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  • June 18, 2019 3:46 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Cobalt Robotics

    Collision Conference has been called North America’s fastest-growing tech conference, and each Spring it brings together the top people and companies redefining the global tech industry. This year, journalists like Kara Swisher, politicians like Justin Trudeau and celebrities like Seth Rogen spoke at the conference to share their big ideas, expert insight and unique views on the biggest trends impacting society today.

    At the annual conference in Toronto this year, Cobalt’s own CEO Travis Deyle took the stage to tackle the state of robotics today. He sat down with Paul Michelman, Editor in Chief of MIT Sloan Management Review to discuss the origins of Cobalt, the need for security robots and some of the opportunities for robotics companies today.

    It’s not about the future. Robots are here today.

    Robots first entered our homes in the form of dishwashers and vacuum cleaners—nearly 50 years ago. But often, even as most of us are familiar with today’s most popular robots like Pepper and MIT’s creations, robots are still widely considered a future technology

    Yet, Travis asserts, thanks to the Roomba vacuum cleaner or even lane assist in your car, you’re already interacting with robots frequently every day. And as robots in the service industries—cleaning, delivery, manufacturing and even farming—show great success in their applications, we will be living and working alongside many more robots in our day to day lives.

    “Robots are computers that can reach out and touch the world.”

    Hollywood’s Version of Robots

    Popular Hollywood films such as Robocop and Terminator have portrayed robots negatively—as malicious, intelligent beings designed to wreak havoc or control humans. This means today’s robotics companies have some big cultural misconceptions to overcome as the develop their solutions. They need to show how robots can be helpful and beneficial, not harmful.

    In his session with Paul, Travis asserted that one of the best ways to accelerate robot adoption and ease the integration of robots in our daily lives is by getting out into the world where robots exist and interacting with them—touching them, working with them and asking questions. Once we learn why a robot is there and what they’re meant to help with, we can better work and live side by side with them. This helps quell any uncertainty around robots and highlight just how useful they can be.

    Robots Keeping You Safe

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs defines safety and security as the next most important needs after physiological needs have been met. Today’s businesses have an obligation to keep their employees safe and their property and assets protected, and thus invest in physical security in the form of security guards, access control and camera systems.

    Security robots like Cobalt’s are a new tool for security programs to help offices and facilities keep their employees safe and protected. As the robots patrol their environment using AI to monitor and detect anomalies, they can respond to incidents with greater efficiency and efficacy.

    At the same time, employees working in spaces where Cobalt’s robots are deployed can learn about the robot, how it works to keep them safe and how robots can be helpful in society. People can go up to the robot, touch it and even video chat with one of Cobalt’s security specialists. The result is a robot seamlessly integrated into the work environment and a better understanding of how robots can benefit us today.

    “It’s time to get robots out of the lab and into real, human spaces, working in and around people.” 

    See Original Post

  • June 05, 2019 12:22 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Northampton Chronicle

    Three fire crews were needed in February this year when a fire broke out at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

    There were fears the blaze could have spread to the rest of the building and undone the borough council's ongoing £7million renovation project.

    But a new photo shared today has shown how a well-fitted fire door stopped the flames in their tracks and prevented further damage.

    This incident involved a fire in a main, open plan office area, which was left black with smoke damage.

    Due to the secure, closed fire doors, flames did not progress beyond this area and so damage was kept to a minimum.

    The photo clearly shows a smoke blackened area in the main office and, beyond the fire doors, clean undamaged walls.

    Community Protection Manager Scott Richards praised the installation of the fire doors, and pointed out that organisations can fail to properly consider the impact these features have in case of a fire.

    He said: “We would encourage all businesses to think about their own premises and consider what a fire would do to their building. Think about whether you would be able to continue to operate if your offices or warehouses suffered a fire.

    “Fire doors are so important because they protect areas such as staircases and other escape routes in buildings, such as care homes and hotels, making escape more possible. They also help to enclose high risk zones such as kitchens and boiler rooms. Their other purpose is to subdivide buildings to limit the spread of smoke and fire.”

