Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 5, 2015

Hillary Clinton operated email server for state business;  Google is ditching Chrome support for Ice Cream Sandwich devices;  Easily add files from Dropbox to Gmail with this handy extension;  Imgur launches iPhone app to make browsing addicting images easy;  These Are the 15 Most Useful iPhone and Android Voice Commands;  Government hustles to enact privacy rules for drones;  Break me if you can: 4 rugged tablets put to the test;  MakerBot announces Startup Lab for schools, businesses;  Wolfenstein: The Old Blood arrives in May;  Paul Allen hunts down sunken Japanese WWII super-battleship;  Tom Ridge Can Find Terrorists Anywhere.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Hillary Clinton operated email server for state business – What you’re about to read is actually really impressive. It’s also highly unorthodox, extremely suspicious, and downright sidesteps all the governmental safeguards and checks/balances in play for the security of its employees. But man, it sure is interesting. Hillary Clinton was recently found to use her personal email address for official state business while Secretary of State. Bad enough, right? A new report also details how Clinton used her own server to run this email service. At her home. See?! Pretty impressive, right?

These Are the 15 Most Useful iPhone and Android Voice Commands – Not sure how to get the most out of your phone just by speaking to it? No worries – those of us here at Techlicious have put together this guide of the 15 most useful phone voice commands for iOS and Android. Take a look and give some of these a try – I really can’t rave enough about how useful and easy these commands are.

Google, Yahoo offer online tools to keep address books current – Google is updating Contacts, which functions as an address book for communication software like Gmail and Hangouts. The revamped Contacts, available in a preview version, will make it easier to keep track of a user’s contacts by pooling information stored in various Google services, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. On Wednesday, Yahoo unveiled its own new contacts feature, which also displays information in a card format. When a user hovers over a name in an email message, a contact card will appear and show information including job title, links to social media profiles and a phone number.

Google is ditching Chrome support for Ice Cream Sandwich devices – Chrome 42 will be the last update for devices with Ice Cream Sandwich, a nearly four-year-old version of Android. Google says on the Chromium Blog that you’ll still be able to use Chrome if you have an older device, but Chrome 42 will be the last release through the Play Store. On an FAQ page, Google says supporting Ice Cream Sandwich requires too many compromises, with workarounds and complex code required to keep older devices on board.

Helps Teachers Create Interactive Online Lessons, Partners With Wolfram Alpha – Versal is a service that allows teachers to build and publish interactive online courses, homework assignments and tutorials. The company launched its service out of beta today, but maybe more importantly, it also announced a partnership with Wolfram Research. Thanks to this deal with Wolfram Research — which includes Stephen Wolfram joining the Versal board of directors — Versal now allows teachers to embed content from Wolfram into their courses. Currently, this means teachers can use the Wolfram Language to create content.


Google confirms poor performance is to blame for reneged Android Lollipop encryption pledge – It turns out there was something to the report that hardware performance was to blame for Google backing off its encryption requirement for new Lollipop devices. Such problems started showing up as early as November, when a test showed flipping on encryption tanked Nexus 6 storage performance. This issue has clearly hit enough Android devices to compel Google to back off from its original plan to require encryption in all new phones running Lollipop. Fortunately, you can turn this security feature on yourself by following our encryption guide.

Break me if you can: 4 rugged tablets put to the test – Rugged tablets offer reinforced frames, tough skins, watertight seals, hardened glass, soft corner bumpers and major components that are shock-mounted. In other words, if ordinary consumer tablets can be considered sports (or economy) cars, rugged tablets are tanks. To see what the current state of the art is for rugged tablets, I gathered together three of the newest Windows-based worker-proof slates: the Mobile Demand xTablet Flex 10, the Getac F110 and the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1. I also tried out Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active, a reinforced Android tablet.


Imgur launches iPhone app to make browsing addicting images easy – Imgur is ready to take mobile seriously. The popular image sharing site is launching a new iPhone app on Thursday that reimagines the experience of browsing through its massive collection of photos, GIFs, and other images. This isn’t the first time that Imgur has tried to launch a mobile app, but Imgur thinks that this is the first time it got it right. “The app is beautiful,” Alan Schaaf, Imgur founder and CEO, tells The Verge. “It’s just absolutely beautiful and the best browsing experience for Imgur period, that exists.”

