Gopal Ratnam

Report: Speed up drug development with artificial intelligence
But it says new legal, ethical, economic and social questions must be addressed

More and improved use of artificial intelligence, and an overhaul of medical education to include advances in machine learning, could cut down significantly the time it takes to develop and bring new drugs to market, according to a new joint report by the National Academy of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office.

Before that can happen, however, the United States must address legal and policy impediments that inhibit the collection and sharing of high-quality medical data among researchers, the report said.

Russia, China plan to adjust their tactics to hack, influence 2020 elections
Iran, North Korea, non-state “hacktivists” also pose threats

Russia, China and other adversaries who see U.S. elections as a key target for cyberattacks and influence operations are evaluating defensive measures used against their previous attempts to adjust future tactics, a top intelligence official said Tuesday.

“I don’t underestimate any of the adversaries that are looking at the U.S. elections,” Shelby Pierson, election threats executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told CQ Roll Call in a brief interview after an election security event in Washington. “It’s undoubtedly part of their plan to learn what works and what doesn’t.”

Cyberattackers lurking longer inside computers, report finds
In 2019, criminals remained undetected for average of 95 days before discovery, 10 more days than in 2018

Online attackers are becoming so good at hiding themselves that they can remain undetected in victims’ computers for months before being found, potentially giving these criminals more time to inflict greater damage than if they were detected earlier, according to cybersecurity research firm CrowdStrike.

Cyberattackers remained undetected for an average of 95 days before discovery last year, compared with an average of 85 days in 2018, CrowdStrike said in a report made public Monday.

Voting machine makers say yes to congressional oversight
Top execs of U.S. voting machine makers said they would accept federal regulations regarding disclosure

Top executives of U.S. voting machine makers told lawmakers Thursday they would accept federal regulations requiring the companies to disclose how they handle cyberattacks as well as reveal details of ownership and sources of components.

Tom Burt, CEO of Election Systems & Software, John Poulos, CEO of Dominion Voting Systems, and Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, told Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Administration Committee that they would accept a broad set of regulations governing their companies.

In scrutinizing IG report on FBI, senators differ on what’s important
GOP focus on mistakes obtaining Carter Page warrant; Democrats highlight no FBI bias

Horowitz also testified that neither Attorney General William Barr nor U.S. Attorney John Durham who is pursuing a criminal investigation of the origins of the FBI probe offered any new information that would alter the conclusions of the inspector general’s findings.

Both Barr and Durham have said they disagreed with the inspector general’s report, but Horowitz told Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the only disagreement he and Durham had was on the question of whether the FBI should have launched a preliminary investigation or a full probe. 

Christians turn to artificial intelligence to stop porn use
Evangelical groups increasingly relying on technology in budding ‘purity-industrial complex’

Evangelical groups are turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help their members fight addiction to online pornography in a budding industry that one scholar calls an emerging “purity-industrial complex.” 

As pornography has exploded beyond just websites to apps and social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr and others, tech companies closely affiliated with church groups are capitalizing on the fears of devout Christians that “porn is the greatest threat to Christian purity and even the moral standard of the nation,” said Samuel Perry, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma and author of “Addicted to Lust.”

Google looks past Project Maven to work anew with the Pentagon
Company’s 2018 withdrawal from drone video program sent shockwaves through national security world

More than a year after pulling out of a contract with the Pentagon that relied on technologies based on artificial intelligence to sort through drone videos, Google says it is ready to work with the Defense Department on a wide variety of applications that don’t involve weapons.

Google’s decision to engage with the Pentagon on non-weapons-related technologies stems from the company’s artificial intelligence principles published last year, said Kent Walker, senior vice president for global affairs at Google.

Report: Underground hackers and spies helped China steal jet secrets
Crowdstrike researchers reveal Beijing’s efforts to boost its own domestic aircraft industry

Chinese government hackers working with the country’s traditional spies and agencies plotted and stole U.S. and European aircraft engine secrets to help Beijing leapfrog over its Western competitors in developing a domestic commercial aircraft industry, according to researchers at the cybersecurity protection firm CrowdStrike. 

“Beijing used a mixture of cyber actors sourced from China’s underground hacking scene, Ministry of State Security or MSS officers, company insiders, and state directives to fill key technology and intelligence gaps in a bid to bolster dual-use turbine engines which could be used for both energy generation and to enable its narrow-body twinjet airliner, the C919, to compete against Western aerospace firms,” CrowdStrike said in a report released Monday evening. 

Staff security clearances may vex House Intelligence members
Rank-and-file members likely have no aides to consult on the most sensitive information in impeachment probe

Rank-and-file members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are at the nucleus of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, likely have no personal aides to consult on the most sensitive information handled in the high-stakes probe.

The two Californians who lead the panel, Chairman Adam B. Schiff and ranking Republican Devin Nunes, have staff with Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Security Clearance, also known as TS/SCI clearance. But other lawmakers on the committee traditionally have not had personal staff with such a clearance.

FCC’s O’Rielly sees risk in ruling letting states set net neutrality rules
A court decision upholding the scrapping of net neutrality rules could lead to more litigation and a patchwork of U.S. laws

A federal appeals court decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s scrapping of net neutrality rules in 2017 and allowing states to set their own could lead to state-by-state regulations and more litigation, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in a C-SPAN interview taped Tuesday for later broadcast.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that the commission and Chairman Ajit Pai were right to overturn Obama administration rules that prohibited internet providers like AT&T and Verizon from giving favorable treatment such as higher-speed delivery to specific content creators — including those they may own or have a stake in. It would also prohibit access providers from charging more for specific content creators such as Netflix.

