At a glance.
- US Army announces launch of Program Manager Cyber and Space.
- VPN providers shut down their Indian servers over privacy issues.
- Fog Data Science offers budget surveillance platform for local police.
US Army announces launch of Program Manager Cyber and Space.
The US Army has announced that next year it will be launching a new offensive cyber and space program office called Program Manager Cyber and Space, Defense News reports. An offshoot of the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (IEW&S), the new colonel-led office will also incorporate the highly sensitive space capabilities from Product Manager Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities, which is currently led by a lieutenant colonel. Brigadier General Ed Barker, deputy at IEW&S told reporters, “We’re definitely trying to realign to some of those emerging priorities and areas.“ The military services have experienced a recent surge in workloads and demands, and the new office is intended to help support that growth. As FedScoop explains, the Army is the executive agent of the Joint Common Access Platform (JCAP), a program initiated a few years ago to provide infrastructure for Department of Defense cyber missions. Mark Kitz, program executive officer for IEW&S explained, “JCAP delivered our first instance or first delivery, we call it MVCR, our first minimum viable capability here a few months ago. Every other month, we’re doing planning increments, following full agile. We’re delivering full capabilities, almost weekly…We’re continually working with the user and following full agile methodology [because] if we don’t have a DevSecOps, an agile approach to delivery, we’re going to fail on cyber.”
VPN providers shut down their Indian servers over privacy issues.
In protest of new rules put forward by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), major global VPN providers (including the US’s Private Internet Access and IPVanish, Canada’s TunnelBear, the British Virgin Islands’ ExpressVPN) are shutting down their servers in India. The VPN providers say the new measures, which would require them to collect information such as customer’s names, email addresses, and IP addresses in order to provide them to Indian authorities when asked, are a threat to customer privacy. As the Wall Street Journal notes, digital rights groups have compared the new rules to those implemented by authoritarian governments like Russia and China. A spokesperson for Nord Security, which is pulling its NordVPN service out of India, stated, “If democracies follow the same path, it has the potential to affect people’s privacy as well as their freedom of speech.” CERT-In claims the data collection is necessary in order to maintain the security of the state and defend the “sovereignty or integrity of India.” The rules are just the latest in a series of attempts by the government to curtail unwanted internet activity, as government officials recently attempted to remove undesirable posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and last year Indian police arrested a woman for sharing an online toolkit supporting environmental activists.
Fog Data Science offers budget surveillance platform for local police.
Digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reveals evidence that US data broker Fog Data Science has been selling user location data to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, EFF has learned. Fog gathers the data from thousands of popular apps found in Android and iOS app stores and compiles it in its web platform, aptly named Fog Reveal. For less than $10,000 annually, clients like state highway patrols and police departments can purchase access to Fog Reveal in order to learn where individuals work, live, and gather. EFF’s findings show Fog has had contracts with at least eighteen local, state, and federal law enforcement clients, and several other agencies accessed free trials. “It’s sort of a mass surveillance program on a budget,” said Bennett Cyphers, a special advisor at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. SecurityWeek notes that the company is based out of the state of Virginia and was founded by two individuals who worked at the Department of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. Fog Reveal has been used in various criminal investigations to trace the activities of suspects, like an individual suspected of involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, but the tool is rarely mentioned in court records. EFF gathered information about Fog’s processes and clients through Freedom of Information Act requests, providing the first public account of the extensive use of Fog Reveal by local police.