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by CSO Contributor

Air Travel Regulations to Come over the Next Year; TSA Under Fire for Security Gaps; N.Y. Times Hacker Set to Surrender; Group Sues 261 over File-Sharing; New SARS Case Confirmed in Singapore

Sep 09, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Air Travel Regulations to Come over the Next Year

The Bush administration has decided to postpone enforcement of new antiterrorism regulations that had threatened to block millions of Western Europeans and citizens of other developed nations from traveling to the United States unless they obtained new, computer-coded passports, senior administration officials said today. According to a story in The New York Times, the rules that will require that citizens of 27 countries who do not usually require visas to visit the United States carry passports with text that can be read by computerized scanners at airports and other American border stations will go into effect one year later than planned, in Oct. 2004. According to the Times, American officials said the move to postpone enforcement of the rules followed a vigorous debate between the State Department, where senior officials felt that enforcement of the rules had to be delayed to avoid turmoil for foreign travelers, and the Department of Homeland Security, where officials believed that the new passport rules were a valuable antiterrorist tool and needed to be enforced as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, todays Washington Post reports that the Transportation Security Administration and the airlines will phase in a computer system next year called Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System II (CAPPS II) to probe deeper into each passenger’s identity than is currently possible, comparing personal information against criminal records and intelligence information. Passengers will be assigned a color code

green, yellow or redbased in part on their city of departure, destination, traveling companions and date of ticket purchase. The Post says that up to 8 percent of passengers who board the nation’s 26,000 daily flights will be coded “yellow” and will undergo additional screening at the checkpoint, according to people familiar with the program. An estimated 1 to 2 percent will be labeled “red” and will be prohibited from boarding. CAPPS II has sparked so much controversy among both liberal and conservative groups that the TSA has struggled to get it going. TSA Under Fire for Security GapsThe San Francisco Chronicle today describes how the Transportation Security Administration, charged with protecting the nation’s airports, airlines and other transportation systems from terrorism, is having its competence questioned at nearly every turn. Since its creation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Chronicle reports, the TSA has spent $10. 3 billion to mobilize an army of 50,000 federal airport screeners and deploy thousands of weapons-detection machines in airports. But the agency also must protect ports, trains and inter-city busesall while plugging a $900 million budget hole that is forcing it to lay off 6,000 of the screeners.

An article in

N.Y. Times Hacker Set to SurrenderRegister, hacker Adrian Lamo has agreed to appear in a federal courthouse in Sacramento, Calif., today and turn himself in to law enforcement officials. In exchange, the government will release him on bail within hours, and allow him to transport himself to New York to face charges stemming from his penetration of the New York Times last year. The 22-year-old Lamo has become famous for publicly exposing gaping security holes at large corporations, the Register reports, then volunteering to help the companies fix the vulnerabilities he exploited. Until now, his cooperation and transparency have kept him from being prosecuted.

According to a story in todays

Group Sues 261 over File-SharingThe Boston Globe today, the lawsuits are the first against individual users of Kazaa, Grokster, Gnutella, and other file-sharing programs. The RIAA is requesting statutory damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song, bringing the potential liability of some file-sharers into the millions of dollars.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the five largest U.S. music labels, filed lawsuits yesterday accusing 261 people across the country of illegally sharing copyrighted music. According to a story in

New SARS Case Confirmed in SingaporeStraits Times, the Singapore government said today that a second test on a man suspected of having severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, has confirmed he has the illness. It is the first new case in four months. It is not yet known how the 27-year-old Singaporean post-doctoral student working on the West Nile virus contracted the illness; however, SARS virus samples were handled at the Environmental Health Institute lab at the National Environment Agency where he worked, said Acting Minister of Health Khaw Boon Wan. Twenty-five people who came in contact with the man have been issued home quarantine orders. World Health Organization officials were hesitant to say whether the case was the start of a fresh epidemic.

According to a story in Singapores