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  • March 13, 2018 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from Gizmodo

    At this point, augmented reality has mostly been too gimmicky or too good to be true. But a group of internet artists just gave the technology what might be its coolest use case yet: a tool to stick it to the man.

    On Friday, eight artists launched an augmented reality gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, digitally overlaying their artwork over the museum’s. Motherboard reports the guerrilla installation was created and deployed without the museum’s permission. “Hello, we’re from the internet” is an “unauthorized gallery concept aimed at democratizing physical exhibition spaces, museums, and the curation of art within them,” according to MoMAR, which developed the exhibit. “MoMAR is non-profit, non-owned, and exists in the absence of any privatized structures,” the group’s website states.

    Friday’s gallery was an attempt to make a statement against the elitist exclusivity of the museum. “As with any establishment—be they media, church or government—the richest of galleries are canonized, to the point where the public’s role and contribution is reduced to passive observer,” MoMAR wrote on its website.

    By virtue of augmented reality, the gallery itself was invisible to the naked eye, requiring interested parties to download an app and then view the artwork through their screens. Motherboard reports that the artists had phones equipped with the app available, and were also installing the app on visitors’ phones using a laptop. The app is currently available in the Google Play Store, but not the Apple’s App Store, meaning only users with Android phones could download the app on their own devices. 

    Once visitors had a device with the app downloaded, they could view the AR artworks in the Jackson Pollock room on the fifth floor of the museum. MoMAR said that it chose this room because the paintings in here are permanent installations and because the room has a bench. The artwork varied in types, from an interactive game, to GIFs, to modern artwork overlaid on the original painting.

    It’s interesting to see augmented reality used as a vehicle for protests, given it’s imperceivable to passersby unless they have an app installed and hold their phones over the correct geolocations. But, as the creators said in an email to Gizmodo, “AR can be powerful because proximity isn’t important anymore,” adding that the technology “opens a new door for protests in general.”

    While people consuming the message need to be within the vicinity, activists don’t. As Motherboard noted, most of the members of MoMAR hadn’t met in person until shortly before their gallery launch on Friday. That means that artists and activists can create their work and distribute it to real-life locations without having to be there or, importantly, discernibly vandalize public property or private works. In fact, MoMAR has made its app open source so that the public can participate. “Feel free to do with it whatever you want,” MoMAR wrote. “You don’t even have to link to us. We’re excited what we’ll see in the future.”

    It remains to be seen whether the MoMA has a policy on creating augmented reality artwork within the confines of the museum. We have reached out to the museum for comment and will update if we hear back.

    MoMAR told Gizmodo that it is working on a new show for May, which “will probably be a solo show,” and plans to continue to curate shows and events in the museum. They also said they have yet to hear anything from the MoMA. 

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  • March 13, 2018 12:46 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from South China Morning Post

    Between 2011 and 2012, a wave of thefts hit museums and auction houses in the UK, targeting Chinese antiquities. In 2016, 14 people were convicted for the crimes, among them Douglas Wong Chi-ching, who traveled frequently to Hong Kong and was described by the BBC as a fence for the group. Such news comes as no surprise to experts concerned about the trade in illegally obtained antiquities and Hong Kong’s role in it.

    “In a case like this, you need to know that the pieces can go out to the market, and Hong Kong is one of the places where these objects can be laundered,” says James Ratcliffe, director of recoveries at The Art Loss Register, the world’s largest database of stolen and lost pieces of art and antiquities.

    The trade in looted artefacts in Hong Kong began over a century ago, when such items were sold on Hollywood Road. Experts say Hong Kong’s busy port and set of rules protecting buyers of illicit pieces have allowed this trade to continue. “If you want to buy looted antiquities, Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world to do it,” says Steven Gallagher, associate dean of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law. 

    Emiline Smith, a researcher at the University of Glasgow focusing on the traffic in cultural artefacts, says Hong Kong is now a transit point for objects stolen in Europe as well as China. “More often than not, Chinese antiquities that you can currently find on the market have been illegal at some point,” says Smith.

    Deborah Lehr, chairwoman of Washington-based Antiquities Coalition, says Hong Kong’s proximity to China, and the rise in value of Chinese antiquities, add to the appeal of using Hong Kong as a base for “cultural racketeering”. Authorities are probably unaware that imported objects are genuine or imitation during inspection, according to Gallagher, who recommends a specialised unit to tackle the issue.

    In a written response, the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong said there is “no evidence that Hong Kong is a major city for smuggling of cultural relics”, and that there have not been any seizures of such items during the past three years. The Information Services Department of the government of Hong Kong did not reply to a request for comment.

    The key to the illegal trade is a provision originating in medieval English law known as “market overt”, which protects unscrupulous collectors. The rule gives buyers who have inadvertently acquired stolen objects “good title” over them, i.e. ownership free of any possible claims against it from previous owners. The rule was scrapped in the UK in the 1990s, but in Hong Kong, the measure is still in place. Countries that maintain “market overt” have a reputation for being transit countries, says Ratcliffe.

    The result is that some dealers are willing to buy looted or stolen pieces regardless of their provenance, and forge certificates establishing a new provenance for the object, designed to predate international conventions against the theft of cultural property. “Everything is designed to provide safety [to the collectors],” says Gallagher.

