November 6 2020

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

New York Post Scientists develop AI technology that detects COVID-19 through cough sounds
Scientists developed a new artificial intelligence system they say can tell if someone has COVID-19 just by the sound of their cough. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers said the algorithm is able to detect the virus because the illness causes muscle impairment that can alter the way people speak or cough even if they are asymptomatic, the Telegraph reported.


NBC Polls close on Election Day with no apparent cyber interference
After years of planning and worry, polls closed on Election Day 2020 without the country having seen any substantial public cyberattack. “I think what you’re seeing more than anything is 3½ years of collaboration,” said Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, which is responsible for securing the country’s infrastructure cybersecurity. He touted the joint effort with agencies like the U.S. intelligence community and the Election Assistance Commission.

New York Times After Twitter Labels Trump’s Tweet About Pennsylvania, Its Spread Slows
Twitter stepped up its actions against misleading tweets ahead of Election Day. So how are the moves working out? A tweet by President Trump late on Monday provides a case study. In his tweet, Mr. Trump claimed without evidence that the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow Pennsylvania absentee ballots to be received up to three days after Nov. 3 would “allow rampant and unchecked cheating” and “induce violence in the streets.”

Politico How Election Tech Could Create a Recount Nightmare
If you used a mail-in ballot in Fulton County, Georgia this year, you may have noticed peculiar language at the top of the ballot: “Copyright © 2020 Dominion Voting Inc.” Dominion Voting is a private company that sells election technology. And this ballot design — which was created by Dominion and counted using the company’s proprietary equipment — is technically its intellectual property. Unusual as it may seem, this isn’t uncommon: Most voting technology used throughout the U.S. is covered by intellectual property law.

Wall Street Journal Political Groups Elude Facebook’s Election Controls, Repost False Ads
Political groups are getting around Facebook Inc.’s system for blocking false political advertising by reposting ads found to violate its policies, exposing a loophole in the company’s efforts to contend with misinformation. Three political groups backing President Trump’s re-election have adopted the tactic, repeatedly uploading with little or no alteration ads that Facebook had pulled down after its fact checkers judged them to be inaccurate, according to researchers on misinformation and a public archive Facebook maintains of ads run on its platform.

The Information Apple Rejects App for Verifying Pennsylvania Ballots
Efforts to reject some ballots in battleground states like Pennsylvania could determine the outcome of next week’s election. But a mobile app designed to help ensure that Pennsylvania ballots are getting counted has already been rejected—by Apple. After almost two weeks of holding up the release of the app, called Drive Turnout, Apple on Thursday told the developer behind it, Ari Steinberg, that the app violates the company’s privacy rules and that Apple won’t release it.

Washington Post Suspicious robocall campaign warning people to ‘stay home’ spooks voters nationwide
An unidentified robocaller has placed an estimated 10 million calls in the past several weeks warning people to “stay safe and stay home,” spooking some Americans who said they saw it as an attempt to scare them away from the polls on Election Day. The barrage of calls all feature the same short, recorded message: A computerized female voice says the message is a “test call” before twice encouraging people to remain inside.


Reuters Judge sets November deadline for Google’s initial response to U.S. antitrust case
Alphabet’s Google must tell a district court how it will respond to a federal antitrust lawsuit by mid-November, with the two sides making initial disclosures later in the month, U.S. Judge Amit Mehta said in a brief order Friday. The U.S. Justice Department sued Google on Oct. 20, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.

Politico Inside Democrats’ efforts to fight election security threats
Four years after playing an embarrassing starring role in the hack-plagued 2016 presidential election, the Democratic National Committee is staring down its highest-stakes test yet — cyberattacks or disinformation campaigns on Election Day. “I think we’re going to be ready,” said Bob Lord, the party’s chief security officer, in a recent interview.


Microsoft Official Blog Celebrating pro bono week with the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project
This week marks the 11th anniversary of the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono. It also coincides with the last week of Microsoft’s annual Give Campaign, which celebrates our employees’ volunteerism and charitable giving. I’m proud to work at a company that encourages us to give back to the communities in which we live and work. In our Legal Affairs group, this takes the form of each of our attorneys being asked to take on a commitment to provide an average of 30 hours of pro bono service each year on causes about which they and the company are passionate, including immigration, assisting veterans and criminal justice.

Microsoft Official Blog Cyberattacks target international conference attendees
Today, we’re sharing that we have detected and worked to stop a series of cyberattacks from the threat actor Phosphorus masquerading as conference organizers to target more than 100 high-profile individuals. Phosphorus, an Iranian actor, has targeted with this scheme potential attendees of the upcoming Munich Security Conference and the Think 20 (T20) Summit in Saudi Arabia. The Munich Security Conference is the most important gathering on the topic of security for heads of state and other world leaders, and it has been held annually for nearly 60 years. Likewise, T20 is a highly visible event that shapes policy ideas for the G20 nations and informs their critical discussions.

NPR U.S. Hospitals Targeted In Rising Wave Of Ransomware Attacks, Federal Agencies Say
Some U.S. hospitals have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks designed to infect systems for financial gain, federal agencies and a private-sector cybersecurity company warned on Wednesday. A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat” to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.

Cyberscoop How Microsoft is future proofing against cyber risk
Shifts in the way that enterprises and government organizations implement identity management technologies already were underway before the coronavirus pandemic struck. The sudden influx of remote work, however, has forced security personnel throughout the U.S., and the world, to accelerate plans to mitigate cyber risk.

Deseret News $10 million in new federal funding will help get broadband to some rural Utah communities
New, multimillion-dollar grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday will help make some inroads, albeit small ones, for the 100,000-plus Utahns who have no access to high-speed internet service. The gap between those who do, and do not, have robust internet connectivity, also known as the digital divide, has been underscored by restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with residents in Utah and across the country challenged by remote work and remote education tasks that rely heavily on solid, and fast, internet connections.


The Brookings Institute

  • Blog on DOJ’s lawsuit against Google
    On October 20, the U.S. Department of Justice filed its long-awaited antitrust suit against Google. Examining possible remedies for the company’s alleged anticompetitive conduct reveals some important lessons for the promotion of competition in digital markets. The first lesson is that it is difficult for antitrust agencies to develop and administer effective measures to promote competition in digital markets that have already tipped to dominant providers. The second is that lawmakers should consider establishing a specialized regulatory agency to foster and maintain competitive alternatives in digital markets and to regulate dominant companies in the public interest if competition does not take hold. (TechTank – Remedies that can sustain search competition in the DOJ case against GoogleOctober 28, 2020)

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