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How Airport Security May Change Under Trump

It s not just the much-mocked behavior detection gumshoes that will go, but possibly air marshals, pilot firearms training, and other TSA programs.

President Trump s budget blueprint[1] may be light on details, but for air travelers and airlines, one thing is clear: There could be big changes in the way the government handles airport security.

The White House has called for cuts in nearly every non-defense program, and while the Homeland Security department, which includes the Transportation Security Administration, is in line for a budget increase, most of that will likely go toward the president s priorities: immigration enforcement and building a border wall. As a result, number-crunchers are looking at how to cut TSA programs or staffing without jeopardizing security.

Three TSA programs have been singled out by the Trump administration as particularly wasteful:

One is the Behavioral Detection Officer program, launched around ten years ago to sniff out suspicious persons with observation techniques, in part inspired by the notoriously thorough Israeli model of airport screening (combining passenger interviews with monitoring of their body language.) Under TSA s version, screeners selected for this role spent weeks getting additional training; however, the results were less than stellar catching a small number of passengers for drug offenses and other infractions, but no alleged terrorists. The transfer of the 3,000 officers to the front lines should help ease bottlenecks. But this transition began the middle of last year following the TSA meltdown, and the vast majority of fliers, of course, won t notice any change at all. It s unclear how much money will be saved, but more than $1 billion has been spent on the program thus far.

Of the $3.7 billion currently collected from passengers annually, just $2.4 billion actually goes to airport checkpoints.

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Another item on the chopping block is a grant program to support local police at airports, specifically, large hubs like those in cities deemed likely terror targets, such as New York City[2] or Los Angeles[3], where they perform patrols and provide added protection to public areas. That will simply shift more of the burden for tasks like perimeter patrols to local governments, and lawmakers from affected areas are predictably outraged. Simply put, this administration s ‘safety last’ plan will not fly, and I will do everything I can to protect New York from the administration s cash raid for the border wall, said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)[4]. The administration argues that this is a matter better handled and paid for by local authorities.

Schumer also took aim at a third part of the plan, which would eliminate the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Program (VIPR), which deploys teams of agents, often with canine units, to airports and other transit hubs like rail stations. After a 2013 attack on a TSA checkpoint at LAX airport, more of these units were stationed at airports, but the budget document says the results don t justify the expense reportedly around $57 million a year.

Sources say, too, that there could be more cuts to TSA if the border wall goes over budget. The air marshal program, part of TSA, is also under scrutiny, says security expert Robert Poole, a transportation analyst with think tank the Reason Foundation. While details of that unit including how many marshals are still on flights aren t usually made public, Poole says it’s a big operating expense that covers a tiny fraction of all flights. The marshals themselves have been plagued by poor morale[5], and airlines have also objected to the expense they must bear, since they typically save space for these sky cops in the most expensive section of the plane near the cockpit[6].

Another related item, the federal flight-deck officer program, could also be jeopardy, according to reports, which allows pilots who receive specialized training to carry firearms with them into the cockpit. Many supporters view it as a way to supplement the air marshals, since they both share the aim of protecting the flight deck from a 9/11-style[7] attack. But cutting funding for pilot training would also reportedly save $20 million a year.

Ultimately, airlines could find themselves funding more of the TSA s functions, as they did last summer, when airlines ponied up more than $50 million of their own monies to add staff to handle non-security chores at checkpoints and for constructing new lanes with automatic bin[8] returns.

The government also wants fliers to pay more of the cost of funding airport screening; and, as reported[9], the September 11 security user fee will likely rise by at least $2 round-trip, to $13.20 per ticket. (Look at the fine print of taxes and fees on your airline ticket, and it s there.) The airlines have signaled they ll fight to avoid this after all, they re the ones whose fares will appear higher, and who have to collect the fees.

But aviation experts say that won t be enough to fulfill the White House s goal of having the public fund three-quarters of the current Transportation Security Administration budget about $6 billion a year, according to TSA sources. (That would be up from less than 40 percent today.) Of the $3.7 billion currently collected from passengers annually, just $2.4 billion actually goes to airport checkpoints[10].

