As a network security professional I encourage you to read this article completely. The information is very important and denotes how fast and well we are moving into a reality that we see in Hollywood motion pictures but now is here to stay to keep us safe and on check.

The Future of Crime Fighting

While still years away, the promise of advanced law enforcement technologies made possible by FirstNet’s broadband network has driven a number of companies to begin capitalizing on what they hope will someday be a lucrative market.  At the 2013 International Wireless Communications Expo, Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated mobile-biometric technologies for facial recognition that would rely on FirstNet’s broadband network.

Through the company’s nG-ConnectPublic Safety Program, Alcatel-Lucent is building a coalition of companies that focus in facial recognition, location tracking using GPS and other law enforcement technologies facilitated by the “commercial deployment of an all IP Network (4G LTE) with high bandwidth and low latency” known as FirstNet.

Touting the U.S. government’s allocation of $7 billion for the construction of FirstNet, an infographic created by Alcatel-Lucent proudly displays the estimated annual value of the U.S. homeland security and public safety market at over $100 billion by 2020.

The nG Connect Public Safety Program combines the expertise of several companies to redefine the “art of the possible” by building applications that help law enforcement to incorporate “award winning tracking solutions for fleet management and leading edge law enforcement surveillance and covert operations capabilities” as well as “proprietary recognition engines for analysis of video streams to identify ‘people of interest’ by biometric and personal characteristics.” A short video from EclipseIR, part of Alcatel-Lucent’s ng Connect Public Safety program working to create applications that would leverage FirstNet’s high-bandwidth data transfer capabilities.
Mutualink, another company working to leverage FirstNet’s capabilities, is taking the concept of mobile biometrics one step further with its Google Glass for Public Safety.  “Robocop may not be real, but his efficiency is something worth aspiring to,” begins an article about the product published in Government Technology. The technology will integrate with the Google-Glass heads up display to allow users to “look to the right in their peripheral vision and view information that is being served to them, like maps, blueprints, surveillance video feeds, or other documents.”

According to Mutualink’s Senior Vice President Joe Mazzarella, the technology could be “very useful for first responders and soldiers alike.”  An article in the law enforcement publication PoliceOne.com provides examples of potential applications for the Google Glass for Public Safety, suggesting an “officer interviewing a suspected gang member could run the suspect’s image through a facial recognition database of known gangsters, or pull up a photo record of a tattoo to compare against one on the person in front of them.”  During a search of a building, officers could “see their own location and those of everyone else involved in the effort on a stored floor plan of the structure” or, as a Mutualink press release states, they could “watch video feed from school security cameras in real-time during an active shooter scenario.”

A presentation from the acting Chief Technology Officer of FirstNet Craig Farrill at a regional workshop in May 2013 indicates that First Netintends to foster a “vibrant developer community contributing useful apps for first responders.”  These applications would be vetted by FirstNet prior to being offered for download to devices on the broadband network, something like an iTunes for law enforcement and first responders.

Similar plans were discussed in a prospectus issued by the Major Cities Chiefs’ Association in 2012 which called for the creation of a “secure, socially driven interface” resembling Facebook to enablestate and local intelligence and counterterrorism personnel to effectively network,”allowing “a detective in Las Vegas.. . to securely customize a profile page, build a network of ‘friends’ who are in fact colleagues in other agencies, andnetwork by sharing non-sensitive information through wall posts, messages, and status updates . . .”

In June, Bill Bratton, who has headed police departments in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, announced the creation of BlueLine, described as a “Facebook for cops” that is “geared toward collaboration on policing issues like gangs or drugs and product and technology advances.”  The network will reportedly be funded through law enforcement product sales including everything from “from socks to Glocks” according to the project’s Chief Strategy Officer Jack Weiss.

*** BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING EVERY WHERE….
John F. Bisner
Ing. & Analyst

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