Our picksBill of Rights for an AI-Powered World | Global Cyberpolicy Contradictions | Threats to U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems, and more

Published 15 October 2021

·  False Allegations of Biological-Weapons Use from Putin’s Russia

·  The Origin of COVID-19: Evidence Piles Up, but the Jury’s Still Out

·  New Fentanyl Detection Standards Will Protect First Responders in the Field

·  Americans Need a Bill of Rights for an AI-Powered World

·  CIA Funding Arm Gave Encrypted App Wickr $1.6 Million

·  Reckoning with Global Cyberpolicy Contradictions

·  U.S. AI Workforce: Policy Recommendations

·  Ongoing Cyber Threats to U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems

False Allegations of Biological-Weapons Use from Putin’s Russia  (Milton Leitenberg, Nonproliferation Review)
From 1949 until 1988, the Soviet Union conducted a nearly continuous campaign of false allegations of biological-weapon (BW) use by the United States. In 1995, senior Russian military officials revived this pattern of false allegations, which continues to the present day. Russian officials amplified the campaign after the US government funded the transformation of former Soviet BW facilities in the Commonwealth of Independent States under the Nunn–Lugar program. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China in January 2020 prompted a very greatly expanded Russian-government BW-related disinformation effort. This paper aims to present a reasonably comprehensive account of these activities and to assess their significance. The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin has demonstrated open disdain for both the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Origin of COVID-19: Evidence Piles Up, but the Jury’s Still Out  (Matt Field, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
It’s been more than 600 days since the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a “cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology,” almost 200 days since the WHO issued a major report on the origins of COVID-19, and more than a month since the Biden administration in the United States released an inconclusive intelligence review on that issue. Yet, despite the many investigations, studies, and scientific debates on how COVID-19 emerged, cold, hard evidence for how people started getting sick in Wuhan in 2019 remains elusive.
Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, is piling up. Judgements about whether that circumstantial evidence points more toward one of two general theories of the pandemic’s origin—a natural spillover from an animal reservoir versus a leak from a laboratory studying coronaviruses—seems, at this point, to depend on the judger.