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Today’s Roundup: Morocco Earthquake Update, Europol Crime Report, and More

As security professionals convene in Dallas, Texas, this week for the 2023 GSX Conference, and Security Management staff work to bring you the GSX Daily, we will shift the focus of Today in Security away from a deeper analysis of a single news story to a quick round-up of several of the news stories affecting the world of security.


Morocco earthquake: Race against time to save survivors buried in rubble

From BBC News: Morocco faces a race against time to save those trapped under the rubble by Friday’s earthquake, as emergency services battle to supply remote areas.

Villagers continue to dig by hand and shovel to find survivors, as response teams struggle to bring in machinery.

Those same tools may now be needed to prepare graves for some of the thousands killed in the quake.

People “have nothing left,” a villager told the BBC. “People are starving. Children want water. They need help.”

Friday’s earthquake, the country’s deadliest for more than 60 years, struck below a remote cluster of mountainous villages south of Marrakesh.

The government reported that at least 2,122 people were killed and more than 2,421 injured, many critically.


New Europol report shines light on multi-billion euro underground criminal economy

From Europol: The world is getting smaller, as trade, communication, and infrastructure on a global scale brings us closer together. However, there is another, darker, side to the coin: Our interconnected world is being abused by criminals who have created an underground economy to sustain their illegal operations.

Europol’s first ever threat assessment on the topic, ‘The other side of the coin: an analysis of financial and economic crime in the EU’, sheds a light on this system which, from the shadows, sustains the finances of criminals worldwide.

The report is based on a combination of operational insights and strategic intelligence contributed to Europol by EU Member States and Europol’s partners. It analyzes all financial and economic crimes affecting the EU, such as money laundering, corruption, fraud, intellectual property crime, and commodity and currency counterfeiting.

Top U.S. spies meet with privacy experts over surveillance “crown jewel”

From Wired: Senior United States intelligence officials met privately in Virginia yesterday with over a dozen civil liberties groups to field concerns about domestic surveillance operations that have drawn intense scrutiny this summer among an unlikely coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.

The closed-door session…comes amid a backdrop of political furor over past misuses of a powerful surveillance tool by, principally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Republican lawmakers, who remain aggrieved over the FBI’s botched operation to surveil a former Trump campaign aide amid its 2016 Russia investigation, have formed an extraordinary alliance with Democratic rivals who’ve long been critical of the FBI’s power to warrantlessly access information about Americans “incidentally” collected by spies in the process of monitoring foreign threats.


Egypt angry as Ethiopia fills Nile dam reservoir amid water row

From BBC News: Egypt has voiced anger after Ethiopia announced it had filled the reservoir at a highly controversial hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile river.

Ethiopia has been in dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the megaproject since its launch in 2011. Egypt relies on the Nile for nearly all its water needs.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said Ethiopia was disregarding the interests of the downstream countries.

Ethiopia says the $4.2bn (£3.4bn) dam will not cut their share of Nile water.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the successful completion of the fourth and final filling of the Renaissance Dam,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on X, formerly Twitter.


The technology Facebook and Google didn’t dare release

From The New York Times: Engineers at the tech giants built tools years ago that could put a name to any face but, for once, Silicon Valley did not want to move fast and break things.

One afternoon in early 2017, at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, an engineer named Tommer Leyvand sat in a conference room with a smartphone standing on the brim of his baseball cap. Rubber bands helped anchor it in place with the camera facing out. The absurd hat-phone, a particularly uncool version of the future, contained a secret tool known only to a small group of employees. What it could do was remarkable. ...

Mr. Leyvand turned toward a man across the table from him. The smartphone’s camera lens … hovered above Mr. Leyvand’s forehead like a Cyclops eye as it took in the face before it. Two seconds later, a robotic female voice declared, “Zach Howard.”

“That’s me,” confirmed Mr. Howard, a mechanical engineer.

An employee who saw the tech demonstration thought it was supposed to be a joke. But when the phone started correctly calling out names, he found it creepy, like something out of a dystopian movie.