• Radiation detection device to help in detecting nuclear weapons, materials

    Researchers have developed a next-generation material for nuclear radiation detection that could provide a significantly less expensive alternative to the detectors now in commercial use. Specifically, the high-performance material is used in a device that can detect gamma rays, weak signals given off by nuclear materials, and can easily identify individual radioactive isotopes. Potential uses for the new device include more widespread detectors — including handheld — for nuclear weapons and materials as well as applications in biomedical imaging, astronomy and spectroscopy.

  • Enemies of the state: Russia tracked Russian émigrés in the U.S.

    Last month the United States expelled 60 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the United Kingdom,. after Russian intelligence operatives poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in March. Among those expelled were intelligence operatives who were tracking Russian defectors and their families in the United States, probably setting the stage for killing some of them as “enemies of the state.”

  • European Commission to call out Russia for “information warfare”

    The European Commission is set to single out Russia directly for what it calls Moscow’s “information warfare” as part of EU efforts to fight back against online disinformation campaigns considered a threat to European security. The draft of a communique seen by RFE/RL states that “mass online disinformation campaigns are being widely used by a range of domestic and foreign actors to sow distrust and create societal tensions, with serious potential consequences for our security.”

  • Federal IT, communications technology supply chain vulnerable to Chinese sabotage, espionage

    A new report examines vulnerabilities in the U.S. government information and communications technology (ICT) supply chains posed by China. The report issues a warning about the extent to which China has penetrated the technology supply chain, and calls on the U.S. government and industry to develop a comprehensive strategy for securing their technology and products from foreign sabotage and espionage.

  • The dark possible motive of the Toronto van attacker

    Like other Canadians, I was horrified upon learning of a van attack along Toronto’s famed Yonge Street this week. Struggling to make sense of it, my first question was: “Why?” As it turns out, the attack was possibly a disturbing reprise of a similar massacre, targeting mostly women and perceptively “sexually active” men in the California community of Isla Vista in May 2014.

  • The curious case of the twice-fired FBI analyst

    Said Barodi, a Muslim American, had been deemed an “excellent” employee over a decade of work with the bureau before he was fired after a run-in at an airport. He won his appeal to get his job back, only to be fired again. He says his heritage made him a target. “I was the enemy within,” he says.

  • Next California's Big One could kill hundreds, cause $100 billion in losses, trap 20,000 in elevators

    What will happen when the next big earthquake hits northern California? Researchers say that if a tremor similar in magnitude to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake were to hit today, it could kill 800 people, cause more than $100 billion in economic losses from the shaking and subsequent fires, and trap roughly 20,000 people in elevators across northern California.

  • California suffering: Severe climate future for the state

    California is headed for a future of precipitation extremes. Researchers say that the state will experience a much greater number of extremely wet and extremely dry weather seasons — especially wet — by the end of the century. The authors also predict that there will be a major increase in the likelihood of severe flooding events, and that there will be many more quick changes from one weather extreme to the other.

  • Lawmakers question Pruitt’s proposal to limit EPA’s use of science

    The EPA has announced new policy-making rules which, critics say, are aimed to reduce the role of science in the agency’s decisions. EPA’s proposal would limit the scientific information used in rulemaking, allow the agency to ignore scientific studies where the underlying data has not been made public, and force the agency to only use scientific data that can be reproduced. Lawmakers yesterday sent a detailed letter to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, requesting more information on his proposal.

  • Hamas drone maker killed in Malaysia

    A Palestinian engineer whom Hamas claimed worked for them, was shot and killed by unknown assailants in Malaysia where he taught. Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip blamed Israel for killing Fadi al-Batsh, who was described by the terrorist group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, as a member of Hamas with “an honorable reputation in science.”

  • Deterring foreign interference in U.S. elections

    A new study analyzes five million political ads on hot-button issues which ran on Facebook in the run-up to the 2016 election. Voters in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were disproportionately targeted with ads featuring divisive issues like guns, immigration, and race relations. The divisive ads were purchased by 228 groups – 121 of these groups had no publicly trackable information.

  • Britain’s mass surveillance regime is directly opposing human rights

    In light of the Facebook data scandal more people are beginning to challenge the web’s pervasive surveillance culture. But few British citizens seem to be aware of the government’s own online surveillance regime – significant parts of which have been deemed unlawful.

  • 2015 Paris attack mastermind sentenced in Belgium

    Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind of the 13 November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, has been found guilty of attempted terrorist murder in a separate trial in Brussels, and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The Brussels trial revolved around the 15 March 2016 shootout in Brussels, which capped a 5-month search for Abdeslam. Abdeslam is to stand trial in France for his involvement in the attacks in Paris.

  • Hearing Monday in lawsuit over border searches of laptops, smartphones

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will appear in federal court in Boston Monday, fighting the U.S. government’s attempts to block their lawsuit over illegal laptop and smartphone searches at the country’s borders.

  • Ten legislative proposals to defend America against foreign influence operations

    More than a year after Russia’s broad hacking and disinformation campaign of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and with midterm elections looming on the horizon, Congress and the Trump administration have not taken any clear action to increase U.S. defenses against the foreign interference threat. There are important steps we can, and must, take to defend our institutions against adversaries who seek to undermine them. Many of Russia’s tactics have exploited vulnerabilities in our societies and technologies, and loopholes in our laws. Some of the steps necessary to defend ourselves will involve long-term work, others will require clear action by the Executive Branch to ensure Americans are united against the threat we face, and steps to both deter and raise the costs on such actions.