Spartan browser, Cortana play nice in leaked Windows 10 vid – In Windows 10, Microsoft will be breaking from the past. Somewhat. And at least when it comes to web browsers. It will still ship with Internet Explorer “for legacy reasons”, but it wants people to know that it is working on the next big thing, presently codenamed “Spartan”. Unlike the bloat that is usually associated with IE, Spartan is absolutely minimal. It doesn’t even have visible window borders! But more than just its looks, Spartan has a few talents to show, including a special friendship with Cortana.


Easily add files from Dropbox to Gmail with this handy extension – Here’s the catch ─ it only works with Gmail. This functionality has yet to find its way into Inbox. With that said, if you’re a Gmail and Dropbox user, this extension is for you. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and removes a few clicks from one of your daily routines. Let’s install this handy extension and see how it works.

The other guys: Canonical and Jolla trot out alternatives to Android, iOS – Apple and Google have further tightened their grip on the smartphone OS market; they had a market share of 96.1 percent last year, up from 94 percent in 2013, according to Gartner. However, that hasn’t deterred Mozilla, Samsung Electronics, Canonical and Finnish start-up Jolla from developing their own OSes. At Mobile World Congress they all showed commercial devices for the first time. Mozilla’s Firefox OS and Samsung’s Tizen have user interfaces that are very reminiscent of Android, but Canonical with Ubuntu Phone and Jolla with Sailfish have been either brave or stupid enough to try something different.


5 tips to avoid identity theft – “Tax fraud is widespread and happening as you read this,” says security and identity theft expert for Credit Sesame, Neal O’Farrell. “In the first week of February, a grand jury indicted 16 people for running a tax refund identity theft scheme, where they used 11,000 stolen identities, complete with driver’s licenses and Social Security cards, to file bogus tax returns totaling $38 million. They had the refunds deposited in more than 3,000 phony bank accounts opened in 440 different financial institutions. This is clear evidence that these identity theft rings are well organized, patient and motivated.” Credit Sesame encourages consumers to consider the following when filing their taxes this year:

Government hustles to enact privacy rules for drones – As drones move into the air space, the U.S. government will “take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise,” the White House said in the memo.

China says its new cybersurveillance proposal mimics U.S. practices – China is scratching its head over why the U.S. is opposing a new anti-terror law relating to cybersurveillance when the U.S. and other countries have also requested that tech companies hand over data to help stop terrorists. On Wednesday, China’s parliamentary spokeswoman tried to play down the impact the proposed legislation might have on foreign tech businesses, in the face of U.S. fears it would require companies to hand over sensitive data to the country’s government. The anti-terror law is still under review, but if passed, it would require tech companies to give encryption keys to the authorities, and create “back doors” into their systems for government surveillance access.

Apple and Google prepare patches for FREAK SSL flaw – Apple and Google are preparing patches for a newly-revealed bug in the web encryption protocols used by the two companies’ mobile browsers. The FREAK bug disclosed yesterday is the latest in a series of vulnerabilities affecting the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols used to encrypt traffic between an HTTPS website and a browser.

Company News:

Microsoft announces partnership with Deutsche Telekom to promote devices and services – Microsoft announced earlier today at Mobile World Congress 2015 its partnership with Deutsche Telekom to promote cloud services and devices in 12 countries across Europe. According to Microsoft, both the companies will work together to expand and increase the reach of Microsoft’s devices and services. The partnership will see both Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom carry out joint promotions of OneDrive, Office 365 and the Lumia range of smartphones in Europe. Additionally, the carrier has also been revealed to be a launch partner for Windows 10 based devices, when they arrive later this year.

Twitter In Talks With Live Streaming App Periscope – …Twitter has been in talks to purchase live streaming app Periscope, which many private beta users have compared to Meerkat. The talks are in early stages, but it’s clear that Periscope and Meerkat are doing similar things in a similar space. One source pegs a possible deal at around $100M, another source says the deal is worth a fraction of that. Live streaming on the backbone of the Twitter user graph is certainly intriguing, as the uptake of Meerkat has proven. t would be a natural fit for Twitter to acquire one of the apps in this space. It’s right in line with its real-time tentpole and feels inevitable.

