Culture Tech Industry Security 1:54 Share your voice On Wednesday, House Democrats unveiled a new border security plan that contains no money for physical barriers along the southern US border.”We’ve seen that walls can and will be tunneled under, cut through or scaled,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, from California, told The Washington Post. “We cannot focus on archaic solutions in order to address this very modern problem. Technology works for securing the border.”So what are we talking about? Smart wall systems could comprise technologies ranging from infrared and laser-enhanced cameras, drones, sensors and radar to artificial intelligence. There’s also imaging technology that scans vehicles for drugs as they pass through official border crossings. But these approaches could too easily violate our privacy, security and civil liberties, according to tech companies and the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU described security technologies as “ineffective” and warned that “programs intended for border security purposes have had a tendency to expand toward the rest of the country.” Here are the most likely technologies that could be used on the border in place of, or in addition to, a wall.SensorsSensor technology is now small enough to embed in a car, allowing it to power self-driving test vehicles. Advocates say today’s sensors could be used on the border.One company, Quanergy, says one of its products relies on lidar, which uses pulsed light to measure distances and generate detailed images, to scan for movements. Quanergy says its products can tell the difference between a person and an animal.Given that the border stretches 1,950 miles, the project might require more than 15,000 sensors. At an estimated $250 per sensor, the price tag could amount to $3.7 million, or less than 1 percent of Trump’s border wall ask.Then there’s Anduril, a 2-year-old startup that’s building sensor-packed towers filled with radar, laser-enhanced cameras and communications antennas. Together, the sensors, cameras and antennas can detect objects from two miles away and identify the difference between people and animals, the company says.Anduril is headed by Palmer Luckey, the 26-year-old co-founder of Oculus VR who was forced out of Facebook. Now in his second act, Luckey said he’s hoping to “rebuild the bridge between the tech and defense communities.”His technology, called Lattice, is already being tested by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In a 10-week span, it helped agents catch 55 unauthorized border crossers and seize 982 pounds of marijuana, according to a 2018 Wired profile of the company.Anduril’s and Quanergy’s technologies could potentially augment an existing program created by Elbit Systems, an Israeli company that’s reportedly built 43 towers in Arizona carrying radar as well as daylight and infrared cameras that can capture images from 7.5 miles away, according to a report by Bloomberg. The contract, awarded in 2014 for $145 million, has been called a key piece of technology by CBP. DronesDrones can use combinations of cameras, lasers and heat sensors. They’ve also been tested in war zones by the US military and by firefighters battling last year’s wildfire blazes in California.The US Customs and Border Protection agency uses drones like this Predator for surveillance flights near the Mexican border. John Moore / Getty Images CBP operates a fleet of at least nine drones, according to a 2018 report from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. “The biggest difficulty with drones is positioning them to surveil the border,” Cato’s report said, noting that issues such as bad weather, crashes and operation costs have plagued the program.Though CBP spent $255 million buying and operating drones between 2013 and 2016, apprehensions have risen by less than 1 percent, Cato estimates, at a cost of $32,000 per capture. Captures not involving drones cost an average of $9,000, according to Cato.CBP didn’t respond to a request for comment.Artificial intelligenceThe tech industry’s buzziest buzzword is already being used to help identify people in your photographs, recommend new beauty products and weed out bad behavior on the internet. And there are companies who say AI can help secure the border as well.Cogniac offers camera software that identifies people and objects. The company is backed by Google parent Alphabet and says its technology can work in real time with security cameras, cameras mounted on drones or even smartphones. So where is facial recognition in all this, you might ask?That technology has two potential issues. First, it would be mostly practical in places like border crossings, where lots of people stream by cameras. Second, such systems aren’t foolproof, and they carry a very real risk of abuse. “When combined with ubiquitous cameras and massive computing power and storage in the cloud, a government could use facial recognition technology to enable continuous surveillance of specific individuals,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in an official Microsoft blog last year. “We must ensure that the year 2024 doesn’t look like a page from the novel ‘1984.’”Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens.CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition. Drones Microsoft Donald Trump 39 Now playing: Watch this: Comments Tags US agents patrol the border between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Herika Martinez/Getty Images Since 2015, President Donald Trump has promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the 1,950-mile US border with Mexico: a 20- to 30-foot high concrete wall/steel fence he says will stem illegal immigration, keep out illicit drugs and stop terrorists from entering the country.Critics say a physical barrier is unnecessary and ineffective, and they argue that modern tech could do the job instead at a lower cost. Which is how we got to the recent 35-day shutdown, the longest in US government history. Trump insists on Congress budgeting $5.7 billion for a wall, while Democrats push for high-tech border protections. “The positive, shall we say, almost technological wall that can be built is what we should be doing,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference in January. She’s proposed spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” for tech to scan for drugs and weapons and detect people attempting to cross the border. Pelosi’s office didn’t respond to a request for an interview. Neither she nor her Democratic allies have specified which technologies they’d like to fund. Border security: Tech options that could replace a wall
Tata Sons is reportedly stepping up efforts to ensure that its group companies successfully bid for GE Capital’s stake in SBI Cards worth Rs 2,000 crore. Tata Capital and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are jointly bidding to buy the stake.Bombay House, headquarters of India’s largest business house Tata Group, is “working on a bid” that integrates the potential of its non-banking finance company (NBFC) Tata Capital and software unit TCS.”Tata Sons has put its weight behind this move because it has identified financial services as a key growth area,” a source familiar with the Tata Group’s plans, told Business Standard.In April, the New York-based GE decided to sell most of GE Capital assets, as a part of its plans to exit financial services completely.”GE Capital wants to exit the business completely, so the bidder has to acquire not only its stakes in the front-end business but also in the back-end company,” the source added.For its credit card business, the State Bank of India (SBI) had announced a tie-up with GE Capital in 1998. The business is run through two joint ventures, SBI Cards & Payment Services and GE Capital Business Process Management Services Ltd. GE holds 40% stake in the former and 60% in the latter.While SBI Cards & Payment Services is responsible for marketing and distribution of credit cards, GE Capital Business Process Management Services Ltd handles technology and processing through its captive BPO unit.Acquiring GE’s stake in SBI will give a major boost to Tata Capital , as its card business operates on the SBI Cards platform. Also, TCS is the technology services provider for SBI’s core banking platform and other value-added services.”The combined strength of Tata Capital and TCS has made the Tata Group a front runner for the stake,” said an investment banker.SBI Cards posted a net profit of Rs 300 crore for the fiscal year ending March 2015.
