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Borderland: The Failure of the Virtual Fence

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Posted on March 19 2010 3:30 pm
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by Ben Domenech

The announcement this week that the feds have frozen funding for the much-maligned SBINet project, the Boeing-managed program launched in 2005, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Costs have already doubled beyond what was originally anticipated, and it still isn’t working.

So far, only a 28-mile prototype of the virtual fence in Arizona has been delivered to the government, and not without snags. Previous GAO reports described cameras with limited ranges that failed in the desert heat and sensors that couldn’t identify nonthreatening movements caused by animals or the wind… Christopher Bronk, a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University who has followed the virtual fence, said a key problem was that the project’s installations were too prominent, with highly visible stationary towers and bulky propane tanks that would-be crossers can spot from far away and therefore avoid.

Read the whole thing.

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