald Trump, after being passed by the US House and Senate, which allows disabling or shooting down of drones that pose a threat to structures and proximities inside U.S. territories.

The bill, labeled by U.S. Congress, “Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018,” is designed “to assist the Department of Homeland Security in preventing emerging threats from unmanned aircraft and vehicles and for other purposes”.

Strong support is demonstrated from The White House Administration, for national security reasons; the bill includes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the necessary legal authority “to detect, track, and mitigate threats from small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)”.

The safety of the National Airspace System is one of the highest priorities to the United States of America, and this legislation will also enable continued “development of the commercial drone industry” while additionally, “protecting privacy and civil liberties.”

A recent press statement from White House Press Secretary reveals the urgent necessity of development of “a legal framework that protects the public from nefarious uses of this technology, such as facilitating terrorist attacks, conducting espionage, or facilitating other criminal activities such as illicit surveillance, interfering with the safe operation of aircraft, interfering with law enforcement operations, delivering contraband inside prisons, or smuggling drugs or other harmful materials across our Nation’s borders”.

A released document informs the public, past Federal laws inhibited the Federal Government’s “ability to fully evaluate and use essential detection, tracking, and mitigation technologies to counter these rapidly advancing threats”.

Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 will open up opportunities for committees of jurisdiction to work together with the US Administration and others, to ensure “safe integration of drone technology”.

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.

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/

Volcanoes can be deadly as we learn from history when the volcano of Mount Vesuvius, opened up and swallowed the settlement of Pompeii, in Italy, thousands of years ago. In AD 79, there was no way of detecting volcanic eruptions; communities perished and nature took its course.

Honeywell has changed the course of history in the form of gas detection technology, which is able to read air quality associated with volcanoes and take spot samples of gas levels.

Dramatic media coverage from Hawaii recently has reported 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit magma flow from multiple fissures created by the erupting volcano Kilauea. Hawaii’s Big Island has suffered over 200 earthquakes and the hot flowing lava has destroyed at least 400 homes and livelihoods. Fortunately, lives have been protected due to evacuation procedures that were implemented by first responders. The situation has been closely tracked by the assistance of the MultiRAE wireless detector and AeaRAE Pro: two multi-threat transportable monitors.

In instances where time is of the essence, and toxic levels of air can obstruct the nose and throat, severely burning the airways, and impeding breathing, the monitors have played a tremendous part in the health and safety of the community at large. Deadly elements such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are volcanic gases that the Honeywell devices can monitor, in tandem with the quickly changing winds.

Reports state that explosions are currently active as well as ongoing in the region. The volcanic activity can be seen by astronauts in space who describe the sightings as extraordinary, with cracks in the earth and merging lava fields that are violent and growing. These Honeywell devices are vital in helping Hawaiians during this unstoppable destructive situation.

The US National Guard is on alert as the unpredictable volcanic situation is constantly unfolding, and are focused on finding evacuation sites.