OTTAWA — As Canada and the U.S. increasingly co-operate to watch maritime borders, authorities are using hi-tech radar systems to track the baddies.
Companies involved in all aspects of border safety and cybersecurity are showing their wares at the SecureTech conference in Ottawa — including Canadian company Accipiter, which is deeply involved in keeping a constant watch on the Great Lakes and other areas along the border.
"Eyes that aren't watching all the time are missing things like trends, long-term behaviours, behaviour patterns that, when analyzed, can give us very important intelligence," Accipiter vice-president Carl Krasnor said.
He says the company's radar system not only tracks hundreds of ships and boats at once, it analyzes the behaviour of those vessels and alerts law enforcement officials to anything considered suspicious.
So, if one boat leaves the Canadian side of the border while another leaves the American side and both meet in the middle of Lake Ontario for a few minutes, the radar system would flag the encounter.
"That's a suspicious activity that normally would go unnoticed," Krasnor said. "Without complex analytics it's easy for the criminals to hide in the midst of those legal activities."
The system is often used to track smugglers operating near Cornwall, Ont., and could be used in recently announced joint Canadian-American security operations at the Windsor-Detroit and Vancouver-Blaine, Wash., border crossings.
SecureTech also features other technology that may play a future role in Canada, such as a 3D thermal imaging system.
HGH Infrared Systems' technology is already used in anti-piracy operations and U.S. airport security.