Feeds

Eye-o-Sauron™ man-tracker masts now fully online, says DHS

Chertoff: Scan-tech will be 'every place on border'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

US security overlord Michael Chertoff has announced that the troubled, delayed "virtual fence" pilot project developed in Arizona for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finally been accepted into government service.

Reuters reports that Chertoff revealed formal acceptance of the "Project 28" pilot scheme on Friday during a roundup speech covering a range of border-control measures.

"I have personally witnessed the value of this system, and I have spoken directly to the Border Patrol agents... who have seen it produce actual results, in terms of identifying and allowing the apprehension of people," the DHS chief said.

Project 28 is an initial row of 100-foot-tall scanner towers topped by telescopic multispectral cameras and hi-res moving-target-indicator radar. The idea is that the radar can sweep large areas of ground and pick up anything man-sized which is moving. Radar blips will cue the all-seeing nightsight cameras to swivel round for a closer look, producing images for control-room operators who can then classify each blip as innocuous - a large tumbleweed, say, perhaps a cow, or whatever - or a threat such as a huddled mass of would-be Americans/terrorists.

The various icons are then plotted in real time on a networked map which border-patrol officers can view in their cars, allowing them to ignore the tumbleweeds, cows, locals etc, and snap the bracelets on unwelcome miscreants. The tech is officially named "SBInet", meaning the network portion of the DHS Secure Borders Initiative, but we'd personally have gone with Eye-o-Sauron™.

Project 28 was supposed to have been accepted months ago, but software snags delayed it. Some US politicians see the radar-fence as a solution for all the thousands of miles of US border, avoiding the cost and unpopularity of a physical barrier. (An actual fence would often be a serious problem for border landowners, and in some areas locals are firmly against any such idea.)

Apart from fixed scan-towers, the DHS plans to massively increase its use of mobile huddled-mass-spotting radar vehicles, and to purchase more unmanned drone aircraft equipped with similar technology. Chertoff seemed to suggest that soon no part of the US borders will be unswept by man-tracking radar, infrared, distributed sensors, or whatever.

"In some form or fashion, technology is going to be virtually every place on the border, but it's not necessarily going to be in the configuration of [SBInet/Eye-o-Sauron™]," he said.

The Reuters report is here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.