DHS Cuts Ribbon on Expanded ICE Cyber Crimes Center

The Department of Homeland Security today cut the ribbon on a major expansion of its U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., and said the expanded facility will give ICE’s homeland security investigations unit “enhanced operational and training capabilities in order to meet the growing cyber mission of the agency and increasing workload of criminal cases with a cyber-nexus.”

DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the ICE HSI unit is engaged in “combating criminals that use the computer as their weapon, perpetrating crimes ranging from child exploitation to the theft of intellectual property.” ICE Director Sarah Saldana said HSI also targets network intrusions, online theft of export controlled data, the sale of stolen credit card and other personal data, and “other crimes that have transitioned from the physical to the virtual world.”

Amateur Operators Seek Lighting Probe

The American Radio Relay League has asked the FCC to investigate and launch an enforcement proceeding against The Home Depot, Inc., for its sale to consumers of non-consumer part 18 RF lighting devices. The group, which represents amateur radio operators, said it has received a number of complaints from amateur operators “of significant noise in the Medium (MF) and High Frequency (HF) bands between 1.8 MHz and 30 MHz from ‘grow lights’ and other Part 15 and Part 18 RF lighting devices.”

Urgent Comms Reports: Crisis Text Line Sheds Light on NG9-1-1 Possibilities

Crisis Text Line, a round-the-clock crisis-counseling hotline, has found success communicating with millions of people facing calamity—from domestic violence to suicide—through text messaging, giving the 911 community a sense of the possibilities that would accompany successful next-generation 911 implementation.

Nancy Lublin, CEO and founder of DoSomething.Org, launched the crisis text line in August 2013 in El Paso, Tex., to address some of the gaps in crisis communication for individuals uncomfortable with making calls to other hotlines or calling 911, said Baylee Greenberg, Crisis Text Line Director of Operations. So far, almost 7.3 million text messages have been sent through Crisis Text Line in all 295 area codes in the country.

Read complete article here:  http://urgentcomm.com/ng-911/crisis-text-line-sheds-light-next-generation-911-possibilities




Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, July 11, 2015

This week there is a lot in the news about LA-RICS and how it will “transform” the LA Police Department. One headline even went so far as to say, “Why the Police will be able to communicate better than you.” I am not sure exactly what caused this spurt of news activity but, once again, I am concerned that these types of articles are setting the bar far too high and will set false expectations. LA-RICS and all of FirstNet has a long way to go before any of what is purported to be coming soon will actually happen. Even then it will be about adding capabilities and not some magic new way to provide services that consumers have had available for many years. Public Safety is playing catch-up, not taking magical leaps forward.

Next up is the FirstNet RFP once again. It is due out at the end of December of this year if FirstNet is to make its promised deadline. I have been working on my comments on the RFP as have a number of others. Still, we won’t have a good idea of who will respond to the RFP by looking at the list of who has filed comments, if we are permitted to do so. No company or group of companies would signal their interest to the rest of the pack so the first indication will be when the RFP responses start coming back in for evaluation.

I expect that FirstNet will give everyone at least 3 months if not more to respond and then the decision process could easily take up to a year, assuming there are one or more bidders willing to partner with FirstNet and commit the $Billions that will be required to build out and operate the network. There is one more wrinkle here. If I were a network operator and I knew the incentive auctions for the 600-MHz spectrum were really going to happen in 2016, would I really commit over $30 Billion in funds to FirstNet over 4-5 years to make use of the excess network capacity? Or would I save that money to bid on 600-MHz spectrum? If I won the bid, I would have a clear license to that spectrum and my accounting department could add to the asset side of the corporate ledger.

THEN, of course, I would need to spend more $Billions building out my new spectrum holdings. It would be unfortunate for FirstNet if the 600-MHz auctions really take place in 2016. I was hoping they would be delayed a year or more and make the FirstNet spectrum look like a much smarter and better bet to add more network capacity sooner rather than later. Perhaps it won’t be an issue, network operators seem to spend $Billions over and over again and never run out of available money for the when the next $Billions are needed. So on this one issue, I hope I am wrong and there are many solid responses to the FirstNet RFP. Have a great rest of the weekend and week. Andy Continue reading

ARRL Reports on Amateur Radio Parity Legislation

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) reports two bi-partisan bills affecting Amateur Radio Operators have been introduced in Congress this year, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.  The stated purpose of each bill is “To direct the Federal Communications Commission to extend to private land use restrictions its rule relating to reasonable accommodation of amateur service communications.”