    Along Hollywood Road, the antiques stores are still a tourist attraction. Joanna Caen, a senior consultant and adviser for high net worth individuals, banks and trustees from the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, recommends to those interested in acquiring antiquities to buy “through reputable agents” and have the provenance documentation reviewed by independent experts.

    That said, the challenge of determining real provenance is tough, paperwork or not. “Receipts and certifications are only as good as the person that writes them,” says Roger Schwendeman, an antiques merchant who operates in China and Hong Kong. 

    These claims are denied by the Hong Kong Antique and Art Galleries Association. “There might be some individual cases of smuggled pieces these days, but the scale is not as big as during the 80s or the early 90s,” Andy Hei, chairman of the organisation, said during an interview at the Fine Art Asia Fair, last October in Hong Kong. Hei says most collectors know their pieces “very well” and keep a clear record of their provenance.

    Other dealers admit there are still objects with questionable origins on the market, but stress that most professionals will stay away from them. “It’s up to the individual dealer; some take a chance, and some are more cautious, because you can have some problems with collectors, as many might reject those pieces,” says Nader Rasti, owner of Rasti Chinese Art. However, Jamie Wang, from Orientique Arts Dealer, says regardless of their origin, “good [pieces] will eventually be picked up”.

    In 2015, pictures of a sculpture, exhibited in Hungary, circulated online. They shocked the people of Yangchun, a small town in Fujian province. Residents identified the statue as a much-beloved piece, which contains the 1,000-year-old mummified remains of a monk and was kept in a local temple until 1995, when it was stolen. The residents of Yangchun are now in litigation in the Netherlands against the current owner of the piece, Oscar van Overeem, a Dutch architect. 

    “Usually such objects don’t resurface again once they have been stolen and shipped overseas, and disappear in private collections. In this case, it was a matter of sheer luck,” says Stefan Gruber, an expert on the protection of cultural heritage from Kyoto University who acts regularly as legal adviser in cases involving illegally exported cultural objects. 

    Van Overeem has said the item was acquired in Hong Kong from a Dutch dealer, who has since moved to the Philippines.

    Assessing the exact size of the market for illegal antiquities is impossible, but a study by the non-profit organisation Global Financial Integrity estimates its annual global value stood between US$1.2 billion and US$1.6 billion. Another study by Unesco estimates that China might hold about 20 per cent of the illicit market, similar to the Chinese share of the legal art market. Lehr says recent discoveries point to a massive illegal trade. She cites a computer seized from IS in Syria showing the terrorist group was earning US$5 million a year from illegal antiquities.

    It is not just China’s heritage that passes through Hong Kong. Gruber says looted antiquities from countries such as India and Cambodia also end up here, where they are whitewashed and shipped out with forged papers.

    In 2012, the FBI brought down Subhash Kapoor, a well-known art dealer from Manhattan, who is awaiting trial in India. Kapoor is accused of smuggling and selling hundreds of stolen artefacts from India, The Indian Express reported. Many of these artefacts passed through Hong Kong, including a rare 900-year-old Shiva sculpture bought by the National Gallery of Australia, which was later returned to India in 2016.

    Some experts are now worried that the Belt and Road Initiative might lead to a new wave of pieces arriving in Hong Kong from territories with poor law enforcement in Central Asia and the Middle East.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese government has strengthened efforts to protect its long heritage, after decades of foreign occupation, civil war and Mao’s Cultural Revolution led to the destruction and pillage of ancient sites. More than 10 million Chinese antiques are currently overseas, according to official figures quoted by China Daily

    “Some of the biggest imperial tombs were looted in the past, and you could see … some really important relics displayed in stores,” said Jiang Qiqi, curator of several exhibitions on Chinese art, and founder of the online auction aggregator ePaiLive.

    Now, any object unearthed from a tomb belongs to the state, by law. But many sites have already been left empty – 95 per cent of tombs have already been assaulted, Chinese archeologist Lei Xingshan told The Guardian in 2012.

    And China’s looters have not quit. Last September, the police detained six tomb raiders operating in China’s central Hubei and Hunan provinces. The leader of the gang had learned feng shui with the aim of locating unknown tombs, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Using feng shui, gangs could better guess the location of auspicious sites for tombs and their treasures.

    The government has compiled a list of all the national relics in the country and strengthened the monitoring of relics, Jiang says. The Chinese government also enhanced regulation on the local auction market last year, banning the sale of any “stolen, pirated or plundered” artefact at any point of history. 

    Antiques dealers say the measures are effective. “There’s a lot of things that the smugglers won’t try to pass through the Hong Kong border these days, and their number has been going down, as Xi Jinping clamps down on everything,” said antique dealer Roger Schwendeman. Other observers, such as Ratcliffe of The Art Loss Register, are less optimistic.

    And while supply from China may be diminishing, thefts of Chinese antiquities from European collections might rise. University of Glasgow’s Smith says European museums have the best-preserved pieces, which might tempt more robbers. Kyoto University’s Gruber suspects members of the People’s Liberation Army are still helping to smuggle artefacts out of the country, and Chinese officials from different ranks are still “involved in the trade”.

