Iberia To Use Biometrics at Madrid-Barajas

The national airports authority AENA and a consortium consisting of Iberia, Inetum, and Thales is carrying out an innovative new project to find ways to operate better in the air travel industry with health measures to fight Covid-19.

The group says the proposed project uses biometrics to identify passengers using mobile devices and aims to provide a smooth airport experience while drastically reducing physical contact, to further enhance the safety of all airport procedures.

The use of tablets also makes the solution mobile and flexible, meaning a limited number of units will be sufficient to deal with a large number of flights to different destinations. In addition, the system hopes to have improved detection capabilities, making it possible to identify passengers even when wearing face masks.

The initiative is being supported by the CDTI, Spain’s industrial technology development agency, through a research and development cooperation program, thus contributing to the improvement of the technological level and digital transformation of Spanish enterprises via the development of innovative ideas.

This R&D program complies with the new measures of contactless security. It will be built around the facial recognition pilot running at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport and will serve in the development of new features. They will be integrated them into a single process using a dedicated application as well as new security and boarding controls.

The companies are collaborating to achieve the necessary development and validation. These are the airline Iberia, as and airline, systems integrator Inetum, Thales for the identity verification and biometric technology and airport operator AENA who is responsible for the intermediate integration systems between airline and biometric engine.

DHS Stops Counterfeit N95 Masks from Reaching Hospital Workers

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) federal agents report they have seized approximately 11 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirator masks in recent weeks, the result of ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and manufacturer 3M to prevent counterfeit masks from reaching hospital workers and first responders.

“These seizures illustrate the ongoing efforts of HSI, CBP, and private industry in keeping our communities and medical staff safe and free from counterfeit products,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Often, this battle is fought behind the scenes and is unknown to the general public, but you can be assured that the DHS workforce remains firmly committed to protecting the health and safety of our medical workers, the American public, and the integrity of the American economy.” “The public-private partnerships that are the hallmark of the IPR Center allow for swift and decisive action to protect consumers from fraudulent and potentially harmful or even deadly products. This work which is important on a blue-sky day to protect consumers, U.S. businesses, and the U.S. economy, is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson. “The IPR Center with its many government agency and industry partners are unified in their commitment to fight COVID-related fraud.”

The most recent enforcement actions occurred today, with special agents seizing hundreds of thousands of counterfeit masks from an east coast warehouse as part of an ongoing investigation into a criminal enterprise distributing counterfeit masks throughout the U.S. In the past two weeks, HSI has conducted multiple criminal search warrants and seized counterfeit masks in operations conducted in five states, from coast to coast, with more enforcement actions expected in the coming weeks. Since many of the counterfeit masks are produced abroad, HSI also works closely with its international law enforcement partners around the world to pursue leads into sources of supply and prevent shipments of counterfeit products from reaching U.S. shores.

The initial leads came to the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center last week through 3M, which shared reports of suspected counterfeits being purchased for healthcare workers. HSI mobilized quickly, initiating multi-state investigations into the individuals and organizations looking to profit from the sale and distribution of counterfeit N95 respirators.

At the same time, HSI notified about six thousand suspected victims of the fraud, in at least 12 states, including hospitals, medical facilities and others who may have purchased medical masks from the illicit dealers, urging them to immediately stop using the masks and to contact HSI immediately.

“3M is proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help combat counterfeiting of 3M N95 respirators,” said Kevin Rhodes, 3M Deputy General Counsel. “This collaboration has helped prevent millions of counterfeit respirators from reaching frontline workers. We are committed to fighting the pandemic from all angles – manufacturing needed PPE, working to prevent counterfeiting, and helping ensure N95s get to where they are needed the most.”

The cases that resulted in the recent seizures of counterfeit masks are being conducted under HSI’s Operation Stolen Promise, an initiative launched in April 2020 to protect the Homeland from the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity.

As of Feb. 10, HSI has seized more than $33 million in illicit proceeds; made 227 arrests; served 222 criminal search warrants; opened 862 investigations; and analyzed nearly 80,000 COVID-19 domain names pursuant to Operation Stolen Promise. Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 1,800 shipments of mislabeled, fraudulent, unauthorized or prohibited COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment, and other related items have been seized. These actions have kept counterfeit and substandard goods out of the supply chain and out of the hands of the general public and medical professionals; have protected individuals, businesses, and the financial system from fraud; have ensured the integrity of online marketplaces and COVID-19 related websites; and have resulted in violators being held accountable for their criminal efforts to exploit the pandemic for profit.

Siemens Government Technologies Chosen for Electronic Security System Maintenance & Services on Florida’s Space Coast

Siemens Government Technologies( SGT), the federally-focused U.S. arm of technology company Siemens, has been awarded an initial task order for a contract valued up to $21 million by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, for electronic security maintenance and support of vital operations conducted by the Space Force 45th Space Wing on Florida’s Space Coast.

