• The Russia connectionTen legislative proposals to defend America against foreign influence operations

    By David Salvo

    More than a year after Russia’s broad hacking and disinformation campaign of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and with midterm elections looming on the horizon, Congress and the Trump administration have not taken any clear action to increase U.S. defenses against the foreign interference threat. There are important steps we can, and must, take to defend our institutions against adversaries who seek to undermine them. Many of Russia’s tactics have exploited vulnerabilities in our societies and technologies, and loopholes in our laws. Some of the steps necessary to defend ourselves will involve long-term work, others will require clear action by the Executive Branch to ensure Americans are united against the threat we face, and steps to both deter and raise the costs on such actions.

  • Privacy at the borderHearing Monday in lawsuit over border searches of laptops, smartphones

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will appear in federal court in Boston Monday, fighting the U.S. government’s attempts to block their lawsuit over illegal laptop and smartphone searches at the country’s borders.

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  • MigrationMigration more strongly linked to aspiration than desperation

    A new global analysis of intentions to migrate suggests that individuals preparing to move abroad are more likely to do so out of aspiration for a better life, economic opportunities and development of skills, rather than sheer desperation.

  • ForensicsTrust worthiness of forensic handwriting in court questioned

    Forensic handwriting specialists are often called on to testify in court about the origins of a few lines of writing, or to determine whether a specific person has written a sentence. A new study indicates that experts are not 100 percent adept at assessing how often specific handwriting features occur in the general population.

  • Nuclear decommissioningPipe-crawling robot to help decommission nuclear facility

    A pair of autonomous robots will soon drive through miles of pipes at the U.S. Department of Energy’s former uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, to identify uranium deposits on pipe walls. Shuttered since 2000, the plant began operations in 1954 and produced enriched uranium, including weapons-grade uranium. With 10.6 million square feet of floor space, it is DOE’s largest facility under roof — the size of 158 football fields, with 75 miles of process pipe.

  • EarthquakesThe HayWired scenario: a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area

    Last week the USGS, along with approximately sixty partners, released a new fact sheet that summarizes a report from a larger study of what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area along the Hayward Fault – arguably one of the most urbanized and interconnected areas in the nation. Earthquakes pose a threat to the safety of more than 143 million people living in the United States, and estimated long-term annualized earthquake losses in the United States are more than $6.1 billion per year.

  • Bay Area earthquake woes; rise and fall of the Rajneesh Cult; two factor authentication codes, and more

    · Bay Area falling behind on quake safety despite booming tech economy

    · Flesh-eating ulcer spreading rapidly in Australia

    · A century ago, the Spanish flu killed 100 million people. Is a new pandemic on the way?

    · The rise and fall of the Rajneesh Cult

    · More than 700 children taken from parents at U.S. border in six-month period

    · Just how random are two factor authentication codes?

    · New tech suggests more homes near Des Plaines River at risk of flooding

    · A cybersecurity power struggle is brewing at the National Security Council

    · Alex Jones’s protegé, Paul Joseph Watson, is about to steal his crackpot crown

  • Corrupt world of Russian intelligence; Twitter bans Kaspersky Lab; Russia steps up U.S., U.K. hacking, and more

    · The Washington Post wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on Russian interference and the Senate race in Alabama

    · Document: DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks for election interference

    · Bad news for President Trump

    · Inside the competitive, corrupt world of Russian intelligence

    · Twitter bans ads from Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab

    · Putin’s cyber war against the West: Russian trolls rise 4000% since Salisbury attack

    · Nobody is safe from Russia’s colossal hacking operation

    · Senator Marco Rubio says Florida is vulnerable to Russian hacking in 2018 midterms

    · US and UK warn of Russian hackers targeting network devices

    · Russia has taken a liking to one far-right American outlet in particular

    · Russia steps up hacking, purring U.S.-U.K. warning on risk

  • Columbine: 19 years onRapid rise in mass school shootings in U.S.

    The Columbine High School mass shooting occurred on 20 April 1999. More people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the United States in the past eighteen years than in the entire twentieth century. During the twentieth century, mass school shootings killed 55 people. Since the start of the twenty-first century there have already been 13 incidents of mass school shooting, in which 66 people have been killed.

  • Extreme vettingU.S. immigrant vetting system is already extreme enough: Study

    In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has tightened the vetting of immigrants and foreign travelers. The post-9/11 system has worked: From 2002 to 2016, the vetting system failed and permitted the entry of 1 radicalized terrorist for every 29 million visa or status approvals. Only 1 of the 13 post-9/11 vetting failures resulted in a deadly attack in the United States. Thus, the rate for deadly terrorists was 1 for every 379 million visa or status approvals from 2002 through 2016. During this same period, the chance of an American being killed in an attack committed by a terrorist who entered as a result of a vetting failure was 1 in 328 million per year.

  • ETA apologyBasque militant group ETA apologizes to terrorism victims

    The Basque militant group ETA, which had conducted a four-decade campaign of violence and terrorism for the creation of an independent Basque state (the Basque region straddles the Spanish-French border), apologized to the victims of its violence. Over 800 people were killed by ETA during the conflict which officially ended in 2011. Victims of the group’s violence have rejected the apology.

