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U.S. Might Use Facebook, Twitter to Broadcast Terrorism Alerts

The U.S. government is considering using Facebook and Twitter to issue terrorism warnings, as part of its revamped terror alert system. According to a draft of a Homeland Security plan obtained by the AP, the government would broadcast the warnings via Facebook and Twitter "when appropriate," and only after federal, state and local officials have already been alerted. But these warnings won't b...

'Avatar' Brings Lie Detector Tests to Airport Security Lines

Forget full-body scans and pat-downs at airports. Get ready for the automated lie detector test. Researchers at the University of Arizona are currently working on a machine known as the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-time, or 'Avatar.' Though it's only about the size of an ATM machine, Avatar can apparently pick up on the kind of physiological nuances and quirks that s...

ICE Wrongfully Shutters 84,000 Sites for Child Porn

Last week, the U.S. Government triumphantly shut down several domain names linked to counterfeit goods and child pornography. But it also shut down about 84,000 other sites that, it turns out, were completely legal. As part of its ongoing 'Operation Save Our Children' campaign, the Department of Justice and Homeland Security's ICE office recently obtained a seizure warrant from a District Cour...

New Cyber-Security PSA Wants You to 'Stop. Think. Connect.'

"Stop. Think. Connect." That's the unifying message for this year's Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the slogan for a new public education campaign. Said campaign is being spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), countless government agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security), and companies such as Microsoft, Google, PayPal and ...

Drones to Patrol U.S.-Mexico Border in Homeland Security Plan

How seriously does the Department of Homeland Security take illegal immigration? So seriously, apparently, that it's ready to turn the Texas border into Tora Bora. According to the AP, the government will begin deploying unmanned surveillance drones to the U.S.-Mexico border in a revamped attempt to stem the flow of illegal aliens entering the country. So far, Homeland Security has obtained pe...

Talking Cyber-Security With Homeland Security Advisor (and Former Hacker) Jeff Moss

Share To get a look at the world of cyber-security from an insider, Switched turned to noted and notorious hacker Jeff Moss, a.k.a Dark Tangent. Moss got his start hacking the phone system before founding DefCon, the long-running annual hacker convention in Las Vegas, in 1992. He then took his l337 skillz to big industry by founding the network security consultancy firm Black Hat. Moss's desce...

Homeland Security to Develop Cell Phones That 'Smell' Poisonous Gas

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to make us into walking poison detectors. According to Physorg, as part of a program called Cell-All, the department will develop by the end of the year 40 cell phone prototypes that can detect poisonous gas in the air. Officials say cell phones available today can be modified to do this by simply inserting a chip that costs less than $1. When the ...

Senators Propose National ID Cards to Curb Illegal Immigration

As the Department of Homeland Security continues to urge states to adopt its national identification card program, Senators Chuck Schumer and Lindsay Graham have proposed a radically new alternative -- another national identification card. Homeland Security's Real ID initiative, which began in 2005, requires motor vehicle authorities in each state to compile Social Security numbers, birth ce...

U.S. May Shutter Virtual Border Fence

Plans to construct a "virtual fence" of cameras and sensors along the U.S. border with Mexico may be reaching the end of their days. Yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that work on the two pilot sections would be frozen, and that $50 million in funding would be diverted from the program to other projects. The official word is that the program has been temporarily fr...

Feds Promise Faster Action, Transparency in Laptop Searches

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security promised to introduce reforms to its practice of searching laptops at U.S. Customs checkpoints, reports the Wall Street Journal. At present, policy allows checkpoint agents to randomly search the electronic devices of anyone passing through customs -- U.S. citizen or no -- without probable cause, or the traveler's permission. Powerful entities like ...

Under Bush, the NSA Snooped on 'All Americans,' Says Former Agent

Remember those pesky little warrant-less wiretaps George W. Bush defended back in the day? Remember how he said that only those guilty of talking to terrorists would be targeted by surveillance? Well, it turns out -- surprise, surprise -- that wasn't exactly the whole truth. In an interview with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann last week, Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst, adm...

The 'Anti-Aircraft Weapon' for Cyber Attacks

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the target of public scorn following the government's bungled reaction to Hurricane Katrina, was back in front of the press recently discussing his plans to secure government computers against cyber attacks. The Einstein program, started in March, was one of the first major cyber security initiatives tackled by the U.S. government. The first step tak...

New Technology Could Detect Terrorists By Screening For Anxiety

How do you feel when you walk through an airport these days? Angry, confused, and poorer than when you arrived? Us too! We usually wouldn't mention such a touchy issue, but there is a new technology in development that could possibly affect millions of ornery travelers in a profound way. The Department of Homeland Security recently showcased an early version of what is basically an anxiety-det...

Hackers Rack Up $12,000 Bill on Homeland Security Phones

We never miss an opportunity to remind you to secure the devices you rely on at home, things like your wireless Internet connection or your e-mail password. Sometimes, though, we take for granted that government officials are doing the same. That, unfortunately, isn't always the case. At least, it isn't when it comes to FEMA, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, which recently discovere...

U.S. Authorities Can Now Seize Laptops Arbitrarily, Indefinitely

Thinking about taking your laptop across the border for your next trip up north or down south? News hitting the wires today indicates that you might want to re-think that plan, unless you feel like being separated from your precious gadgets. According to Reuters, the Department of Homeland Security has given border agents the right to seize any piece of electronics equipment they feel like, even...