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R.1301 in the US House of Representative and S 1685 in the US Senate — would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions. U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced HR 1301 on March 4 with 12 original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle — seven Republicans and five Democrats in the US House.  U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S 1685 on June 26, with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) as the original cosponsor, into the U.S. Senate.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.

H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure. S 1685 has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Wicker.

To learn more, visit: http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act

GPS Alliance Responds to LightSquared

The GPS Innovation Alliance has released a statement responding to a July 2 ex parte filing by LightSquared, Inc., in which the company said that an ex parte filing by the alliance last month had “several significant errors or incomplete engineering and technical points,” including what level of noise floor increase constitutes harmful interference and whether significant buffers are needed between GPS and terrestrial operations (TRDaily, July 6).

“While we disagree with LightSquared’s July 2 filing, our focus is on supporting the multi-stakeholder process currently underway among the interested government parties rather than debating LightSquared consultants,” the alliance said. “At the end of the day there are neutral evaluators closely examining these complex issues. We remain engaged in that process, and will address technical issues in further detail at an appropriate time.”


IMSA Announces New Education and Certification Manager

IMSA has announced that Jeffrey Knight has accepted the position of Education and Certification Manager for IMSA.  He was selected after a nationwide search and a comprehensive selection process.

IMSA Deputy Executive Director Doug Aiken noted that “Jeff brings an extensive background in technical-vocational education, adult education and hands on public safety technologies experience.  He has been successful in creating vision, identifying opportunities, establishing and improving processes, and providing detailed attention to customer service.  His service as chair of the IMSA Educational Advisory Council for the last three years has provided him with a deep understanding of our certification programs and processes.  His proven track record of successful project management will benefit IMSA, our sections and the members and non-members that value our certification offerings.”

Jeff  will begin his new duties in August.

Denver Post Reports: Monitoring Ex-Cons after They Get Out of Jail? There’s an app for that.

Colorado-based developer has created a smartphone app with the goal of helping ex-cons stay on the straight and narrow while they are on probation. Mike Kingery, owner of Outreach Smartphone Monitoring, said he got the idea to create a smartphone app after hearing a federal judge challenge developers to find creative ways to help offenders.

Kingery was intrigued by the challenge and decided to find a way to replace ankle bracelet monitors. The app, Kingery said, tracks an inmate’s location, uses video to prove where he is and show what he is doing, provides reminders for appointments, and offers referrals to social services if he needs help.

“When I see an ankle bracelet, I see the past. Great technology for 1985,” Kingery said. “An ankle bracelet can’t remind an individual to take their meds or when to go to court. It can’t refer them to a crisis line.”

The app, which pairs with a wrist bracelet, has generated interest in the offender-monitoring profession.

Denver County probation services has been using the smartphone app for about 60 days, and, so far, it’s working well with only a few minor bugs, said DeAnna Maes, chief probation officer.

“Even the non-tech-savvy people seem to be at ease with using it,” she said.

The app also is being used in Mesa County, and Jefferson County is set to begin testing it in a couple of weeks. It’s also being used in Tennessee, Texas and California, said Kingery.

Read more here: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28431206/monitoring-ex-cons-after-they-get-out-jail


NPSTC Cites Cellphone-Aircraft Docket Concern

TRDaily reports the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council expressed concern today that the FCC could inadvertently ban public safety airborne communications if it adopts rules it proposed in a proceeding in which it sought comment on whether to permit airlines to allow passengers to use voice communications above 10,000 feet (TRDaily, Dec. 12, 2013). In a filing in WT docket 13-301, NPSTC urged the Commission to ensure that any changes to its section 90.423 rules apply only to commercial specialized mobile radio (SMR) operations and not public safety operations.