Feeds

DHS accepts buggy Eye-o-Sauron™ border scan towers

Chertoff to Boeing: 'You don't own this border'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has accepted into service its first section of SBInet virtual border fence, but it clearly isn't very happy with the state of the new technology.

DHS chieftain Michael Chertoff reportedly said he was "satisfied for now" with the new kit. Border Patrol Assistant Commissioner Jay Ahern described it as "not perfect", according to Govexec.com.

SBInet, the technology part of the DHS' Secure Borders Initiative, is supposed to equip thousands of miles of US border with scanner towers mounting moving-target-indicator radar able to pick out individual humans. When a radar blip appears, telescopic thermal cameras swivel round Eye-of-Sauron style, allowing the system to work out what has been detected; a vehicle, people on foot, false alarm etc. The information is then plotted automatically on a networked digital map.

The idea is that Border Patrol agents would then be able to view the plot of huddled masses, terrorist hobbits etc - called the Common Operating Picture, or COP - in near real time on displays in their vehicles. It seems, however, that at the moment there are significant lags between detection and information becoming visible to field operatives. The radars are also prone to be triggered by rain.

The initial line of scanner towers on the Mexico-Arizona border is known as Project 28, and was to be supplied by Boeing for $20m. Some of this money has been withheld by DHS pending trials of the system by Border Patrol operators. The total price of SBInet - if fully implemented - is projected at $8bn, though the DHS inspector-general has said it could go to $30bn in the worst case.

Chertoff said that acceptance of Project 28 did not mean that DHS was willing to be saddled with a hugely expensive white elephant by Boeing.

"if we're not satisfied with something, we're going to tell them we're not satisfied with it," he said, according to Govexec.com.

"I told the head of Boeing some time back, 'Look, I'm not, you know, you don't have a lock on this entire border,'" he added. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.