Democrats subpoena Giuliani, Russian and Ukrainian businessmen
Trump’s personal attorney was asked to produce documents relating to his Ukraine dealings dating back to January 2017

House Democrats led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, issued a sweeping subpoena Monday to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, asking him to preserve and produce documents relating to his dealings with Ukraine dating back to January 2017.

The subpoena also seeks documents and depositions from Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian businessman; the latter’s partner Igor Fruman; and Semyon Kislin, a Russian businessman who is said to be associated with Giuliani. The documents are due to the House Democrats by Oct. 15.

With 5G in mind, senators plan big boost for Pentagon cybersecurity
Much of the future infrastructure is being developed by China

Lawmakers are proposing to add more than half a billion dollars to the Pentagon’s 2020 budget for cybersecurity measures, in particular asking the department to include security features enabling its weapons and information systems to safely operate on future 5G worldwide wireless networks.

Much of that future infrastructure is being developed by China and could become the global standard.

California sees push on data privacy
Companies and others want exceptions to strict new state law

Companies across the country are waging one last battle in Sacramento to carve out a few exemptions before California’s tough data privacy law is approved by the state’s lawmakers, who will adjourn for the year by the end of this week.

Retailers, online advertisers, small businesses and groups representing employers are all seeking either exemptions or amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which has set the stage for a national debate on how companies should safeguard users’ personal information online.

Energy, Health departments at risk for cyberattacks, OMB says
EPA, FCC, FTC also ranked as being ‘at risk,’ with email threats most prevalent

Several large federal agencies continue to be at risk for cyberattacks even as the number of cyber incidents reported during fiscal 2018 fell compared with the previous year, the Office of Management and Budget said in a report sent to Congress on Friday.

The number of cyber incidents reported by federal agencies fell 12 percent to 31,107 during fiscal 2018 but “drawing conclusions based on this data point, particularly as agencies have adjusted to several new sets of reporting guidelines over the last few years, would be concerning,” the report said.

Democrats target state elections with focus on election security
Supporting secretaries of state offices in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi in effort to expand voting rights

Democrats on Thursday launched a campaign to win secretaries of state races in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi this November by pointing to their focus on boosting election security and expanding voting rights, compared with Republican officials.

“The office of the secretary of State is more important than ever,” Alex Padilla, the secretary of state for California and president of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told CQ Roll Call. “Every election cycle is an opportunity to elect Democratic secretaries of State, but also to ensure security and accessibility” for voters.

Disinformation moves from fringe sites to Facebook, YouTube
Report: Extremists promoting conspiracies are using same tactics as foreign actors

Lawmakers and regulators focusing their attention on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the platforms’ role in propagating disinformation may be missing a big chunk of other online sites and portals that drive conspiracies and outright falsehoods, according to a nonprofit group that is studying how disinformation works.

Sites and discussion portals such as 4chan, 8chan, Reddit and Gab, as well as smaller social media sites such as Pinterest and even payment sites such as PayPal and GoFundMe, and online retailers such as Amazon and others are all part of a large online ecosystem that helps domestic and foreign agents shape disinformation and launch adversarial campaigns, the Global Disinformation Index said in a report released last week.

Capital One hack gets attention of Senate panel, New York AG
The breach affects at least 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians, according to the company

Senate Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo and New York state Attorney General Letitia James said they will probe the data breach suffered by credit card issuer Capital One, which the company reported late Monday.

“I have concerns about all aspects of this,” Crapo said about the Capital One breach during a Tuesday morning hearing on cryptocurrencies. “We want to understand how this happened, how other breaches happened ... and we want to know how vulnerabilities [appear] in systems and figure out what we must do to deal with them at a policy level. I don’t have answers yet, but yes, we need to figure that out and we do have concerns about those vulnerabilities.”

Russians will interfere again, maybe others too, Mueller warns
Mueller said it was unusual for a prosecutor to testify before Congress, said he would not comment on counterintelligence questions

Former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III told lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia, and possibly other countries, are looking to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections.

During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on the outcome of his investigation into Russia and links to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, Mueller urged Congress to require U.S. intelligence agencies to work together to stop such efforts.

What counts as ‘foundational’ tech?
As Commerce gears up for export debate, definitions remain in dispute

In the coming weeks, the Commerce Department plans to announce a notice seeking comments on how it should draw up export control rules for so-called foundational technologies, similar to an effort the agency launched in November 2018 for a category called “emerging” technologies.

The rules were mandated after Congress passed the 2019 defense authorization act calling on the Commerce Department to establish export controls on “emerging and foundational technologies” that are critical to U.S. national security. But tech companies, universities, and research labs across the country continue to be alarmed that overly broad export restrictions could ultimately hurt American technological superiority.

House demands to see Trump’s cyberwarfare directive
But senators who oversee the Pentagon are not as concerned

A small but significant quarrel is emerging between a bipartisan team of lawmakers in the House and the Trump administration over how the Pentagon is going about using its newly minted authority to strike back against adversaries in cyberspace.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and its emerging threats subcommittee — in a rare instance of bipartisan pushback against the White House — have repeatedly asked administration officials for a still-secret memo issued by President Donald Trump that lifted earlier restrictions on U.S. Cyber Command’s operations against adversaries.