Fall 2015 NCSWIC-SAFECOM Quarterly Newsletter

Fall 2015 NCSWIC-SAFECOM Quarterly Newsletter. You can find the published document on the SAFECOM website and attached to this email.  Starting in 2016, we will be transitioning to web-based blog posts, which will be compiled and distributed quarterly in an abbreviated newsletter. We are now soliciting content for the blog. If you would like to highlight your program’s accomplishments/developments, or have information you would like to share with OEC Stakeholders, please coordinate with Ted Lawson at Edward.lawson@hq.dhs.gov.


Spending Bill Poised for Adoption with Cyber Info-Sharing Language

December 17, 2015. The House is set to vote tomorrow on an omnibus spending bill that has drawn fire from privacy advocates because it includes cyber threat information-sharing legislation that is viewed by some as insufficiently protective of personal data. Efforts by the conservative House Freedom Caucus to strip the cyber legislation from the spending bill were rejected by the House Rules Committee, and while individual members spoke against the cyber language today on the House floor, their numbers appeared to be insufficient to block the bill’s passage.

The bill’s momentum was aided further by a supportive statement from the White House, which noted that cyber threat information-sharing legislation had been one of its goals for some time.  The Senate, meanwhile, reached agreement today on procedures to streamline adoption of the bill. Continue reading

LightSquared, Garmin Reach Agreement on Use of L-Band for LTE Network

LightSquared today announced that it has reached an agreement with Garmin International, Inc., concerning “spectrum use parameters for terrestrial service in the L-Band.” The agreement marks the latest that LightSquared has hammered out with GPS companies, accords that it hopes will help clear the way for it to deploy a nationwide LTE network.

“Under the agreement, New LightSquared agreed to reduce out-of-band emissions and power levels from currently authorized levels and to file a request with the Commission forgoing terrestrial use on the 1545-1555 MHz band,” the company said in a filing today with the FCC in IB dockets 12-340 and 11-109 that included the settlement agreement. “As long as the new company’s terrestrial deployment plans are consistent with the operational parameters agreed to by the companies in the agreement, Garmin agreed not to object to deployment in the spectrum located in the spectrum bands 1627.5-1637.5 MHz, 1646.5-1656.5 MHz and 1670-1700 MHz  (sometimes referred to as the ‘right hand spectrum’). Continue reading

Omnibus Approps Bill Woud Set $384M, FY 2016 FCC Funding Level

The FCC would be able to spend about $384 million in fiscal year 2016 under an omnibus appropriations bill unveiled, including more than $44 million for consolidation of its Washington headquarters. Congress is expected to consider the legislation in the coming days. The White House endorsed the bill today. FY 2016 runs through Sept. 30, 2016.

First responder programs overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency would get $2.5 billion, which is $10 million above the FY 2015 level. The funding includes $1.5 billion for state and local grants – the same level as FY 2015. That includes $467 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and $600 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative. The Obama administration had asked for $1.043 billion for a new consolidated National Preparedness Grant Program.

The omnibus bill also includes $50.5 million “to promote Internet freedom globally.” The funds are to “be prioritized for countries whose governments restrict freedom of expression on the Internet, and that are important to the national interests of the United States.” During a call with reporters today, Chris Painter, the State Department’s coordinator-cyber issues, said Congress has appropriated such funding in the past.

Courtesy TRDaily


Douglas County Sheriff: Text Tip “Saved Lives,” Stopping High School Murder Plot

Sheriff Tony Spurlock says Text-A-Tip helps authorities know what’s happening in schools, By Jesse Paul, The Denver Post

CASTLE ROCK — Authorities in Douglas County on Wednesday credited a text-message tip with thwarting an imminent plot to kill students and staff members this week at Mountain Vista High School. Two 16-year-old girls remain in custody one day after investigators announced their arrest in the case. If it hadn’t been for an anonymous “Text-A-Tip” alerting deputies to the teens’ alleged conspiracy, their plans might have been successful, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.

