Homeland Security Foundation of America Launches RubyWATCH

HSFA’s Public Safety Efforts Continue with Release of RubyWATCH, National Terrorism and Crime Prevention Database.

Today, HSFA announced the launch of its RubyWATCH system, slated to help law enforcement and security practitioners prevent loss of life and property from terrorist attacks and routine crime. RubyWATCH is web-based and built on technology developed for HSFA’s project STAN or Strategic Terrorism Analysis Network, which uses artificial intelligence to simulate patterns of behavior and tactics of terrorists. HSFA officials say RubyWATCH is a logical extension of STAN, empowering citizens to join the fight against terrorists and criminals from the safety of their homes. At a time when the economy has been the worst in decades, HSFA emerges with a viable response to the recent rise in terrorist and criminal activity in America, giving investigators an edge and the public a fighting chance.

“RubyWATCH is a just one way we’re leveraging a growing web presence to improve safety and security,” said Eric Brown, President, HSFA. “Recent tragedies like the Fort Hood incident and other attacks, including the Christmas Day airline security breach, underscore the need for us to increase our awareness and preparedness. Law enforcement’s already taking tips via email, which frankly some messages are simply hard to make out. We’re offering a system that can improve the accuracy of tips received and add significant value at no cost to the agency. With citizens and neighborhood watch groups taking advantage of RubyWATCH, I’m confident investigators will find using the reporting system more efficient than sifting through emails. Whether you’re campus police using the system to identify trends or Border Patrol tracking suspicious vehicles that come into the country, RubyWATCH can be a very effective tool in the right hands.”

HSFA continues to maintain a strong position on privacy protection and preserving Americans’ civil liberties. RubyWATCH restricts all tipsters’ input to non-sensitive data, and its Anonymous Tip Submission Standard (ATSS) ranks at the top of the list of “must have” features for any tipster system. Authorized agencies have encrypted access to a secure console, which allows them to generate custom reports on demand. The system accepts nearly any combination of search parameters, including the date a tip was submitted, descriptions of persons and vehicles, behaviors, location types, names and more. Reports can be saved for future 1-click viewing, and there’s also a Google-style keyword search. In addition, authorities can post bulletins that direct tips to a specific investigation, property or person of interest.

“We hope RubyWATCH will help bridge the gap between authorities and the public and empower citizens to get involved in hometown and homeland security,” said Brown. For citizens, the tip submission interface is feature-rich, fast and easy to navigate. And, for agencies, the national database and custom reporting gives them access to a wider range of tips.

“I think we’re breaking new ground here, and not just on technology,” said Keith Preusse, Chief of Investigations, HSFA National Investigation Services Division (NISD). “Our RubyWATCH ACE program allows civilians to participate in unique ways. Also, anyone can volunteer or make a tax-deductible donation. The good news is we’re not the only ones thinking about crime prevention through public collaboration over the internet—LAPD’s iWatch system and a few others that recently came online are good examples of how people are thinking outside the box. There’s no doubt about it, criminals exploit the fact we aren’t as connected to each other in the community as we could be. If we can get everybody on the same page, it’ll make it that much harder for the bad guys to come in and steal from our neighborhoods or hurt our families and friends.”

RubyWATCH is available online now and can be accessed by visiting http://rubywatch.hsfamerica.org. HSFA officials say access to the database reporting system will be provided free of charge to all government agencies and officials, state licensed private detectives and security agencies, and other HSFA authorized users. RubyWATCH was created, developed, and is provided, managed and supported by The Homeland Security Foundation of America (HSFA). RubyWATCH is made possible by generous contributions from BroadRiver Communications, tax-deductible donations from people across America, and grants from foundations, corporations and government agencies. To learn more about RubyWATCH, visit http://rubywatch.hsfamerica.org. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit https://www.hsfamerica.org/donate.

The Homeland Security Foundation of America is a public, non-profit, non-Federal agency for public safety, energy security and health and human services, incorporated in 2002 and subsequently reorganized in 2007 as a non-profit corporation, certified as tax-exempt under IRC 501(c)(3) with 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) status. HSFA is not an agency or instrumentality of the Federal government.