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by CSO Contributor

Security Tightens Around Conventions; Government May Not Need a Court Order to Read E-mail; Combat Simulation More Than a Game in Florida; Irish Programmer Takes Microsoft Security Prize

Jul 06, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Security Tightens Around Conventions

Government officials are convinced that terrorists plan to strike during the political conventions in order to disrupt the election. According to a story in The New York Times, security in New York and Boston (sites of the Republican and Democration national conventions) will include everything from road closings to unpreceented use of bomb-sniffing dogs.

“These events will bring to bear more protective measures than any in history, and while many of these measures can be seen, others like weapons of mass detection equipment won’t be seen,” said Brian Roehrkasse, Homeland Security Department spokesman said.

In Boston, where the Democratic convention will be held July 26 to 29, thousands of commuters will need to find another way into the city or work from home as some major highways, bridges and tunnels will close.

In New York, where the Republicans will meet Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, the NYPD will use the sheer size of its force, 36,000 strong, to deter and detect a terrorist threat.

Full story.

Government May Not Need a Court Order to Read E-mail

A federal appeals court in Boston last week ruled that federal wiretap laws do not apply to e-mail messages if they are stored, even for only an instant, on the computers of Internet providers that process them which they commonly are. This decision has some privacy advocates steamed, according to a story in The New York Times. Says Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “The court has eviscerated the protections that Congress established back in the 1980s.”

However, the practical effects of the decision are in dispute, according to the story. Because major Internet providers have policies against reading customer e-mails, the ruling would seem to have little effect on most users, according to the story. However, the ruling could undercut the argument of privacy advocates who claim that services like Google’s G-mail, which electronically scans the content of e-mail messages of its customers and serves up related advertising, violate wiretap laws.

Full story.

Combat Simulation More Than a Game in Florida

Programmers at a research park in Florida are making new, more complex computer combat simulation games and the Pentagon is buying. “There is not much today that we can’t simulate,” Martin Bushika, a program manager at a simulation training center at the Central Florida Research Park told the Boston Globe.

The defense sector has spurred job growth in Florida (the state has added 171,800 jobs from May 2003 to May 2004), according to the story. The covergence of the defense and entertainment industries has been a strong marriage in the post-9/11 economy, generating $61 billion in 2002 and growing by about 24 percent annually, acording to the story.

Full story.

Irish Programmer Takes Microsoft Security Prize

Eamon O’Tuathail, an Irish software developer, has won the $10,000 Microsoft Security Developer Championship. According to a story in The Register, more than 60,000 individuals took part in the online portion of contest. Of this group, finalists were invited to the TechEd conference in Amsterdam to go head-to-head, quiz-show style.