MakerBot announces Startup Lab for schools, businesses – Today, MakerBot is announcing Starter Lab, an initiative to get schools up and running with 3D printing. The program provides schools everything they need to start creating, with a printer, parts and materials, and even a workshop custom designed to the school’s needs. The program is open to all schools and levels of education; even kids as young as kindergarten can start 3D printing, now. Two colleges have already purchased MakerBot’s Starter Lab, which is available now to interested schools.

Judge approves $415 million settlement in Apple and Google employee poaching scandal – The $415 million settlement put forward by Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, and other Silicon Valley companies over employee-hiring practices has been tentatively approved by the federal judge dealing with the case. Judge Lucy Koh rejected the first proposed settlement, worth $324 million, in August last year, saying that it wasn’t high enough to make up for the lost wages employees may have suffered after the companies involved in the case allegedly set up no-poaching agreements that allowed them to set and limit wages. Koh signed off on the latest deal after the companies involved in the case — including Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit — agreed to increase the amount they paid in compensation.

IBM Buys AlchemyAPI to Boost Watson’s Brain Power – From Jeopardy champ to worldwide development platform, IBM’s Watson supercomputer will continue to bulk up its brain power with today’s acquisition of AlchemyAPI. IBM, meanwhile, intends to use AlchemyAPI to enhance Watson’s ability to ingest, train, and learn the “long-tail” of data domains. The firm’s clients will also be able to tap into a host of new APIs, like “language analysis APIs to address new types of text and visual recognition, and the ability to automatically detect, label and extract important details from image data.”

Uber snaps up mapping company deCarta – Uber announced Tuesday it’s acquiring mapping and search startup deCarta to help improve its car-pool service and to better calculate how long passengers’ Uber rides will take. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Games and Entertainment:

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood arrives in May – Bethesda has announced the upcoming launch of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, which is bid as a standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order. This prequel is set in 1946 with B.J Blazkowicz taking the lead in an effort to stop the Nazis’ nearing victory. There are two missions to the game, one that involves breaking into Castle Wolfenstein and the other that takes players to Wulfburg city to find a “Nazi archaeologist” unearthing powers that could, says the maker, doom everyone. The Old Blood is being developed at MachineGames, and will be launching on May 5, 2015 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. When it arrives, gamers will be able to download a digital copy for $19.99 USD.


Nvidia’s Shield Set-Top Box Could Finally Make The Stream Dream Real – This new gadget is called simply the Nvidia Shield, which means the company probably wants it to lead the lineup that also includes the Shield Tablet and Shield Portable, and it’s powered by the new Tegra X1 processor Nvidia debuted at CES this year. More important than all that, however, is that it’s a delivery mechanism for Grid, the streaming game service introduced by Nvidia last year that offers subscription-based access to top-tier PC games streamed via the cloud, in 1080p resolution running at 60fps.

Nvidia’s Shield Set-Top Box Could Finally Make The Stream Dream Real

Microsoft launches Xbox One SDK to let any developer build apps for its console – Microsoft is finally letting developers build apps for the Xbox One. While the software maker has had a private SDK since the console’s launch, that will start to go a lot more public today. At the Games Developer Conference (GDC) today, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft is launching its Xbox One SDK today to select testers, with plans to let any developer access the SDK in the coming months.


Sling TV Brings AMC, IFC And EPIX To Its Subscription Service For Cord Cutters – Dish’s newly launched streaming video subscription service Sling TV announced this morning the addition of two more channels, AMC and IFC, which will now become available as part of its $20 core package aimed at cord cutters. In addition, Sling TV customers will also be able to optionally subscribe to a new movie-focused add-on pack called “Hollywood Extra” for $5 per month, which includes content from EPIX and Sundance TV. Specifically, the “Hollywood Extra” pack brings in content from EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, and EPIX Drive-In, the company says. The pack also introduces a replay feature which will allow viewers the ability to watch programming that’s up to a week old on demand, as an alternative to using a DVR.


