Dustin Volz

U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with Microsoft data privacy fight

Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.

FBI Conducted Potentially Millions of Searches of Americans’ Data Last Year

The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed potentially millions of searches of American electronic data in 2021 without a warrant, US intelligence officials said April 29, a revelation likely to stoke longstanding concerns in Congress about government surveillance and privacy.

State Department to Form New Cyber Office to Face Proliferating Global Challenges

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy to be led by a Senate-confirmed ambassador-at-large and a new, separate special envoy for critical and emerging technology. Both positions will report directly to Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for at least the first year, according to Secretary Blinken's speech at the Foreign Service Institute.

NSA Warns Cellphone Location Data Could Pose National-Security Threat

The National Security Agency issued new guidance for military and intelligence-community personnel, warning about the risks of cellphone location tracking through apps, wireless networks, and Bluetooth technology.

FBI and Facebook Potentially at Odds Over Social-Media Monitoring

An effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to more aggressively monitor social media for possible threats could clash with Facebook's privacy policies and possibly its attempts to comply with a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The FBI is soliciting proposals from outside vendors for a contract to pull vast quantities of data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media “to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests.” The request was posted in July 2019, weeks before a series of mass murders shook the coun

NSA Recommends Dropping Phone-Surveillance Program

Apparently, the National Security Agency has recommended that the White House abandon a US surveillance program that collects information about Americans’ phone calls and text messages, saying the logistical and legal burdens of keeping it outweigh its intelligence benefits. The recommendation against seeking the renewal of the once-secret spying program amounts to an about-face by the agency, which had long argued in public and to congressional overseers that the program was vital to the task of finding and disrupting terrorism plots against the US.

Russian Hackers Largely Skipped the Midterms, and No One Really Knows Why

After unleashing widespread cyberattacks and disinformation warfare on the US during the 2016 presidential election, Russia’s trolls and hackers mostly appeared to have sat on the sidelines during the campaign ahead of the midterm elections. No one is sure why.  Several factors may have reduced Moscow’s impact. Clint Watts, a senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the diffuse nature of congressional and state races makes them a harder target than a single presidential election.

Vice President Pence Accuses China Of Trying To Interfere In U.S. Elections, Calls Out Google

Vice President Mike Pence amplified the charge leveled by President Donald Trump recently, saying China has used covert actors, front groups and propaganda in an attempt to sway US public opinion. "To put it bluntly, President Trump's leadership is working and China wants a different American president," Pence said.

Facebook Briefs Lawmakers on Breach in Effort to Guard Against Backlash

Facebook officials have begun briefing lawmakers about its massive security breach as the social-media company tries to quell a potential backlash in Washington over its latest setback involving user data. Facebook briefed Department of Homeland Security officials the week of Sept 24 and some individual lawmakers the following week, apparently. The company is expected to meet with other congressional committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, about the breach as early as the week of Oct 1.

Facebook Pulls 652 Fake Accounts Engaged in Coordinated Influence Campaign Ahead of Midterms

Facebook dismantled 652 pages, groups and accounts engaged in an coordinated influence campaign ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections, part of the company’s broader purge of bad actors on its site. Facebook said the 652 pages and accounts originated in Iran, and that they had been flagged for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Facebook said the offenders had targeted internet services in the US, Middle East, UK and Latin America. The company separately found evidence of inauthentic Russian activity. Facebook said it found no evidence the campaigns by Russia and Iran were connected.