    “When looking at the area in which the museum fire was, in comparison to the inside of the neighbouring, smaller offices a few metres from the main area of fire, it can be clearly seen that these closed fire doors did their job properly.”

    Fire doors which are inappropriately used or incorrectly fitted are common fire safety issues. Below is a list of common mistakes in fire door usage.

    Common fire door issues:

     - Door jamming on the frame

    - Self-closing device failing to shut the door and needing adjustment

    - Strips and seals around door becoming damaged or ineffective

    - Damage to the door front or edge, affecting the door’s fitting

    - Glazing becoming loose due to damage

    - Glazing being replaced by glass which is not fire resistant

    - Poorly fitted doors, perhaps fitted by someone unqualified

    - Use of inappropriate materials, such as non-fire resistant wood

    - Doors fitted in walls or next to glazing that isn’t fire resistant

    See Original Post



  • June 05, 2019 12:15 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Miami New Times

    Last week, a British charity revealed that a 90-year-old retiree in Aventura had just casually been harboring a stolen piece of Stonehenge for the last 60 years. Back in 1958, the man, Robert Phillips, had been working for a firm that was trying to restore a banged-up rock at the ancient site. Phillips' firm drilled a few holes into the rock to insert some metal tubes, and Phillips ran away with a broomstick-sized cutout from Stonehenge. He then took it with him when he moved from the U.K. to the U.S., and the piece sat in his office until he finally decided to send it back to where it came from.

    But the Stonehenge core is far from the only insane artifact that's turned up in South Florida. In fact, the area's unique combination of retirees, wayward travelers, and outright criminals have turned Miami into a haven for art thieves and black-market artifact deals. Here's a recap of some of the wilder stories:

    1. A Matisse stolen from Venezuela turned up here:

    In the dark of the hotel room, the ultraviolet lamp ignited like Promethean fire. A middle-aged American with gray hair leaned low over the bed, his gaunt face glowing in the purple light. Beneath him lay a weathered canvas, its edges cracked and crumbling. The man inhaled deeply. Then, with gloved hands, he slowly swept the lamp along the painting's smooth surface.

    A pair of crimson pants legs sprang from the shadows. The man moved the lamp a few inches more and a woman's belly gleamed soft and white. Her bare breasts were full and pink, her mouth small and puckered like a wilted rose. At last, the man shone the light into her eyes: dark, inscrutable orbs peering out from the canvas for the first time in a decade.

    "It's real," the American said, standing up and shutting off the lamp.

    The American's young assistant — a pretty woman in pearls and a pale-green blouse — pulled open the curtains, and light poured into the hotel room. Outside, South Beach was suffering through another scorcher during the summer of 2012. Inside, however, it was a celebration. After a year of furtive meetings and coded phone conversations, it was finally time to make a deal.

    Photos were snapped and a call was made to arrange the agreed-upon $740,000 payment.

    A heavyset Cuban man with a black guayabera and a salt-and-pepper buzzcut stood near the window. He had been nervously pacing all morning. Now that the deal was done, he began to flirt with the pretty American in pearls. "Now I make love to her," he said in broken English, gesturing to the nude painting.

    "No!" she giggled. "Don't you dare do anything to La Gorda." Then she picked up the phone to order champagne.

    2. Frenchman Bernard Ternus tried to sell four paintings, including a Monet, that had been stolen from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice, France:

    Two months after the robbery, a Frenchmen cruises past Aventura Mall on his scooter. He pulls into a plaza across the street and leaves the scooter near Target. He walks across the parking lot and stands in front of a Marshalls department store.

    His name is Bernard Jean Ternus. He's five-foot-eight, with a short light-brown mullet, a triangular face, athletic shoulders, and an ample paunch. The 54-year-old is, by all accounts, friendly. But his police record in France dates back to 1966, when he was 13, and includes breaking and entering, theft, armed robbery, possession of stolen goods, destruction of a vehicle, and, as recently as 2002, assault with a deadly weapon.

