Final week we mentioned election security. Let’s dig slightly deeper into divisions provoked by one of many main items of proposed laws, the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act. The invoice has these days change into a political flashpoint, blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who ostensibly fears additional federalizing elections greater than he fears the subversion of American democracy by means of hacking, international interference, or different hi-jinx.

The invoice primarily goals to require states to make use of voting machines which are up-to-date, not Web-connected, made in America, and produce paper-based, voter-verifiable ballots. These are all smart standards, and it is onerous to argue towards their adoption. As well as, the invoice would earmark federal funds to assist states get the brand new gear in place by 2020—a extra contentious part. (See additionally this Wall Street Journal editorial which lays out different gripes.)

Whereas the Democratic Home handed the invoice with 225 votes in June, just one Republican voted in favor: Consultant Mind Mast of Florida. It is value noting that Mast is just not Republican in identify solely, as an evaluation by the data junkie blog FiveThirtyEight makes clear. As of the top of final 12 months, Mast had voted according to President Donald Trump’s coverage initiatives 92.7% of the time.

I assumed it may be instructive to listen to what Mast needed to say about his determination to assist the laws. Here’s a video of the congressman justifying his vote, published on Facebook and transcribed and excerpted beneath.

Within the earlier election cycle there was makes an attempt by Russians to go on the market and truly hack into our elections techniques. That is one thing that all of us deserve—confidence in our election techniques. That is one thing that we’ve been engaged on right here in Washington to ensure may be offered. We’re doing that on various completely different fronts. Primary is ensuring that every one the states throughout the nation have the assets that they should go on the market and make sure that their techniques are protected and will not be going to be hacked, that they do have the cybersecurity in place that’s wanted to guarantee that Russian interference can’t go in there and alter individuals’s votes, alter registrations, alter issues that may have a drastic impact on our elections course of and diminish individuals’s confidence in that election course of.

There’s good and dangerous on either side of it. I’ve heard individuals on one facet of it say, Hear, in case you go on the market and also you ask that there be a paper poll system as properly, that would decelerate the method. In case you decelerate the method, it’s possible you’ll be making longer strains, which can be discouraging some individuals from voting. That’s among the argument on the opposite facet of it. However ultimately, I feel it’s extra essential that we go on the market and be capable to have the religion and confidence in our election cycle that all of us really feel like we deserve. To know that our vote counts. That there’s not dishonest within the voting system. That there’s not individuals voting that aren’t purported to be voting.This can be a method to go on the market and tackle the truth that we don’t need any cyber intrusion into our voting techniques.

Mast speaks widespread sense. Whereas there are professional objections to among the invoice’s provisions, the laws is, total, a prudent step ahead. Elections are too essential to play cube with. McConnell should take heed.

Robert Hackett | @rhhackett | [email protected]


Bless the rains down in Africa. Technicians at Huawei, the embattled Chinese language tech big, helped African governments spy on political opponents, alleges a Wall Street Journal investigation. The engineers supposedly aided Uganded and Zambian authorities in intercepting communications and monitoring whereabouts of opposition leaders and supporters. Huawei has denied the declare, saying it “rejects fully these unfounded and inaccurate allegations.”

Lock her up. In a Tuesday submitting, federal prosecutors have requested the court docket system preserve Paige Thompson, the suspected hacker behind Capital One’s recent data breach, detained without bail. The prosecutors wrote that Thompson’s alleged actions “resulted within the theft of huge quantities of information from what now seems to be greater than 30 sufferer corporations.” If launched, she may promote or unfold the “a number of terabytes” of information she supposedly stole. 

You’ve obtained a leak. A database, referred to as Biostar 2 and crammed with biometric data and passwords for greater than 1 million individuals, leaked online. Credit score Karma clients are complaining that the service despatched them other people’s information accidentally. Add Fb to the rising variety of tech corporations who’ve been discovered to be paying contractors to transcribe people’s audio chats

A gathering storm cloud. Cloudflare, an web infrastructure startup that gives cybersecurity providers to web sites, is preparing for an initial public offering. The corporate cited controversies over internet hosting doubtlessly unsavory clients as a possible threat issue to its enterprise in a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For instance, the prospectus particularly called out 8chan—a discussion board that impressed mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Christchurch, New Zealand—which Cloudflare suspended only recently, after dealing with heated criticism.

Via the wanting glass. Utilizing its censorial stranglehold on its home web, China is manipulating media to show fashionable sentiment against the mass protests in Hong Kong. The nation is distorting the context of pictures on social media to create the impression that the favored motion is the work of a small group of violent thugs.

What dank GIFs is NSA hiding??

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Salute your resolution. Persevering with the dialogue about election safety above, the Wall Avenue Journal published an editorial that appears fastidiously at that divisive election safety invoice. The laws has been opposed—to the consternation of many proponents—by sure members of Congress, particularly Republicans equivalent to Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell. Right here the Journal particulars the arguments of the invoice blockers.

The media’s newest sizzling take is that Republicans—particularly the dastardly Senator Mitch McConnell —are blocking bipartisan laws to guard the nation’s elections. Actuality, as typical, is extra difficult. Think about the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, or the Protected Act, which the Democratic Home handed in June….

A few of these concepts could have advantage, however others have trade-offs. Working elections has been a state accountability, and there are professional questions on additional federalizing it. The Protected Act says post-election audits can be absolutely paid for by Washington—assuming Congress appropriated sufficient funds. If states assume free cash for brand new voting tools is across the nook, they could stop upgrading themselves.


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Twitter Has Tripled the Number of Workers Policing Its Service in the Past Year by Danielle Abril

Facebook Stops Recording Users’ Audio, as Contract Transcriptionists Express Ethical Concerns by Sarah Frier

Hundreds of Gun Control Bills Have Been Introduced Since Sandy Hook. Why Has Nothing Changed? by Renae Reints

British Airways Has Yet Another Security Problem, New Report Says by Alyssa Newcomb

What the IRS Wants You to Know About Tax Scams by Joyce R. Rosenberg

Cathay Pacific Vowed Not to Keep Staff From Hong Kong’s Protests. Then Beijing Intervened by Eamon Barrett


NULL. After Joseph Tartaro, a safety researcher, acquired an arrogance license plate that learn “NULL,” he started receiving a flood of citations for other people’s traffic violations. Backend pc techniques started associating any “null” values, the place a site visitors cop could have forgotten to file license plate data, with Tartaro’s private data. As somebody who just lately visited the New York State Division of Motor Automobiles, I counsel towards taking part in jokes on any such backend techniques.

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