Alaskan Senate Bill Proposes Statewide Blockchain Voting System

· Andrew Orr · Link

Blockchain concept

Under Senate Bill 39, Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Shower proposes using blockchain technology to support the state voting system.

Furthermore, the bill seeks to increase voter participation by allowing people to use their tribal IDs for voter identification. At the same time, the technology would help in fixing errors that would bar people from voting.

However, the bill’s first version was a center of controversy for ending automatic voter registration through the permanent fund dividend application. The new bill has eliminated the clause.

I think using tribal IDs for voting identification is great. I’m not sure if blockchain voting will make it though.

Lawmakers Call YouTube Kids ‘Wasteland of Vapid, Consumerist Content’

· Andrew Orr · Link

The US sub-committee on economic and consumer policy sent a letter [PDF] to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about its app for kids, saying it’s full of “inappropriate… highly commercial content”.

According to the letter, some videos appeared to be “smuggling in hidden marketing and advertising with product placements by children’s influencers”.

The letter claimed that one research team, which it did not name, found only about 4% of videos had a high educational value. Much of the rest was low quality content such as toy unboxing and videos of people playing video games.

US Government Appeals Injunction Against TikTok Ban

· Andrew Orr · Link

Walmart Enters the TikTok Purchase War - article

The U.S. government is appealing an injunction from S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols that blocked its ban of TikTok.

The Trump administration had raised concerns over the video-sharing app due to its Chinese ownership by way of parent company ByteDance, and the potential risk of TikTok’s U.S. user data being accessed by the Chinese government.


Judge Nichols in the separate case led by TikTok ruled that Trump overstepped his authority in trying to ban the app from the U.S., referring to the agency’s action as “arbitrary and capricious.”

Russian ‘Cozy Bear’ Hacking Team Hits US Government Networks

· Andrew Orr · Link

Alert symbol of an exclamation point inside triangle

A group of Russian hackers known as Cozy Bear has hacked several U.S. government agencies like the Treasury and Commerce departments.

On Sunday night, FireEye said the attackers were infecting targets using Orion, a widely used business software app from SolarWinds. After taking control of the Orion update mechanism, the attackers were using it to install a backdoor that FireEye researchers are calling Sunburst.

How the U.S. Used the Patriot Act to Track Web Browsing

· Andrew Orr · Link

Person using a macbook

Government entities have been using Section 215 of the Patriot Act as justification to collect logs of web browsing activity.

In fact, “one of those 61 orders resulted in the production of information that could be characterized as information regarding browsing,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote in the second letter. Specifically, one order had approved collection of logs revealing which computers “in a specified foreign country” had visited “a single, identified U. S. web page.”

How to Vote According to Apple News

· Andrew Orr · How-To

Apple News has a section to help people register to vote, how to become a poll worker in your state, and more.

How the United States is Ensuring Votes are Secure

· Andrew Orr · Link

Max Eddy writes an examination of election engineering and how the U.S. can ensure voting security. The part I think is fascinating is the work of Sam Curry, CSO of cybersecurity company Cybereason. His team has been simulating election attacks to figure out how best to protect our elections.

He’s observed numerous strategies and has advice on how best to protect an election. The people playing the role of defenders, usually given the role of law enforcement, “must create open lines of communication between government departments and also media sources and social media companies,” said Curry. Knowing who to call and when to call them and having a reliable back-up system in case one fails (or is intentionally sabotaged) are all critical.