    As Hong Kong ramps up its bid to become a global art hub, experts have called for the city to close its doors to the illicit trade of cultural property once and for all. “Only if Hong Kong implements comprehensive legislation regarding the trade, import and export of antiquities from China and the rest of Asia will Asian countries be able to protect their own national heritage effectively,” says Smith.

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  • March 13, 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from ASIS

    ​In late 2017, a photograph surfaced of three construction workers from American Sewer Services carrying weapons on a job site in Milwaukee. In the photo, two men clearly displayed their weapons in holsters, while another held a pistol in his hand.

    As a result, the three construction workers were fired. The city of Milwaukee cited its policy that prohibits employees from bringing weapons to their jobs, including employees of subcontractors.

    One gun advocate defended the workers and said the geographic area where they carried their weapons was "infamous" for its crime rate, The Blaze reported. 

    On the other end of the spectrum, a Wisconsin state legislator told the media outlet that carrying guns openly on the job was "irresponsible."

    While the city of Milwaukee has a clear policy on guns, for most private employers, the issue is anything but cut-and-dried. There is currently no U.S. federal law regulating weapons at private workplaces, but many state legislatures have taken up the cause of protecting the Second Amendment rights of employees while on the job. These laws, which are typically designed to protect employees' individual rights to possess concealed firearms, vary in terms of their restrictions and make it tough for employers operating in multiple U.S. states to implement one weapons policy across the board.

    Workplace shootings have become increasingly common in the United States over the last few decades. The number of these incidents rose 15 percent in 2015 to 354 shootings, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and resulting homicides grew by 2 percent that year. 

    Gun advocates cite such cases as reasons to allow guns in the workplace, while critics say these shootings are exactly why employers should ban firearms. As the debate rages on, employers are left grappling with the question of how to comply with state law and institute their own policies that promote a safe work environment.

    While there are many legal twists and turns surrounding the issue, security practitioners must deal with the question of how current laws affect their responsibility to keep employees and property safe from external and internal threats.

    By understanding the legal landscape surrounding firearms on work property, and ensuring that existing policies and procedures properly address workplace violence, security professionals can help promote a safe work environment without infringing on the legal rights of their employees.  ​

    Parking Lot Laws

    Most commonly, workplace gun laws allow employees the right to have firearms in their locked, private vehicles while parked on company-owned property. Additional obligations may be placed on the employer, such as a prohibition on searching vehicles and discriminating against an employee because he or she is a gun owner.

    Twenty-three U.S. states provide some level of protection for employees who bring their firearms to company property. These so-called "parking lot laws" were part of an effort by state legislatures in the early 2000s to allow workers to exercise their Second Amendment rights at work, with some restrictions.

    For example, often the gun must be locked in the trunk or glove box, or be hidden from view through the vehicle's windows. But the business community sees many issues with these laws and fears they will have a far-reaching impact on both employee safety and legal liability.

    Parking lot laws vary in the level of protection they offer gun owners. Most prohibit employers from asking workers if they own guns, and from firing employees for owning firearms. These laws frequently conflict with existing workplace policies, which limit the employee's ability to bring firearms to work.

    Oklahoma was the first U.S. state to pass a parking lot law when it amended legislation in 2004 to protect firearm owners from weapons prohibitions in workplace parking lots.

    In 2002, an Oklahoma employer terminated several employees for having guns in their vehicles, which were parked on the employer's property. In response to the outcry that followed, the Oklahoma legislature amended the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act to ban employers from establishing any policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting employees from transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle that is parked in employers' lots. 

    This caused great concern among the business community, which felt certain that the law would not survive legal scrutiny. In response, a group of Oklahoma employers challenged the state law, arguing that the legislation conflicted with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) general duty clause, also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), a U.S. federal law.

    The plaintiffs argued that the general duty clause says employers must maintain a safe and secure workplace free of violence, and preempts any existing U.S. state law. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma agreed with the employers.

    The district court reasoned that under the general duty clause, gun-related workplace violence is a "recognized hazard." Therefore, any employer allowing firearms in the workplace lot may be in violation of U.S. federal law by promoting an unsafe workplace.

    The case went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which reversed the decision. The court reasoned that "OSHA has not indicated in any way that employers should prohibit firearms from company parking lots," according to court documents. "OSHA's website, guidelines, and citation history do not speak at all to any such prohibition."

    Because OSHA does not indicate that employers should prohibit firearms from company parking lots, the appellate court ruled that there is no U.S. federal law that would preempt Oklahoma's amendment to the Self-Defense Act.

    This initial case was a signal that employers would not be able to simply dismiss these laws by citing safety and security concerns or by arguing that U.S. federal regulations created an obligation to keep the workplace free of employees' weapons.​

    Employee Rights

    More lawsuits can be expected regarding employee termination based on gun-free workplace policies. An intriguing case comes out of the state of Florida, which passed a comprehensive law in 2008 that prohibits public and private employers from discriminating against any employee, customer, or invitee for exercising the right to keep and bear arms.

    Under the Florida law, employers are barred from many actions, including: prohibiting employees or invitees from possessing legally owned firearms in their vehicles; inquiring about the presence of a firearm in the employee or invitee's vehicles; searching a private motor vehicle; and taking any action against an employee or invitee based on any verbal or written statement regarding the possession of a firearm in a private vehicle.

