recommended reading

Why You Shouldn't Use a Laser-Equipped Gun as a Presentation Tool

Robin Lund/Shutterstock.com

There's a time and place for laser pointers, those tiny, handheld devices that emit a steady stream of light. Middle-school classrooms, for one. Boardroom presentations, for another.

This concept evades some New Yorkers, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo's homeland security chief, who have found other, creative uses for the technology. The laser pointer Jerome M. Hauer used to point to something during an October presentation on the response to Hurricane Sandy was attached to the barrel of his handgun, according to a new report from Albany's Times Union. The move shocked the Swedish officials in attendance:

These officials, one of whom claimed to be an eyewitness, said that three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.

Moral of the story: Don't use your laser-equipped gun as a presentation tool.

Other New Yorkers have used laser devices to point at something much farther away, like airplanes. In 2013, reports of laser pointers aimed at runway-bound planes jumped 17 percent compared with 2012, from 64 incidents to 75, The New York Times reported in October.

Such beams of light can easily distract pilots, and even temporarily damage their vision. "Several commercial pilots earlier this year suffered significant injury, including a burnt retina," The Times wrote.

At the hands of the average troublemaker, the beam from a laser pointer appears to end a few hundred feet away. In reality, a pilot can clearly see the light from a low-powered laser more than two miles away, and from a powerful laser more than seven miles away, according to Laserpointersafety.com, which tracks reports of the devices aimed at airplanes.

U.S. pilots report seeing or being illuminated by laser beams about 10 times a night, according to the website. The people behind the beams risk more than the confiscation of their tiny devices if they get caught: Pointing a laser at a plane has been a federal crime since 2012.

(Image via Robin Lund/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.