“I think the text message and the information we obtained through our investigation saved lives, for sure, given the severity of the situation,” Spurlock said. Read article here: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29261783/douglas-county-sheriff-text-tip-saved-lives-stopping


DHS Official Sees Government, Public Finding Common Ground on Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles pose a range of policy challenges related to privacy and surveillance, among other things, but panelists at an event held December 16 by the Center for Strategic & International Studies expressed confidence that common ground can be found. Timothy Bennett, program manager at the Department of Homeland Security’s directorate of science and technology, said the government has been working with Google, Inc., Facebook, Inc., and others, which need the government to come up with procedures governing the use of unmanned aerial devices. “We listen to them, what their needs are, and are helping them to develop their processes, and then we take those back and the FAA and NASA listen to them,” Mr. Bennett said.  “We’re finding out what they need … and how we can deconflict all the problems.” Continue reading

GAO: FCC Should Bolster Data Collection on IP Transition

The FCC should bolster its efforts to collect data so it can analyze the effects of the Internet protocol technology transition, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released December 16. The FCC is “collecting data on the IP transition, but FCC could do more to ensure it has the information it needs to make data-driven decisions about the transition,” said GAO. “FCC has emphasized that one of its statutory responsibilities is to ensure that its core values, including public safety capabilities and consumer protection, endure as the nation transitions to modernized networks. FCC stated that fulfilling this responsibility requires learning more about how the transition affects consumers. FCC plans on collecting data on the IP transition primarily through voluntary experiments proposed and run by telecommunications carriers.” Continue reading

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the NPSBN

FirstNet Blog:  This article was originally printed in APCO’s PSC Communications Magazine, November/December 2015 Issue.

Recognizing that the public safety user community will demand support for personal devices on the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), FirstNet is taking steps to develop and implement an effective BYOD policy. The BYOD policy must provide adequate security and control of the device, while still providing an acceptable user experience when accessing the NPSBN. It must also operate in real time to analyze BYOD access and identify anomalies.

Throughout the course of our consultation and outreach efforts, including feedback on the Special Notice and Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents, many of our stakeholders have asked a recurring question. Will FirstNet allow personal devices on the NPSBN?”

This question tells us that many within the public safety community have personal smart phones that utilize commercial networks, and they are interested in accessing the NPSBN from their personal phones when the NPSBN is operational. In addition, many existing public safety devices are highly specialized and costly (such as the units used by the emergency medical services teams) and could benefit first responders by working over the NPSBN, too.

Read more here: http://firstnet.gov/newsroom/blog/bring-your-own-device-byod-npsbn

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, December 17, 2015

Some of the State of New Hampshire’s elected officials and their staffs have been conned, hoodwinked, led down Primrose Lane, or whatever you want to call it. I am referring to the State’s release of RFP DOS# 2016-10, which was released by the Department of Safety, Office of Interoperability, and New Hampshire Interoperability Executive Committee. This RFP starts out as though it was written by FirstNet or the NTIA for the benefit of the Public Safety community. However, later in the Introduction we begin seeing that a vendor has convinced the State to issue this RFP now, ahead of the FirstNet RFP. At an open meeting of New Hampshire’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SEIC) at which, I am told, this issue was to be discussed, it was simply announced that the RFP had been published.

Several people who were there said those from within the Public Safety community were first stunned, then embarrassed when they learned an RFP had already been released. It is clear from reading the RFP that is was not written by anyone in the State of New Hampshire but by some person or group intent on pushing the State into actions I believe go against the law creating FirstNet. This could well jeopardize the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), at least in New Hampshire, denying both the New Hampshire Public Safety community and the citizens it serves this much needed new type of wireless communications system. Continue reading

FCC Official Cites Conflicting Figures on Number of Text-Ready PSAPs

An FCC official  cited conflicting figures on the number of public safety answering points (PSAPs) that are ready to accept texts, and he encouraged PSAPs to register in an FCC database. During a webinar organized by the National 911 Program, Tim May, the 911/next-generation 911 (NG-911)  projects manager in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said that 465 PSAPs are registered as text-capable in the FCC’s database, which represent 6% of PSAP jurisdictions or 23% of the U.S. population. Continue reading