Our picksAuthoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis | Problems in FBI Surveillance Applications | Hijacking Zoom, and more

Published 1 April 2020

·  Coronavirus Is Rising Around U.S. Military, Defense Infrastructure, Analysis Shows

·  Do Authoritarian or Democratic Countries Handle Pandemics Better?

·  How Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis to Grab Power

·  Justice Department Watchdog Finds New Problems in FBI Surveillance Applications

·  Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears

·  Covid-19 Is Killing Off Our Traditional Notions of National Defense

·  FBI Warns Zoom, Teleconference Meetings Vulnerable to Hijacking

·  Rising Seas Threaten Bay Area Economy, Infrastructure, Environment, Says Most Detailed Study Yet

Coronavirus Is Rising Around U.S. Military, Defense Infrastructure, Analysis Shows (Marcus Weisberger, Defense One)
The Govini assessment indicates that COVID-19 is about to hit military bases and manufacturing hubs in the southern and western United States.

Do Authoritarian or Democratic Countries Handle Pandemics Better? (Rachel Kleinfeld, Carnegie Endowment)

A mix of factors have shaped every country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the stakes for the democratic model are high.

How Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis to Grab Power (Kenneth Roth, New York Review of Books)
For authoritarian-minded leaders, the coronavirus crisis is offering a convenient pretext to silence critics and consolidate power. Censorship in China and elsewhere has fed the pandemic, helping to turn a potentially containable threat into a global calamity. The health crisis will inevitably subside, but autocratic governments’ dangerous expansion of power may be one of the pandemic’s most enduring legacies.
Recognizing that the public is more willing to accept government power grabs in times of crisis, some leaders see the coronavirus as an opportunity not only to censor criticism but also to undermine checks and balances on their power. Much as the “war on terrorism” was used to justify certain long-lasting restrictions on civil liberties, so the fight against the coronavirus threatens longer-term damage to democratic rule.
Even now, the Chinese government is placing its political goals above public health. It claims that the coronavirus has been tamed but won’t allow independent verification. Others are following China’s example. In Thailand, Cambodia, Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Turkey, governments are detaining journalists, opposition activists, healthcare workers, and anyone else who dares to criticize the official response to the coronavirus.
Although Hungary has reported Covid-19 infections only in the hundreds to date, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán used his party’s parliamentary majority to secure an indefinite state of emergency that enables him to rule by decree and imprison for up to five years any journalist who disseminates news that is deemed “false.” Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has also awarded himself emergency powers to silence “fake” news.