Food Supply Believed Vulnerable; Government to Appoint New Cybersecurity Chief; Priceline Inventor Proposes Security Via Webcams; Fast Growing Dubai Airport to Use Facial Recognition

Food Supply Believed Vulnerable

The federal government has put a "secret" stamp on several recent scientific studies showing that the U.S. food supply is very vulnerable to agroterrorist attacks, scientists said at a national meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toledo, Ohio, last week. According to a story in The Toledo Blade, the experts also said that in some cases, classification of the studies has hindered efforts to inform food industry personnel about the security gaps and take corrective action and better protect the food supply. Panelists said agroterrorism, largely ignored in previous terrorist threat assessments, is causing serious concern because studies have shown that agroterrorist attacks would be easy to launch. Weapons include damaging insects, viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microbes, as well as poisonous substances to processed foods. Government to Appoint New Cybersecurity ChiefSiliconValley.com says that the move reflects an effort to appease frustrated technology executives over what they consider a lack of White House attention to hackers, cyberterror and other Internet threats. Richard Clarke, Bush's top cyberspace adviser until he retired this year after nearly three decades with the government, said, It won't work. It's not a senior enough position. Clarke's deputy, Howard Schmidt, resigned last month and accepted a job as chief information security officer for eBay Inc. The new position would be at least three steps beneath Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

An AP story last Friday reported that the Bush administration plans to appoint a new cybersecurity chief for the government inside the Homeland Security Department, replacing a position once held by a special adviser to the president. Industry leaders worry the new post won't be powerful enough. The story in

Priceline Inventor Proposes Security Via WebcamsCNN.com today, Jay Walker, inventor of Priceline.com, is hoping his newest brainchild revolutionizes a completely different field: national security. His proposal for USHomeGuard is simple: If onsite cameras at Americas 47,000 power plants, airports and other "critical infrastructure facilities" beamed photos to the World Wide Web, Americans could monitor these sites from home. If they something suspicious like a masked man trying to scale a power plant fence or a van parked next to a reservoir, they could alert security agents with a click of the mouse. Agents would call local authorities and help avert disaster. David Wray, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said federal officials have not done any "serious evaluation" of the project, adding that the agency isn't contemplating a defense strategy that hinges on Internet surveillance.

According to a story on

Fast Growing Dubai Airport to Use Facial RecognitionMiddle East and North Africa (MENA) Business Report. The study shows it grew by 20 percent in 2002, the second highest growth after Korea Incheon which grew 43 percent. Dubai is 16th in terms of volume of international passengers with 14.89 million passengers. In a separate MENA Report story, the UAE Ministry will work with Viisage facial recognition technology in a project to enhance the integrity of the country's visa process, as well as the overall security efforts at Dubai International Airport. Captured images will be relayed to the Viisage FaceFINDER and then matched against appropriate "watch lists." Images determined to be a match against a watch list will be handled according to the Dubai International Airport's existing security processes, while those that are not matched will be automatically discarded from the system.

Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates has emerged as the second fastest growing airport in the world in terms of international passenger movement, according to the latest statistics released by Airports Council International (ACI), reports the

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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