Author: James Doubek

Government Outlines When It Will Disclose Or Exploit Software Vulnerabilities

NPR Enlarge this image A laptop in the Netherlands was one of hundreds of thousands infected by ransomware in May. The malware reportedly originated with the NSA. Rob Engelaar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Rob Engelaar/AFP/Getty Images Government agencies that deal with cybersecurity, like the National Security Agency, have two competing interests. On the one hand, they want to protect America’s online infrastructure and economy from cyberattacks. On the other hand, government agencies want to harness tools to attack opponents in cyberspace. These goals come into conflict when government agencies discover or buy flaws in software, called “zero day”...

Read More

How Disinformation And Distortions On Social Media Affected Elections Worldwide

NPR Enlarge this image Protesters take part in the March for Free Internet in Moscow in July. In addition to allegedly interfering with the U.S. election, Russia imposes limits on its own citizens’ access to information, the Freedom of the Net report says. Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images Internet freedom is on the decline for the seventh consecutive year as governments around the world take to distorting information on social media in order to influence elections, a new report says. The nongovernmental organization Freedom House released its annual Freedom on the Net report this...

Read More

George H.W. Bush Acknowledges Groping Multiple Women

NPR Enlarge this image Former President George H.W. Bush arrives for the coin toss for the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston. Two women say he touched them inappropriately. Patrick Smith/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Patrick Smith/Getty Images Former President George H.W. Bush has acknowledged touching multiple women inappropriately in what his spokesman called “patt[ing] women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.” Two women have reportedly accused the former president of groping them while posing for photographs with Bush in recent years. Actress Heather Lind wrote a post on Instagram, which has since been deleted,...

Read More

Anti-Abortion Rep. Tim Murphy Won’t Seek Re-Election After Report On Abortion Request

NPR Enlarge this image Rep. Tim Murphy in 2014 on Capitol Hill. A report says texts show he asked a woman to get an abortion. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania has announced that he will not seek re-election after a report said he requested that a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair get an abortion. Murphy is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and has voted to impose more restrictions on abortion access. Earlier this week, Murphy voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child...

Read More

Customs And Border Protection Outlines Border Wall Requirements – NPR

The border fence between the U.S. and Mexico in Hidalgo, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images U.S. Customs and Border Protection is asking for design proposals and prototypes of President Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Late Friday, the agency released specifics for the first time on how tough the barrier must be. CBP posted online two different options for contractors: one proposal must be for a solid concrete wall, another is for a wall with “a see-through component/capability” that is “operationally advantageous.” “The wall design shall be physically imposing in height,” the CBP outlines say. The government says its “nominal concept” is for a 30-foot-high wall, but adds that designs as low as 18 feet “may be acceptable.” The proposal document asks contractors for 30-foot-long prototypes and mock-ups of 10 feet by 10 feet. A CBP official told NPR’s John Burnett that contractors will have to make mock-ups of their ideas in San Diego. “It’s a way for the agency to identify designs. We’re looking for industry’s designs, to take a fresh look at the wall. We’ll have industry propose and then we’ll down-select.” The CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, requires the wall designs to be impossible for humans to climb without a ladder. It wants proposals that will prevent people from tunneling underneath by at least 6 feet underground. The government outlines the...

Read More

Pence Seeks To Reassure Nervous European Allies, Vows U.S. Commitment To NATO

Enlarge this image In a speech in Munich Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. “strongly supports” NATO. Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images Vice President Mike Pence told European allies Saturday that the U.S. remains committed to NATO, despite President Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated interest in pursuing better relations with Russia. In a speech during his first overseas trip since taking office, Pence told leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that the U.S. “strongly supports” NATO and that “the United States is now and will always be your greatest ally.” But Pence echoed President Trump’s demand for NATO members to spend more on beefing up their military capacity, saying that the promise to “share the burden” has gone “unfulfilled” by almost all of the alliance’s 28 member countries. Members of NATO have committed to spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense, but Pence said the U.S. and only four other NATO members actually do. Pence also sought to put distance between the Trump administration and Russia as reports over the past week have said that Trump campaign staff had contact with Russian intelligence and that former national security adviser Mike Flynn spoke with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions. “The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable” for actions in Ukraine, Pence said, adding that...

Read More

Right Now in Politics