    Ternus isn't waiting long when an American sedan rented from Alamo pulls up. The Frenchman gets in, and the car parks near the back of the lot.

    The driver is a nicely dressed gentleman in his 60s. His name is Bob. He never gives his last name. He has an open collar and expensive slacks and shoes. He's tall, knowledgeable, and confident. In the back seat is a friend of a friend of Ternus's who speaks French and English.

    Bob hands Ternus some pages he has printed off the Internet. "These are the insurance values," Bob says through the translator. Ternus sorts through them. Bob explains that because the paintings were stolen so recently, their value on a black market will be considerably less than the figures on these sheets.

    "I just need to get this done," Ternus says in French. His English is horrible, and his Spanish isn't much better.

    3. Jacob Jordaen's The Last Supper turned up at a Broward La Quinta Inn:

    Via the Sun-Sentinel:

    A 17th-century Flemish painting stolen from a British museum was recovered on Thursday by FBI agents in a Plantation hotel.

    Agents arrested three people who were trying to sell The Last Supper from a room at La Quinta Inn on Peters Road. FBI officials declined to identify the individuals, who are being detained for possible violations of interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy.

    The painting, by Jacob Jordaens, is estimated to be worth between $50,000 and $100,000. It was stolen four years ago from The Rectory in Surrey, outside London. The oil painting, measuring 45 inches by 65 inches, is in bad shape. "When they rolled it up, they created creases and cracks in the canvas," said FBI special agent Mike Fabregas. After analysis, FBI's South Florida office plans to turn over the painting to British authorities.


    4. Someone stole a tiny Pablo Picasso piece from a Miami Art Week fair:

    A good lesson for Art Basel-goers: If you try to get millions in art for a buck, a cup of coffee, and a hastily brandished firearm, you're going to have some trouble with the fuzz.

    Miami-Dade Police have arrested a local man accused of stealing millions of dollars in paintings at gunpoint Tuesday — but they have yet to track down the missing artwork.

    Jorge Alberto Gonzalez, a 47-year-old Southwest Dade resident, was arrested late Wednesday and charged with two felonies, including the alleged theft of ten paintings worth more than $1 million.


    5. The FBI in 2006 nabbed a group of people who were trafficking priceless pre-Colombian artifacts from Ecuador:

    Amanda Moran's eyes widened as she walked from a blinding July afternoon into the cool living room of a red-roofed house just off South Dixie Highway in Coconut Grove. Piled like cheap toys in this ordinary suburban house, some tightly wrapped in Ecuadorian newspaper, were more than 160 pieces from the most incredible collection of pre-Columbian artifacts ever smuggled into the United States. On one table sat a squat clay vase with a dusty-looking handle. On a couch lay a glinting ancient breastplate. On the coffee table stood a four-inch-tall figurine used by shamans in the Andes 6,000 years ago to cast out evil spirits.

    Then Edgar Nakache, Moran's 49-year-old host, gave her the sales pitch. "We're upping the price to $5 million for the whole set," he said.

    A few seconds later, a team of FBI agents swooped into the living room and cuffed Nakache, as well as his cohorts, 71-year-old Cecilia Marcillo-Aviles and her daughter, Susan Aviles, age 46.

    Moran, you see, is an undercover agent. The priceless antiquities had been stolen from Ecuador and brazenly smuggled through customs at MIA. The raid, which took place in July 2006, was the largest bust ever of looted pre-Columbian items, according to the FBI. But it was far from an extraordinary event in Miami, a global center in the international art crime circuit — an enterprise that accounts for more than $6 billion a year, more than the cross-border trade of diamonds, sex, or hot cars.

    With Art Basel, one of the world's largest art fairs, opening this week, organizers are stepping up security and warning everyone to hang on to their Picassos — and to make very, very sure that Warhol is the real deal before slapping down six figures in cash.

