Further Reading

  • Russian operatives sacrifice followers to stay under cover on Facebook” – Reuters. Facebooks is using the tactics Russian hackers have used to spread disinformation against them. In order to sow discord, the Internet Research Agency’s (IRA) hackers need to be outrageous and memorable but doing so makes it easier for Facebook’s security team to track and take down these profiles. With the IRA changing techniques, their hackers may prove less effective.
  • Google Accused of Creating Spy Tool to Squelch Worker Dissent” – Bloomberg. Depending on your perspective within Google, a new Chrome extension that reports any large calendar events is either a means by which Google executives can monitor and squelch union organizing or is merely a means by which Google employees will not have their calendars jammed with events.
  • U.S. Government Still Uses Suspect Chinese Cameras” ­– The Wall Street Journal. Despite bans on the purchase of Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese products and services that went into effect in August, one security firm is reporting that thousands of Chinese-made cameras are still in use at federal military and civilian facilities, raising questions about the effect of such a prospective ban and how U.S. agencies are to manage existing Chinese-built information technology currently in use.
  • House antitrust probe report likely by ‘first part’ of 2020” – Reuters. The House subcommittee chair running the investigation into the anti-competitive practices in digital markets envisions releasing their report early next year, likely in time for the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous state attorneys general to use in the various anti-trust investigations into a number of large technology companies.
  • Online Influencers Tell You What to Buy, Advertisers Wonder Who’s Listening” – The Wall Street Journal. The market for advertising in the form of paid but not necessarily transparent celebrity endorsement of products has begun to dip. Some early adopters are now questioning the value of paying someone with thousands or millions of followers to include content in their feed considering saturation in the marketplace and consumers generally be wiser to and warier of such endorsements.
  • Attorney General’s Antitrust Power Play Is Just What Trump Wants” – Bloomberg BusinessWeek. William Barr is uniquely versed in anti -trust policy, having served as Verizon’s general counsel from 1994 through 2008 and was a participant in the battles over the power of telephone and cable companies and net neutrality. His move to have the Department of Justice investigate the same tech companies the Federal Trade Commission is drew criticism inside Washington but may prove favorable to his boss, President Donald Trump.
  • Facebook takedowns show new Russian activity targeted Biden, praised Trump” – The Washington Post. The social media giant took down four disinformation campaigns from Instagram, one Russian, and the other three Iranian, seeking to influence the 2020 election. A number of the disinformation efforts sought o widen schisms in the Democratic party among a number of nominees with a particular focus on former Vice President Joe Biden. The Russian efforts are most likely allied with Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the entity responsible for the disinformation sown during the last presidential election. The takedowns occurred two days before Zuckerberg appeared before the House Financial Services Committee.
  • Cops Need a Warrant to Access Your Car’s Data, Court Rules” – Vice. The Georgia Supreme Court reverses two lower courts in finding that the Four Amendment bars warrantless searches of cars for the data they contain. In this case, after a car crash, a police officer downloaded the data from the airbag sensors and learned that one of the people involved was driving at twice the speed limit. The court turned aside all the state’s arguments about how this should fit into a number of Fourth Amendment exceptions allowing what would otherwise be unreasonable searches. It remains to be seen how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on this issue, especially since Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote in the 2018 case that found warrantless searches of cell phone records a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

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