    The law also says that companies are barred from conditioning employment on the following: whether an employee or prospective employee holds a concealed-weapons permit; an agreement by the employee or prospective employee that forbids the employee from keeping a legal firearm locked in his or her vehicle when the firearm is kept for lawful purposes; or prohibiting any employee or invitee from entering the parking lot because the employee or invitee's vehicle contains a legal firearm.

    Finally, the law bars employers from terminating or otherwise discriminating against an employee or expelling an invitee for exercising the right to keep and bear arms or to exercise self-defense, so long as the firearm is not exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.

    In December 2015, an employee who worked for Universal theme park in Orlando, Florida, had a concealed weapon in his vehicle in the employee parking garage. The employee, who had worked for Universal since 1993, commonly left his gun in his car at work. One day, the handgun was stolen from his vehicle, and he reported it to the police.

    When park officials learned that he had a firearm on company property, they terminated him, claiming that he had violated Universal's gun-free zone policy.

    The employee sued Universal in Orange County Circuit Court, citing the 2008 law. The lawsuit argued that he had an express right to bring his gun onto the lot and leave it in his vehicle.

    Universal claimed that the Florida law didn't apply because schools and prisons are exempt from state weapons policies, and Universal has a program for school children on its property. Before the litigation could play out, Universal gave the employee his job back in April 2016 and he withdrew the lawsuit, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    Comparable cases have been filed in similar circumstances in other states. In Kentucky, a man was fired from UPS Supply Chain Solutions in May 2013 for transferring a gun lawfully stored in his personal vehicle to another worker's personal vehicle.

    The man, who had a concealed carry permit, said he experienced car trouble on the way to work, and moved the weapon because he was taking his car to be repaired. The fellow employee storing his weapon as a favor soon became uncomfortable and reported it to his supervisor.

    The company then placed the employee on suspension and eventually fired him, citing that its policy only allowed for weapons inside a private vehicle. The company claimed that by removing the gun from his personal vehicle, he violated the workplace policy.

     In the lawsuit, the employee claimed that under a Kentucky Revised Statute, a firearm may be "removed from the vehicle or handled" when it is done so in "defense of property."

    But the court ruled that the employee was attempting to interpret their law too broadly. "However inclined we might be to believe that such an exception would be a good thing, we decline to construe the term 'defense of property' as broadly as the employee suggests," the court wrote. (Holly v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, March 2017)  ​

    Employer Protections

    Several U.S. states have included some liability protections to provide conditional immunity to employers that comply with their state's guns-at-work law. This is mainly in response to the business community's outcry over what liability they will face for workplace violence involving guns on their property.

    For example, under Georgia law, an employer is not liable for any criminal or civil action for damages arising from an occurrence involving the transportation, storage, possession, or use of a firearm, including theft of the firearm, unless the employer commits a criminal act involving a firearm, or if the employer knew the person using the firearm would commit a criminal act on the employer's premises.

    While the Georgia law provides some cover for employers, it also leaves them vulnerable to lawsuits if they knew the person would commit an act of violence. This raises many questions as to how to handle someone who may have violent tendencies. How do you restrict that person's access to firearms in his or her vehicle? Can you terminate him or her based on that assumption alone?

    Policies. Although these laws at face value complicate certain aspects of workplace violence policies and active shooter response plans, there are many steps that employers can take. Most importantly, security practitioners should educate themselves on relevant U.S. state guidelines, and confer with their general counsel on these issues to avoid unknowingly breaking the law.

    For example, signs that read "no weapons" in parking lots are illegal in some U.S. states in certain circumstances. Knowing the limitations will allow companies to properly respond without risking legal liability.

    If located in a state with current legal provisions for weapons in the workplace, companies should educate their workers on the boundaries of that law. For example, some employees will unintentionally assume they have greater rights, such as open-carry or storing the weapon inside the workplace.

    Workplace violence. Policies on workplace violence should include a thorough explanation of relevant state law regarding guns on workplace property. Employers should be comprehensive in creating policies that outline how to report and respond to employees who are potentially violent or otherwise pose a threat to the safety of others.

    Many employers lose their conditional immunity in a workplace shooting or incident if the perpetrator was someone who had a history of violence, or was otherwise known to the employer to be a threat.

    In U.S. states that make provisions for weapons on workplace property, conducting high-risk terminations are of greater concern. Employees who store weapons in their cars, abiding by the law, could inadvertently become a threat during termination.

    When firing any individual considered to be high-risk, companies should consider providing a security escort to the parking lot. Security should ensure that the former employee has left the property, and front desk or other reception team members should be alerted that the person is not allowed back on the premises. Organizations should train security officers, as well as human resource employees, in the use of de-escalation techniques. 

    Finally, for workplaces that must comply with parking lot laws, there are several steps that will help protect the employer while respecting the legal rights of employees.

    Organizations may consider increasing security in parking areas, such as adding an access control point; conducting patrols around the building and in parking lots; installing or enhancing video surveillance systems; and implementing proper lighting.

    In some cases, bag searches or mag­neto­­meters may be installed at building entry points, but legal requirements should be checked before implementing such measures. Deterring the carriage of weapons outside the vehicle will generally serve as a reminder of the law and keep both employers and employees safe.

    At first glance, the laws surrounding weapons in the workplace may seem like a jigsaw puzzle that is difficult to comprehend, but there are steps employers can take to ensure that assets and people are protected. Understanding the law and establishing strong policies within the employers' legal rights will ensure that workplaces abide by the law while keeping their assets and people safe.  

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  • March 08, 2018 12:49 PM | Anonymous

    Julia Wades in the Water was a member of  the Blackfeet Nation and became the first American Indian policewoman shortly after the turn of the 20th century. She served at the Blackfeet Agency in Montana for 25 years until her retirement in the 1930s. 

     Julia Wades in Water served her community managing the detention facility and assisting with female suspects. She sustained many warm friendships among the Blackfeet and the non-Native people of northern Montana.  This pioneering law enforcement woman was deeply invested in maintaining the values and safety of their community, and Blackfeet of that era remember all her contributions

    Whether they are a part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or work for a partner tribal agency, women today serve as uniformed police officers, agents/investigators, correction officers, administrators, dispatchers, support staff, analysts, supervisors and victim specialists all thanks to the groundbreaking work of Wades in the Water.

  • March 01, 2018 8:02 AM | Anonymous

    Reposted from Travel + Leisure

    Following the battle of Dunkirk in 1940, as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill grew increasingly concerned about a Nazi invasion on U.K. soil, he ordered that precious works of art from London's National Gallery be evacuated.

    After deciding that shipping the paintings to Canada would be too dangerous, politicians and museum authorities housed them instead in a variety of locations in northern Wales, including a disused slate mine. Now, a new exhibit at the National Gallery is exploring how the gargantuan rescue effort took place.

    The exhibition, showcasing 24 archival photographs and a new video, shows visitors how the museum successfully hid its art for four years during World War II. It is set to run March 6–April 8.

    “Hundreds of feet underground, the Manod slate mine is an extraordinary subterranean space in north Wales. Robin Friend’s photographs convey the wonder of this secret and labyrinthine world, where for four years during the Second World War, the National Gallery hid their collection for safe-keeping," National Gallery curator Minna Moore Ede told The Telegraph.

    Museum workers evacuated hundreds of paintings from the London galleries and transported them to the Manod mine in 1940. The entrance to the cave was enlarged with explosives to allow easier transportation for the art, and curators built brick "bungalows" inside the mine to protect the paintings from the damp.

    A number of paintings were also transported to the University of North Wales, the National Library of Wales, and three additional Welsh castles, according to the National Gallery website.

    The entire collection was fully evacuated by the summer of 1941, the Irish Independent reported.

    The British were not the only ones to hide art in caves and castles during WWII. French curators collected and hid art in caves and chateaux during the war, as curator Rose Valland documented the paintings and sculptures looted by the Nazis for retrieval after the war.

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  • February 27, 2018 3:33 PM | Anonymous

    By Stevan P. Layne, CPP, CIPM, CIPI, Founding Director, IFCPP

    I once asked a museum director if his institution did background screening on its volunteers. "Are you crazy," he replied. "If we did that, we wouldn't have any volunteers."   I'm not sure if that was an indication that none of them would pass the screen, or if none of them would submit to it.  

    All of us recognize the many benefits a strong volunteer program brings to an institution. In many places, volunteers far outnumber paid staff. Without the work they provide, some programs could conceivably be lost. We forget, however, that volunteers are just "people." And people, given the right opportunity, steal. People, with the proper motivation, take advantage of other people - financially, physically, or even sexually. It logically follows, therefore, that any "people" brought into the workforce, regardless of whether or not they are compensated, should undergo a reasonable screening of their background and character. This is exactly the language used by the courts in examining cases of negligent hiring. We screen to protect the good people in the workforce, visitors, and other volunteers, from being subjected to or exposed to those who would take advantage of them, or cause harm.

    The level of depth of the screening should be dependent on the applicant's exposure to people and access to assets. ALL applicants should undergo a thorough check for criminal histories. It should be asked on the application and verified by a records check. This may be done directly through the courts or through a professional background service.

    If the applicant is serving to greet guests, has access to no keys, assets, or classes with minor children, then minimal screens may be performed. The information on the application needs to be verified. If a falsehood is discovered, the process is over and the application should be denied. This includes employment history, driving record, education, licenses or certifications held. Credit histories should be performed on all of those persons who will handle cash or accessioned artwork.

    Everyone should be able to account for their time, for no less than the past ten years. You have to be somewhere - gainfully employed, in school, in the military, undergoing health care, or in prison. Some records must exist, somewhere, which verifies this existence. Women who were married and not employed should have access to tax records showing a joint return for the time period in question.

    If volunteers are asked to perform certain tasks with special knowledge or education, they should be trained identically to paid employees who perform those tasks. The bottom line, volunteers are worth their weight in gold. Just be sure they're not taking the gold with them...

  • February 27, 2018 3:27 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from Security Management

    When most people think of Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney World Resort comes to mind. The world-renowned theme park makes Orlando the second most popular travel destination in the United States. But there is much more to the city than Mickey and Minnie Mouse. 

    Beyond the complex infrastructure that supports Orlando’s 2.3 million citizens, the city is filled with parks and wildlife, the largest university in the country, and a vast hospitality industry that includes more than 118,000 hotel rooms. And International Drive, an 11-mile thoroughfare through the city, is home to attractions such as Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and the Orange County Convention Center, the site of ASIS International’s 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits this month. 

    Hospitality goes hand-in-hand with security in Orlando, where local businesses and attractions see a constant flow of tourists from all over the world. And at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts events ranging from Broadway shows to concerts to community education and events, a new security director is changing the culture of theater to keep performers, staff, and visitors safe.​

    The Living Room of the City

    Open since November 2014, the Dr. Phillips Center spans two blocks and is home to a 2,700-seat main stage, a 300-seat theater, and the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts. The building’s striking architecture, which includes a canopy roof, vast overhang, and a façade made almost entirely of glass, stretches across two blocks and is complemented by a front lawn and plaza.

    After the June 11 shooting at Pulse nightclub less than two miles south of the theater, that lawn became the city’s memorial. Days after the shooting, the Dr. Phillips Center plaza, normally used for small concerts or events, hosted Orlando’s first public vigil. A makeshift memorial was established on the lawn, and dozens of mourners visited for weeks after the attack.

    Chris Savard, a retired member of the Orlando Police Department, started as the center’s director of security in December, shortly after terrorists killed dozens and injured hundreds in attacks on soft targets in Paris. Prior to Savard, the center had no security director. Coming from a law enforcement background to the theater industry was a challenging transition, he says. 

    “Before I came here, I was with an FBI terrorism task force,” Savard says. “Bringing those ideologies here to the performing arts world, it’s just a different culture. Saying ‘you will do security, this is the way it is’ doesn’t work. You have to ease into it.”

    The Dr. Phillips Center was up and running for a year before Savard started, so he had to focus on strategic changes to improve security: “The building is already built, so we need to figure out what else we can do,” he says. One point of concern was an overhang above the valet line right at the main entrance. Situated above the overhang is a glass-walled private donor lounge, and Savard notes that anyone could have driven up to the main entrance under the overhang and set off a bomb, causing maximum damage. “It was a serious chokepoint,” he explains, “and the building was designed before ISIS took off, so there wasn’t much we could do about the overhang.”

    Instead, he shifted the valet drop-off point, manned by off-duty police officers, further away from the building. “We’ve got some people saying, ‘Hey, I’m a donor and I don’t want to walk half a block to come to the building, I want to park my vehicle here, get out, and be in the air conditioning.’ It’s a tough process, but it’s a work in progress. Most people have not had an issue whatsoever in regards to what we’ve implemented.”

    Savard also switched up the use of off-duty police officers in front of the Dr. Phillips Center. He notes that it can be costly to hire off-duty police officers, who were used for traffic control before he became the security director, so he reduced the number of officers used and stationed them closer to the building. He also uses a K-9 officer, who can quickly assess a stopped or abandoned vehicle on the spot. 

    “When you pull into the facility, you see an Orlando Police Department K-9 officer SUV,” Savard explains. “We brought two other valet officers closer to the building, so in any given area you have at least four police cars or motorcycles that are readily available. We wanted to get them closer so it was more of a presence, a deterrent.” The exact drop-off location is constantly changing to keep people on their toes, he adds.

    The Dr. Phillips Center was already using Andy Frain Services, which provides uniformed officers to patrol the center around the clock. Annette DuBose manages the contracted officers. 

    When he started in December, Savard says he was surprised that no bag checks were conducted. When he brought up the possibility of doing bag checks, there was some initial pushback—it’s uncommon for theater centers to perform any type of bag check. “In the performing arts world, this was a big deal,” Savard says. “You have some high-dollar clientele coming in, and not a lot of people want to be inconvenienced like that.”

    When Savard worked with DuBose and her officers to implement bag checks, he said everyone was astonished at what the officers were finding. “I was actually shocked at what people want to bring in,” Savard says. “Guns, knives, bullets. I’ve got 25-plus years of being in law enforcement, and seeing what people bring in…it’s a Carole King musical! Why are you bringing your pepper spray?”

    Savard acknowledges that the fact that Florida allows concealed carry makes bag checks mandatory—and tricky. As a private entity, the Dr. Phillips Center can prohibit guns, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to bring them in, he notes. The Andy Frain officers have done a great job at kindly but firmly asking patrons to take their guns back to their cars, Savard says—and hav­ing a police officer nearby helps when it comes to argumentative visitors.​

    Culture, Community, and Customer Service

    There have been more than 300 performances since the Dr. Phillips Center opened, and with two stages, the plaza, classrooms, and event spaces, there can be five or six events going on at once. 

    “This is definitely a soft target here in Orlando,” Savard notes. “With our planned expansion, we can have 5,000 people in here at one time. What a target—doing something in downtown Orlando to a performing arts center.”

    The contract officers and off-duty police carry out the core of the security- related responsibilities, but Savard has also brought in volunteers to augment the security presence. As a nonprofit theater, the Dr. Phillips Center has a large number of “very passionate” volunteers—there are around 50 at each show, he says. 

    The volunteers primarily provide customer service, but Savard says he wants them to have a security mindset, as well—“the more eyes, the better.” He teaches them basic behavioral assessment techniques and trends they should look for. 

    “You know the guy touching his lower back, does he have a back brace on or is he trying to keep the gun in his waistband from showing?” Savard says. “Why is that person out there videotaping where people are being dropped off and parking their cars? Is it a bad guy who wants to do something?”

    All 85 staffers at the Dr. Phillips Center have taken active shooter training classes, and self-defense classes are offered as well. Savard tries to stress situational awareness to all staff, whether they work in security or not. 

    “One of the things I really want to do is get that active shooter mindset into this environment, because this is the type of environment where it’s going to happen,” Savard explains. “It’s all over the news.”

    Once a month, Savard and six other theater security directors talk on the phone about the trends and threats they are seeing, as well as the challenges with integrating security into the performing arts world. 

    “Nobody wanted the cops inside the building at all, because it looked too militant,” Savard says. “And then we had Paris, and things changed. With my background coming in, I said ‘Listen, people want to see the cops.’” 

    Beyond the challenge of changing the culture at the Dr. Phillips Center, Savard says he hopes security can become a higher priority at performing arts centers across the country. The Dr. Phillips Center is one of more than two dozen theaters that host Broadway Across America shows, and Savard invited the organization’s leaders to attend an active shooter training at the facility last month. 

    “There’s a culture in the performing arts that everything’s fine, and unfortu­nately we know there are bad people out there that want to do bad things to soft targets right now,” Savard says. “The whole idea is to be a little more vigilant in regards to protecting these soft targets.”

    Savard says he hopes to make wanding another new norm at performing arts centers. There have already been a number of instances where a guest gets past security officers with a gun hidden under a baggy Cuban-style shirt. “I’ll hear that report of a gun in the building, and the hair stands up on the back of my neck,” Savard says. “It’s a never- ending goal to continue to get better and better every time. We’re not going to get it right every time, but hopefully the majority of the time.”

    The Dr. Phillips Center is also moving forward with the construction of a new 1,700-seat acoustic theater, which will be completed within the next few years. The expansion allows the center to host three shows at one time—not including events in private rooms or on the plaza. Savard is already making plans for better video surveillance and increasing security staff once the new theater is built.

    “We really try to make sure that everybody who comes into the building, whether or not they’re employed here, is a guest at the building, and we want to make sure that it’s a great experience, not only from the performance but their safety,” according to Savard. “It’s about keeping the bad guys out, but it’s also that you feel really safe once you’re in here.” 

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  • February 27, 2018 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from CNBC

    Cyber threats represent the greatest danger to the international community today, Raytheon International CEO John Harris told CNBC Friday.

    "(Cyber) is, I would, say one of largest and most important threats to our nation and to our allies," Harris said ahead of the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

    "One of the challenges of cyber is that access to that technology is easy. So any number of individuals, both state and non-state actors, have the ability to make fundamental negative impacts to societies and to nations."

    The major U.S. defense contractor and weapons manufacturer was one of several hundred senior executives and policymakers attending the summit, convened to discuss current and future security challenges.

    "Hundreds of thousands of malware products are designed each and every day, and any number of people — state and non-state actors — have the ability to employ those systems," Harris said.

    Research from software firm Symantec revealed that one in 131 emails contained malware in 2017, and that ransomware attacks increased 36 percent on the previous year.

    "Our job is to make sure that we understand where they're coming from, make sure we design architectures that are resilient, and afford our customers the opportunity to defend."

    Cyberattacks at both commercial and governmental levels are more of a threat than they've ever been before, and there are numbers to prove it. In 2016, the U.S. government spent $28 billion on cybersecurity. That's up from just $7.5 billion in 2007, and it's expected to increase in 2018.

    And the shadowy perpetrators don't limit themselves in their targets — malware threats have increasingly made headlines as they manifest themselves across industrial sectors, governments, financial institutions and households. The last two years have tested relations between countries amid allegations of Russian election hacking in the U.S. and threats emanating from North Korea and China, among others.

    Major recent cyber disruptions include high-profile attacks like the WannaCry virus, NotPetya and more recently hacks by cyber espionage group Fancy Bear, which is believed to have targeted U.S. defense contractors, national election networks and web infrastructure for the Winter Olympics. Raytheon was one of Fancy Bear's targets, along with competitors including Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin.

    "Cyber is a core focus of our company, it is one of the fastest growing elements both in defense and commercial area," Harris said, describing record investments the company has made in the last 15 years into the area, both in organic capability and mergers and acquisitions.

    "The more we are connected the more we are vulnerable," the CEO added. "We understand the vulnerabilities, we understand the threats, and devise systems and solutions that afford us an opportunity to protect our networks, protect our products and protect our customers."

    See Original Post

  • February 27, 2018 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from The New York Times

    Four states in the Northeast with relatively strong gun laws banded together on Thursday to form a gun safety coalition, filling what the states called a vacuum of federal action by pledging to share registries of people prohibited from owning firearms in individual states.

    The states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, all of which have among the lowest rates of gun deaths per capita in the country — will directly share information like the names of people who have been deemed mentally unfit to own a gun, people who have a domestic violence restraining order against them and people who have a warrant out for their arrest. The states will also share details about how guns are trafficked and sold within their borders and designate universities that can collaborate on regional gun violence research, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the states’ governors, all Democrats.

