Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Matt Gluck
Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 5:56 PM

Radio transmissions from the U.S. Park Police’s removal of demonstrators from Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. on June 1 were not recorded, reports the Washington Post. Congress, the Department of Justice and the Interior Department are currently investigating the law enforcement officer’s clearing of protesters. Jonathan Hofflinger, a Park Police Lieutenant, said the Park Police audio recording system “has been a problem for decades,” and that members of the force have notified their “command staff and the National Park Service” of the problem several times.

An independent audit released Wednesday found that Facebook has not made a sufficient effort to address discrimination on its network, according to the New York Times. The auditors, who were hired by Facebook, wrote in their report that the network’s “prioritization of free expression over all other values, such as equality and nondiscrimination, is deeply troubling.” Facebook has recently faced criticism for permitting hate speech to remain on its platform while other social media networks such as Twitter and Reddit have taken more aggressive action to flag and ban similar content. After a Tuesday meeting with top Facebook executives, civil rights leaders said the platform remains resistant to enforcing meaningful content moderation policies.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against President Trump during impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, is retiring from the military, writes the Wall Street Journal. Vindman’s attorney said that during the impeachment trial, Lt. Col. Vindman was forced “to choose between adhering to the law or pleasing a president.”

President Trump warned Wednesday that he may halt funding to schools that remain closed in the fall, writes Reuters. Trump also criticized the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for its stringent recommendations regarding school reopenings. Mike Pence announced Wednesday that the CDC will issue new pandemic guidelines next week, reports the Post.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday in response to an order that mandates that international students leave the U.S. unless they are taking classes on campus in the fall, writes the Post. The order requires international students enrolled in schools that are only offering remote classes to either transfer to a school providing in-person classes or move out of the country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday at a State Department news conference that “Chinese [authorities] took incredibly aggressive action” against Indian forces in the Himalayas last month, reports Reuters. Pompeo also pledged that the U.S. will ensure that the Chinese government cannot use online platforms to access Americans’ private information. On Monday, Pompeo said that the United States was considering banning several Chinese social media platforms from U.S. networks. These statements come as military and trade tensions between the U.S and China continue to intensify.

Hong Kong’s police chief, Chris Tang, is leading the Chinese Communist Party’s enforcement of its new national security law, reports Reuters.

The U.S. surpassed three million cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the virus continues to ravage the Sun Belt region of the country, according to the Post. Deborah Birx, a leading physician in the White House’s coronavirus task force, said that there has been a recent increase in cases among individuals between the ages of 18 and 35. The U.S. also announced Tuesday that it had formally begun its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Puerto Rico’s economy has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, reports the Times. Before the pandemic, Puerto Rico was in the process of recovering from multiple natural disasters and civil unrest. Due to a drought, some living on the island now only have access to running water every other day, posing additional health concerns to residents.

Researchers are finding that many contact-tracing mobile apps around the world have invaded people’s privacy without producing significant public health benefits, reports the New York Times. A mobile app security firm, Guardsquare, reported that most government-sponsored contact-tracing apps are very susceptible to hacking. Several countries, such as India and Qatar, have updated their contact-tracing technology to address privacy concerns and improve security.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation with David Priess, Lawfare’s chief operating officer and former CIA briefer for the FBI director and Attorney General, about the history of presidential daily briefings in the context of President Trump’s response to Russian bounties.

Sherizaan Minwalla discussed the harmful impact of new Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations on women seeking asylum.

Mikhaila Fogel praised the new comedy, “Space Force,” for its shrewd satirical depiction of the military-industrial complex.

Mihoko Matsubara discussed Japanese efforts to prevent cybersecurity attacks against the automotive industry.

Elliot Setzer shared a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on unlawful Kremlin activity abroad.

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