• ARGUMENT: Cyberspace spooksCovert Action, Espionage, and the Intelligence Contest in Cyberspace

    In recent months, the world learned that China carried out an indiscriminate hack against Microsoft Exchange, while Russia hacked U.S. information technology firm SolarWinds and used cyber capabilities in an attempt to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Michael Poznansky writes that the attacks raise important questions about how best to characterize these and other kinds of disruptive cyber events. Cyber-enabled espionage and covert cyber operations both qualify as intelligence activities, but they are also distinct in key ways from one another. “Failing to appreciate these differences impedes our ability to understand the richness of cyber operations, underlying motivations, the prospect for signaling, and metrics of success,” he writes.

  • ExtremismGermany’s Spy Chiefs Urge Court to Agree on Monitoring of Far-Right AfD

    By Jamie Dettmer

    Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says there’s sufficient evidence to warrant labeling the country’s main opposition party, the populist far-right Alternative for Germany, AfD, as “anti-constitutional” and an organization hostile to democracy.

  • ExtremismGermany’s AfD Party Placed under Surveillance as “Extremism Suspect”

    Germany’s interior intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has classified the entire Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party as an “extremism suspected case.” The two largest parties in Germany, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party are members of the governing coalition, making the populist, far-right AfD the leader of the opposition in the Bundestag. The designation allows the BfV to use additional surveillance powers given to it by the Bundestag last year, including monitoring email communications and recruiting party members as informants.

  • SurveillanceDeployment of Emotion-Recognition Technologies in China Threatens Human Rights

    Emotion recognition is a biometric technology which purports to be able to analyze a person’s inner emotional state. These biometric applications are used by law enforcement authorities to identify suspicious individuals, and by schools to monitor how well a student is paying attention in class. China is deploying the technology to allow the authorities to better monitor forbidden anti-regime thoughts among citizens who are subject to police interrogation or investigation.

  • China syndromeU.S. Government to Stop Buying Chinese-Made Drones

    By John Xie

    In its latest move to address national security threats posed by Chinese-made drones, the U.S. federal government’s purchasing agency no longer will purchase drones from Chinese manufacturers. China currently dominates the drone-manufacturing market. One Chinese company, DJI, which is the world’s largest drone maker, has a 76.8 percent share of the U.S. market.

  • DronesSwarming Drones Concept Flies Closer to Reality

    A swarm of twenty drones has recently completed the largest collaborative, military-focused evaluation of swarming uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the U.K. The exercise was the culmination of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory’s (DSTL) “Many Drones Make Light Work” competition

  • PolicingBaltimore Aerial Investigations Associated with Small Improvements in Solving Crimes

    A preliminary report about an effort to use aerial surveillance to aid police investigations in Baltimore finds that the effort was associated with small increases in the rate at which police solved serious crimes, but an overall evaluation of the program will require a wider review of citywide police efforts, according to a new report.

  • SurveillanceEFF Urges Federal Appeals Court to Rehear Case Involving Unconstitutional Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program

    By Nathaniel Sobel

    In May, the Baltimore Police Department launched its Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) Pilot Program. For six months, three surveillance aircrafts operated by a private company called Persistent Surveillance Systems flew over Baltimore—covering about 90 percent of the city—for 12 hours every day. The planes produced images that even at a resolution of “one pixel per person” allowed the police to track individual’s movements over multi-day periods, especially when combined with the police’s networks of more than 800 ground-based surveillance cameras and automated license plate readers.

  • SurveillanceEU Uses Chinese Technology Linked to Muslim Internment Camps in Xinjiang

    By James Franey

    In the fight against coronavirus, the EU is using thermal cameras produced by Chinese tech giant Hikvision. The firm has been linked to the oppression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang province.

  • Politicizing intelligenceDHS Intelligence Official Says He Was Pressured to Stop Providing Assessments of Russia’s Threat to U.S. Election

    Brian Murphy, the former head of DHS’s intelligence and analysis unit, said in a whistle-blower complaint  made public on Wednesday that he was pressured by acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf to stop providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the upcoming U.S. election. In his complaint, Murphy also says that acting DHS secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli directed agency analysts to downplay threats from violent white supremacy to make the threat “appear less severe,” and include information on violent “left-wing” groups and antifa. Murphy says that Wolf and Cuccinelli — both Trump appointees not yet confirmed by the Senate — appeared to want to shape DHS’s public announcements so they accord with the president’s language and political interests, even if modifying the department’s public announcements in this way contradicted the department’s own intelligence analysis.

  • SurveillanceNSA’s Post-9/11 Mass Surveillance Program, Exposed by Snowden, Illegal: Court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence’s surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was unlawful, and possibly unconstitutional. Critics of the program say that in addition to violating privacy rights, the program’s was ineffective: Billions of phone calls and email messages were collected and scanned over the years, but only a handful of terrorism suspects were seized, and even fewer were convicted.

  • Drones & disastersAmateur Drone to Aid in Natural Disaster Damage Assessment

    It wasn’t long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.

  • School surveillanceSchools’ Facial Recognition Technology Problematic, Should Be Banned: Experts

    Facial recognition technology should be banned for use in schools, according to a new study. The research reveals inaccuracy, racial inequity, and increased surveillance are the touchstones of a flawed technology.

  • AIArtificial Intelligence Is a Totalitarian’s Dream – Here’s How to Take Power Back

    By Simon McCarthy-Jones

    Individualistic Western societies are built on the idea that no one knows our thoughts, desires or joys better than we do. And so we put ourselves, rather than the government, in charge of our lives. We tend to agree with the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s claim that no one has the right to force their idea of the good life on us. Artificial intelligence (AI) will change this.

  • PrivacyConsumers Consider Third-Party Use of Personal Location Data as Privacy Violations

    The National Security Agency issued a warning to its employees 4 August that cellphone location data could pose a national security risk. But how do consumers feel about their location data being tracked and sold? New research yielded surprising results.