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“The UN, Guns, and US Constitution” – Explaning the Arms Trade Treaty July 27, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Politics, terrorism, weapons and tactics.
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Recent events in the US have once again ignited the debate over control of guns within the US.  This post is not a political debate rather an introduction to US gun issues and, more specifically, actions of the United Nations.   First, for some quick statistics.  According to the US Firearms Institute between 40% – 50% of US homes own firearms.  There are between 250 million  and 280 million firearms in the US owned by between 120 million and 150 million US citizens.  Hunting, shooting, and firearms are deeply embedded in the US culture and history.   In fact, the right to own firearms is guaranteed in the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment which states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”   As every 6th grader knows, the 2nd Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights which was passed in 1791.   While many people don’t agree with the 2nd Amendment the US Supreme Court has upheld the amendment and clarified the intent in several cases: (more…)

“Let’s Talk Data Security” – Heather Mark in July 2012 Greensheet & TransactionWorld July 9, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity, Data Breach, Laws and Leglslation, News, PCI DSS.
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Heather Mark is interviewed in the July 2012 issue of Greensheet in the article titled: “Expert Advice on Security Defense and Planning”.    The article discusses strategies for preventing and dealing with data breaches with the payment card industry.    Additionally, Heather has an article in TransactionWorld titled: “New School vs. Old School: Security and Emerging Technologies”.  You can catch Heather’s articles every month in Transaction World Magazine.

Collective Security & the Payment System June 11, 2012

Posted by Heather Mark in Laws and Leglslation, PCI DSS, Politics.
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I recently attended an event focused on payment security and fraud prevention.  It was an outstanding event and the presentations and panels were incredibly valuable – not something that I frequently say about payment security events these days.  However, one term came up a couple of times that got me thinking.  That term was “collective security.”  As many of you know, I have a background in public policy and my dissertation was, in fact, on US foreign policy and our strategic interests abroad, so the mention of collective security set off my poli sci radar.  But I wondered if collective security was really an appropriate phrase for what we’re doing in the payments industry.  To address that question, it is necessary to first define collective security in its traditional sense.

Collective security was first formally introduced by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a series of treaties that put an end to a number of wars that had been plaguing Europe.    Very simply put, collective security is an arrangement in which all stakeholders agree that their security depends upon the security of each of the other stakeholders.  (more…)

“Use of Force” Webcast – Nexus Consulting Group May 16, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Laws and Leglslation, terrorism, weapons and tactics.
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Nexus Consulting Group is scheduling a webcast for the week of May 21- 25 on the topic of the Use of Force in Maritime Security.  Recently, a video surfaced of a maritime security company firing on Somali Pirates.  While the topic has been debated, Nexus was mistakenly identified as the company that took action.  If you are interested in learning about Use of Force and the legal issues, then contact Nexus at info@ncga.us and note your interest in attending the webcast and we will advise which sessions are available.  You can download the Use of Force Primer and follow along document here.

Having previously worked for a maritime security company,  I felt pretty informed on the Use of Force and Maritime issues.  After speaking to Kevin on numerous occasions, it was apparent that Kevin is an expert on Maritime Security and the industry at large.  I always come away from a discussion with Kevin impressed and having learned something new about maritime security.  Any knuckle-dragger can carry a gun and use it indiscriminately.  It is appropriate, disciplined use of a weapon that separates professional security from amateurs.  There are few security companies that I would recommend and that have the expertise to protect  ships while minimizing risk to ship owners. Use of force is an critical yet complex subject.  I recommend you take the opportunity to listen to an expert on maritime security and definitely take the opportunity to ask questions.

Anarchists, Communists, Extremists, and….Pirates?; “Democracy and the Devil you Know” May 16, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Politics.
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As an American I am always fascinated when speaking with my fellow countrymen (and women) who are fixated on the idea that democracy is the only and best form of government for all people.  While those who believe in the democratic process certainly believe that free will, and giving a voice to people is a central theme to any form of government, there is always a tradeoff.  As a recent example, the Arab Spring brought about numerous changes in governments throughout the Middle East.  In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was removed from power and Egypt began planning for “free and fair” elections.  While Mubarak was the ‘elected’ president for 29 years, the elections were questionable as the constitution did not allow for anyone to run against Mubarak.   Mubarak, while considered a corrupt and dictatorial leader by many, remained close with the United States who provided roughly $1.3 billion annually in aid to Egypt.  With Mubarak’s removal and a more ‘transparent, and open’ election, what has resulted?  In December 2011 the militant Muslim Brotherhood (who many consider a terrorist group) won a majority of the votes in the first election since Mubarak stepped down.  While many of my own friends applauded when Mubarak stepped down, they are now critical of the election of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In another, more humerous example on MSNBC.com, Germany’s upstart Pirate Party (you read that right) sent a strong message to the existing regime when it won 8% of the votes in a local election in the most populated state in Germany. (more…)

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