[ISN] Handhelds seen empowering officers, security personnel

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 00:47:11 PDT

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    [There's a quote by Adm. Grace Murry Hopper that has always stuck with
    me, "Some day, on the corporate balance sheet, there will be an entry
    which reads, "Information"; for in most cases the information is more
    valuable than the hardware which processes it" 
    Such is the case with the new breed of handhelds, I can only imagine
    what a handheld is worth in the wrong hands, and hope that along the
    with valuable databases being designed for homeland security, military
    and law enforcement applications, security and security policy is
    being built in at the same time.  -  William Knowles]
    By Stephan Ohr
    EE Times
    Oct 1, 2002 
    LOS ANGELES - "A failed battery was responsible for the bombing of 
    friendly troops in Afghanistan," John Inkley, manager of federal sales 
    for Palm Corp., told the Power2002 conference here today (Oct. 1). A 
    handheld GPS position finder failed to reset properly after its 
    battery was replaced, and gave incorrect target information to a 
    bomber, he said. 
    Having grabbed his audience's attention for a presentation on 
    "Homeland Security Applications for Handheld Devices," Inkley 
    described other related applications, including a national fire 
    incident reporting system, a surveillance database transmitter for 
    suspicious individuals, and a site profile mobile threat-assessment 
    database for weapons of mass destruction. 
    The goal of putting such databases in handhelds is to prevent 
    terrorist attacks, reduce vulnerability to attacks, and aid recovery 
    in the event of an attack, Inkley said. 
    If a law enforcement officer discovers a package in a crowded 
    auditorium and estimates that it includes 30-lb. worth of explosives, 
    a handheld database could indicate the probable blast zone for those 
    explosives based on their location within the auditorium, and estimate 
    the probable "kill zone" area from which personnel should be evacuated 
    first. Such applications are already being developed for a $250 PDA, 
    Inkley said. 
    Such applications would create a big market for PDAs, as over 
    one-million firefighters, one-million state and local law enforcement 
    officers, 250,000 registered medical technicians and 30,000 airport 
    screeners are employed in the United States, according to Inkley's 
    Privacy sidestepped
    Skirting the issue of privacy, he said a single driver's license 
    number could open a database to reveal every residence used by an 
    individual over a 15-year period. Information on medical histories, 
    medical contacts and treatment cues could also be provided, he said. A 
    handheld can bring "the right information at the right time" to field 
    personnel, Inkley said. 
    Information caches such as a terrorist acts database could aid a 
    mobile site profiler to ensure a location is relatively safe from 
    terrorist penetration. Even before 9/11, the U.S. secret service 
    routinely checked every site to be visited by the standing U.S. 
    president. Such information gathering could rely on handhelds to 
    perform background checks on the staff for a hotel or convention 
    center, and for everyone will access to that site, Inkley said. Some 
    300 agents were equipped with Palm computers before 9/11, and that 
    number will rise, Inkley said. 
    The goal is not only to put information into agents' or analysts' 
    hands, but to help them "connect the dots" to determine if a realistic 
    threat exists by drawing from a broad field of stimuli, Inkley said. 
    In a separate presentation at Power2002, Iain Morris, senior vice 
    president for emerging technologies at Hewlett-Packard Co., said that 
    police officers are currently carrying pocket PCs in such cities 
    around the world as Sacramento, Calif.; Daytona, Fla.; and Singapore. 
    "Walk softly and carry a pocket PC," he advised. 
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