    See Original Post

  • June 05, 2019 12:10 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Independent

    A tourist bus was hit by an explosion near the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, according to security sources.

    At least 16 people were injured in the blast on the road outside the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo on Sunday.

    The bus was carrying 28 South African tourists from the airport to the pyramids. Several Egyptians in nearby vehicles were also injured by broken glass.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Egyptian security forces have been waging a counter-insurgency campaign against Islamist militants in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

    Mohamed el-Mandouh, who witnessed the blast, said he heard a “very loud explosion” while sitting in traffic nearby.

    Images showing a damaged bus with its windows blown out and what looked to be injured tourists, some covered in blood, have been circulated on social media.

    South Africa’s foreign ministry said in a statement that three of its citizens were injured and will remain in hospital. The other 25 passengers will return home on Monday morning, it claimed.

    The blast happened around 50 metres from the outer fence of the new museum, and more than 400 metres from the main building, according to the Antiquities Ministry.

    Egypt’s tourist industry has been recovering in recent years after visitor numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger jet.

    The museum, which will display some of the country’s top antiquities on a site adjoining the world-famous Giza pyramids, is due to open next year. 

    In December, three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb hit their tour bus less than 2.5 miles from the Giza pyramids.

    See Original Post

  • June 04, 2019 5:45 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from NPR

    The Louvre was shuttered on Monday, leaving hordes of tourists outside amid its famous glass pyramids. The reason? The Paris museum's security and reception staff were on strike, protesting "unprecedented deterioration of conditions" amid record crowds.

    The museum, located in a former royal palace on the city's Right Bank, attracted a record 10.2 million visitors last year – a 25% increase over the year before. "No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure," the museum trumpeted in January.

    But workers say both visitors and staff are suffering from such massive popularity.

    "The Louvre is suffocating," the Sud Culture Solidaires Union said in a statement Sunday. "While the public has increased by more than 20% since 2009, the palace has not grown. ... Today the situation is untenable."

    Amid rising crowds from 2009 to 2018, staff headcount declined in that period from 2,161 to 2,005, according to the union.

    American visitors to the museum on Monday posted photos of the disappointed queues outside. "Well this is great," tweeted one Californian. "Glad I got to the Louvre early."

    The museum is offering refunds to those who bought tickets for the day.

    The union cites several problems it says are caused by overcrowded conditions at the museum: an aggressive and impatient public, jostling crowds and inadequate emergency evacuation measures.

    "What to say about visiting conditions when people are confronted with noise, trampling, crowds, extreme fatigue and the total inadequacy of museum facilities at such a high volume of visitors?" the union said in the statement. "The Louvre does not have the means of its ambitions."

    The Louvre is closed today, as it is customarily on Tuesdays. A notice on its website said the museum would open late on Wednesday after "a general meeting attended by members of the Musée du Louvre's Reception and Security staff." It warned that large numbers of visitors are expected in the coming days, and recommended buying tickets online.

    Pierre Zinenberg, a Louvre employee and union representative, told the Associated Press that the outcome of Wednesday's meeting would determine whether the museum would re-open that day, or whether the strike would continue.

    See Original Post

  • June 04, 2019 5:33 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Washington Post

    The field trip to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts was supposed to be a reward for good grades and excellent behavior.

    Instead, chaperones say, students from the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, Mass., left in tears last week after they were subjected to racial profiling from museum employees and offensive comments from visitors.

    On Friday, the museum again apologized to the students and the middle school, where the majority of students are black or Latino. The museum said in a statement Friday that, following an investigation, it had banned visitors accused of making racist comments and is retraining staff and security.

    “These young people left the Museum feeling disrespected, harassed and targeted because of the color of their skin,” said the museum’s director, Matthew Teitelbaum. “And that is unacceptable.”

    The 26 seventh-graders who went on the school trip are students of color, according to school officials, and the allegations have prompted a larger conversation about how museums and other elite cultural institutions can be uncomfortable spaces for people of color.