Netflix inks documentary deal with Leonardo DiCaprio – Netflix is continuing to add to its slew of original content. Netflix announced a new deal with Leonardo DiCaprio to exclusively air his future documentary projects. This is not Netflix first venture with DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio was the executive producer on his previous collaborations with Netflix, Virunga. Leonardo DiCaprio executive produced the Netflix collaboration Virunga, which is a documentary about protecting a group of endangered gorillas in the midst of the bloody Congo civil war. Netflix and DiCaprio’s future offerings will likely play along the same themes of environment and conservation.

Here be dragons: HBO Go finally lands on the PS4 – It might almost be over in the real world, but winter is coming to your current gen PlayStation console today. Almost a year in the making, Sony has announced that, finally, the intersection of PlayStation 4 owners and HBO subscribers will be able to get access to the HBO Go streaming service. This further transforms the gaming device into an all purpose home entertainment system. And just in time for the next season of everyone TV guessing game “Who Will GRRM Kill Next”!


Xbox caters to Twitch and YouTube streamers with upcoming Windows 10 app – Microsoft has big plans to bring gaming on Windows 10 and Xbox One closer together. One key to that strategy is the Xbox app the company announced back in January, which lets you access Xbox Live features from your PC. And after checking out a demo of the app at GDC in San Francisco, one thing is pretty clear: Microsoft is trying to tap into the booming market of Twitch game streamers and YouTube personalities. Given the booming popularity of gaming personalities on YouTube and Twitch, it seems like an obvious move for Microsoft, and the new app will even recommend popular broadcasters for your favorite games as new Xbox Live friends.

March PlayStation Plus Free Games Lineup Revealed – Heads up, PlayStation gamers. Sony on Tuesday finally announced the March PlayStation Plus lineup of free games, which should be available now. On PlayStation 4, you’ll receive the side-scrolling adventure title Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee — New ‘n’ Tasty!, which marks the return of a PlayStation classic with “new visuals, new sound, enhanced controls, and even more dark humor than before,” Sony’s Sid Shuman, wrote in a blog post. Also coming to the PS4 lineup is Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a colorful puzzler that “follows four intersecting lives (and a loyal canine companion) during the first World War.”

Off Topic (Sort of):

Parrot Bebop Drone Review: A Keen Eye In The Sky Without A Huge Price Tag – Parrot has a brand new drone on the market, featuring a 1080p video camera that captures motion at 30FPS, and that can take stills at 14MP. The camera has built-in stabilization, letting it avoid the kinds of shakes and jitters that can normally add up to nausea when dealing with moving camera, and has a Wi-Fi flight range of up to 1.2 miles when flown connected directly to the new Skycontroller hardware control accessory. Embedded GPS completes the picture for a far-ranging quadcopter with plenty of amateur film-making potential.


A simple injection could one day stop people from bleeding to death – Blood loss kills a lot of people; one-third of deaths related to traumatic injuries are caused by bleeding. But a lab-made polymer could change that, as it was able to stop bleeding in rats whose femoral artery was cut, according to a study published today in Science Translational Medicine — the procedure essentially saved their lives. In the study, researchers made a 3-millimeter cut in the femoral artery of 40 rats. Of those rats, about half were given an injection of the polymer solution as they were bleeding out. The rats that didn’t receive the drug do very well — over 50 percent of them died. But “100 percent of the rats treated with the polymer survived…

New York City Schools Will Now Observe Two Muslim Holidays – More than 1 million New York City kids will now get school off in observance of two Muslim holy days. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the addition of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the New York City School District’s holiday calendar Wednesday. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Adha is also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice and celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ibrahim. Both days are observed by Muslims worldwide.

Paul Allen hunts down sunken Japanese WWII super-battleship – A team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has located the final resting place of monster Japanese battleship Musashi, some 70 years after she was consigned to the depths off the Philippines during the 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf. The discovery marks the end of an eight-year search for the sunken behemoth, according to Allen’s website, which explains: “The ship was sunk during World War II and, despite numerous eyewitness accounts, the exact location of the ship was unknown.”


