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
Europa’s salty surface goes well with fries. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Europa, the fourth-biggest moon orbiting gas giant Jupiter, hides a salty, liquid ocean underneath its icy shell and thus, may harbor the ingredients necessary for life. A new study has found that Europa’s surface is full of sodium chloride — table salt — and concludes the hidden ocean underneath Europa’s ice may be more similar to Earth’s oceans than previously imagined. The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances by researchers at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, show for the first time how yellow patches on Europa’s surface, first noticed by NASA proves Voyager and Galileo decades ago, actually indicate the presence of sodium chloride. More astonishing is the fact the table salt has been hidden in plain view for years. Scientists just hadn’t been looking for it. “Sodium chloride is a bit like invisible ink on Europa’s surface,” NASA’s Kevin Hand said in a press release. “Before irradiation, you can’t tell it’s there, but after irradiation, the color jumps right out at you.” To make the discovery, the team irradiated plain white table salt in a laboratory that simulated the conditions present on Europa. They found that the white salt turned a shade of yellow — the same shade of yellow spotted by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on its imaging missions between 1995 and 2003. To confirm, they turned the Hubble Space Telescope to Europa and had it confirm the yellows on the surface were giving off a chemical signal that represented the irradiated table salt. It did.It’s a particularly important finding because of what it can tell us about the subsurface ocean chemistry. If the sodium chloride does originate from within Europa, then the moon’s ocean may resemble Earth’s much more closely. In a far-flung future, it could provide somewhere to mine as a resource or even settle. However, the authors note that they can’t yet say whether the surface table salt definitely represents the compositon of the subsurface ocean.Still, it opens the door for further investigation of Europa and suggests it may even be more geologically active than scientists once thought. If you want to sneak a look at Jupiter and its moons, there’s no better time. Jupiter is so close to the Earth right now that you only need a pair of binoculars. Europa is particularly bright so you shouldn’t have trouble spotting it. Take some popcorn and make a night of it. 3 Share your voice Comments Tags Space geeks tweak NASA images of Jupiter’s red spot 20 Photos Sci-Tech
Top five UK-listed companies with substantial exposure to the US Close IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/2:47Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-2:46?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Rather than buy a US stock fund or ETF, UK-based investors could instead invest in a number of UK-listed companies that have substantial operations or exposure to the US.
AfghanistanTaliban fighters have killed 12 security forces in the last 48 hours in ongoing fighting in Afghanistan’s western province of Badghis, the defence ministry said Monday.In the latest assault on Afghan forces — who have faced devastating losses in recent years — Taliban fighters last week smashed through government lines near the city of Bala Murghab, seizing several checkpoints.”It is with great sadness we announce that during these operations, eight Afghan National Army and four police who fought with bravery and courage accepted martyrdom,” the defence ministry said in a statement.Another 10 soldiers and 24 police were wounded in the operation that killed “99 Taliban terrorists,” it added.Clearance operations continue in the district, officials said, and security forces helped Red Cross workers evacuate the bodies of Taliban fighters that had been left on battlefields.Jamshid Shahabi, the spokesman for the Badghis governor, told AFP that fighting continued near the district’s main marketplace.Afghan and US-led aircraft were striking Taliban positions, he said. “They have suffered heavy casualties.”The defence ministry last week said Afghan forces had made a “tactical retreat” from a number of checkpoints in the district to “avoid civilian casualties”.Abdul Aziz Beg, the head of the Badghis provincial council, had described the situation as “critical” and called for reinforcements.The Taliban said they had conducted a coordinated attack on a series of government checkpoints, killing 12 security forces.The militants launched their assault ahead of a widely expected spring offensive.They typically declare a new fighting season as winter snows melt, and have in the past sought to gain control of district centres and target government facilities.The clash started as Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy tasked with forging a peace deal with the Taliban, was in Afghanistan, where he spoke with national leaders and stakeholders.Khalilzad is expected in the coming days to go to Qatar, where Taliban and Afghan officials are due to meet.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP the talks were set to begin on 14 April.In January, president Ashraf Ghani said 45,000 security forces had been killed since he took office in September 2014.
Kolkata: Police have arrested three persons from Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas and seized around 900 kg of banned firecrackers from them.Acting on a tip off, the police raided and arrested the trio when they were travelling in a car. They searched the car and found three large plastic bags containing banned fire crackers.Police received prior information about a car, carrying banned crackers, that will pass through Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road at Rajpur near Sonarpur. To get hold of them, policemen went to the spot in plainclothes. On late Sunday night, they found a car approaching and immediately started a search operation of the same. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAfter finding those plastic bags, they took the three men to the police station and investigation revealed that the plastic bags contained banned firecrackers.A police officer said: “There were around 900 kg banned firecrackers in the plastic bags.”Police are now trying to get more information about the three arrested persons. They are also trying to know the purpose behind taking such a huge quantity of banned fire crackers.The police officer said that usually such a huge quantity of banned firecrackers gets seized in October and November ahead of Diwali. “Hence, it is important for us to investigate into the case to find out why did they indulge in it now,” the officer said.Police have intensified the search operations and undertaken all necessary steps to check the selling of banned firecrackers.It may be mentioned that the police and administration together have taken several steps to check selling of banned firecrackers as it leads to pollution.
Kolkata: BJP should take the blame for the “shabby arrangement” at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Midnapore, where 90 people were injured due to collapse of a canopy, Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said in the Lok Sabha.”The Prime Minister addressed the Kisan Kalyan rally in Midnapore. People were brought in from Jharkhand, Odisha. During the rally, a tent collapsed, leaving 90 people injured, of which 50 were women. BJP had organised the rally. They must take blame for the shabby arrangement,” Roy said during Zero Hour. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA makeshift tent had collapsed during Modi’s rally in Midnapore on July 16, following which the Centre had sought a report from the Bengal government.The tent was erected next to the main entrance of the rally venue to shelter people from the rain and the incident had happened when the Prime Minister was mid-way through his speech.Meanwhile, a team comprising senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs visited the spot in connection with the incident. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedJoint Secretary Arti Bhatnagar and two senior SPG officials visited the spot after holding a detailed discussion with senior officials of the district administration and police.The police have also been looking into the role of the decorators that had erected the pandal. It may be mentioned that no fault of the Public Works Department was found with regard to the collapse, according to sources in Nabanna.It has been stated that the area was under the SPG from seven days ahead of the rally. So, the state police does not have much to do in this connection.