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by CSO Contributor

U.S. Approves Force in Detaining Possible SARS Carriers; Microsoft Shows Off Security Prototype; Background Checks Required for Hazmat Carriers; Gillette Profits Rise with Homeland Security Fears

May 07, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

U.S. Approves Force in Detaining Possible SARS Carriers

According to a story in The New York Times today, the Bush administration has authorized immigration and customs agents at the nation’s international airports to use force to detain arriving passengers who appear to have symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as part of the government’s efforts to prevent an epidemic of the disease in the United States. At training sessions, airport inspectors have been told that their screening duties now go beyond passports and baggage and that they need to give extra attention to the health of passengers arriving on 51 daily flights from Asian cities where the SARS outbreak has been most severe, including Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Department of Homeland Security has issued issued them masks and gloves and made use of them optional. The Times reports that under the new procedures, immigration and customs agents identifying arriving passengers who appear to be ill with any SARS symptoms, including high fever or breathing trouble, will be authorized to detain them and summon health inspectors. If SARS is confirmed, the passenger would be moved to a hospital or other medical facility and placed under mandatory quarantine. An executive order signed last month by President Bush lets the government quarantine people infected with SARS.Microsoft Shows Off Security PrototypeCnet, this was the first public showing of the controversial Next Generation Secure Computing Base, formerly known as Palladium, which Microsoft hopes will help secure its future in the corporate market. According to an AP report in the Mercury News, Microsofts Bill Gates expects consumers as well as governments and businesses to embrace the system, which hard-wires security into silicon chips rather than just software. It’s designed to offer unprecedented levels of protection against hacking and eavesdropping. Skeptics have reservations the absolute control the technology would grant creators of digital content, such as music and movie companies (and software companies), but also because it is being driven by Microsoft, which has a reputation for strong-arming the computer industry.

Microsoft yesterday showed off a prototype of its controversial security technology at its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in New Orleans. According to

Background Checks Required for Hazmat CarriersThe Trucker yesterday, hazardous materials haulers will now be required to undergo a background check that includes a review of criminal, immigration and FBI records. The story says applicants with a military or civilian conviction for certain violent felonies during the past seven years, or who have been found mentally incompetent, will not be permitted to obtain or renew the hazmat endorsement. The checks will also verify that the driver is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident as required by the USA Patriot Act, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Transportation.

According to a story in the trade magazine

Gillette Profits Rise with Homeland Security FearsThe Boston Globe today, Gillette said that it got a big lift from ”pantry loading” of batteries by American consumers nervous about homeland security. The multinational company’s sales also got a boost from a weaker dollar.

Gillette Co. posted double-digit gains yesterday for first-quarter sales and profit, but the maker of razors, Duracell batteries, and oral-care products said it remains cautious because of the slow economy and increased competition. According to