  • DeterrenceThe challenge of deterrence in today’s world

    The challenge of deterrence — discouraging states from taking unwanted actions, especially military aggression — has again become a principal theme in U.S. defense policy. But the landscape has changed: Many potential adversaries are significantly more capable than they were a decade or more ago, and the risks of actually fighting a major war are more significant than ever. This makes it even more imperative to deter conflict.

  • The Russia connectionTracking illicit Russian financial flows

    By Joshua Kirschenbaum

    Trillions of dollars in capital flows into the United States annually, and trillions of dollars in payments are cleared through New York daily. No one knows exactly whom the funds belong to, where they are held, or how they are deployed. No one knows because the U.S. government does not track the money — but it could if it wanted to. What is known is that Russia, other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and China are the primary drivers of non-transparent capital flows worldwide.

  • TerrorismTesting technology to alert federal agents to potential terrorist threats

    The face of terrorism in the United States has changed dramatically following 9/11. According to a report by the New America Foundation, every jihadist who has conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 2001 has come from inside the country, already having established citizenship or legal residency. DARPA has launched an ambitious new program called Modeling Adversarial Activity (MAA) which aims to transform the way national security organizations identify emerging threats.

  • Maritime respondersCoastal surveillance benefits from enterprise information sharing

    Initially, DHS S&T wanted to empower maritime responders with better surveillance technology. Adding more radars and cameras alone was expected to make the difference, but further evaluation of the input from operational sponsors told a different story—it extended the benchmark for what S&T was asked to provide. Today, the Integrated Maritime Domain Enterprise - Coastal Surveillance System (IMDE-CSS) has evolved well beyond the initial information-gathering requirement into an information-sharing capability.

  • FloodsHurricane Harvey: Most fatalities occurred outside flood zones

    Researchers found that most Houston-area drowning deaths from Hurricane Harvey occurred outside the zones designated by government as being at higher risk of flooding: the 100- and 500-year floodplains. Drowning caused 80 percent of Harvey deaths, and the research showed that only 22 percent of fatalities in Houston’s 4,600-square-kilometre district, Harris County, occurred within the 100-year floodplain.

  • Our picksJohn Doe, American jihadist; EPA limits agency's use of science; the Pentagon & AI, and more

    · The case against John Doe, American jihadist

    · Appeals court rules against Trump policy punishing sanctuary cities

    · Miguel Díaz-Canel is the new Cuban president: Who’s really running Cuba?

    · Internal emails show EPA working to limit agency’s use of science

    · The Chinese Communist Party is setting up cells at universities across America

    · Disaster relief official calls churches to action

    · The U.S. Navy wants a better way to keep China’s nose out of its contracts

    · The Pentagon is building an AI product factory

  • The Russia watchRussia’s traveling ‘proxies’; back channel to Russia; Russia’s propaganda getting smarter, and more

    · Justice Dept lawyer says Manafort may have served as ‘back channel’ to Russia: report

    · Can Trump pardon his way out of the Mueller probe? This law professor says no.

    · Why do Trump’s defenders assume he’s guilty?

    · Russia accidentally sabotages its internet

    · Russia, Syria trying to ‘sanitize’ chemical attack site: U.S. State Department

    · Meet the Russian-owned firm creating an army of traveling ‘proxies’

    · Russian propaganda evades YouTube’s flagging system with BuzzFeed-style knockoffs

    · Russian propaganda getting smarter, evading flagging, targeting youth

    · Powerful cross-party group formed to defend Britain from Russian cyber attacks

  • PreparednessU.S. health security preparedness improved, but some regions lagging

    A national snapshot used to gauge the health of the nation’s health security and emergency preparedness found that readiness has improved significantly over the past five years, but earlier identified gaps remain, with some parts of the country lagging.

  • The Russia connectionNew strategies for countering Russian social media influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is waging a social media campaign in the Baltics, Ukraine, and nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments, as well as NATO and the European Union. “Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine, which has been an active propaganda battleground since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution,” said the lead author of a new RAND report. “Other countries in the region look at Russia’s actions and annexation of Crimea and recognize the need to pay careful attention to Russia’s propaganda campaign.”

  • Hate groupsBundestag rejects AfD recruit on suspicion of terrorism

    The staff of the German Bundestag have denied an entry card to a German soldier recruited by an opposition far-right parliamentarian. The soldier was suspected of being a member of a right-wing, nationalist network within the German military plotting to kill politicians supporting liberal immigration policies – and then blame Muslim immigrants for the killings.

  • Hate on the leftAt anti-Semitism debate, MP Mann says that “Zionist” is an “insult” in Corbyn’s party

    In a powerful speech during a debate about anti-Semitism in the British parliament on Tuesday, Labor MP John Mann said “Any Jewish person has the right to say…’I am a Zionist’ and I have no right to deny them that and those that do are racists.” Mann observed that the word “Zionist” has become “a pejorative insult by the Labor Party” under leader Jeremey Corbyn, effectively denying Jews the right to their own homeland.