From spyware wielded by autocrats to expanded surveillance by police states under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic, new technologies are helping authoritarian governments entrench their power and target their critics. They are also amplifying the spread of disinformation. Yet many democracies are also using these same technologies in troubling ways. This WPR report provides a comprehensive look at how these state-of-the-art tools are being harnessed by different governments around the world.
Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Justin Sherman is filling in for Candace Rondeaux this week. The long-awaited fifth and final report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which was released earlier this week, is full of disturbing details. The heavily redacted, 966-page report includes revelations about even closer links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence operatives than Robert Mueller found in his special counsel investigation. It also concludes that Russia’s interference operations are still active today, less than three months before Election Day. But it didn’t take long before […]
In mid-July, 130 high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked by a small group of hackers, apparently led by a teenager in central Florida. They were able to take over some of the social media service’s most prominent handles—including those of Kanye West, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk—and use them to scam hundreds of people out of a combined $118,000 in bitcoin. It was the biggest security breach in Twitter’s history, and a stunning embarrassment for the company. The hack also entailed a high level of risk to users’ personal security. According to Twitter, the hackers were able to not only send […]