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NewsWatch: Information Technology

Cell Barcodes Bypassed, Police Tech Awards, Universal Service Fund Outdated, Eyes Better Than Drones, Photo Data Vulnerable.

by / July 22, 2010
Behind Bars

Deputies Bypassed Cell-Check Bar Code System
Two deputies have been fired and another eight sworn officers disciplined by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department after a suicide in the Men's Central Jail revealed a scheme to defeat a bar code system that verifies that guards have checked cells regularly. The scandal was uncovered after a "high security" inmate hanged himself in a discipline module of the downtown jail, according to the report Wednesday to the Board of Supervisors from the county Office of Independent Review. Los Angeles Times

Chiefs of Police Present Technology Awards
The IACP- iXP Excellence in Technology Award Program recognizes law enforcement agencies' superior achievement and innovation in the field of communication and information technology. This international award program is designed to recognize leading practices through solutions that benefit law enforcement as a profession and innovative implementation of common off-the-shelf hardware/software. IACP

Reforms Urged in Federal Funding for Phone Lines
Americans are turning away from home phone lines and toward mobile, but a federal program continues to pour $8 billion a year into phone service for rural homes and businesses. Last year in Chelan, Wash., for instance, the fund paid an average of $17,763 each for 17 residents to get phone lines. But as the nation looks to wireless and fiber broadband networks as its on-ramp to e-mail, tweets and Skype calls, lawmakers and regulators have called for sweeping changes to the Universal Service Fund. Washington Post

Drones Can't Replace Locals' Eyes, Ears, Says Sheriff
Sheriff Ronny Dodson stares at the barren mountain range across the border near La Linda Bridge, Texas, a deeply isolated region where trails once traveled by small-time smugglers are now controlled by drug gangs that operate with military precision. He says he keeps pictures showing men in army-style fatigues brazenly making their way across the mountains to Texas, apparently to check on drug-trafficking routes before slipping back into Mexico.Dodson's informants have told him about makeshift checkpoints set up just across the border from Texas, manned by criminals who will shake down locals and anyone else who passes along the isolated roads. Dallas Morning News

Online Images Can Carry Location Data, Leave Users Vulnerable
 The International Computer Science Institute issued a release warning that photos and videos posted on websites such as Craigslist and Twitter can carry detailed information about where the images were taken. This may leave them vulnerable to "cybercasing," the use of geo-tagged information available online to mount attacks in the real world. ICSI