• Using Social Media to Analyze, Thwart Terrorist Activity

    It is known that much terrorist activity utilizes the power and immediacy of online social media and social networking tools to coordinate its attacks, rally support and spread the various agendas of the different groups and networks. Researchers explains how we might turn the tables on the terrorists and use those tools to analyze terrorist activity and make predictions about future scenarios, and so have the tools to thwart them in their deadly endeavors.

  • Missile Strike False Alarm Most Stressful for Less Anxious Hawaiians: Study

    After learning that a warning of a missile headed to Hawaii was a false alarm, the most anxious local Twitter users calmed down more quickly than less anxious users, according to a study of tweets before, during and after the event. “Can a false alarm of an impending disaster itself be a form of trauma? Our results suggest that the experience may have a lingering impact on some individuals well after the threat is dispelled,” says an expert.

  • No, President George W. Bush Did Not Undermine American Power and International Order

    Fareed Zakaria’s recent article in Foreign Affairs regrettably distorts the record of the George W. Bush administration and fails to deal candidly with (read: barely mentions) the records of the other post-Cold War presidencies. This is all the more unfortunate because Zakaria is one of the most prominent and thoughtful observers of the world scene, and he makes some crucial points about the importance and fragility of the international order and the decline of American influence. This decline, as he describes, is a complex and tragic story that blends structural factors in the international system and deliberate choices made by the United States, its leaders, and its people. In blaming everything on the 43rd president, Zakaria seems to pretend that neither the 42nd nor the 44th president did anything that had negative consequences for America’s national interests or global standing.

  • Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Restrictions on Asylum at U.S.-Mexico Border

    A U.S. federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a directive which disqualifies a significant proportion of mostly Central American asylum-seekers who reach the U.S.-Mexico border. In his ruling Wednesday, Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California cited multiple concerns about the rule and the way it was issued. Hours before Tigar issued his ruling, a district court judge in Washington, D.C., denied a similar request to block the rule in a separate case.

  • U.S. Intelligence Director Dan Coats Creates Senior Election Security Position

    Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats announced he established the position of Intelligence Community (IC) Election Threats Executive (ETE). The ETE will serve as the DNI’s principal adviser on threats to elections and matters related to election security. Additionally, the ETE will coordinate and integrate all election security activities, initiatives, and programs across the IC and synchronize intelligence efforts in support of the broader U.S. government.

  • U.S. Efforts to Counter Russian Disinformation and Malign Influence

    “President Vladimir Putin’s Russia seeks to weaken Western governments and transatlantic institutions, discredit democratic and liberal values, and create a post-truth world,” says Alina Polyakova. “Russian disinformation campaigns aim to amplify existing social divisions and further polarize democratic societies. As such, they don’t stop when the ballot box closes. Elections may provide an ideal high-impact opportunity for a disinformation actor, but the barrage of disinformation against Western democracies, including the United States, continues between election cycles. Disinformation, as a tool of Russia’s political warfare, is not new. But what is new is that, today, what used to take years, takes minutes. The advance of digital technology and communication allows for the high-speed spread of disinformation, rapid amplification of misleading content, and massive manipulation via unsecured points of influence. This digital ecosystem creates opportunities for manipulation that have exceeded the ability of democratic nations to respond, and sometimes even to grasp the extent of the challenge.”

  • How the U.S. Can Fight Russian Disinformation for Real

    “Where we ought to be setting the rules of engagement, the tone, and the moral compass in responding to Russia’s information war, the United States has been a tardy, timid, or tertiary player, with much of our public servants’ good work on this issue stymied by domestic politicization. Disinformation is not a political issue; it is a democratic one. Beyond that challenge, the United States has not invested sufficient resources to be competitive in the fight against disinformation. Russian information warfare continues to target the United States and our allies, as well as the rules-based international order. However, countering it has not been a budgetary priority” — Nina Jankowicz.

  • Cyber Threats Go Beyond Hackers and Scams but to Democracy Itself

    Much of the discussion surrounding threats of the information age are focused on digitally enabled foreign influence and interference. However, analysis of adversaries’ information campaigns as seen in the 2016 presidential elections and Brexit referendum doesn’t capture the full extent of the problem that is the manipulation society already created. Tech giants haven’t just inadvertently created a new path for information warfare. Rather they have created the architecture for the persistent manipulation of whole societies – an architecture freely used by both adversaries and the tech corporations themselves. Just as market capitalism led to a market society, surveillance capitalism has led to the manipulation society.

  • FBI Director: China No. 1 Counter-Intelligence Threat to the U.S.

    The FBI has more than 1,000 investigations of U.S. intellectual property theft in all 50 states with nearly all leading back to China, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, calling China the No. 1 counter-intelligence threat to the United States. Wray described the threat as “more deep, more diverse, more vexing, more challenging, more comprehensive and more concerning than any counter-intelligence threat that I can think of.”

  • 40 U.S. Diplomats in Cuba Have Suffered Brain Damage: Medical Report

    Brain imaging of 40 U.S. government personnel who served at the U.S. embassy in Havana in 2016, and who experienced a host of neurological symptoms after possible exposure of an unknown source, revealed significant differences in brain tissue and connectivity when compared to healthy individuals, according to a new report. Images reveal key brain differences, particularly in the cerebellum, between impacted patients and healthy individuals, which may underlie clinical findings previously reported by brain experts.

  • Bolstering Democracy in the Digital Age

    The Knight Foundation announced a commitment of nearly $50 million in research to better understand how technology is transforming our democracy and the way we receive and engage with information. “Amidst a growing debate over technology’s role in our democracy, these investments will help ensure society is equipped to make evidence-based decisions on how to govern and manage the now-digital public square, Knight said.

  • Anonymizing Personal Data “Not Enough to Protect Privacy”: Study

    Current methods for anonymizing data leave individuals at risk of being re-identified, according to new research. Researchers demonstrated that allowing data to be used — to train AI algorithms, for example — while preserving people’s privacy, requires much more than simply adding noise, sampling datasets, and other de-identification techniques.

  • Women and the War on Terror: An Insider Account

    A new book by a former CIA analyst is an important contribution to our understanding of the intelligence wars that erupted in 2001 over Iraq’s alleged connections to the 9/11 attacks and the George W. Bush administration’s bungled efforts to stabilize Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

  • Cities Ban Government Use of Facial Recognition

    Oakland, Calif., last week became the third city in America to ban the use of facial recognition technology in local government, following prohibitions enacted earlier this year in San Francisco and Somerville, Mass. Berkeley, Calif., is also weighing a ban. The technology is often inaccurate, especially when identifying people who aren’t white men.

  • Huawei Secretly Built North Korea’s Wireless Network

    On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Huawei had been secretly working in North Korea on various communication projects, including building and maintaining the country’s wireless network. Huawei’s work has been in direct violation of the sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear weapons activity. The revelations are going to increase worries in the West about the trustworthiness of the Chinese communication giant, and would provide more evidence to support the conclusions of Western intelligence services that Huawei serves the interests of the Chinese government and China’s intelligence services.