Our picksISIS’ chemical weapons; facial recognition at U.S. airports; Russian agitprop, and more

Published 11 March 2019

·  If liberals won’t enforce borders, fascists will

·  ISIS chemical-weapons expert speaks

·  Huawei’s plans in Lithuania under threat after spying allegations

·  Interior budget request highlights border push

·  DHS’ big plan for a stronger public-private cyber partnership

·  Facial recognition at U.S. airports — should you be concerned?

·  How the British hit back against Russian agitprop

·  Russian trolls are already active on social media to disrupt 2020 elections, cybersecurity experts warn

·  Moving stars might speed the spread of alien life

If liberals won’t enforce borders, fascists will (David Frum, The Atlantic)
We need to make hard decisions now about what will truly benefit current and future Americans.

ISIS chemical-weapons expert speaks (Ardian Shajkovci, Daily Beast)
A prisoner now in Baghdad, the young scientist is still proud of what he did developing chemical weapons for ISIS. When will they be used? He doesn’t know, doesn’t seem to care.

Huawei’s plans in Lithuania under threat after spying allegations (Konstantin Eggert, DW)
The Chinese communications and software giant has made major inroads into the Lithuanian telecoms market. But the country’s security service increasingly thinks this is a bad idea.

Interior budget request highlights border push (Miranda Green, The Hill)
The Trump administration on Monday called for cutting the Interior Department’s funding by 14 percent, but it also highlighted the agency’s increasing role in providing U.S. border security.
The White House’s newly released fiscal 2020 budget request seeks a reduction in grants and funds for acquiring land, while at the same time boosting Interior’s efforts to become a bigger player in securing the southern border.

DHS’ big plan for a stronger public-private cyber partnership (Cipher Brief)
It’s been four months since President Trump signed the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, elevating a division of the Department of Homeland Security that engages with the private sector on cyber issues, to Agency status.
When DHS was established shortly after 9/11, terrorism was the focus. But in the 16 years since the Agency’s creation, the threat landscape has changed dramatically and cyber now plays a leading role in overall threats.
Before CISA was established, there was no civilian cyber security agency, at least not one that had that mission on the nameplate, according to the new Agency’s biggest advocate and first director, Christopher Krebs.
Now, one of Krebs’ jobs is to get to know C-suite leaders across the country and to both educate and support them in their mission to defend U.S. companies from cyber threat actors.  He also has a mission to inform the public about cyber risk and to provide context to help make better risk decisions.
The Cipher Brief sat down with the new director to talk about what he’s hopes to accomplish in the next few months and why it’s so important that CISA gets it right.

Facial recognition at U.S. airports — should you be concerned? (Kate O’Flaherty, Forbes)
Facial recognition will be deployed at the top 20 US airports by 2021 for “100 percent of all international passengers”, including American citizens, according to an executive order issued by President Trump. The move is part of plans to protect the nation “from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States”.
But according to Buzzfeed, the United States Department of Homeland Security is rushing to get systems up and running at airports across the country without proper vetting and regulatory safeguards.

How the British hit back against Russian agitprop (Elizabeth Braw, Wall Street Journal)
The Kremlin loves using disinformation to sow chaos. Deterrence requires a plan for a second strike.

Russian trolls are already active on social media to disrupt 2020 elections, cybersecurity experts warn (Nathan Francis, Inqusitr)
During the 2016 election, the Russian government sponsored a campaign to push propaganda and politically divisive messages with a goal of electing Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded. A new report from Bloomberg showed that these trolls — operating out of the Kremlin-sponsored Internet Research Agency — are back at it for the 2020 election, this time shifting the strategy away from posting outright disinformation and Kremlin-made propaganda and instead focusing on pushing existing messages that sow political division.

Moving stars might speed the spread of alien life (Rebecca Boyle and Quanta, The Atlantic)
Intelligent planet-hoppers could populate a galaxy in as little as 650,000 years.

Rebecca BoyleQuanta