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Category Archives: Defense

Oversight Subcommittee Seeks Information About Ring’s Agreements with Police, Local Governments

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 19, 2020)—”Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Amazon seeking information about its subsidiary Ring Inc.’s partnerships with city governments and local police departments, along with the company’s policies governing the data it collects. Ring sells internet-connected home surveillance equipment, such as doorbell cameras and cameras inside children’s bedrooms. The Subcommittee demands Amazon provide information about these partnerships dating back to January 1, 2013. “The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is writing to request documents and information about Ring’s partnerships with city governments and local police departments, along with the company’s policies governing the data it collects,” Krishnamoorthi wrote.  “The Subcommittee is examining traditional constitutional protections against surveilling Americans and the balancing of civil liberties and security interests.”

Ring reportedly works closely with local governments and police departments to promote its surveillance tools and has entered into agreements with cities to provide discounts on Ring products to their residents in exchange for city subsidies.  Reports also indicate that Ring has entered into agreements with police departments to provide free Ring products for giveaways to the public. Ring reportedly tightly controls what cities and law enforcement agencies can say about Ring, requiring any public statement to be approved in advance.   In one instance, Ring is reported to have edited a police department’s press release to remove the word “surveillance.”…

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in WW II Europe

National Archives presentation available via YouTube and C-SPAN – Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe, Thursday, January 23, 2020. “While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and… Continue Reading

Senate Intel Releases Bipartisan Report on Obama Admin Response to Russian Election Interference

“Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) today released the third volume in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference, “U.S. Government Response to Russian Activities.” The report examines the Obama Administration’s reaction to initial reports of election interference and the steps officials took or did… Continue Reading

Artificial intelligence, geopolitics, and information integrity

Brookings – The Global Race for Technological Security – Discover the Security Implications: “The report [142 pages PDF] explores the intersection of AI and information integrity in the specific context of geopolitics. Before addressing that topic further, it is important to underscore that the geopolitical implications of AI go far beyond information. AI will reshape… Continue Reading

GAO – Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid

GAO – Office of Management and Budget—Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance. B-331564: Jan 16, 2020. In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine… Continue Reading

NSA Takes Step Toward Protecting World’s Computers, Not Just Hacking Them

The New York Times: “The National Security Agency has taken a significant step toward protecting the world’s computer systems, announcing Tuesday that it alerted Microsoft to a vulnerability in its Windows operating system rather than following the agency’s typical approach of keeping quiet and exploiting the flaw to develop cyberweapons. The warning allowed Microsoft to… Continue Reading

US Budgetary Costs and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars through FY2020: $6.4 Trillion

Watson Institute, Neta C. Crawford – November 13, 2019: “Summary – Since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $6.4 Trillion through Fiscal Year 2020 in budgetary costs related to and caused by the post-9/11 wars—an estimated $5.4 Trillion in appropriations in current dollars and an additional minimum… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 12, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 12, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss, highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

U.S. Killing of Qasem Soleimani: Frequently Asked Questions

EveryCRSReport.com: U.S. Killing of Qasem Soleimani: Frequently Asked Questions. January 8, 2020. “The January 2, 2020, U.S. killing in Iraq of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) Commander Qasem Soleimani, generally regarded as one of the most powerful and important officials in Iran, has potentially dramatic implications for the United States. For Congress, it raises… Continue Reading

Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It

The Atlantic: “Text-generation software is already good enough to fool most people most of the time. It’s writing news stories, particularly in sports and finance. It’s talking with customers on merchant websites. It’s writing convincing op-eds on topics in the news (though there are limitations). And it’s being used to bulk up “pink-slime journalism”—websites meant… Continue Reading

How to use your phone to spot fake images surrounding the U.S.-Iran conflict

Poynter: “Military conflicts — like the one that is sparking between the United States and Iran — are usually surrounded by false images and outdated videos that go viral on social media. It happened in Turkey the other day. To avoid that misinformation scenario, the International Fact-Checking Network developed a step-by-step guide to teach citizens… Continue Reading

House Intelligence Committee Releases Draft Report As Part of Impeachment Inquiry

“Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the draft report – “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” – to all Members and the public. The Committee will vote tonight [the vote was 13-9] to issue the report, before the Chairman of the Committee transmits it and any accompanying materials to the House Judiciary Committee… Continue Reading