Earth’s mysterious ‘second moon’ and its odd orbit – It sounds like one of those crazy conspiracy theories: There are aliens at Area 51. Abraham Lincoln was a lizard. The Earth has a second, secret moon. However, the last of these is actually pretty widely repeated in scientific circles, though only with a very colloquial definition for the word “moon.” First, a quick explanation of why Cruithne is not actually a moon, then an explanation of why many refuse to accept that fact. It’s not a moon because, well, it’s an asteroid. Cruithne orbits the Sun, not the Earth, and its seemingly wonky orbital pattern is definitely not tied to the Earth’s in any satellite-like fashion. By no means is Cruithne actually a secondary body orbiting the Earth — so why is it so often referred to that way?

cruithne 2

Ferguson cops “routinely” block public from filming them, DOJ says – The Department of Justice issued a scathing report Wednesday concerning Missouri’s Ferguson Police Department, the agency that was cleared in this summer’s shooting death of an 18-year-old African-American boy named Michael Brown. The DOJ investigation in the aftermath of the shooting found systematic excessive force and racism—but it also discovered that the police department took a constitutionally suspect hard line against people trying to film officers in the field—all in the name of “officer safety.” One man in a wheelchair filming a protest was arrested, the DOJ report said. Attorney General Eric Holder labeled the DOJ report “searing.”

Something to think about:

“Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.”

–     Henry Rollins

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

EFF writes a very angry letter asking United Nations to write a very angry letter to the US – The Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks the United Nations needs to get its arse in gear and safeguard people’s privacy from government snoops.

The activist group (EFF) said an independent expert should be appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) to tackle blanket surveillance and the gathering of people’s private and sensitive data by nation states (cough, cough, America).

Currently, says the EFF, the UN does not have adequate measures in place to ensure people have a decent amount of privacy from the powers that be – and judging by Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA spying, there’s no such thing as privacy if Uncle Sam has an interest in you.

“Privacy is an independent right, enshrined in a variety of international human rights treaties,” wrote EFF international rights director Katitza Rodriguez.

“There is a pressing need to better articulate the content of this right as part of international human rights law and produce guides on its interpretation, particularly as modern technologies are enabling communications surveillance—and consequent interference with this right—on an unprecedented and damaging scale.”

To that end, the group is joining a global effort to push the UN for the establishment of a formal Special Rapporteur role on the HRC. The EFF and 62 other non-government organizations have produced a letter [PDF] that they plan to send to the UN.

The Ferguson Report Shows Exactly What Living in a Police State Is Like – On Tuesday, several media outlets began leaking bits of information from the report from the federal probe on the Ferguson Police Department, which has been eagerly awaited since the probe was launched last September. Today, the report was officially released, and it details how city officials and police officers systematically and routinely violated the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of citizens, motivated both by the desire to increase revenue and, of course, straight-up bigotry.

Although there are 54 officers in the Ferguson Police Department, only four are African American. This is largely out of step with the city’s population, which has changed greatly in the past 20 years to become 67 percent black. Although we knew before today that the Department of Justice was going to slam Ferguson, we now know for sure that, for example, “partly as a consequence of city and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominately African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue,” as the report’s authors put it.

We also now have specific examples of what it’s like to be black and live there—and it sounds a lot like being a character in a dystopian novel. According to the report, cops in Ferguson regularly engaged in “ped checks” or “Terry stops”—slang for stopping and searching people for no discernible reason. Here’s one of many instances the DOJ found in which citizens were treated like dollar signs by cops:

In the summer of 2012, a 32-year-old African-American man sat in his car cooling off after playing basketball in a Ferguson public park. An officer pulled up behind the man’s car, blocking him in, and demanded the man’s social security number and identification.

Without any cause, the officer accused the man of being a pedophile, referring to the presence of children in the park, and ordered the man out of his car for a pat-down, although the officer had no reason to believe the man was armed. The officer also searched the man’s car. The man objected, citing his constitutional rights.

In response, the officer arrested the man, reportedly at gunpoint, charging him with eight violations of Ferguson’s municipal code. One charge, Making a False Declaration, was for intitially providing the short form of his first name (e.g. “Mike” instead of “Michael”). and an address which, although legitimate, was different from the one on his driver’s license. Another charge was for not wearing a seat belt, even though he was seated in a parked car. The officer also charged the man both with having an expired operator’s license, and with having no operator’s license in his possession.

