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Category Archives: Defense

How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections

Reuters: “The expansion by Amazon Web Services into state and local elections has quietly gathered pace since the 2016 U.S. presidential vote. More than 40 states now use one or more of Amazon’s election offerings, according to a presentation given by an Amazon executive this year and seen by Reuters. So do America’s two main political parties, the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the U.S. federal body charged with administering and enforcing federal campaign finance laws. While it does not handle voting on election day, AWS – along with a broad network of partners – now runs state and county election websites, stores voter registration rolls and ballot data, facilitates overseas voting by military personnel and helps provide live election-night results, according to company documents and interviews…

In the fullest public picture yet of Amazon’s strategic move into U.S. election infrastructure, Reuters reviewed previously unreported company presentations and documents, and conducted more than two dozen interviews with lawmakers, election administrators, and heads of election security and technology in nearly a dozen states and counties that use Amazon’s cloud…”

The US military is trying to read minds

MIT Technology Review – A new DARPA research program is developing brain-computer interfaces that could control “swarms of drones, operating at the speed of thought”. What if it succeeds? – “In August, three graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University were crammed together in a small, windowless basement lab, using a jury-rigged 3D printer frame to zap… Continue Reading

Legal Authority to Repurpose Funds for Border Barrier Construction

CRS report via FAS – Legal Authority to Repurpose Funds for Border Barrier Construction. Updated October 2, 2019: “President Trump has prioritized the construction of border barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the course of negotiations for FY2019 appropriations, the Administration asked Congress to appropriate $5.7 billion to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for… Continue Reading

The Drone Databook – study of military drone capabilities

The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College – “The Drone Databook [September 2019] is an in-depth survey of the military drone capabilities of over 90 countries around the globe that are known to possess and operate unmanned aircraft. This study includes information about each country’s active drone inventories, drone units, training… Continue Reading

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

CRS Report via FAS – U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress, updated September 23, 2019: “The U.S. role in the world refers to the overall character, purpose, or direction of U.S. participation in international affairs and the country’s overall relationship to the rest of the world. The U.S. role in the… Continue Reading

Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

The New York Times –  “The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, newly released documents show. The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show… Continue Reading

Edward Snowden’s First Adventures in Cyberspace – An excerpt

The Nation – Exclusive: Edward Snowden’s First Adventures in Cyberspace An excerpt from the whistleblower’s new memoir.  Excerpted from Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden, published September 17, 2019, by Henry Holt and Company. Copyright © 2019 by Edward Snowden. All rights reserved. “…Nowadays, connectivity is just presumed. smartphones, laptops, desktops, everything’s connected, always. Connected to… Continue Reading

Why Americans Don’t Fully Trust Many Who Hold Positions of Power and Responsibility

Members of Congress and technology leaders are rated lower in empathy, transparency and ethics – “Public gives higher scores to military leaders, public school principals and police officers…” “People invest their trust in institutions and those who have power for a variety of reasons. Researchers have found that people’s confidence in others and organizations can… Continue Reading

United States Files Civil Lawsuit Against Edward Snowden

DOJ: “The United States today filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA. The lawsuit alleges that Snowden published his… Continue Reading

More than two-thirds of Americans have little confidence in what the White House says

Washington Post: “The Trump administration has asked a federal court to reconsider a ruling that opened the door for potential payments to millions of federal employees and others due to the cybertheft of their personal information. The Justice Department request, filed last week, involves what it calls “massive litigation” stemming from hacks of two government… Continue Reading

Rand Report – Hostile Social Manipulation

Hostile Social Manipulation – Present Realities and Emerging Trends: “The role of information warfare in global strategic competition has become much more apparent in recent years. Today’s practitioners of what this report’s authors term hostile social manipulation employ targeted social media campaigns, sophisticated forgeries, cyberbullying and harassment of individuals, distribution of rumors and conspiracy theories,… Continue Reading