Court Committee Proposal Could Expand Warrants for Remote Access Searches

An advisory panel within the U.S. court system has recommended changes to procedural rules on the issuance of search warrants that would enable judges to approve more “remote access” searches of electronic media, prompting complaints that the changes would jeopardize privacy rights and that any such changes should be made by Congress, not a court advisory committee.

The Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure has recommended changing Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, which currently prohibits a federal judge from issuing a search warrant outside the judge’s district, with some exceptions.

Under the proposed rule, a judge with “authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if: (A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or (B) in an investigation of a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 103(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts.” Continue reading

Cyber Threat Data Sharing Should Focus on Actionable Info, Speakers Say

Threat-data sharing is a key step in enhancing cybersecurity, but sharing of the data must have a clear purpose for it to be beneficial, speakers said at an Atlantic Council event this afternoon.  Speaking on “Breaking the Cyber Information-Sharing Logjam,” Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator, said cybersecurity “really is a shared responsibility between the government and the private sector.  There is really no other issue [involving national security] that is shared in this manner.”

“Given the nature of cyberspace and how it functions … that means that we can’t simply assign the responsibility of cybersecurity to the federal government, or any government agency,” Mr. Daniel said.  “This is one that the private sector is always going to have to be involved in , so that means we’re having to chart some new ways of doing business.”  Cybersecurity doesn’t “fall neatly into traditional regulatory or contractual categories,” he added. Continue reading

Location Accuracy Vendors Cite Issues with 911 Order

Representatives of two 911 location accuracy technology vendors today cited potential difficulties in implementing an order the FCC adopted last month (TRDaily, Jan. 29) to improve accuracy, but an FCC official and a wireless carrier representative stressed the benefits of the rules, as well as a road map hammered out by the four national carriers and two major public safety groups.

During a session this morning at a meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Telecommunications Committee at NARUC’s winter meetings, Timothy May, NG-911 projects manager in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, stressed that the order is “a turning point,” noting among other things that it “establishes clear metrics and timelines” for carriers to improve 911 location accuracy, including indoors. Continue reading

FCC Officials Stress Collection, Reporting Mandates in 911 Order

911 live call data collection and reporting requirements in the FCC’s recently adopted 911 location accuracy order (TRDaily, Jan. 29) will ensure that the necessary indoor location accuracy improvements occur, FCC officials said today.  David Simpson, chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and David Furth, his deputy, cited the call data collection and reporting mandates during a webinar sponsored by the National Emergency Number Association. Their remarks came in response to a question about how stakeholders would be able to separate indoor from outdoor location technology accuracy.

“We think that through granular measurement … and performance” data, the FCC public safety answering points, and carriers will be able to tell “what the ground truth is,” Mr. Furth said. Continue reading

Cisco Predicts Seven-Fold U.S. Mobile Data Traffic Increase Through 2019

U.S. mobile data traffic is expected to increase seven-fold through 2019, driven by video content, which is expected to account for more than three-quarters of mobile traffic by then, Cisco Systems, Inc., said today in its latest Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.

Globally, mobile data traffic is forecast to jump 10-fold by 2019, Cisco predicted.

Company officials and CTIA said the continued growing demand for mobile data highlights the importance of the FCC and others in the U.S. government working to free up additional licensed spectrum.  Although still significant, the expected increases in mobile data traffic have slowed in recent years. For example, last year Cisco forecast an eight-fold increase between 2013 and 2018 (TRDaily, Feb. 5, 2014) and the previous year it projected a 13-fold increase between 2012 and 2017. Continue reading

Police Reports How Cops Are Catching Grow Ops with AM Radios

Many ham operators can locate a grow simply by taking a radio and portable antennae out into their neighborhood and using the radio to triangulate the exact location of the grow

With the proliferation of indoor marijuana grows, the indoor “horticulture” industry has been booming. Chinese manufacturers are turning out indoor grow equipment at a rapid pace with little to no regulatory oversight or compliance. Because of this, there has been a significant amount of radio frequency interference (RFI).

Before we get into how to detect a marijuana grow with your car radio, you have to understand some simple mechanics of how a grow operates. To grow marijuana indoors, you need supplemental lighting necessary for photosynthesis. These lights may be fluorescent, LED, and for larger operations, high pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH).

