Morning Security Brief: Global Peace Index, Spy Planes in Africa, Apple Lawsuit, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►For the first time since 2009, the world has become more peaceful according to the Global Peace Index published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The study ranks countries on 23 indicators including the number of deaths from conflict, the availability of small arms, and relationships with neighboring countries. Iceland was named the most peaceful country in the world. Small stable democracies dominated the top 10. Somalia was named the least peaceful. The U.S. ranks 88th.

►The U.S. is building a secret network of air bases in Africa to keep tabs on al Qaeda. The air bases are home to unmarked PC-12 tuboprop planes operated by U.S. government contractors that can "record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals,” the Washington Post reports. About a dozen of the secret bases have been established since 2007 and operations have increased in recent months.

 ►A California court has ruled that owners of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches may pursue claims against Apple for causing them to “overpay for their devices,” but struck down privacy claims. The judge said that in this case, Apple’s invasion of privacy was not an ‘egregious breach of social norms’ and might even be deemed ‘routine commercial behavior.’ “Among the data gathered were addresses, genders, ages, identifiers assigned to devices, and functions performed on particular apps. Some device owners said that Apple collected data about their precise whereabouts at a given moment,” Reuters reports.

►In other news, IED use rises in Syria as rebels look for new ways to attack government tanks and armored vehicles. The conflict also sees its first suicide bomber. ♦ A team finds a treatment for Ebola that is effective if administered within 24 hours of exposure to the virus. ♦ And a Chinese official arrested earlier this year for spying for the U.S. may have exposed the country’s secret agents. “The ministry's own investigations found the aide had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency for years, divulging information about China's overseas spy network in the nation's worst espionage scandal for two decades,” Reuters reports.




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