We're having some incredible weather here in Maine (it's suppose to reach 90 degrees today, which is pretty much as hot as it gets here, even in the height of summer) and because my company values quality of life, our CEO has decided the office will be closed on Friday due to nice weather. Take that Fortune Magazine!
But because of the (extra) long weekend, I want to make sure to leave you with some extra security material to get you through all that family time.
According to an article in USA Today, the TSA is considering pulling the plug on the 'puffer machines' at airports. Apparently, they aren't reliable in airport environments. If you're unfamiliar with this technology, basically it shoots (or 'puffs') air on passengers to dislodge particles and then sucks those particles back in to determine if there are any explosive materials. Again, I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing this technology at any airports, but apparently 94 were installed in 37 airports around the country. The TSA purchased a total of 207 puffers for $30 million in 2004 (the 113 not in airports have been in storage). Since their installation, USA Today reports that the TSA has spent $6.2 million on maintenance and says that dirt and humidity are the cause of the breakdowns. The TSA has already removed 60 machines and will pull the rest, but at $160,000 each, that's a fairly big boo-boo.
On a more local note, there's been some fairly big security news in Portland, Maine. A school resource officer at our largest high school here was doing his morning rounds when he spotted a man in a car across the street loading a 7 mm Remington rifle. Apparently the man was planning to shoot some folks at his AA meeting in the basement of a nearby church and was not planning to enter the school, but the school resource officer approached him, told him to put the gun down and called the police. My colleague, Dan Gelinas, who works at our sister publication, Security Systems News, had a good point that this crime wouldn't have been prevented had the school simply had cameras in place. When I talk to security professionals in educational settings, that is the one thing they emphasize: There's no replacing people. Whether it's to detect suspicious behavior like in this example, or to simply establish a positive authoritative relationship with students, people are a very important element in school security.
And, on that light, positive security note, I hope you all enjoy the long weekend and the official start to the summer.