• SurveillanceLarge-Scale Facial Recognition Is Incompatible with a Free Society

    By Seth Lazar, Claire Benn, and Mario Günther

    In the U.S., tireless opposition to state use of facial recognition algorithms has recently won some victories. Outside the U.S., however, the tide is heading in the other direction. To decide whether to expand or limit the use of facial recognition technology, nations will need to answer fundamental questions about the kind of people, and the kind of society, they want to be. Face surveillance is based on morally compromised research, violates our rights, is harmful, and exacerbates structural injustice, both when it works and when it fails. Its adoption harms individuals, and makes our society as a whole more unjust, and less free. A moratorium on its use is the least we should demand.

  • BioweaponsMaking Bioweapons Obsolete

    The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) and Sandia National Laboratories convened experts and thought leaders in government, academia, and the private sector to discuss the ways to make a future in which the threat of biological weapons is greatly reduced.

  • Iran’s nukesSuspicions Mount of Foreign Hand in Fire at Sensitive Iranian Nuclear Site

    By Golnaz Esfandiari

    There is growing support among outside security experts for the notion that an “incident” at Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment facility last week was an act of sabotage in a shadow war aimed at setting back Tehran’s nuclear activities. Many analysts believe that a foreign state, possibly Israel, was behind the 2 July fire at the Natanz facility in Iran’s central Isfahan Province.

  • Climate & conflictRoadmap for Studying Link between Climate and Armed Conflict

    Climate change—from rising temperatures and more severe heavy rain, to drought—is increasing risks for economies, human security, and conflict globally. Scientists are offering ways better to assess the climate-conflict link to help societies manage the complex risks of increased violence from a changing climate.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Vehicular attacksDrivers Are Hitting Protesters as Memes of Car Attacks Spread

    Vehicles are becoming increasingly popular weapons that terrorists and other extremists around the globe use to intimidate, harm and kill. Cars and trucks are easily accessible, require little skill to operate and can facilitate unpredictable attacks with mass casualties.

  • DronesAccurately Pinpointing Malicious Drone Operators

    Researchers have determined how to pinpoint the location of a drone operator who may be operating maliciously or harmfully near airports or protected airspace by analyzing the flight path of the drone.

  • Iran’s nukesSetback for Iran’s Nuclear Program after Mystery Fire at Centrifuge Assembly Site

    By Michael Lipin, Farhad Pouladi

    New details of an Iranian nuclear facility damaged in a mysterious fire suggest Thursday’s incident is a much greater setback to Iran’s nuclear ambitions than Tehran has publicly admitted. The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security identified the facility as a centrifuge assembly workshop at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant in central Iran’s Isfahan province.

  • Operation VeneticMassive Blow to U.K. Organized Crime after Police Infiltrate Encrypted Communication Platform in U.K. Biggest Ever Police Operation

    British law enforcement officials say they have made their biggest ever breakthrough against organized crime after hacking into an encrypted communications system used to plan drug deals and murder plots. Entire organized crime groups dismantled in Operation Venetic, which resulted in 746 arrests, and £54 million criminal cash, and over two tons of drugs seized so far.

  • PolicePolice with Lots of Military Gear Kill Civilians More Often than Less-Militarized Officers

    By Casey Delehanty

    Police departments that get more equipment from the military kill more civilians than departments that get less military gear. That’s the finding from research on a federal program — called the “1033 Program.” — that has operated since 1997. The seeds of this program came in 1988 as the Cold War was ending. The military was shrinking, while police were feeling overwhelmed fighting the drug war. Over the past 23 years police all across America received billions of dollars in military-grade hardware often designed specifically to fight in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. And yet, all that equipment has done more harm than good.

  • Domestic terrorismU.S. Facing Growing Terrorism Problem, with White Supremacists the “Most Significant Threat”: Report

    A new report by terrorism experts at the conservative-leaning CSIS thinktank says that the United States faces a growing terrorism problem which will likely worsen over the next year. The most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists, though anarchists and religious extremists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda could present a potential threat as well. Right-wing attacks and plots account for the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of right-wing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years. Right-wing extremists perpetrated two thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States in 2019 and over 90 percent between 1 January and 8 May 2020. Over the rest of 2020, the terrorist threat in the United States will likely rise based on several factors, including the November 2020 presidential election.

  • Argument: SeaplanesBring Back the Seaplane

    On 8 December 1941, Japan attacked the Philippines and destroyed nearly half of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ bombers along with a third of its fighters on the ground. Yet, 43 of 45 Navy patrol aircraft survived the day. David Alman writes that the reason for such a stark difference in survival is simple: In accordance with pre-war plans, the 45 aircraft of Patrol Wing 10 had dispersed to various lakes, beaches, rivers, and bays throughout the Philippines. Japan was left hunting for small groups of seaplanes over thousands of square miles of water and coastline, and eventually gave up. Alman argues that seaplanes should be seriously considered – or rather, reconsidered – as one measure to mitigate China’s growing capabilities in east Asia and the Pacific: Seaplanes do not rely on runways or fixed bases. They do not rely on basing rights. They can operate over long distances at relatively high speeds and, contrary to popular opinion, can do so in bad weather.

  • State powerIn France, Drones, Apps and Racial Profiling

    In the wake of the January 2015 terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, and the November 2015 terrorist attacks on several targets in Paris, France saw more and more troops patrolling the streets of major cities alongside the police, and the declaration of a state of emergency, which gave the state vast new powers to monitor citizens. Many in France fear this is happening again, under the umbrella of measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Critics point to a raft of areas where they believe personal freedoms have been compromised under the health emergency, which saw France imposing one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. Lisa Bryant writes for VOA that, to be sure, similar concerns are being echoed elsewhere around the globe as governments fight the pandemic. But in France – where authorities still promote the country’s revolution-era moniker as the “land of human rights” – activists say the new measures fit a years’-long pattern. 

  • ArgumentNuclear Alarmism: Proliferation and Terrorism

    Alarmism about nuclear weapons is common coin in the foreign policy establishment, John Mueller writes. He notes that during the course of the Cold War, for example, the chief concern was that the weapons would somehow go off, by accident or by intention, devastating the planet in the process. More recently, the worry has been that terrorists would get their hands on nuclear weapons. Concerns about the dangers inherent in nuclear proliferation and in nuclear terrorism certainly seem overwrought, Mueller writes, concluding: “There may be reason for concern, or at least for interest and watchfulness. But alarm and hysteria (not to mention sleeplessness) are hardly called for.”

  • First respondersGear Treated with “Forever Chemicals” Poses Risk to Firefighters

    Firefighters face occupational hazards on a daily basis. Now, new research shows they face additional risk just by gearing up. Fabric used for firefighter turnout gear tested positive for the presence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), according to a new study.

  • PerspectiveNorthern Ireland’s Lessons for American Policing

    Not that long ago, Americans would regularly go to Northern Ireland to offer advice on reforming the region’s notoriously repressive policing. Martin S. Flaherty writes that happily for Northern Ireland, and tragically for the United States, the lessons now run in the other direction. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement changed Northern Ireland, and one of the major changes was a profound reform of policing methods – and of the police itself: The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Northern Ireland’s police force, which reflected the Protestant majority almost exclusively, was replaced with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which was much more reflective of Northern Ireland’s society and sensibilities. ““None of this is to say that policing in Northern Ireland today lacks problems or critics. But the PSNI is nonetheless widely regarded as a substantial step in the right direction,” Flaherty writes. “Those seeking a hopeful model for change would do well to look to a land where change once seemed hopeless.”