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*** Attorney General William P. Barr called on Apple to unlock two iPhones belonging to a member of the Saudi Royal Air Force accused of murdering three U.S. sailors and wounding eight others in at attack at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was on a training course at the base when he went on a shooting spree, which Barr characterized as an act of terrorism.

The call to Apple to unlock the phones revives a debate on encryption between law enforcement and industry. The Justice Department has long held that manufacturers and app developers need to supply law enforcement with a means of bypassing encryption.

"This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that investigators be able to get access to digital evidence once they have obtained a court order based on probable cause," Barr said a Jan. 13 press conference.

*** A bill to pilot new technologies to protect the nation's pipelines and natural gas facilities from cyber threats would cost $64 million through 2024, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate. The Pipeline and Liquid Natural Gas Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act would direct the Department of Energy to develop and test advanced cybersecurity technologies and establish curricula to help develop a physical security and cybersecurity workforce for the energy sector. According to the estimate, developing the physical infrastructure and technical tools needed to run the pilots would cost about $45 million, while the remaining $19 million would pay for 30 new employees to establish policies, procedures, workforce development curricula and coordinate response activities throughout the energy sector.

*** The Defense Innovation Unit is looking for a new capability to combine public, private and open source cyber threat data. The goal is to provide cross-cutting situational awareness, analysis and insight about malicious cyber activity. Submissions are being accepted through Jan. 17.

Posted on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:36 AM


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