    Security guards closely shadowed the seventh-graders throughout their visit and followed them from one gallery to another, Marvelyne Lamy, an English language arts teacher at the charter school, told local media outlets. She and her students noticed that their group seemed to be subject to more scrutiny than predominantly white school groups that were touring the museum at the same time.

    “We were instructed not to touch any of the artifacts in the museum, yet the white students there touched the displays several times while security looked on without saying anything,” Lamy wrote on Monday in a Facebook post, where she first detailed her frustrations with the museum. “The minute one of our students followed suit, the security guards would yell at them that they should not touch exhibits.”

    A staff member who was explaining the museum’s rules allegedly told the group, “No food, no drink, no watermelon.” Lamy told the Globe that she did not hear the comment herself, but students who were upset by the apparent reference to a well-known racist trope told her about it. One 13-year-old told the Globe that the remark left her feeling angry, uncomfortable and disrespected.

    The middle-schoolers also reported hearing disparaging remarks from other museum visitors. One student told Lamy that she had been dancing to music played as part of an exhibit when a museumgoer said, “It’s a shame that she is not learning and instead stripping.” Another seventh-grade teacher at the school, Taliana Jeune, described the remark differently, telling WCVB that the student had been warned, “I hope you’re paying attention so that you don’t become a stripper.'”

    The remark about stripping was the last straw, Lamy wrote on Facebook, and told the seventh-graders that they were leaving right away. As they were making their way out of the museum, some students paused by the entrance to an African art exhibit. Lamy said a woman walked by and commented, “Never mind, there’s f---ing black kids in the way.”

    Lamy said she never planned to set foot in the museum again.

    “We reported all these incidents to the staff at the MFA, and they just looked on with pity,” she wrote on Facebook. “They took our names and filed a report. Their only solution, they will give us tickets to come back and have a ‘better’ experience. We did not even receive an apology.” 

    To some critics, the middle-schoolers’ experience demonstrated why the MFA and other prestigious cultural institutions remain stubbornly white. Racism, wrote Globe opinion columnist Renée Graham, “compels us to self-segregate, to do it to ourselves before it can be done to us. And we tick off the places we won’t go — certain ballparks, restaurants, theaters, symphony halls, hospitals and stores. And museums.” 

    The museum has made a concerted effort to attract a more diverse audience in recent years. In 2015, the museum found that nearly 80 percent of people who visited were white, which led to targeted outreach and initiatives aimed at making the museum more inclusive. Two years later, Globe reporters who visited on a Saturday found that, out of roughly 3,000 guests, only about 4 percent were black.

    On Wednesday, nearly a week after the field trip, top museum officials apologized in an open letter that acknowledged that the students had “encountered a range of challenging and unacceptable experiences that made them feel unwelcome.” 

    On Friday, the museum revealed the conclusions of its investigation, which included re-creating the students’ three-hour visit from security footage and speaking to dozens of people.

    It said it could not “definitively confirm or deny” that students were told “no food, no drink, no watermelon,” saying a staff member recalled saying “no food, no drink and no water bottles” were allowed. Though the museum typically allows guests to carry closed water bottles, school groups are advised that no drinks are allowed in the galleries.

    The museum also said security guards’ rotations may have unintentionally appeared to the students as if they were being followed, but added, “It is unacceptable that they felt racially profiled, targeted and harassed.”

    Lastly, the museum said its investigation found that other visitors made racist comments to the students, which led to the revocation of their membership and their banning from the museum.

    The museum vowed to “adapt security procedures . . . to make sure all people feel welcome,” provide additional training to employees that work with visitors and continue mandatory unconscious bias training for all staff members.

    Teitelbaum has asked to meet with students at the school next week.

    “This is a fundamental problem that we will address as an institution, both with immediate steps and long-term commitments,” Teitelbaum said in the statement. “I am deeply saddened that we’ve taken something away from these students that they will never get back.”