The man lost his government contracting job as a result of the arrests, according to the report.

Email warned would-be FBI surveillance program whistleblower of retaliation – An email warned an FBI agent, a would-be FBI surveillance program whistleblower, that reporting abuse of authority could bring down the retaliation hammer, even though that’s illegal. A Senate committee heard testimony today about the FBI’s ongoing war on whistleblowers.

When an FBI agent wanted to blow the whistle about a “secret terrorism and counterintelligence surveillance program,” the FBI flat-out warned him that the retaliation hammer could come down on him. “This whistleblower works in one of the FBI’s ‘G-teams,’ which investigate counterterrorism cases, a topic on which the FBI is notoriously resistant to whistleblower complaints,” reported the Washington Times.

An email to the would-be FBI “G-team” whistleblower was obtained and validated by the Washington Times. It stated:

“The main question would turn on the reasonableness of your belief; that is, would a reasonable person, in your situation, believe that the conduct at issue demonstrated mismanagement or abuse of authority?” the FBI attorney, within the Office of Integrity and Compliance, wrote in an email responding to the whistleblower’s inquiry. “In my opinion, yes.”

Then came the kicker: “I’m sure you know, though, this does not guarantee that you will not be retaliated against, even though retaliation/reprisal for making protected disclosures is illegal,” the attorney concluded in the August email to the whistleblower.

In the past, the DOJ dismissed 44 of 62 FBI whistleblower complaints for allegedly failing to meet regulatory requirements, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) whistleblower protection report (pdf). 17 were kicked aside due to faulty chain of command issues, because the would-be whistleblower made the complaint to someone “not authorized” for the disclosure; the report added that a mere nine FBI officials are “formally designated” to receive whistleblower complaints. It also took the DOJ two to 10.6 years to resolve four complaints.

New Zealand Spies on Neighbors in Secret Five Eyes Global Surveillance – New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency is spying on its neighbors and sharing communications it intercepts in bulk with the National Security Agency through a controversial Internet mass surveillance system, according to newly revealed secret documents.

Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand’s equivalent of the NSA, has been sweeping up the data from across the Asia-Pacific region, targeting island nations such as Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga and France’s overseas territories New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Each of these small nations and territories maintains friendly relations with New Zealand.

The surveillance, reported Wednesday by the New Zealand Herald in collaboration with The Intercept, is being carried out by GCSB from an intelligence base in New Zealand’s Waihopai Valley (pictured above). Intercepted data collected at the Waihopai site is being shared through an NSA surveillance system called XKEYSCORE, which is used to analyze vast amounts of emails, internet browsing sessions and online chats that are intercepted from some 150 different locations worldwide.

The documents on the spying, obtained by The Intercept from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, shine a light on New Zealand’s role in the so-called Five Eyes, a surveillance alliance that includes electronic eavesdropping agencies from New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Tom Ridge Can Find Terrorists Anywhere – One of the problems with our current discourse about terrorism and terrorist policies is that the people entrusted with counterterrorism — those whose job it is to surveil, study, or defend against terrorism — become so consumed with their role that they literally start seeing terrorists everywhere. So it comes as no surprise that if you ask Tom Ridge, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, about potential terrorism risks at a new LA football stadium, of course he finds them everywhere.

From a report he prepared — paid, I’m sure — about the location of a new football stadium:

Specifically, locating an NFL stadium at the Inglewood-Hollywood Park site needlessly increases risks for existing interests: LAX and tenant airlines, the NFL, the City of Los Angeles, law enforcement and first responders as well as the citizens and commercial enterprises in surrounding areas and across global transportation networks and supply chains. That risk would be expanded with the additional stadium and “soft target” infrastructure that would encircle the facility locally.

To be clear, total risk cannot be eliminated at any site. But basic risk management principles suggest that the proximity of these two sites creates a separate and additional set of risks that are wholly unnecessary.

In the post 9/11 world, the threat of terrorism is a permanent condition. As both a former governor and secretary of homeland security, it is my opinion that the peril of placing a National Football League stadium in the direct flight path of LAX — layering risk — outweigh any benefits over the decades-long lifespan of the facility.



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