Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Emily Dai
Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 2:07 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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On Monday, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp suffered an outage of approximately six hours, reports NPR. The outage, spurred by “[c]onfiguration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers,” cost the company tens of millions of dollars. Because the outage lasted nearly the entire working day, some businesses that use Facebook as a primary tool to advertise and sell products and services were disrupted. The outage came as Facebook has been under fire for its policies, including a whistleblower testifying before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday.

Harold Koh, senior legal adviser in the State Department, called President Biden’s use of Title 42 to deport migrants at the southern border “inhumane” and “illegal,” according to the Washington Post. Title 42 was first invoked under former President Trump to expel immigrants from the U.S.-Mexican border. Biden is invoking the previously rarely-used legislation to deport thousands of Haitian asylum seekers. Koh expressed in an internal memo to colleagues that all Title 42 flights should be suspended, “but especially to Haiti.”

A dormant communication hotline between North and South Korea was restored on Monday, reports AP News. The announcement came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jung expressed interest in reactivating communication channels last week. Some experts believe North Korea is trying to use South Korea’s desire to improve relations to pressure South Korea to urge the U.S. to relax economic sanctions, while others believe North Korea is trying to avoid criticism from its southern neighbors about its ballistic missile tests.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that the country will be ending its “Covid zero” strategy, according to the New York Times. Since early in the pandemic, New Zealand pursued a zero-tolerance policy on the coronavirus, such as closing its borders and strict lockdowns to contain the viral threat. The approach previously was a big success, with New Zealand having one of the lowest rates of coronavirus deaths in the world. However, the strategy failed to prevent an outbreak of the Delta variant, prompting Ardern to lift a seven-week lockdown and gradually lifting restrictions in Auckland. New Zealand has yet to achieve widespread vaccination, with fewer than half of people fully vaccinated. 

The family of Austin Tice, the American journalist and former Marine detained in Syria, penned an open letter to Biden requesting the president directly orders to facilitate Tice’s return, reports the Hill. The letter contends that current officials must “build off the breakthroughs that were achieved by the previous administration” through direct engagement and relevant dialogue.

Ukrainian police have announced the arrest of a hacker for allegedly conducting a string of ransomware attacks against more than 100 foreign companies and costing more than $150 million in damages, says Reuters.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Bryce Klehm sat down with David Philipps to discuss Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL acquitted of stabbing an Islamic State prisoner.

Scott Moore explored the possibility of geopolitical competition leading to a more effective response to climate change over international cooperation.

In a paper for the Hoover Institution’s Aegis Series, Barry Friedman provided a constitutional argument concerning the unauthorized digital collection and surveillance data for police investigations.

Nicol Turner Lee posted a TechTank episode exploring whether racial discrimination appearing in and resulting from online behavioral advertising can be remedied.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk discussing the Chinese government’s enthusiasm for a series of upcoming space projects.

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Emily Dai is a junior at New York University studying Politics and Economics. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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