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TSA Removing Backscatter X-ray in Favor of Millimeter Wave Machines

The TSA is replacing a number of the controversial full-body x-ray machines with millimeter wave RF systems. According to the TSA, neither safety (of exposure to the X-rays), nor privacy (due to the detailed body images) were considerations, and the old machines are being relocated to smaller airports.

Original Article.

A side-by-side comparison of scanning technology can be viewed here.

Google Maps with Building Footprints & Elevations?

Google is adding more detailed building information to its maps offering:

From the article:  The building footprints include height details and have been created by computer algorithms from the vast aerial imagery Google stores with Maps. “This process enables us to provide more building footprints and a more comprehensive and detailed map than ever,”

When you consider the addition of interior imagery as well, these mapping services are definitely something to consider when evaluating physical security…

Facial Recognition Concerns Spreading in EU

…and it’s only a matter of time before the technology creates real problems here in the U.S.

Facebook and other online services are amassing vast amount of user data linked and tagged to identifiable images. What they (and others) will do with this information remains to be seen, but the range of possibilities is concerning to many. This article from c|net summarizes the current state of regulation and concern nicely, and also points to a NIST project from 2010 that is worth a look if you are interested in understanding the present capabilities of the technology. Police departments are expanding their use of image matching as well, as this article reports.

According to the NIST report summary,  “the best algorithm correctly recognized 92 percent of unknown individuals from a database of 1.6 million criminal records.” Presumably, this performance has only improved in the last two years. For security professionals, those numbers are exciting – and problematic. We now have the ability to compile massive public and private “suspect” databases if we choose, and search times will be sufficiently fast for most applications, but between false positives and misses – the technology must be carefully deployed, and expectations managed.

The NIST report can be viewed here.

It seems unlikely that facial recognition programs will be allowed to expand unchecked. At a minimum, we should expect a minefield of state and local restrictions that will be enacted in the years to come…

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