Our picksMeasles is back; this week in anti-Semitism; data sharing to stop terrorism, and more

Published 22 February 2019

·  The reason conspiracy videos work so well on YouTube

·  Measles is back because states give parents too many ways to avoid vaccines

·  The Russian sleuth who outs Moscow’s elite hackers and assassins

·  This week in anti-Semitism

·  Human smugglers are thriving under Trump

·  Researchers paint different portraits of hackers behind Ryuk ransomware

·  Trump calls for more biometric scans, data sharing to stop terrorism

·  Why the U.K. condemned Facebook for fueling fake news

·  Facebook collects sensitive personal information from many mobile apps

The reason conspiracy videos work so well on YouTube (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic)
It’s the paranoid style, mutated for platform politics.

Measles is back because states give parents too many ways to avoid vaccines (Julia Belluz, Vox)
The era of religious and moral vaccine exemptions needs to end — and fast.

The Russian sleuth who outs Moscow’s elite hackers and assassins (Andy Greenberg, Wired)
Ten years ago, Roman Dobrokhotov sat down in the front row of a Kremlin auditorium, surrounded by a polite audience of journalists and dignitaries attending a speech by Russia’s then-president Dmitri Medvedev.
Today, Dobrokhotov has found a better megaphone. And the 35-year-old Muscovite is using it to broadcast something that’s much harder for the Kremlin to ignore: the secrets of one of its most aggressive and dangerous spy agencies.

This week in anti-Semitism (Franklin Foer, The Atlantic)
The surge of hatred is increasingly hard to ignore.

Human smugglers are thriving under Trump (Sebastian Rotella, Tim Golden, and ProPublica, The Atlantic)
The president’s “zero tolerance” policy drains manpower and money from deeper probes that target criminal syndicates.

Researchers paint different portraits of hackers behind Ryuk ransomware (Sean Lyngaas, Cyberscoop)
Analysts poring over the Ryuk ransomware are coming to different conclusions about the hackers responsible and the victims they’re targeting, highlighting the subjective side of cyberthreat studies.
One thing, however, is clear: the infectious malware pays.

Trump calls for more biometric scans, data sharing to stop terrorism (Aaron Boyd, Defense One)
International travelers can expect to see more facial recognition and other biometric technologies per the latest national security strategy document

Why the U.K. condemned Facebook for fueling fake news (Sue Halpern, New Yorker)
If there remained any doubt that Facebook’s business practices intentionally compromise users’ privacy and recklessly undermine democratic norms, it was put to rest on Monday, when the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the British House of Commons issued a hundred-and-eight-page report, incongruously titled “Disinformation and ‘fake news.’ ” In a drama that played out over a few days in November, the committee’s chair, Damian Collins, a Tory M.P., had outwitted Facebook’s legal team when he summoned an American app developer named Ted Kramer to Parliament. At the time, Kramer’s company, Six4Three, was embroiled in a lawsuit with Facebook, and the documents that he just happened to have access to while on a business trip to England—and which Collins just happened to know about—were obtained during the discovery process. Although the documents were under seal in the United States, Collins claimed that they were fair game in the U.K., and threatened to arrest Kramer if he didn’t turn them over. Their contents are incorporated into Monday’s report, which gets at its nominal subject—the dissemination of propaganda and intentionally divisive content on social media—by unmasking the ways that Facebook, in particular, has facilitated it.

Facebook collects sensitive personal information from many mobile apps (Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal)
Facebook is collecting personal information from many mobile apps just seconds after users enter their data, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal. The social media company can collect this often intimate information even if the user has no connection to Facebook, as these apps often send the information without any specific disclosure, according to the newspaper’s testing. At least 11 popular apps have been sharing the sensitive data with Facebook. These apps, some of which are used to aid in losing weight or monitor various health conditions, allowed Facebook to collect data “even if no Facebook account is used to log in and if the end user isn’t a Facebook member,” the WSJ reports.