Homeland Security Certifies Four Anti-Terrorism Technologies

The first four certifications are part of a program designed to limit lawsuits against vendors developing such products.
The Department of Homeland Security on Friday certified the first four anti-terrorism technologies under provisions of a law aimed at limiting lawsuits against vendors developing such wares.

Potential liability lawsuits stemming from problems with technology deployed to battle terrorism are seen as a barrier for the quick development of such tools. In 2002, Congress enacted the so-called Safety (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act, which limits liability claims from acts of terrorism for anti-terrorism technologies that have been deployed.

"This legislation, and the process to implement it, are working to support businesses that develop technologies to protect the American people," Homeland Security undersecretary for science and technology Charles McQueary said in a statement. "Now it is time to let the marketplace work."

The four anti-terrorism technologies that won designation and certification are:

* Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Risk Assessment Platform, an integrated computer system that provides near real-time, event-driven terrorism threat analysis, allowing the focus of resources on the most imminent threats and greatest risks. The platform allows sharing of information between private industry and government through continuous independent auditing of compliance with policies governing access, use, and distribution of information.

* Michael Stapleton Associates' SmartTech System and Explosion Detection Services, a two-way high-speed video-audio system designed to let off-site bomb technicians support clients in X-ray screening of items for explosives and hazardous materials through real-time viewing of images of suspicious items. It also provides immediate guidance on identification and correct operational procedures. The real-time system eliminates disruptions to businesses, and through the use of additional resources including explosive detection canines, training programs, and radiation detection equipment, vastly increases the level of security provided to employees.

* Northrop Grumman's Biohazard Detection System, which has been selected by the U.S. Postal Service to rapidly analyze environmental samples and detect potential biological threats as mail-sorting facilities nationwide. The system detects trace levels of DNA from anthrax spores and other biological agents as mail is processed on high-speed sorting equipment.

* Teledyne Brown Engineering's WaterSabre, a remotely operated, ultra-high pressure water jet cutting system designed to investigate and aid in the neutralization of explosive devices by providing a rapid means of gaining access to the interiors of devices and, when necessary, to aid in the deactivation of explosive devices. The system works by discharging a high-powered water stream that can cut through various containers, thus enabling technicians to gain access to a container or potential explosive device without the risk of injury.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing