Morning Security Brief: Unlocking Mobile Phones, Drug Violence and Assault Rifles, LightSquared Bankruptcy, and more

By Carlton Purvis

►Police documents reveal the process law enforcement agencies use to get past lock screens on mobile phones. Using a fill-in-the-blank template that only requires a judge’s signature, police can compel Apple and Google to provide access and reset passwords on locked phones confiscated during arrests. A law enforcement source confirmed to CNET that for at least three years Apple has helped police bypass phone lock codes during criminal investigations.

►Mexican president Felipe Calderon says it will be impossible to stop drug violence in Mexico if the U.S. can’t stop the flow of weapons into the country. The worst time for drug-related homicides in Mexico began after the U.S. assault weapons ban expired in 2004, Calderon said. Seventy percent of the 142,000 weapons confiscated were assault rifles. Eighty percent of them were sold in U.S. stores.

►Hedge fund manager Philip Falcone told Reuters on Wednesday that he is "seriously considering" filing a voluntary bankruptcy for LightSquared. Falcole says the bankruptcy would get creditors off its back giving the company some time to deal with the issues concerning interference with its planned nationwide broadband network. LightSquared had plans to build a network that would combine satellite and land service that would deliver 4G anywhere in North America and up to 200 miles off the coasts. But initial tests showed that even at levels below what LightSquared planned to operate, its powerful transmitters interfered with GPS signals. See Security Management’s past coverage of the issue in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

►In other news, Nigeria’s anti-kidnapping task force brass along with six members of the team has been arrested for working with kidnappers. In one case, “the head of the anti-kidnapping task force was providing kidnappers with information on the movement of some highly placed persons in the state and releasing his vehicle for them to carry out operations,” reports. ♦ Six and a half years later, five ex-police officers were sentenced for their roles in shootings and subsequent cover-ups after Hurricane Katrina. All but one received 30 years or more in prison. ♦ One of the concerns about laws like Arizona’s SB1070, which bolsters immigration enforcement, is that illegal immigrants will be afraid to contact police about crimes or important information, preventing federal and state officials from gathering information they need to discover terrorism or other threats. DHS secretary Janet Napolitano says outreach efforts by local officials and special visas for crime victims and witnesses will keep the information flowing, Desert News reports.



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