    The experience ended up teaching the seventh-graders “an unfortunate lesson,” Arturo J. Forrest, Davis Leadership Academy’s principal, told the Globe.

    “This was a strong group of students that went, they excelled academically,” he said. “The shock of it for them was, ‘We are the top and we carry ourselves the right way as leaders.’ You know, it was very eye-opening for them.

    Lamy agreed.

    “I had to tell them, you know, as a black or brown person, you have to work 10 times harder,” she told reporters on Thursday. “Unfortunately, that’s the world that we live in.”

    See Original Post

  • June 04, 2019 5:25 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.

    We live in a digital world where a growing threat from cyber thieves exists. In preparing for the holiday season, we should acknowledge our vulnerability to identity theft, as evidenced by the numerous data breaches making headlines. Understanding and awareness can mean the difference between proactively preventing a crime or reactively spending months, if not years, repairing the damage.

    What Is Identity Theft?

    The United States government defines identity theft as personal information that is stolen and used without permission for some form of gain (Federal Trade Commission). There are a myriad of methods thieves employ to gain access to your personal information and data. Criminals can take out a loan or credit card in your name, without you being aware, using stolen personal data. Immediate repercussions can include a decline in your credit score, calls from debt collectors, collection notices, money missing from bank accounts, false charges on your credit card and transactions declined for accounts associated with your name.

    Protect Yourself

    The best defense is to be proactive. Like the Securitas value of Vigilance, one must actively protect personal information from would-be thieves. The U.S. Department of Justice recommends employing a ‘need to know’ attitude when it comes to your personal information. First and foremost, do not share your social security number unless absolutely necessary. Next, carefully review monthly statements for any possible errors or mistakes. Shred all personal papers and records before throwing them away. Do not use the same password for multiple sites; vary your passwords for an added layer of protection. Obtain a copy of your credit report, one from each of the three main credit reporting agencies. You have the legal right to a free report once a year. Carefully review all the information, and if there are any unauthorized or incorrect pieces of information, immediately dispute it with the credit agency. You can also subscribe to a credit monitoring service that will provide immediate notification of any associated changes with your credit score. Finally, if you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, and a friend or neighbor can’t collect your mail, request a mail hold through the U.S. Postal Service until you return. This will help prevent anyone from rummaging through your mailbox while you are away.

    What If Your Identity Is Compromised?

    If you become a victim of identity theft, there are several immediate actions that will help mitigate the damage. The process is time-consuming, and some steps have a monetary cost, but it is necessary to salvage the situation and protect yourself. If your identity is compromised, do all of the following:

    • Call one of the three major credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. By law they must notify the other two agencies to do the same. An initial fraud alert is good for 90 days, but can be extended for up to seven years, with law enforcement documentation.

    • Order all three credit reports and review all information associated with your credit. Notify the respective agency of errors. Note: credit reports and scores vary slightly between the three major credit reporting agencies, hence the need to order all three.

    • File an Identity Theft Report through the Federal Trade Commission. This will allow you to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report and stop any debt collections associated with illegal accounts.

    • File your Identity Theft Report with the local FBI or U.S. Secret Service field office. Obtain a copy of the completed report for your records. The federal law enforcement agency will open a file and begin an investigation into the crime.

    • Contact the Social Security Administration if you suspect that your Social Security number has been compromised or used in the identity theft.

    • Contact all your financial institutions to verify that your accounts have not been compromised and for them to track any and all future transactions associated with those accounts.

    • If you suspect that a thief has submitted a change of address form with the U.S. Post Office contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

    • Finally, contact the Internal Revenue Service if you believe that the identity theft was associated with a tax filing. The ease of submitting a digital tax return has made this a growing crime.

    Secure Your Information

    A simple way to protect yourself is by being aware of what personal information is being used and shared. Be extremely careful to whom you provide personal information, whether over the phone, through email, or on a website. If you are the one who has initiated the contact, then most times you will be protected. Be alert when you are contacted by someone requesting information. If in doubt, do NOT provide it. If you receive a phone call, offer to call them back, but do NOT use the number they provide. Use the number from a paper statement or search online to verify the contact information of any organization. Customer service representatives will be able to tell you if they have tried to contact you with a request for information.

