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Election security researchers who focus on finding vulnerabilities in voting machines are now looking to confront disinformation that can undermine democracy. Lawmakers want answers about how federal agencies buy and use private data. And retired Gen. Keith Alexander has some big cyber ideas. This is CyberScoop for Aug. 17.

DEF CON hackers battle election conspiracies

The DEF CON Voting Village made headlines for giving hackers access to voting machines and putting election vulnerabilities on full display when it first launched in 2017. But in the era of the “Big Lie,” the unfounded theory of election rigging in 2020, the village has another — and possibly more challenging — mission. “Today, the main thing is still the same — tell what are the real vulnerabilities — but fight against conspiracy theories, misinformation, claims of hacks that didn’t happen, claims of weirdness that didn’t happen,” said Harri Hursti, the co-founder of the Voting Village and a pioneer election security researcher. AJ Vicens reports.

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Lawmakers press agencies for details on private data

House leaders sent a letter to U.S. law enforcement agencies on Tuesday probing their purchases of private data sets to circumvent warrant requirements. The letter follows a House Judiciary hearing last month in which witnesses testified about the rampant use of private databases by federal agencies in law enforcement investigations. “Rather than focusing on particular suspects, data policing tools are dragnets, sifting through all of our data,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., wrote in a letter to leaders of the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Tonya Riley has more.

Advocacy groups sue LexisNexis for selling data

The data analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions was accused Tuesday of violating a range of Illinois state laws, according to a lawsuit filed in a Chicago court by three immigration advocacy groups. The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleges that LexisNexis violated the privacy and consumer protection rights of Illinois residents by selling their personal data to corporations, law enforcement and government agencies — including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The groups behind the suit — Organized Communities Against Deportation, Mijente, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights — said that ICE is using LexisNexis to circumvent local sanctuary laws designed to protect Illinois residents and limit collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Lindsay McKenzie has the story in StateScoop.

Adopting a 'whole-of-state' cybersecurity approach

As cybersecurity practitioners who have spent decades in the battle to protect our country’s digital space, we must admit that we’re still talking about the same challenges year after year. At the top of the list is lack of visibility of cyber threats. Even though we have seen state, local and educational organizations make incremental changes and improvements in securing their networks and citizen data, we are, quite frankly, still far behind the adversary. Why? Commentary from Gen. (Ret.) Keith B. Alexander and Maria Thompson.

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