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Security and privacy information and advice at home and abroad.

Posts Tagged ‘security

Travel Warning: Niger

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Niger on April 6, 2012.  It reads as follows:

Niger

April 06, 2012

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger, and urges extreme caution due to increased kidnapping threats against Westerners. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated August 5, 2011 to update information on security concerns.

Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist group, continues its attempts to kidnap Westerners in Niger, including U.S. citizens, and has been successful in kidnapping Europeans in the region. On January 7, 2011, two French nationals were kidnapped in the capital city of Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces. In September 2010, seven people, including five French citizens, a Togolese national, and a Malagasy citizen, were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. Four French citizens are still being held hostage by AQIM. In April 2010, a French citizen and his Algerian driver were kidnapped. The Algerian was freed. AQIM claimed to have killed the French citizen in retaliation for the July attempted rescue operation conducted by Mauritanian and French military forces. In November 2009, heavily armed individuals attempted to kidnap U.S. Embassy officials in Tahoua. Although there have been no kidnappings in Niger since January 2011, the Department of State Worldwide Caution dated January 24, 2012, reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by OSB

07/04/2012 at 01:44

Save Money on Security Without Being Cheap

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Usually one of the first “casual conversation” questions I get at social functions is “How can I be safer?”  It’s a good question, and not one that most people give a lot of thought.  By the time I toss out a few ideas I get a perplexed look: “You mean I don’t need to get an [expensive] home alarm system?”  Nope.  Read on for seven simple, effective, and (where applicable) cheap tips for staying safe or enhancing your personal security posture. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

14/02/2012 at 13:18

Posted in Safety, Security

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RQ: Unaccompanied Posts

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A reader asks,

What are the chances that I’m forced to serve in an unaccompanied post during my career?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

Unaccompanied posts are posts in which there are certain restrictions on which family members, if any, are allowed to travel with the employee.  Some posts (like Afghanistan and Iraq) do not allow spouses to accompany the employee unless they arrange for employment at the Embassy prior to deployment.  Other unaccompanied posts allow the spouse, but no children. Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry Peter Van Buren, You Asked For It

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Wired Magazine’s Threat Level recently reported on a veteran Foreign Service Officer, Peter Van Buren, in danger of losing his job for posting links to classified Wikileaks cables on a public blog.   This is despite multiple internal warnings on the intranet homepage (including several e-mails, Department notices, a guidance section on the intranet homepage regarding Wikileaks, a Wikileaks Task Force (“WTF”), and post-specific guidance from the management offices regarding the breach).  The defense that facilitating access to already-publicly available (but still classified) information also holds no water, as all Department employees were told specifically of the potential consequences of viewing or linking to classified cables on unclassified systems or to unauthorized persons.  In fact, even viewing a classified cable on an unclassified system would have required an incident report.

For those Foreign Service Employees that love their references, here are just a few to chew on (and yes, Mr. Van Buren – you agreed to abide by the FAM, FAH, and all other U.S. laws as a condition of your continued employment by the State Department… just as we all did).

3 FAM 4139.3 Freedom of Expression Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Niger

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Niger today.  It reads as follows:

Niger

August 05, 2011

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger, and urges extreme caution due to increased kidnapping threats against Westerners. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated January 12, to update information on security concerns, registering with the U.S. Embassy, and access to current security information. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

06/08/2011 at 08:49

Do You Have A Foreign Service or Security Related Blog?

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If you have a Foreign Service or Security-related blog and are interested in trading links, leave a comment with a link to your blog or shoot me an email.  I’m looking for ways to move links of other FS bloggers to a spot of higher prominence on the site.

Three Interesting Papers from WEIS 2011

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The 10th annual Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS 2011) was held at George Mason University in June.  WEIS is “the leading forum for interdisciplinary scholarship on information security, combining expertise from the fields of economics, social science, business, law, policy and computer science” and almost never fails to produce interesting papers.  Here are the three I found most interesting and relevant to the average person.

Nevena Vratonjic, Julien Freudiger, Vincent Bindschaedler, and Jean-Pierre Hubaux of EPFL, Switzerland presented, “The Inconvenient Truth about Web Certificates” (PDF).  Read the rest of this entry »