    The Better Business Bureau can verify the legitimacy of any business, brand, or charity.

    Before discarding cell phones, tablets, or personal computers, erase all information and reset the systems to the original factory settings. Only submit information online when the ‘lock’ icon is in the browser address bar. Also, look for sites with web addresses beginning with ‘https.’ The ‘s’ stands for secure. If it is not present, transmitted information is not protected. Never leave your passwords on a sheet of paper that can be easily found. Finally, be careful about sharing information on social media sites. Tech savvy individuals can piece together your personal information with your indirect help.

    For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at: http://www.securitasinc.com/en/knowledge-center/security-and-safety-awareness-tips


  • June 04, 2019 5:20 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from El Pais

    Four days before a fire ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral on April 15, the Prado Museum hired a specialist in heritage risk prevention to draft a protection plan for the museum’s art collections.

    Estrella Sanz Domínguez, who teaches restoration at Complutense University’s School of Fine Arts in Madrid, is an expert in risk management and emergency plans. She now has 22 months to identify potential risks to the world-famous museum, such as fires, theft or terrorist attacks, and to come up with “a massive evacuation plan” for the artwork. The museum has invested €55,600 in the project.

    The plan must establish priorities and state which artworks should be saved first in the event of an emergency. Sanz will have to produce a list of the 250 most important pieces, and create internal emergency teams made up of various employees, from security guards to restorers, to take charge of gems like Velázquez’s Las Meninas or Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

    For each of the 250 priority works, there will be a file containing essential information about how to proceed with the evacuation, the degree of difficulty, and the vulnerability of the work in question. A person will be appointed to head the evacuation, and a destination point established. As for the art that cannot be taken out of the Prado, the museum will consider special on-site measures.

    Karina Marotta, the conservation coordinator at the landmark gallery, said that the Prado already has a general emergency plan in place, but that this is something that “is always being tweaked.”

    Protecting the collections of Spain’s art museums did not become a public concern until the Lorca earthquake of 2011. After that, the Culture Ministry issued orders to all the relevant agencies and the Prado drafted basic emergency guidelines. But there was only a detailed evacuation plan for temporary exhibits, as this was a demand made by the owners of the art on loan. No large-scale evacuation plan existed for the permanent collection.

    Estrella Sanz was hired “because the museum does not have technicians who are sufficiently specialized to draft such a plan,” according to Marotta.

    See Original Post

  • June 04, 2019 5:17 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Mandarin

    It’s often said staff are the weak point in an organisation’s cyber security, with a single click on a dodgy link enough to undercut expensive infrastructure.

    It turns out building security suffers from similar problems.

    In a slightly unusual step, Victorian Auditor General Andrew Greaves hired a specialist security consultant to go undercover and try to get into offices belonging to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice and Community Safety — and they did.

    The problem was not physical infrastructure, which was up to the job, but staff themselves. Although some did question the outsiders and ask for identification, the testers managed to get in nonetheless.

    “While all tested sites have a range of physical security measures that control unauthorised access to some extent, security controls were bypassed and we accessed areas not permitted to the public,” says the audit published on Wednesday.

    “This enabled access to information and physical assets. We successfully accessed these sites because staff did not understand their role in maintaining physical security, or did not comply with established processes, allowing our testers access.”

    In one case, testers managed to get hold of the master keys for a multi-tenant building. In another, “highly confidential information was found unsecured, outside of the immediate office area”.

    The auditor blames human error and “a weak security culture”.

    “This weak security culture among government staff is a significant and present risk that must be urgently addressed.”

