Our picksRating gov. on cybersecurity; bulletproof vests for students?; fighting hate, and more

Published 13 March 2018

· How the government’s cyber agency rates on cybersecurity

· Handguns in schools? Bulletproof vests for students? Louisiana legislators gear up for safety debate

· YouTube, the great radicalizer

· DHS’ Constant Vetting Initiative: a Muslim-ban by algorithm

· How much do America’s arms makers depend on foreign metal? No one seems to know

· The legal way to seize guns from dangerous people

· We still need more HTTPS: Government middleboxes caught injecting spyware, ads, and cryptocurrency miners

· How to fight hate in a changing Germany: A trip to a death camp

How the government’s cyber agency rates on cybersecurity (Aaron Boyd, Nextgov)
The annual FISMA report shows where the Homeland Security Department—the government’s point agency on cyber issues—can improve its own information security.

Handguns in schools? Bulletproof vests for students? Louisiana legislators gear up for safety debate (Will Sentell, The Advocate)
Other bills would allow students to wear bulletproof backpacks, let teachers toss students viewed as threats and provide benefits of $250,000 to the spouses of teachers and other school employees killed on the job.

YouTube, the great radicalizer (Zenya Tufeci, New York Times)
YouTube has recently come under fire for recommending videos promoting the conspiracy theory that the outspoken survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., are “crisis actors” masquerading as victims. Jonathan Albright, a researcher at Columbia, recently “seeded” a YouTube account with a search for “crisis actor” and found that following the “up next” recommendations led to a network of some 9,000 videos promoting that and related conspiracy theories, including the claim that the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax.

DHS’ Constant Vetting Initiative: a Muslim-ban by algorithm (Faiza Patel and Harsha Panduranga, Just Security)
Late last week, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBCwrote to the Department of Homeland Security, urging it to stop ICE’s “Extreme Vetting Initiative,” saying that the program would “unfairly target the minority communities [the CBC] represent[s].” The initiative – now relabeled “Visa Lifecycle Vetting” –  is an effort to develop an automated system to continuously monitor visitors and immigrants to the United States by looking at what they say, including on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Among other things, the system is meant to predict whether a traveler will be a “positively contributing member of society” and “contribute to national interests” (broad criteria drawn from Trump’s blatantly discriminatory first Muslim ban order). It is required to generate a minimum of 10,000 annual investigative leads.

How much do America’s arms makers depend on foreign metal? No one seems to know (Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One)
Certainly, no one seemed concerned about it until Trump’s tariffs sent them scrambling to find out.

The legal way to seize guns from dangerous people (Alex Yablon, The Trace)
It’s not the way President Trump suggested.

We still need more HTTPS: Government middleboxes caught injecting spyware, ads, and cryptocurrency miners (Sydney Li, EFF)
Last week, researchers at Citizen Lab discovered that Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices were being used to hijack users’ unencrypted internet connections, making yet another case for encrypting the web with HTTPS. In Turkey and Syria, users who were trying to download legitimate applications were instead served malicious software intending to spy on them. In Egypt, these devices injected money-making content into users’ web traffic, including advertisements and cryptocurrency mining scripts.

How to fight hate in a changing Germany: A trip to a death camp (Katrin Bennhold, New York Times)
A German legislator’s proposal to make visits to concentration camps mandatory comes as the country grapples with a rise in anti-Semitism.