Friday, April 29, 2011

Cops Grab Motorist GPS Data to Set Up Speed Camera Traps

"Cops Grab Motorist GPS Data to Set Up Speed Camera Traps
Data from motorist GPS units handed to Dutch police for the purpose of setting up speed traps.

Users of TomTom GPS navigation systems unwittingly helped government officials identify locations where speed cameras would issue the maximum number of citations. The Dutch firm took immediate responsibility Wednesday for selling consumer data that was, in turn, used against its customers."

From thenewspaper.comRead more.

The National Terrorism Advisory System Q&A's

The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This new system will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation's security, and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and what they should do.
Q1 – What will happen to the color-coded advisory system?
A - The new National Terrorism Advisory System replaces the Homeland Security Advisory System that has been in place since 2002. The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, will include information specific to the particular credible threat, and will not use a color-coded scale.
Q2 – How does the new system work?
A – When there is credible information about a threat, an NTAS Alert will be shared with the American public. It may include specific information, if available, about the nature of the threat, including the geographic region, mode of transportation, or critical infrastructure potentially affected by the threat, as well as steps that individuals and communities can take to protect themselves and help prevent, mitigate or respond to the threat. The advisory will clearly indicate whether the threat is Elevated, if we have no specific information about the timing or location, or Imminent, if we believe the threat is impending or very soon.
Q3 – As a citizen, how will I find out that an NTAS Alert has been announced?
A – The Secretary of Homeland Security will announce the alerts publically. Alerts will simultaneously be posted at and released to the news media for distribution. The Department of Homeland Security will also distribute alerts across its social media channels, including the Department’s blog, Twitter stream, Facebook page, and RSS feed.
Q4 - What should Americans do when an NTAS Alert is announced?
A – The NTAS Alert informs the American public about credible terrorism threats, and encourages citizens to report suspicious activity. Where possible and applicable, NTAS Alerts will include steps that individuals and communities can take to protect themselves to help prevent, mitigate or respond to the threat. Individuals should review the information contained in the alert, and based upon the circumstances, take the recommended precautionary or preparedness measures for themselves and their families.
Q5 – How should I report suspicious activity?
A – Citizens should report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement authorities. The "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign across the United States encourages all citizens to be vigilant for indicators of potential terrorist activity, and to follows NTAS Alert for information about threats in specific places or for individuals exhibiting certain types of suspicious activity.
Q6 - I get my news online, so how will I find out about an NTAS Alert?
A – Americans can go to to see the most recent advisories. Additionally, advisories will be sent out widely through social and mainstream media.
Q7 - How will NTAS Alerts be cancelled or updated?
A – The NTAS Alerts carry an expiration date and will be automatically cancelled on that date. If the threat information changes for an alert, the Secretary of Homeland Security may announce an updated NTAS Alert. All changes, including the announcement that cancels an NTAS Alert, will be distributed the same way as the original alert.
Q8 - Do these alerts apply to Americans in other countries?
A –  NTAS Alerts  apply only to threats in the United  States and its possessions.  The Department of State issues security  advisory information for U.S.  citizens overseas or traveling in foreign countries.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GECCo Coming to the Twin Cities

Aurora, Colo., April 27, 2011

Infrastructure Protection (IP) within the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection
and Programs Directorate to expand the association’s Geospatially Enabling Community
Collaboration initiative. The purpose of the GECCo initiative is to facilitate an interactive
dialogue at the local level among community infrastructure stakeholders and emergency
responders to begin to address collaboration and information exchange issues that inhibit
effective response and recovery in times of emergency.

An interactive, cooperative approach is employed by the initiative to enhance existing securityrelated
efforts and enable community stakeholders to develop a framework by which public and
private organizations can better collaborate in order to protect critical infrastructure and respond
more effectively to emergency situations.

Robert M. Samborski, GITA’s Executive Director, said, “We are really looking forward to being
able to expand and accelerate our GECCo initiative through this partnership with DHS IP. We
now have, for the first time, a sustained commitment that will enable us to plan ahead and
develop a coordinated series of workshops in communities across the U.S., as well as contribute
our growing body of knowledge to the important effort of protecting our critical infrastructure
assets.” Tammy Barbour, Acting Division Director of IP’s Infrastructure Information Collection
Division, echoed the significance of this partnership by stating that, “GITA is working with IP to
help bring together critical infrastructure communities to enhance risk information sharing and
the identification of infrastructure interdependencies leading to a safer, more secure, and more
resilient America, one city at a time.”

The potential 2011 GECCo workshop locations include Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St.
Paul, and other areas, which will be determined jointly by GITA and IP.

The next GECCo workshop will be held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area June 16 and 17, 2011. For
more details, contact Libby Hanna at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Farms Get Individualized Maps to Avert Emergencies

Efforts underway in Illinois, Michigan and other states to make emergency response maps readily available for first responders.  Go here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

"Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops
ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists."

Read more.

Comment: While the underlying truth of this article is hard to determine, what is irrefutable, is that we are headed into an era where more and more GIS technology versus legality issues are going to surface.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Save Our GPS Campaign

"Guest Editorial by Joe Paiva
GPS has become a key component of the U.S. national infrastructure, the driver of a significant part of the civilian economies of the world, and the enabler of millions of professional precision uses and consumer benefits.The viability of the GPS signal is now threatened — ironically by what appears to be a misguided attempt to increase accessibility to broadband by creating a needless zero-sum result for customers who want both services.

The threat is real and immediate. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a conditional waiver to LightSquared, a company engaged in developing 4G-LTE (long-term evolution) cellular networks for wholesale-only basis commerce with its business partners."

Read more at:

See also:

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on National Preparedness

On March 30, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a new Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on National Preparedness.  The Directive outlines the President’s vision for strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for threats to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, pandemics, significant accidents, and catastrophic natural disasters.  The Directive replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8) (2003) and HSPD-8 Annex I (2007).  
The Directive emphasizes three national preparedness principles:
·        An all-of-Nation approach, aimed at enhancing integration of effort across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments; closer collaboration with the private and non-profit sectors; and more engagement of individuals, families and communities;
·        A focus on capabilities, defined by specific and measurable objectives, as the cornerstone of preparedness.  This will enable more integrated, flexible, and agile “all hazards” efforts tailored to the unique circumstances of any given threat, hazard, or actual event; and
·        A focus on outcomes and rigorous assessment to measure and track progress in building and sustaining capabilities over time.
The Directive calls for the development of an overarching National Preparedness Goal that identifies the core capabilities necessary for preparedness, defined as a spectrum of five broad efforts:
·        Prevention – those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism;
·        Protection – those capabilities necessary to secure the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters;
·        Mitigation – those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters;
·        Response – those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred; and
·        Recovery – those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively.
The Directive also calls for development of a National Preparedness System to guide activities that will enable the Nation to achieve the goal; a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness; and an annual National Preparedness Report to measure progress in meeting the goal.  
This action recognizes that our national response to a wide range of events, from the 2009-H1N1 pandemic to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has been strengthened by leveraging the expertise and resources that exist in our communities.  All of us can contribute to safeguard our Nation from harm, and we must continue to lean forward together to prepare for all hazards.
A copy of the PPD is posted to the DHS website at and is linked at FEMA’s website at