Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 3:38 PM

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the government’s efforts to prevent the disclosure of information about its torture program at a CIA “black site,” reports NPR. The central issue at hand is whether Abu Zubaydah, a detainee held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, can subpoena information about his torture. The government argues that this information is protected by the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information for a trial if it would compromise national security.

A Senate Commerce subcommittee heard testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Tuesday, says CNN. Haugen released tens of thousands of pages of internal research, which she contends show how Facebook has been negligent of the harm caused by its apps. The subcommittee scrutinized Facebook’s role in disseminating misinformation, its impact on national security and the harm Instagram causes young girls. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement addressing Haugen’s testimony, which he claimed created a “false picture of the company.”

Singapore’s Parliament passed a law aimed at targeting foreign interference that gives authorities more power to regulate internet content, according to the Washington Post. The government contends that the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act was necessary to prevent threats to national security, but critics warned the law could stifle dissent. The law limits judicial oversight by restricting the ability to review challenges to its application.

Ed Mullins,  president of one of New York City’s main police unions, resigned Tuesday after the FBI raided the union’s headquarters and his home, says the New York Times. According to the union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Mullings is “apparently the target of the federal investigation.” The executive board of the union urged Mullins to resign. Mullins is also in the middle of department disciplinary proceedings for posting profane tweets he had made, resulting in some city officials to celebrate his resignation.

Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan’s defense minister, said Wednesday that China will be capable of mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025, reports Financial Times. The announcement came days after record numbers of Chinese warplanes flew in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. While some U.S. officials believe an invasion is unlikely to occur, others believe that China may attack Taiwan in the near future. Chiu indicated that Taiwan’s military is not prepared for war, and believes that “[Taiwan] must strengthen [its[ capabilities quickly.”

The European Parliament backed a moratorium on police use of facial recognition technology and predictive policing on Wednesday, says Politico. The adopted resolution includes provisions such as banning private facial recognition databases and social scoring systems.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz sat down with Leah West and Amarnath Amarasingam to discuss the indictment of Mohammed Khalifa, a Canadian who joined the Islamic State.

Sam Cohen and Alex Vivona discussed AUKUS and U.S. efforts to strengthen military alliances in the Indo-Pacific region as Chinese maritime laws become stricter in the latest edition of Water Wars.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring: Dmitri Alperovitch to discuss the Biden administration’s plan to crack down on ransomware and to regulate stablecoin issuers; Dave Aitel to talk about the House intel authorization bill; and Mark MacCarthy to explain Google’s appeal to overturn the EU’s antitrust fine; along with a series of shorter updates.

Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith reviewed three bills that would expand the independence and power of inspectors general.

David Priess shared a job announcement for a digital media specialist with Lawfare.

Natalie Orpett and Benjamin Wittes evaluate the inspector general’s latest report on FISA implementation at the FBI.

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