Industry looks to conventions for clues about security funding

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Monday, August 27, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—With Congress in recess in mid-August, security industry watchdogs geared up for two big events outside the Beltway: the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4-6.

The Security Industry Association planned to send representatives to both conventions to closely monitor speeches by leading policymakers and legislators, particularly in regard to the Department of Homeland Security and how its needs will be addressed and funded. The fact that 2012 is a presidential election year may delay action on many bills until after Nov. 6.

“SIA remains concerned about the funding levels for the Port Security Grant Program … and the budget numbers may not be completed until after the fall elections,” Marcus Dunn, director of government relations for SIA, told Security Systems News. “There is some concern with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace funding. Apparently the House has zeroed the program but the Senate has not yet acted. Chances are good that independent appropriation bills will not see the light of day, as they will be rolled into a gigantic omnibus sometime before Thanksgiving.”

Other issues that SIA continues to track at the federal level involve privacy and how surveillance information is used, and access control. In August, SIA submitted comments to the National Institute of Standards on proposed revisions to FIPS 201-2, the standard for Personal Identity Verification.

“Without a doubt, access control will be in full implementation at the [political] conventions, with various ID cards in play,” Dunn said.

SIA also remains active in supporting legislation that will promote the use of standardized carbon monoxide detectors nationwide.

“Not only are carbon monoxide detectors absent from many homes and businesses, but there are some that do not meet standards established by public safety officials,” Dunn said. “To date, federal legislation exists in both the House and Senate.”

At the state level, SIA has been following an increase in video surveillance laws that include not only public facilities—schools, town offices and legislative buildings—but private facilities as well. Local and state law enforcement have shown a growing interest in using advanced video technology to protect both, Dunn said.

In Massachusetts, a proposal before the Legislature would authorize cities and towns to install video monitoring systems to detect certain motor vehicle violations. A similar bill in Connecticut would authorize the use of cameras to detect vehicles that are unregistered or have uninsured drivers and assess fines on the vehicle owners.

In New York, legislation currently in committee in the Senate would mandate that every owner of a nightclub establishment that is not a restaurant install security cameras.

“Today’s businesses are challenged with safeguarding personnel, clients and resources from the latest threats with real-time response,” Dunn said. “This type of technology is either being newly installed or improved with IP technology in and around office complexes, residential care facilities, banks and gated communities.”