References

  1. ^ budget blueprint (www.cntraveler.com)
  2. ^ New York City (www.cntraveler.com)
  3. ^ Los Angeles (www.cntraveler.com)
  4. ^ Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (www.schumer.senate.gov)
  5. ^ plagued by poor morale (www.cbsnews.com)
  6. ^ near the cockpit (www.cntraveler.com)
  7. ^ 9/11-style (www.cntraveler.com)
  8. ^ automatic bin (www.cntraveler.com)
  9. ^ as reported (www.cntraveler.com)
  10. ^ airport checkpoints (www.cntraveler.com)

Petition calls for Melania Trump to move to White House or foot NYC security bill

NEW YORK Thousands of Americans think Melania Trump s refusal to live in the White House is putting taxpayers in the poorhouse and they re giving her an ultimatum. The Change.org petition[1] calls for the first lady to move to the White House or pay for her own security back at Trump Tower in New York.

As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded, the petition to the Senate reads. Police Commissioner James O Neill told lawmakers in February it costs the NYPD between $127,000 and $146,000 a day to protect the first lady and her 11-year-old son Barron. When the president is in town, the city pays more than $308,000.

Signatures poured in with Americans voicing their thoughts on paying to protect Trump Tower.

I m signing because I would rather our taxpayer money be used to improve and keep our social programs, rather than being used to guard Trump Tower just because the first lady doesn t want to move, wrote Ryan Dontje of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Many people discussed the programs President Donald Trump wants to cut, including Meals on Wheels. Helen Marchiorlatti of Daly City, California, said she won t pay taxes to support the first lady living in luxury while the elderly lose meals and people lose their health insurance.

Businesses near Trump Tower are paying the price for tight security for the first lady and her young son, Barron. The Secret Service and NYPD have blocked off sidewalks in front of the tower and set up barricades on surrounding blocks. A survey conducted by City Comptroller Scott Stringer in December 2016 found that of 50 businesses in the area, 80 percent of them are losing business.

I have nothing personal against Melania. But this is both immoral and irresponsible for the Trumps to expect the U.S. to support their opulent lifestyle. AND, it costs NYC for added security and hurts the businesses around Trump Tower, said Mary Schmidt of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the petition.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had over 130,000 supporters. The petition was created last week by Doug Caruana of Colorado.

Want to hear what the people are wanting to say? Caruana tweeted on Mar. 18. He included the hashtags #TakeBackAmerica, #CutTheWaste and #MAGA, President Trump s campaign slogan of Make America Great Again.

Once the petition has 150,000 signatures, it will be sent to Democratic senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

40.762500 -73.974167

References

  1. ^ Change.org petition (www.change.org)

Lawsuit claims hackers stole customer data at 1000 Arby’s stores

ATLANTA Georgia-based Arby s restaurant chain failed to prevent hackers from stealing customer information at hundreds of its stores, a Connecticut couple said in a new federal lawsuit. Since early February, eight credit unions and banks from Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Montana have filed seven other federal lawsuits. All make similar allegations about what the credit unions describe as a massive data breach. Arby s said in a statement Monday that it s not commenting on the pending litigation, but we believe the claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend against them.

From late October through Jan. 19, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of credit and debit cards issued by financial institutions, including Plaintiff, were compromised due to Arby s severely inadequate security practices, North Alabama Educators Credit Union states in its lawsuit filed last month.

Arby s actions and omissions left highly sensitive Payment Card Data of the Plaintiff s customers exposed and accessible for hackers to steal for nearly three months, the Alabama credit union maintains. In the latest lawsuit, Jacqueline and Joseph Weiss of Glastonbury, Conn., say computer hackers used data-looting malware to penetrate systems at about 1,000 Arby s restaurants during the breach. In December 2016, the couple discovered thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on the Visa card they d used at an Arby s in Connecticut, they say in their lawsuit filed last week.

The Weiesses lawsuit asserts that a credit union organization alerted its members that at least 355,000 credit and debit cards were compromised by the Arby s breach. By installing malware at the Point Of Sale or cash register, hackers were able to steal payment card data from remote locations as a card was swiped for payment, Indiana-based Midwest America Federal Credit Union claimed in a February lawsuit. Arby s knew the danger of not safeguarding its POS network as various high profile data breaches have occurred in the same way, including data breaches of Target, Home Depot and, most recently, Wendy s, the Indiana credit union maintains in its lawsuit.

Lawyers for the Weisse s say the threat isn t over.

There is a strong probability that entire batches of stolen information have yet to be dumped on the black market, they state, meaning Arby s customers could be at risk of fraud and identity theft for years into the future.

It s not clear whether a criminal investigation has been opened in the Arby s breach. The FBI s policy is not to confirm or deny whether a matter is being investigated, FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett said Monday.

More Business[1] articles

References

  1. ^ Business (registerguard.com)