• Search & rescueAutonomous Drones Could Speed Up Search and Rescue after Flash Floods, Hurricanes and Other Disasters

    By Vijayan Asari

    Rescuers already use drones in some cases, but most require individual pilots who fly the unmanned aircraft by remote control. That limits how quickly rescuers can view an entire affected area, and it can delay aid from reaching victims. Autonomous drones could cover more ground faster, especially if they could identify people in need and notify rescue teams.

  • DronesAn App for Safe Handling of Drones

    Nearly every day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents come across drones that may have been used to facilitate the movement of illicit drugs or people across the southern border. These drones usually carry smuggled narcotics and often contain surveillance cameras; however, they could easily be modified to carry other threats or hazards.

  • DronesCan Drone Warfare in the Middle East Be Controlled?

    By Cathrin Schaer and Kersten Knipp

    Drone attacks are causing a crisis in the Mideast and experts are calling for a better regulatory regime. The drone attacks are part of a worrisome trend in the region: The escalating use of UAVs, both for surveillance purposes and to attack opponents, by countries in the region — but also by nonstate actors there, like militia groups in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, among others. But would more rules even have an impact in the region?

  • SpywarePegasus Project Shows the Need for Real Device Security, Accountability and Redress for those Facing State-Sponsored Malware

    By Cindy Cohn

    It is no surprise that people around the world are angry to learn that surveillance software sold by NSO Group to governments has been found on cellphones worldwide. People all around the world deserve the right to have a private conversation. Communication privacy is a human right, a civil liberty, and one of the centerpieces of a free society. And while we all deserve basic communications privacy, the journalists, NGO workers, and human rights and democracy activists among us are especially at risk, since they are often at odds with powerful governments.

  • SpywareSpyware: Why the Booming Surveillance Tech Industry Is Vulnerable to Corruption and Abuse

    By Christian Kemp

    The latest revelations about NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware are the latest indication that the spyware industry is out of control, with licensed customers free to spy on political and civilian targets as well as suspected criminals. We may be heading to a world in which no phone is safe from such attacks.

  • Pegasus affairGrowing Unease in Israel over Pegasus Case

    Israel is worried that the Pegasus spyware revelations may turn a PR black eye into a diplomatic crisis. Israel never exhibited any qualms about dealing with and selling arms to pretty unsavory regimes, but such deals were typically kept secret. The fact that the Israeli Ministry of Defense authorized the NSO Group to sell the Pegasus spyware to regimes which then used it to spy on opposition figures, civil society activists, and journalists – and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, to track Jamal Khashoggi and kill him — has raised questions about what did the government know and when did it know it.

  • DronesDrone Popularity, Potential Risk Soar, So Too Should Preparedness

    Benign hobbyists often use drones, but these small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) can be exploited for any number of illegal activities, thereby posing a significant threat to facilities related to critical infrastructure and national security.

  • SurveillanceJournalists, Activists among 50,000 Targets of Israeli Spyware: Reports

    Israeli cyber firm NSO Group claims that its Pegasus surveillance malware is sold to governments so they can better track terrorists and criminals, but many of the 45 governments deploying the surveillance software use it to track journalists, opposition politicians, and civil society activists. Some of these governments are authoritarian (for example, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, UAE, Saudi Arabia). Other are democracies (for example, India, Mexico, South Africa). The only EU member country to deploy the surveillance malware is Hungary, which places it in violation of the EU’s strict privacy and surveillance regulations.

  • ExtremismWho is Germany's 'New Right'?

    By Ben Knight

    For the first time ever, the Bundesverfassungsschutz (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, included a section on the “New Right” in its annual catalog of political extremists in Germany. The BfV said that the tag refers to an “informal network” of individuals and organizations which don’t openly organize or call for violent attacks, but rather focus on nurturing a far-right “cultural revolution” which threatens the German constitution and democratic institutions. The BfV says that the New Right movement promotes racist, xenophobic, and anti-democratic ideologies by subtle and slick professional means.

  • SurveillancePrivacy Activists Challenge Clearview AI in EU

    European privacy groups accuse the facial scan company of stockpiling biometric data on billions of people without their permission. The firm’s database contains images “scraped” from websites, including social media.

  • DronesTracking Drones in Urban Settings

    As drones become more popular and more worrisome from a security standpoint, many projects have sought to engineer systems to spot them. Engineers are using machine learning and radar to detect drones in complicated urban settings.

  • 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.