• EXTREMISMPolarization: Parties Lead and Voters Follow

    Party polarization tends to come before voter polarization, according to new research. “People often rely on political parties as a source of information, so it makes sense to expect them to follow the lead of parties and other political elites,” says one researcher.

  • ARGUMENT: TRUST & TRACING APPSHow Our Outdated Privacy Laws Doomed Contact-Tracing Apps

    Last spring, when the disease first started its rapid spread, contact-tracing apps were heralded as a promising way to control it by tracking diagnoses and exposure through self-reporting and location tracking. Jessica Rich writes that these apps have had mixed success worldwide, but “they’ve been a huge failure in the United States.” He adds: “A key reason for this failure is that people don’t trust the tech companies or the government to collect, use, and store their personal data, especially when that data involves their health and precise whereabouts.”

  • DEMOCRACY WATCHThe “Sore Loser Effect”: Rejecting Election Results Can Destabilize Democracy and Drive Terrorism

    By James Piazza

    Acceptance of electoral defeat, something political scientists call “loser’s consent,” is essential for stability and order in democracies. The refusal by a candidate or a party to accept defeat a potentially dangerous situation for the United States. New research shows that when politicians refuse to accept a free and fair democratic election’s outcome, and instead choose to promote a popular narrative of a stolen or dirty election, they place their people in physical danger. Popular tolerance for terrorism grows, and so does terrorist activity itself.

  • PERSPECTIVE: EELECTION INTEGRITYFar Too Little Vote Fraud to Tip Election to Trump, AP Finds

    >The Associated Press conducted a thorough review of every potential case of voter fraud in the six battleground states disputed by former President Donald Trump.Joe Biden won the 79 Electoral College votes of these states by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. The AP comprehensive review has found fewer than 475 potential fraud cases. The cases could not throw the outcome into question even if all the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, which they were not, and even if those ballots were actually counted, which in most cases they were not.

  • STEM ImmigrationThe Only Way for the U.S. to Maintain Tech Edge Over China: STEM Immigration

    U.S. global technology leadership is under serious threat. Given current trends, it is inevitable that China will overtake the United States. The most powerful—and perhaps only—lasting and asymmetric American science and technology advantage over China is the U.S. ability to attract and retain international S&T talent. But the U.S. government risks squandering that advantage through poor immigration policy.

  • RansomwareU.S. Offers Reward for Information on Russian DarkSide Cybercrime Group

    The United States has announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of any individual holding a “key leadership” position in DarkSide, a cybercrime group believed to be tied to Russia.The DarkSide syndicate was behind the attack on Colonial Pipeline – the largest publicly disclosed cyberattack against critical infrastructure in the United States.

  • Hacking InsuranceGovernment Action Needed to Ensure Insurance Against Major Hacking of Driverless Vehicles: Experts

    Government action is needed so driverless vehicles can be insured against malicious hacks which could have potentially catastrophic consequences, experts say. Traditional vehicle insurance wouldn’t cover the mass hacking of driverless cars, and an incident like this could cost the industry tens of billions of pounds.

  • ARGUMENT: Improving BiosecurityTwenty Years After the Patriot Act, What Is the Future of Biosecurity?

    The USA Patriot Act was signed into law twenty20 years ago, on 26 October 2001. Yong-Bee Lim, David Gillum, and Kathleen Vogel write Many changes have taken place since 2001, and  “The Patriot Act’s top-down approach cannot fully address this emerging reality, the authors write. Despite twenty years of effort, some old biosecurity issues continue to plague the country, while a whole new biosecurity frontier is opening up.”

  • SurveillanceSurveillance Equipment: Scrutiny Necessary for the Police, Manufacturers

    Facial recognition, body cameras and other digital technologies are increasingly used by police departments, municipalities and even gated communities, but these tools, manufactured by private companies, raise the specter of unchecked surveillance.

  • SurveillanceCalif. Sheriff Sued for Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data With ICE, CBP, Other Out-of-State Agencies

    License plate scans occur through Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs): high-speed cameras mounted in a fixed location or atop police cars moving through the community that automatically capture all license plates that come into view, recording the exact location, date, and time that the vehicle passes by. The information can paint a detailed picture of our private lives, our daily schedules, and our social networks.

  • CybersecurityIs There Such a Thing as a Safe Algorithm? Talk of Regulation Gathers Momentum

    By Tanner Stening

    There is now wide agreement among experts and politicians that regulatory changes are needed to protect users, particularly young children and girls, who are vulnerable to mental health problems and body image issues that are tied to the social media platform’s algorithms.

  • Pandemic & AuthoritarianismCOVID-19 Could Nudge Minds and Societies Towards Authoritarianism

    By Leor Zmigrod

    Humans have not one but two immune systems. The first, the biophysical immune system. The second is the behavioral immune system, which adapts our behavior to preemptively avoid potentially infectious people, places and things. An examination of the impact of the behavioral immune system on our attitudes towards obedience and authority shows that high rates of infectious diseases – and the disease-avoidance they promote – may fundamentally shape political opinions and social institutions.

  • Digital PrivacyIn U.S. v Wilson, the Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Fourth Amendment Protection for Electronic Communications

    By Jennifer Lynch

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a new ruling which is a victory for digital privacy rights, has confirmed that the police need to get a warrant before they open your email attachments—even if a third party’s automated system has flagged those attachments as potentially illegal.

  • ARGUMENT: Digital PrivacyPrivate Data/Public Regulation

    Police, increasingly relying on the collection of digital data,  seek fewer search warrants and more requests to harvest metadata. They buy data from brokers, they track location and other aspects of our lives. Sometimes police collect the data themselves. More often they gather it from third parties. Barry Friedman writes that “The benefits of this approach are uncertain, but placing this much personal data in the hands of the government has its costs.”

  • ARGUMENT: Social Media & Societal HarmNearing the Tipping Point Needed to Reform Facebook, Other Social Media?

    The recent series of five articles from the Wall Street Journal exposed Facebook’s complicity in spreading toxic content. Yet, social media platforms continue to enjoy free rein despite playing what many consider to be an outsized and destabilizing role in delivering content to billions of individuals worldwide. No one said reigning in social media was going to be easy. But the harm caused of social media is simply too big for us to fail.