    The auditor’s testers also observed several breaches and risks of a more moderate nature:

    • Confidential information within the office space was not adequately secured or locked in lockers, tambours or filing cabinets.
    • Staff did not always adhere to the clear desk policy, nor was it monitored or enforced by the department.
    • There is not a strong practice of staff questioning or challenging unfamiliar or suspicious people in the office space.
    • Staff were not aware or did not challenge those who tailgated them.
    • The period of time that accessible gates remain open, and their use by able-bodied people for convenience.
    • Workstations were often unlocked when unattended and passwords were left nearby on sticky notes.
    • Lax processes for visitor or contractor sign in and approval.

    In 2018, DHHS had the most security incidents reported to the Shared Service Provider, a business unit in Treasury which helps agencies manage security — but the auditor notes this is probably because it has more security guards, and is therefore able to detect more incidents.

    “It is almost certain that incidents are occurring within the office accommodation of the other government agencies,” says VAGO.

    The problems found by the auditor are not helped by the fact that there is no statewide oversight or coordination of protective security.

    “At present, there is no clear, strategic leader for policy, oversight and coordination of the three domains of protective security across government agencies. This precludes the better integration and coordination of protective security arrangements,” says VAGO.

    The departments concerned have some way to go on security policies too.

    “At the agency level, DJCS has made positive steps towards developing department-wide policies and procedures for security management. DHHS, however, has not developed its security policies and procedures, making it more vulnerable to unauthorised access.”

    The auditor wants improvements in incident reporting and recommends Treasury, Premier and Cabinet and Justice work together to develop “a statewide principle-based physical security policy, with clear accountabilities for government agencies”.

    All 12 recommendations have been agreed to by relevant agencies.

    Justice Secretary Rebecca Falkingham said the department “is committed to promoting a strong security culture and good governance and undertaking regular physical security planning and risk assessment as recommended by the report.”

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kym Peake wrote that DHHS “is already developing a security management governance structure to incorporate executive oversight and a physical security assessment model to support regular physical security and risk assessments at all office accommodation sites.”

    See Original Post

  • June 04, 2019 5:13 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Local France

    On Monday evening, the French Senate approved the government's Notre-Dame restoration bill - but added a clause that it must be restored to the state it was before the blaze, striking a blow to the government which had launched an international architecture competition to debate ideas on the restoration.

    The subject of the rebuilding of the cathedral - which was left badly damaged after fire tore through the roof and destroyed the spire on April 15 - has become a fraught battleground between traditionalists who want an exact restoration and others who favour a more imaginative take.

    Some of the suggestions have included a rooftop garden, an 'endless spire' of light and a swimming pool on top of the building.

    The Senate has now approved the restoration bill already passed by the French parliament to allow work on the structure to be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024 - but requires that the restoration be faithful to the “last known visual state” of the cathedral, in an attempt to check the government, which has launched an international architectural competition soliciting designs for renovation.

    The question of whether Notre-Dame will be restored identically has become a political battleground. French president Emmanuel Macron has called for “an inventive reconstruction”, while Paris' Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo favors an identical restoration and called herself “conservative” on the subject.

    Senators also removed a controversial clause from the law which would give the government the power to override regulations on planning, environmental and heritage protection and public tenders. Many members of the Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, have been especially critical of President’s Macron’s promise to finish reconstruction within five years.

    The law would enable the government to create an établissement public à caractère administratif (EPA), or public project, to oversee the reconstruction project. This EPA would itself be placed under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, currently directed by Franck Riester.

    Another minor modification is the backdating of a proposed tax break for those who have made donations for the cathedral’s reconstruction.

    The bill approved by the Assemblée nationale outlines a national subscription project to be put in place in order to manage funds collected, making donations made from April 16th through December 31st eligible for a deduction of 75 percent, up to €1,000. The Senate has pushed the beginning of this period back to April 15th, so that those who made the earliest donations will not be penalised. 

    Because of the changes imposed, the bill cannot now pass directly in to law, so the Senate and the Assemblée nationale will now attempt to come to an agreement on a version of the bill that will become law.

    See Original Post

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