    “This is a federal government that’s gone backwards on this issue,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on a conference call with the other governors and reporters, outlining his dim hopes for new restrictions in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Florida. “President Trump has pledged allegiance to the N.R.A. and he’s delivered for them.”

    Mr. Cuomo cited a proposal in Mr. Trump’s budget to cut funding to the federal background check system.

    Some details about how the agreement will work in practice remain murky. The patchwork of state law means that states cannot necessarily restrict gun sales to everyone on another state’s no-gun list. And gun control advocates said states are already supposed to report to the national background check system people prohibited from owning guns under the parameters of state law, and not only those restricted by federal law.

    But officials working on the coalition said the agreement would reinforce and expand what they share, including the names of people, for example, who have been voluntarily hospitalized for mental illness and are prohibited by some states from owning guns.

    The agreement seemed poised to heighten the monitoring of people with mental illness, raising concerns among mental health advocates about unnecessarily stigmatizing people and discouraging them from seeking care. New York, for example, keeps a no-guns database that has grown to 77,447 names of people whom mental health professionals have reported as being a danger to themselves or others.

    New York will now share that database with the other three states, Alphonso David, Mr. Cuomo’s chief counsel, said in an interview. It is not clear how the other states would act on it, given that the law in Connecticut and New Jersey, for example, expressly forbids firearm purchases only by people who have been committed to a mental health center.

    But some states give their licensing authorities discretion to ban people they deem a risk to public safety, and Mr. David said they could use New York’s database as an investigative tool to make their own determination.

    Sam Tsemberis, a former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, and now the chief executive of Pathways Housing First, which provides housing to the mentally ill, said that for people already vulnerable to feeling isolated and marginalized, putting so many of them on a list and then giving other states more medical information about them “is only going to exacerbate that condition.”

    The vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent and there is scant information about how effective such databases have been. Mr. David said he did not know how many guns have been seized on the basis of New York’s list.

    States will also share information about people with orders of protection against them, Mr. David said. All four states in the coalition, to varying degrees, use protective orders as a basis for restricting gun sales.

    The states will also share the findings of law enforcement agencies about where illegal guns came from and how they are transported to the Northeast. Gun trafficking groups have often been found to buy guns, particularly handguns, in states south of New York along the Interstate 95 corridor, nicknamed the Iron Pipeline, and then drive them to the Northeast.

    “It will help identify trafficking patterns,” said Elizabeth Avore, the legal and policy director at Everytown for Gun Safety, calling the coalition the most comprehensive she knew of. “It would be great to see states up and down the Iron Pipeline sharing information.”

    See Original Post

  • February 27, 2018 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    Reposted from the Huffington Post

    Some people’s idea of justice is an eye for an eye, but China wants “severe punishment” for a man who stole a clay thumb.

    Michael Rohana, 24, was charged last week for allegedly breaking a thumb off the left hand of a 2,000-year-old terra-cotta warrior on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The incident is said to have occurred in December while he attended the museum’s ugly Christmas sweater party.

    The FBI said Rohana snuck away from the party and used a cellular telephone as a flashlight to look at exhibits that were displayed in a closed-off showroom.

    At one point, he stepped up onto a platform supporting one of the statues on display and took a selfie, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency. 

    Security cameras show Rohana putting his hand on the left hand of the statue, and then appearing to break something off from its left hand and put it in his pocket before leaving the room, according to an arrest affidavit.

    The museum-goer allegedly took the clay digit to his home in Bear, Delaware, as a souvenir. He is now accused of theft of an artwork from a museum, concealment of the artwork and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to The New York Times.

    The statues featured in the Franklin’s “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” exhibit are some of thousands discovered in China’s Xi’an city in 1974 by a group of farmers, according to the BBC. They are considered one of China’s most important archaeological finds.

    The vandalized statue is worth quite a thumb, er, sum: $4.5 million.

    The broken-off thumb wasn’t reported missing until Jan. 8, at which point the FBI’s Art Crime Team was contacted. The agency used the video as well as credit card information from the party to finger Rohana as the thumb thief.

    Rohana allegedly attended the party with five friends, one of whom told investigators she heard the suspect mention the thumb on the ride home, according to USA Today.

    Another friend said Rohana posted a photo of “a finger” from a terra-cotta warrior on Snapchat a day after the party.

    Investigators interviewed Rohana on Jan. 13 and asked if he had anything in his possession that he wanted to turn over to the FBI. That’s when Rohana allegedly took an agent to his bedroom and grabbed the terra-cotta thumb from a drawer in a desk.

    The Franklin Museum has apologized for the incident. An official from the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, the agency that arranged for the loan of the statues, seeks a “severe penalty” for the perpetrator, according to the South China Morning Post.

    “The terracotta warriors are national treasures of our country,” an unnamed official told the paper. “Their historical and artistic value are impossible to value … We express strong resentment and condemnation towards this theft and the destruction of our heritage.”

    Franklin Institute spokeswoman Stefanie Santo told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the warrior and its thumb will be repaired. She blames the incident on a contractor who did not follow security protocols the night of the theft.

    Rohana is currently out on bail.

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