Future Tense Newsletter: Unhappy Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Slate Magazine (blog)

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ACDC-Rock-Or-Bust-Tour--New-York-NYAxl Rose of AC/DC has not yet commented on the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act.

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Greetings, Future Tensers,

Just in time for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Reps. Tom Graves, R–Georgia, and Kyrsten Sinema, D–Arizona, introduced a revised version of the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act, which would allow companies to access computers that don’t belong to them in the name of self-defense. Josephine Wolff explains (again!) why “hacking back” is the worst cybersecurity policy that just won’t die, writing, “At its heart it would just serve as an excuse to let anyone access anyone else’s computer systems with impunity.” Are you feeling more cybersecure and aware yet?


With Wi-Fi security flaws leaving our communications exposed to eavesdroppers, Russia using antivirus software to spy on the U.S., and another Equifax security flub rounding out the news from the first half of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it may seem like there is no end in sight to our cybersecurity woes. However, you may find comfort in Neel V. Patel’s proposition that the future of cybersecurity might look a lot like Snapchat. Or you may not.

Other things we read this week while booking our stay at the Airbnb apartment building near Disney World:

  • Online political ads: In light of recent allegations involving 2016 presidential campaign ads bought by Kremlin-backed forces, the Federal Election Commission is exploring how it can strengthen regulations around political advertisements online.
  • Halfway technology: David Guston writes that engaging in criticism of technology is a constructive enterprise necessary to ensure we are getting the most from our innovation system.
  • Future of mobility: Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize how people with disabilities get around, writes Srikanth Saripalli.
  • Forgotten history: A massive archive of science fiction culture at the University of Iowa is available to the public online as part of DIY History, a project that invites people to transcribe objects that can’t be read by a machine. Jacob Brogan shares what he discovered about the history of science fiction when he started transcribing.

Upcoming events in Washington, D.C., and New York:


Sneakers screening
Need a break from news about data breaches and election meddling? Join Future Tense and Alvaro Bedoya, founding executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, for a screening and discussion of the 1992 film Sneakers on Oct. 18 (tonight!) in Washington. RSVP for yourself and up to one guest.

The Water Will Come
Scientists and policymakers are fighting to hold back the devastating effects of a drowning world, as Jeff Goodell chronicles in his new book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. Join Future Tense for a discussion of the new book with Goodell and other experts in Washington on Oct. 24 and in New York on Oct. 25. RSVP to attend the event in New York or RSVP to attend the Washington event in person or online.

Poetry in Space
With space exploration no longer being monopolized by scientists and government agencies, artists are now getting in on the act. Join Future Tense for a happy hour conversation on Oct. 26 in Washington, with artists Juan José Diaz Infante (who launched the poetry-bearing Ulises I Mexican nanosatellite) and Tavares Strachan to discuss connecting the arts and sciences. RSVP to attend online or in person here.

More aware but feeling less secure,
Emily Fritcke
For Future Tense