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by CSO Contributor

Homeland Defense Selects Privacy Officer; Federal Study Rates State Safety Communications; Misdemeanor Charges for E-Mail Deluge; Arsenic Poisoning Likely from Dumped Chemical Weapons

Apr 17, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Homeland Defense Selects Privacy Officer

Nuala O’Connor Kelly, a 34-year-old chief counsel to the Technology Administration at the Commerce Department, has been named chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, according to The Wasington Post today. She will review whether the department’s collection and use of personal information about U.S. citizens is legal and appropriate. Kellys appointment was controversial because she formerly worked for Internet advertising giant DoubleClick Inc., which had to retreat from a plan to capture information identifying individuals who viewed particular ads when revelations about the plans infuriated computer users. The Post quotes Jason Catlett, head of Junkbusters Corp., a privacy and anti-spam organization: “She may do an excellent job, but the choice of someone who was doing PR cleanup for one of privacy’s greatest monsters may be a bad sign.” On the other hand, Ari Schwartz, associate director for the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the Post, “One of the things we liked [about her time at DoubleClick was that] she worked hard to build relationships with the privacy community and to vet their new policies with these groups.” Kelly herself says, “There’s conventional wisdom that privacy and security are antithetical. I think that’s not true.” Federal Study Rates State Safety CommunicationsHartford Courant, the study measured improvements over the past two years in the ability of public safety agencies to communicate with one another. It measures, for example, whether police and firefighters can talk on the same frequency as emergency medical workers and public works employees during a major incident. Only 14 states received passing marks—Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. They spent the most money or were able to garner the most federal funds for shared radio systems. The Courant notes that Connecticut has one of the largest homeland security offices in the nation, with 32 employees, but has not allocated as much money for shared communications as other states, according to the study. While interoperability has received much attention since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the issue first was thrust into public consciousness in 1982, when a jetliner crashed into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., and emergency responders were unable to communicate with one another. Public Safety Wireless Network began rating states for interoperability in 1996.

A federal study, The National Interoperability Scorecard, was released last week by the Public Safety Wireless Network, a joint project of the U.S. Justice and Treasury departments. According to a story in the

Misdemeanor Charges for E-Mail this morning, a NASCAR fan faces up to a year in prison for flooding Fox Entertainment with more than a half-million e-mails, which forced the network to shut down part of its website, because he was angry the network aired a Boston Red Sox game instead of an auto race. He is charged with damage to a protected computer system, a federal misdemeanor. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison, but the defendant, who works in the computer industry and has no prior criminal record, will plead guilty and ask for probation, his lawyer said.

According to an AP story on

Arsenic Poisoning Likely from Dumped Chemical WeaponsAsahi Shumbun. They say chemical weapons were probably dumped by the Japanese military at the end of World War II and that the artillery shells have begun to leak, contaminating the soil and the local water supply. Diphenylcyanoarsine, which yields arsenic when dissolved in water, was used by the Japanese military as an ingredient of a form of sneezing gas, used before and during World War II. Officials said chemical weapons were stored at a base near some now-contaminated wells by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s aviation corps before and during World War II.

In Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan, officials believe they have solved the mystery of why so many residents have displayed symptoms of severe arsenic poisoning in the last ten years, according to a story in the English language