Dispatch (July 1st) from the Alliance for Securing Democracy

Our Take

Europe needs a continent-wide buy-in on a new strategic approach to tackling authoritarian interference, ASD argues in a comprehensive report that details European efforts to defend against such threats and identifies specific, actionable recommendations to strengthen deterrence and build resilience to this long-term challenge. 

Europe should not be lulled into a false sense of security now that the parliamentary elections are over, ASD Director Laura Rosenberger and former President of Estonia Toomas Ilves wrote in an op-ed in Euronews. 

Illicit finance is thought of as a financial or criminal issue, but it is also a national security matter, ASD Senior Fellow on Malign Finance Joshua Kirschenbaum argued in a panel discussion at GMF’s Brussels Forum. ASD Advisory Council member Michael Morell also discussed a resurgent Russiathe rise of China, and the need for multilateralism in enforcing sanctions. 

Europe’s report on disinformation in the 2019 Parliamentary elections details trends worth examining, ASD Senior Fellow Kristine Berzina and Fellow on Media and Digital Disinformation Bret Schafer argue on our blog.

News and Commentary

Russia’s voting rights restored by the parliament of the Council of Europe: Last Tuesday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted to reinstate Russia’s full voting rights in the Council, which were stripped following Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. This decision represents a significant break in European unity toward Russia, as seven delegations walked out in protest. It also marks the first reversal of measures imposed on Russia for the annexation of Crimea. ASD Fellow Josh Rudolph argues that Russia’s readmission to the Parliamentary Assembly may help the Kremlin build momentum to rescind the EU’s Ukraine-related sanctions. (The New York TimesKyiv Post, RFE/RL, ASD) 

Cybersecurity researchers uncovered vulnerabilities in Huawei equipment: A new report by cybersecurity firm Finite State found vulnerabilities in Huawei products that may enable Chinese intelligence to conduct cyberoperations through the equipment. The investigation, which uncovered multiple cases of secret access points in hardware devices, determined that Huawei equipment was less secure than comparable devices from rival companies. ASD Research Assistant Thomas Morley and China Analyst Matthew Schrader have advised against integrating Huawei into European telecommunications infrastructure, which would give the Chinese government broad means for interfering in Western democracies. (The Washington TimesWall Street Journal, ASD)

In other news:

● The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which includes provisions to prevent the transfer of sensitive technologies to Russia or China.

● A Senate investigative report shows eight major federal agencies are failing to comply with basic cyber security standards, which could leave the U.S. vulnerable to a massive data breach.

● The Department of Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official Chris Krebs warns of increased malicious activity online from state-sponsored actors in Iran.

● Facebook is working on a new policy to ban ads that discourage people from voting.

● Hungarian media moguls close to Prime Minister Viktor Orban are seeking to acquire media outlets elsewhere in Europe in an effort to spread Orban’s far-right ideology beyond Hungary.

● Italy’s privacy regulator fined Facebook €1 million for its violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the largest fine levied thus far against the platform.

● Digital researchers believe Russian intelligence operatives carried out the first disinformation campaign targeting divisions in Ireland.