In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korean president Moon Jae-in, second from left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, left, are welcomed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju upon their arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea on 18 September, 2018. Photo: APSouth Korean president Moon Jae-in arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for his third and possibly most challenging summit yet with leader Kim Jong Un in which he hopes to break an impasse in talks with the United States over the North’s denuclearisation and breathe energy into his own efforts to expand and improve relations between the Koreas.In what are by now familiar images of the two Korean leaders hugging and exchanging warm smiles, Kim greeted Moon at Pyongyang’s airport. They walked together past cheering crowds and a military honour guard, and then drove into the city, where security was higher than usual.Travelling with Moon are business tycoons including Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong, underscoring Moon’s hopes to expand cross-border business projects. Currently, all major joint projects between the Koreas are stalled because of US-led sanctions.Moon was expected to have talks with Kim on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Moon’s chief of staff. Moon and Kim were also expected to jointly announce the results of their talks on Wednesday if things go smoothly. Moon is to return to Seoul on Thursday.North Korea’s state-run media reported early Tuesday that Moon was to begin a visit, but said little else. It said the two will reaffirm their previous commitments to “peace, prosperity and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.”Security was tight. Requests by The Associated Press to go to the airport or to drive around the city were denied.This is Moon’s first trip to the North Korean capital, though he has met Kim twice at the border village of Panmunjom.He is under intense pressure from Washington to advance the denuclearization process. Before his departure he said he intends to push for “irreversible, permanent peace” and for better dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.”This summit would be very meaningful if it yielded a resumption of North Korea-US talks,” Moon said Tuesday morning just before his departure. “It’s very important for South and North Korea to meet frequently, and we are turning to a phase where we can meet anytime we want.”But his chief of staff tried to lower expectations of major progress on the future of Kim’s nuclear arsenal.Kim, meanwhile, is seemingly riding a wave of success.The North just completed an elaborate celebration replete with a military parade and huge rallies across the country to mark North Korea’s 70th anniversary. China, signalling its support for Kim’s recent diplomatic moves, sent its third-highest party official to those festivities. That’s important because China is the North’s biggest economic partner and is an important political counterbalance to the United States.North Korea maintains that it has developed its nuclear weapons to the point that it can now defend itself against a potential US attack, and can now shift its focus to economic development and improved ties with the South. While signaling his willingness to talk with Washington, Kim’s strategy has been to try to elbow the US away from Seoul so that the two Koreas can take the lead in deciding how to bring peace and stability to their peninsula.Talks between the United States and North Korea, which Moon brokered through his April and May summits with Kim, have stalled since Kim’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.North Korea has taken some steps, like dismantling its nuclear and rocket-engine testing sites, but U.S. officials have said it must take more serious disarmament steps before receiving outside concessions. Trump has indicated he may be open to holding another summit to resuscitate the talks, however.To keep expectations from getting too high, Moon’s chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, said it’s “difficult to have any optimistic outlook” for progress on denuclearization during the summit.But he said he still expects the summit to produce meaningful agreements that “fundamentally remove the danger of armed clashes and ease fears of war” between the two Koreas.South Korea last week opened a liaison office in the North’s city of Kaesong, near the Demilitarized Zone. Another possible area of progress could be on a formal agreement ending the Korean War, which was halted in 1953 by what was intended to be a temporary armistice. Military officials have discussed possibly disarming a jointly controlled area at the Koreas’ shared border village, removing front-line guard posts and halting hostile acts along their sea boundary.Moon is the third South Korean leader to visit North Korea’s capital for summits. Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun went to Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007 respectively to meet Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il. Those trips produced a slew of inter-Korean rapprochement projects, which were suspended after conservatives took power in Seoul.