Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis | Problems in FBI Surveillance Applications | Hijacking Zoom, and more

Justice Department Watchdog Finds New Problems in FBI Surveillance Applications (Aruna Viswanatha and Dustin Volz, Wall Street Journal)
More than two dozen Federal Bureau of Investigation applications to monitor Americans suspected of having links to foreign intelligence or terrorism had errors in their files, a Justice Department watchdog said, representing 100% of the sampling of applications he examined. The results point to widespread problems at the FBI, including sloppy recordkeeping by case agents, and indicate the shortcomings aren’t limited to those previously found in the highly scrutinized requests to surveil for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. In a report released Tuesday, the Justice Department’s inspector general said he discovered “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in the files meant to provide factual support for the information cited in the 25 secret applications. Those requests sought wiretapping authority from a special court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a law that is the subject of pointed debate in Congress. The report said investigators found facts in all 25 applications that were either not supported, not clearly corroborated or inconsistent with documentation in factual-support files, though it didn’t look at the broader case file for such information.

Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears (Simon Romero, New York Times)
Around the country, some states have cut back on construction activity to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and hotels and restaurants in many cities have closed. But here in Arizona, the federal government is embarking on a frenetic new phase of construction of the border wall.
The Trump administration contends that the wall will help prevent the spread of the virus into the United States from Mexico, though epidemiologists and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say such a barrier would not mitigate the outbreaks already occurring in every state.

Covid-19 Is Killing Off Our Traditional Notions of National Defense (Max Boot, Washington Post)
I have always been a strong supporter of the U.S. armed forces, because I believe they are needed to safeguard our freedom and prosperity in a dangerous world. But even hawks like me cannot be blind to the prevalence of “black swan” events in the past 20 years.

FBI Warns Zoom, Teleconference Meetings Vulnerable to Hijacking (Shannon Vavra, Cyberscoop)
As remote work surges amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FBI issued a public bulletin Monday warning Zoom and other video teleconferencing services may not be as private, or as secure, as users may assume.
Use of Zoom and similar services has exploded in recent weeks as companies, schools, governments, and individuals increasingly turn to its teleconferencing as ways to keep businesses and classrooms afloat while sheltering in pace or working from home. However the shift also represents an opportunity for attackers, as white supremacists, hackers and other trolls barge into digital meetings, a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing.”

Rising Seas Threaten Bay Area Economy, Infrastructure, Environment, Says Most Detailed Study Yet (John King, San Francisco Chronicle)
A 48-inch increase in the bay’s water level in coming decades could cause more than 100,000 Bay Area jobs to be relocated. Nearly 30,000 lower-income residents might be displaced, and 68,000 acres of ecologically valuable shoreline habitat could be lost.
These are among the findings in the most detailed study yet on how sea level rise could alter the Bay Area. The newly released, 700-page official report argues that without a far-sighted, nine-county response, the region’s economic and transportation systems could be undermined along with the environment.