Utilizing the Army Corps of Engineers’ Utility Monitoring and Control Systems fifth generation (UMCS V) contracting vehicle, SGT will leverage smart infrastructure expertise to provide maintenance and support for electronic security systems in support of orbital vehicle launches and range operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Patrick Air Force Base (PAFB) and Kennedy Space Center. The 45thSpace Wing has a long history dating back to the 1940s. As one of two space launch wings for the U.S. Space Force, the 45th Space Wing provides support for NASA, the Air Force’s Technical Applications Center and 920thRescue Wing and the Naval Ordnance Test Unit.Taken as a whole, these organizations are ultimately responsible for U.S. national interests in space exploration, strategic defense and deterrence missions.

“Our team at the Cape has more than 49 years of collective experience in supporting the unique needs of our Space Force customer for fire and electronic security, with thorough knowledge of the systems installed for safe, secure and reliable operations,” said Tina Dolph, president and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies. “We look forward to meeting our customers’ highest expectations for new efficiencies without compromise for safety or security, and, we have just the team in place to support the pioneering men and women who are defining our future in Space security, science and exploration.”

SGT has a track record of applying Siemens’ deep portfolio of building automation, utility monitoring and control systems and enhanced security systems at military installations around the world. In November 2019, SGT was selected as one of 14 companies qualified to participate on the UMCS V contract vehicle –a seven-year, multiple award contract with a $1.2 billion ceiling. Under UMCS V, SGT delivers a range of services inclusive of heating, ventilation, chiller/boiler controls, utility metering, automated controls, as well as fire alarm, protection and electronic security.

During National Human Trafficking Awareness Month ICE Emphasized Confronting the Global Issue

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January to bring attention to the international crime and the work of law enforcement to deter human trafficking, bring traffickers to justice and to assist victims. Human trafficking centers on exploitation and is considered a form of modern slavery.

“ICE is committed to leveraging every resource it has at its disposal to confront the threat of human trafficking, to support the victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their monstrous crimes,” said Angie Salazar, DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) acting director in last month. “Though this fight continues year-round, the month of January gives us the opportunity to showcase these efforts and highlight our contribution to this global movement to disrupt and dismantle sex trafficking, forced labor organizations and profiteers.”

Human trafficking generally takes two forms. Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. Or, the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

In October 2020, DHS stood up the CCHT, an ICE-led center that integrates DHS investigative and enforcement operations, victim assistance, intelligence, outreach and training to effectively respond to human trafficking on a global scale.

The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking, is the U.S. government’s first-ever integrated law enforcement operations center directly supporting federal criminal investigations, victim assistance efforts, intelligence analysis, and outreach and training activities related to human trafficking and forced labor.

In fiscal year 2020, ICE arrested 1,746 individuals in connection with human trafficking and identified and assisted more than 400 victims. The top five locations for human trafficking criminal arrests by HSI were Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Tampa, Florida.

Nationwide, ICE participates in a variety of human trafficking awareness events in January and throughout the year to educate medical professionals, key industries and the general public to identify indicators of trafficking activities. The recognition of human trafficking by others can save a victim’s life and help the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.

Man Arrested in Germany After Making Radio Contact with Aircraft, Giving Direction

A 32-year-old man was arrested last week in Germany for allegedly making contact with air traffic, including law enforcement helicopters, and giving false directions under the guise of being air traffic control. His identity has not been released. Once he was located, German police found radios capable of transmitting on frequencies needed to communicate with aircraft.

He is alleged to have made contact with both passenger transport aircraft, as well as state and federal police helicopters, during a six month period. He is said to have given “potentially dangerous” instructions to those aircraft, according to a report by AP.

U. S. Senate Confirms Mayorkas as Head of Homeland Security and Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed today, Tuesday, February 2, 2021, as the new head of U. S. Homeland Security and Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as the U. S. Secretary of Transportation. Mayorkas had been deputy secretary of Homeland Security and the director of the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services previously. The Homeland Security agency had been without a confirmed leader since 2019 when the previous leader was ousted. Buttigieg was previously mayor of South Bend, Indiana as well as a candidate for the US presidency in this most recent election cycle.

TSA Closes out 2020 with the Most Guns Caught in a Single Year in Spite of Record Low Pax Volume

Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport caught a woman with a loaded gun on the last day of 2020 to end the year with 22 guns caught at their airport checkpoints, the highest number of guns caught in a single year at that airport in spite of record low passenger volume due to the pandemic.

TSA officers stopped a Chesterfield County, Virginia, woman with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with four bullets on Thursday, Dec. 31, among the items in her carry-on bag as it went through the security checkpoint X-ray machine at the airport. TSA alerted airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and cited the woman, a resident of Midlothian, Virginia.

