Feeds

'Death knell' for Eye-o-Sauron™ US border stare-towers

Hobbit Huddled-mass detectors cop an axeing

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Plans to erect a chain of tall towers topped by all-seeing eyes along the US southern border - for the purpose of detecting inbound huddled masses, rather than troublesome hobbits - have perhaps been torpedoed at last, according to reports.

Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Tuesday that $50m of economic stimulus cash will be shifted out of the Secure Borders Initiative SBInet programme and into other areas.

"Not only do we have an obligation to secure our borders, we have a responsibility to do so in the most cost-effective way possible," Napolitano said. "The system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines."

SBInet was intended to mount a package of sensors atop tall towers so as to offer good line-of-sight coverage over a large area. Moving-target-indicator radars of the sort popular in modern reconnaissance aircraft would flag up any man-sized moving object; then thermal-imaging telescopic cameras would swivel round for a good stare, so hopefully separating out smugglers and illegal immigrants from cattle, tumbleweeds etc.

The towers would be netted-up, allowing intruders to be plotted on a cloud map accessible by Border Patrol agents and other users as required. This, it was thought, would let them intercept their quarry more easily.

But the initial nine-tower test segment in Arizona, built by lead contractor Boeing, has been dogged by technical glitches from the start and was said to still be having trouble when it was accepted by Napolitano's predecessor, Bush administration security honcho Michael Chertoff.

This week's announcement "signals a likely death knell" for SBInet, in the judgement of the Wall Street Journal. However the Obama administration stated that it was in favour of the plan on taking over, and still intends to fund the first phase of its rollout to the tune of $574m. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
Stop ROBOT exploitation, cry striking Foxconn workers
HP downturn and automation eroding overtime on China's production lines
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.
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.
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.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.