Technology

Feds Can’t Get Russian Software Off Its Networks

“Federal agencies are so far unable to comply with a law banning Kaspersky Lab software from U.S. government networks by October,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Multiple divisions of the U.S. government are confronting the reality that code written by the Moscow-based security company is embedded deep within American infrastructure, in routers, firewalls, and other hardware—and nobody is certain how to get rid of it.”

Trump Doesn’t Use a Secure Phone

“President Trump uses a White House cell phone that isn’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications, according to two senior administration officials – a departure from the practice of his predecessors that potentially exposes him to hacking or surveillance,” Politico reports.

“The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use.”

“The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts.”

Democrats Plan to Make Net Neutrality an Election Issue

Axios: “The linchpin of that strategy is a vote in the Senate Wednesday on a measure to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules. That raises the prominence of the effort to preserve the neutrality rules — and will put at least some Republicans on record as opposing it.”

“The net neutrality voters care a lot about the issue, even if they make up only a small portion of the population.”

White House Cuts Cyber Security Post

“The Trump administration has eliminated the White House’s top cyber policy role, jettisoning a key position created during the Obama presidency to harmonize the government’s overall approach to cybersecurity policy and digital warfare,” Politico reports.

“The cyber coordinator led a team of directors and senior directors who worked with agencies to develop a unified strategy for issues like election security and digital deterrence. The coordinator also represented the administration in meetings with foreign partners and at conferences and other public events.”

What Facebook Knows About You

Brian X. Chen: “When I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week, I didn’t expect to see much. My profile is sparse, I rarely post anything on the site, and I seldom click on ads. (I’m what some call a Facebook ‘lurker.’)”

“But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box.”

“With a few clicks, I learned that about 500 advertisers — many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band — had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years, including my exes.”

Zuckerberg Holds Up Under Lawmaker Questioning

“A composed and contrite Mark Zuckerberg held up under hours of grilling by more than 40 senators Tuesday — but his performance did little to mask Facebook’s growing political problems in Washington,” Politico reports.

The Information: “Senators didn’t inspire confidence that they would be able to regulate the internet economy in a meaningful way. Lawmakers sometimes stumbled through technical descriptions, both of complicated advertising systems and some more basic distinctions like understanding how WhatsApp works.”

Facebook Stock Plunges

John Gruber: “In the short run I always caution against reading anything into the market’s sense, but in this case I think investors are right. Facebook is in some serious trouble. This Cambridge Analytica scandal proves that Facebook ought to be heavily regulated, and that’s not good for Facebook’s bottom line.”

“I  take issue, though, with the phrase ‘ended up in the hands of’. The implication with that phrasing is that Cambridge Analytica hoodwinked Facebook, or breached some sort of defenses. They didn’t. The information Cambridge Analytica obtained was exactly the information Facebook provides to advertisers by design. Cambridge Analytica just used that data in ways Facebook didn’t anticipate. Or perhaps better said, Facebook never anticipated that when people started to realize just what Facebook enables, there’d be outrage.”

Judge Says Trump Should Mute, Not Block, Followers

“A judge is recommending that President Trump mute rather than block some Twitter followers to resolve a First Amendment lawsuit,” the AP reports.

“Manhattan federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday suggested a settlement as the preferred outcome after listening to lawyers argue whether it’s constitutional for Trump to block his critics.”

Russians Released Anti-Clinton Video Game

“Russians created an anti-Hillary Clinton video game called ‘Hilltendo’ and tried to make it go viral in the weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, CNN has determined through a review of internet records and computer code.”

“It’s one of the strangest ways yet discovered that Russians tried to influence the American election. But it’s indicative of just how creative Russian internet trolls were willing to be.”