“When you consider that the passenger volume at Richmond was significantly lower in 2020 due to the pandemic, it is an extremely disappointing trend,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s Federal security director for Richmond International Airport. “The TSA team here at Richmond International is strong and they are good at their jobs and focused on the mission. With fewer travelers in 2020, the expectation was that fewer firearms would be brought to the airport. But that didn’t happen.

“Not carrying a gun on a plane is nothing new,” Burke said. “TSA has been in existence for 19 years but for decades preceding TSA there has been a regulation barring guns on a plane. Yet this year we saw an exorbitant amount of travelers attempting to do just that. The consequences are costly. TSA imposes stiff federal financial penalties when a gun is detected at the checkpoint. It’s a fine that goes into the thousands of dollars.”

Nationwide in the US in 2019, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints in 2019 were loaded.

In July of 2020, TSA officers reported firearms in carry-on bags at a rate three times higher than the same month in 2019, though passenger volume was significantly lower. 

TSA officers detected 15.3 guns per million people that month compared to 5.1 guns per million people screened during July 2019. The rate is particularly alarming, given that TSA screened about 75% fewer passengers in July 2020, over the previous year’s volume.

“TSA is diligently working to ensure our employees and passengers are safe and secure while traveling during a pandemic, and yet we are noticing a significant increase in loaded firearms coming into checkpoints,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said at that time. “Travelers must understand that firearms are prohibited items at airports and in the passenger cabins of aircraft. As hard as we are working to mitigate other risks at this time, no one should be introducing new ones.”

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

New Rules for PIA Crew Members After Two Go Missing

Pakistan Intl. Airlines has implemented a new passport directive for cabin crew following two incidents of crew members going missing abroad. The new procedure includes having the station manager hold the passports of the crew members once they have gone through customs and immigration. The passports would then be returned to them in time for check in for the flight.

Additionally, hotel security procedures are being changed to ensure all crew members check in at the hotel and if not, this is to be reported by the hotel. There are also reports that crew members would not be allowed to stay out of the hotel at night.

Last week a flight steward went missing in Toronto and previously another flight attendant had gone missing in Canada. The airline says they notified Canadian authorities. A similar incident occurred in 2019 when a flight attendant went missing from the crew in Paris as well as another instance several years prior to the Paris incident.

Smiths Detection to Supply the TSA with Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) Systems

Smiths Detection, maker of threat detection and security screening technologies, has recently been awarded a contract for more than $4 million by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to supply IONSCAN 500 DT Explosives Trace Detection Systems (ETD), an explosives trace detector, to airports across the US over the next two years, including on-site service maintenance. The new ETDs are in addition to the systems already widely deployed throughout US airports, which are used for secondary screening at checkpoints or checked baggage areas.

The IONSCAN 500DT, certified on the TSA Qualified Products List for security screening, utilizes Ion Mobility Spectroscopy (IMS) to perform trace analysis of explosives in seconds. Smiths touts their product as easy to use allowing operators to detect a wide range of military, commercial and homemade threats. Deploying additional Smiths Detection ETDs allows airports to maintain the highest level of screening efficiency and be better equipped to face ever evolving threats.

“Our mission is to make the world a safer place by providing our customers with the most advanced detection technologies,” says Shan Hood, president of Smiths Detection Inc. “We aim to help safeguard society, protect life and support the free flow of trade. We are proud to be Smiths, pushing boundaries to deliver innovative solutions for the world’s challenges.”

Integrated Defense and Security Solutions Earns ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Certification

Integrated Defense and Security Solutions announces that the Company has earned ISO 9001:2015 Certification for its quality management system.

SO 9001:2015 is a globally recognized quality management standard developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The certification provides a model for companies of all types and sizes to use in building an effective quality management system. The standard is based on several quality management principles, including having a strong customer focus, involvement of high-level company management, an outlined process-based approach, and ongoing improvement of the approach.

IDSS was issued the ISO 9001:2015 certificate (#700-300-4698) by TUV Rheinland of North America, a world-class management systems certification body. Activities at the IDSS corporate headquarters located at 85 Swanson Road in Boxborough, Massachusetts are included in the scope of certification. “Every IDSS security scanner is built to the highest quality standards,” said IDSS CEO Jeffrey Hamel. “Our ISO 9001:2015 accreditation is confirmation of our ongoing commitment to reliability, quality assurance, and safety.”

Integrated Defense and Security Solutions is a small business security technology manufacturer based in Boxborough, Massachusetts. The company develops and manufactures Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Computed Tomography Scanners to assist Airport and Customs security providers in their mission. The award winning DETECT 1000, is the first and only scanner to achieve to achieve APSS Level 1 certification by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and is certified to EDSCB C3 by European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) for explosives detection. IDSS is also the Grand Prize Winner of the DHS Opioid Challenge.