Black Friday – Go or Stay Home?

We all like to save money- it seems to be how Americans do things; this year is especially challenging with COVID-19. Black Friday has always been the hallmark of savings, where each store has their fantastic deals with only a certain number of them. In 2020 the big obstacle is safety, so many stores have turned to virtual, online events.  However, some ardent shoppers want to pursue store deals, even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Why Black Friday is Intense According to the International Business Times (IBT), there are three reasons that Black Friday is so intense: There is a rush of dopamine into the brain when we find deals. It is anatomically pleasing for us to find the right product at the right price – especially when there is a limited supply. Crowds get us excited...

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Home Security Tips and Tricks

Home Security Tips and Tricks to Discourage Burglars

It’s the holiday season — time for delicious food, presents, and get-togethers. It’s also the time for home burglaries. If you plan to leave to visit family and/or friends during the holidays, here are some home security tips and tricks to keep your belongings safe while you are away from home. Appear to be Home Returning home after a trip to find someone has invaded your personal space and stolen valuables is not only disturbing to your wallet but also your peace of mind. Just knowing that a stranger has broken into your home, rummaged through and taken off with your personal items stays with a homeowner for the rest of their lives. In some cases, the home is forever tarnished, and the homeowner never feels quite safe in what is supposed to be their personal haven. To minimize...

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Facial Recognition Technology

Is Facial Recognition Technology a Good Idea to Make Schools Safe?

East of Niagara Falls, NY the Lockport school system is allowing advanced security measures to keep their schools safe this year. Facial recognition technology will be used to check each face entering school buildings against a database of expelled students, sex offenders and other possible troublemakers. However, it is being implemented under pointed criticism and scrutiny. What some deem as a great option to prevent potential violence, others see as a gross violation of privacy and civil rights. This leads to the question, is facial recognition technology a good idea to make schools safe? Maybe, but only with proper planning, implementation and management. What is Electronic Facial Recognition? Facial recognition technology is part of biometrics. Essentially, it uses biological data (e.g. unique features, aka “landmarks”, geometric proportions of facial features, distance between key facial features, and skin surface texture)...

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See Something, Say Something at School

Empower Our School Children to See Something, Say Something

Last week’s school shooting in Parkland, FL reminds us that mass killings in U.S. schools is out of control. Aside from the obvious need to control the purchase of weapons used for mass killing (e.g. AR-15), we need to provide our children, not the parents, with anonymous channels to actually “See Something, Say Something”. What’s Really Happening Unfortunately, most instances of #SeeSomethingSaySomething is school child to school child in the form of the natural ebb and flow of adolescent gossip. However, this is not effective. Except for the most recent shooting in Florida and a handful of other past mass school shootings since Columbine in 1999, the students knew about the threat, or suspected a fellow student was capable of the heinous act but did not notify law enforcement. There are many reasons why students do not report suspicious...

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Driverless Commercial Trucks

Driverless Commercial Vehicles?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. From Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa, it is safe to say that almost every American owns or has at least engaged in a sophisticated AI tool that mimics the human brain. When it comes to AI in the workplace, the implications are a bit more complicated. It’s one thing when AI is for personal use. It’s another when it’s used to augment the workplace. One area where AI is being actively applied is in the creation of the driverless vehicle. Built Upon Driver Assist Cars with driver assist features (i.e. self-park, brake, blind spot detection, advanced visibility) have been a reality for many years now. When lawmakers passed the Self Drive Act in September 2016, the driverless vehicle was no longer a figment of imagination. In fact, a truly driverless car pickup...

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Real Estate Cybercrime

Fight the Rise in Real Estate Cybercrime

One industry that has been increasingly targeted by cybercriminals is the real estate business. Why? One reason, real estate is where substantial amounts of money are transacted every day. The second reason relates to the very nature of how the realtor conducts business, often over unsecured connections. To fight back, realtors must know the threats lurking in cyberspace and adopt preventative measures to protect themselves and their businesses from real estate cybercrime. Know the Online Security Threats As cybercriminals get more and more clever, it’s often hard to stay on top of the diverse types of online security threats that can hinder a realtor. As with most habits, without knowing that a behavior is “wrong” there is no way to prevent it. Realtors need to understand the different types of online threats that have the potential to hinder the...

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Don't be a Victim of Stalking

Protect Yourself Against Stalking and Cyberstalking (Part 2)

Anyone can be a victim of stalking. As discussed in part 1, there are eight types of stalkers – love lost, resentful, predatory, intimacy seeker, casual acquaintance, stranger, serial and personal. The methods a stalker uses have evolved as technology has evolved. Today cyberstalking is the preferred method used by stalkers, and is even more common than physical harassment. Cyberstalking Cyberstalking occurs online, where the identity of the stalker can comfortably hide in cyberspace from the victim. An imbalanced person might use the Internet or other electronic means to harass, stalk or threaten an individual, group, or organization. They are often driven by feelings of inadequacy, revenge and unrequited love. 80% of Victims are Women Typical cyberstalkers include: Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse High school friend Someone you dated online A buyer or seller online (i.e. eBay) A random social media...

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Don't be a Victim of Stalking

Protect Yourself Against Stalking and Cyberstalking (Part 1)

Anyone, anywhere can be a victim of stalking. Male, female, young or old, stalkers target everyone and anyone. In many cases victims know the stalker because the stalker is either a current or former partner. This is why 60% of victims do not report stalkers to the police. All stalkers are obsessed and delusional. Surprisingly, though, most stalkers are not mentally ill. There are ways to protect against stalking. However, it’s important to first understand the diverse types of stalkers and the reasoning behind their criminal behavior. 8 Different Types of Stalkers There are 7.5 million stalkers each year. Stalkers either know or have known the victim intimately, as an acquaintance or may not know them all. Why someone becomes a stalker varies from case to case. However, there are eight types of stalkers to look out for and...

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