The HPS and MH lamps may be 1000W per lamp and require a ballast for proper operation.  These ballasts were originally magnetic but in the past few years have become electronic.  These devices are subject to FCC part 18 rules but there appears to be a total disregard for the FCC rules.  Many (if not most) electronic ballasts are manufactured in China and may have little ‘FCC’ stickers on them but there is no evidence of any testing for compliance having been done. Because of this, a large amount of RFI is interfering with nearby electronics. As an example, one grow next to a CalFire station — California’s state fire agency — caused a continuous hum over the station’s callbox speaker and interfered with them receiving radio broadcasts over their station’s PA.  Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate February 13, 2015

The final FCC Commissioners vote on Net Neutrality will be held on February 26, 2015. But many reporters, ISPs, commercial network providers, and almost anybody else with a pulse is weighing in before the vote. Lost in the issue is that if the FCC is to reclassify Broadband as a Title II service is that the FCC Chairman has stated it won’t be under today’s Title II but a new, revised version that will bring it up to date. So nobody really knows the outcome until both the vote and the new version of Title II are made public.

The main LTE standards body is the 3GPP and it has issued a statement that says it will have an established standard for Mission-Critical PTT Voice over LTE in early 2016 and that it will be included in LTE release 12 along with some other Mission-Critical core functionality. I am still skeptical about LTE being mission-critical at all, let alone for PTT Voice. I have not seen any details on these specifications, and don’t know how they mesh with the Public Safety Grade document NPTSC submitted to the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).

I also don’t know if anyone has figured out how many PTT users can be in a single cell sector at a time, which is vitally important since most incidents will take place within a single cell sector or two and the number of PTT users within a sector can impact how many PTT conversations can be held AND how much sector capacity will be left for data and video services. I still believe, as do most of those within the Public Safety community I have discussed this with, that Land Mobile Radio (LMR) PTT voice will remain the true mission-critical voice service for Public Safety for many years, if for no other reason than the fact that FirstNet will not be able to match the coverage of today’s LMR systems for a very long time. Continue reading

DHS Science and Technology Snapshot: Wildland Fire Fighter Uniform Redesigned

Would it surprise you to know that the most common cause of injuries to wildland firefighters is not burns?

When leaders at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) noticed their wildland firefighters were experiencing more heat stress injuries—like heat exhaustion and heat stroke—than burn injuries, they wanted to know why and how to prevent them. They soon realized their uniforms were part of the problem. Working with a team at the University of California, Davis, they developed technical and design specifications for a new uniform aimed at increasing the comfort and breathability while maintaining the current level of protection against flames.

Interested in learning more? Read the full S&T Snapshot story.


Urgent Comms Reports LTE Standards Group Targeting Mission Critical PTT Specs for 2016

Officials for 3GPP, the standards body for LTE technology, say the organization plans to establish a standard for mission-critical-voice functionality over LTE early next year. That action could have significant impact on both 4G LTE initiatives and LMR plans for public-safety and critical-communications entities.   To help ensure that this aggressive timeline can be met, 3GPP has created a new working group—called SA6—specifically to tackle the challenges associated with mission-critical applications, with an initial focus on mission-critical voice, according to 3GPP officials.

Mission-critical radio and core-network functionality is part of LTE Release 12, which is scheduled to be functionally frozen in March, according to this 3GPP video. The new SA6 working group’s development of an LTE standard for mission-critical voice functionality is scheduled be part of LTE Release 13, which is scheduled to be finalized next year.

“I think we’ve got very challenging targets,” Andrew Howell, 3GPP’s SA6 convenor, said during a video interview conducted from the SA6 working group’s first meeting. “But I think that people are realizing that and are working towards it.


Courtesy Urgent Communications

Free Webinar: How FirstNet Can Help EMS Provide Better Patient Care

The next webinar in EMS Focus: A Collaborative Federal Webinar Series will take place Thursday, February 19, at 12 p.m. Eastern. This free webinar will include information about why the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) effort to build a public safety broadband network is important to EMS systems across the nation.

Register here.

The webinar will feature presentations by Kevin McGinnis, a FirstNet Board member and Amanda Hilliard, Director of Outreach for FirstNet. McGinnis is chief of community paramedicine at Maine’s North East Mobile Health Services and is a nationally recognized advocate for broadband communications within the emergency medical services (EMS) community. Continue reading