Pranksters have already defaced Trump’s new social network | Oversight board condemns Facebook for withholding information on how it moderates VIPs | Twitter study says its algorithm favours the right

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  • Former president Donald Trump and his team declared Wednesday night that they would soon launch a “media powerhouse” that would help them triumph in their long-running war against Big Tech. But within hours, pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the “donaldjtrump” account. The Washington Post

  • Facebook’s oversight board condemned the platform on Thursday for withholding relevant information about its content moderation system that was revealed by The Wall Street Journal through leaked documents. CNBC

  • Twitter is publicly sharing research findings today that show that the platform's algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians and content from right-leaning news outlets more than people and content from the political left. Protocol

ASPI ICPC

Australia’s choice about China has been long in the making
Australian Financial Review
@FergusHanson
September was a big month for Australia’s international relations. There was AUKUS, there was the diplomatic tour of the Indo-Pacific by ministers Marise Payne and Peter Dutton, and in late September there was the first in-person summit of Quad leaders at the White House, attended by Scott Morrison. But lost amid all the meetings and activities and submarines has been a far more powerful development. It is one of those inflection points that will bend the arc of Australian history.


A 3D deep dive into the India–China border dispute
The Strategist
@grewalbaani @Nrg8000
India–China border tensions have become one of the Indo-Pacific’s defining territorial disputes. The ongoing Ladakh crisis ended more than three decades of confidence-building measures and border agreements in June 2020 with the deaths of Indian and Chinese soldiers. Multiple rounds of tactical and diplomatic talks have resulted in a stalemate between the two Asian powers. Over the past year, there’s been a renewed build-up of military and transport infrastructure along the border as both countries reacted to tensions.

Tightening Up
ChinaFile
@fryan
Many of the regulatory actions against tech companies had been in the works for some time and their delivery was delayed both by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Party’s centenary celebrations in July 2021. A confluence of factors brought about their implementation seemingly all at once, including the onslaught of sanctions from the U.S., the stresses of the pandemic, and a slowing economy. Some have been reactive. In the case of the actions against Ant Group and DiDi, regulators scrambled at the last minute in reaction to those companies racing toward IPOs before satisfying their regulatory obligations.

Lowy Institute Conversations: Fan Yang and Fergus Ryan on Chinese-language media in Australia
Lowy Institute
In this episode of Conversations, Jennifer Hsu talks with Fan Yang and Fergus Ryan about the media representation of Australia-China relations, WeChat, self-censorship and the pressures faced by Chinese-language media outlets in Australia.

World

Twitter’s own research shows that it’s a megaphone for the right. But it’s complicated.
Protocol
@anna_c_kramer
Twitter is publicly sharing research findings today that show that the platform's algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians and content from right-leaning news outlets more than people and content from the political left.

Australia

Old-school and cyber spying now our biggest concern
The Australian
@_clivewilliams
The ASIO 2000-21 annual report tabled in parliament this week is the second by director-general Mike Burgess. It highlights a growing ASIO concern about espionage and foreign interference activities in Australia to a level where they are supplanting terrorism as ASIO’s main concern in the next five years.

Champions of Change unveil 12 steps to boost women tech leaders
Australian Financial Review
@eyersj
The CEOs of Telstra and Microsoft are encouraging 252 fellow members of the Champions of Change Coalition to step up the co-ordination of programs that reduce gender discrimination in the digital economy. The coalition, which dropped “male” from its original title last year to reflect more women being involved in its campaigns, has announced 12 commitments to promote female leadership in the information technology sector, traditionally one of the most blokey. These include ensuring artificial intelligence algorithms avoid harmful gender stereotypes, targeting training on digital skills and hiring, protecting women during restructuring processes, and making gender equality expectations clear to contractors supplying contingent labour.

China

Apple Will Face Pressure to Store More Customer Data in China Under New Laws
The Information
@waynema
Apple could be the next target of new Chinese government rules forcing U.S. companies to store more user data in the country, analysts and legal experts say.

China Cuts Caixin From Approved Media, Curbing Influence
Bloomberg
China has expelled Caixin Media from an official list of news outlets that can be republished, a move that curtails the influence of one of the nation’s most liberal sources of information. The Cyberspace Administration of China announced an approved list of some 1,300 domestic media outlets, social media accounts and government agencies, banning internet news providers from using anything else.

China: The patriotic 'ziganwu' bloggers who attack the West
BBC
@tessa_wong
Guyanmuchan is among a new crop of bloggers known as the "ziganwu", whose rise in fame on Chinese social media has been inextricably linked with the ascendancy of Chinese nationalism. Their name refers to the infamous "wumao" army of trolls who are paid to spread state propaganda - but the difference is that the "ziganwu" do it for free. Their scathing posts and videos, shared by tens of thousands of fans, often criticise Western countries and media outlets. Issues like feminism, human rights, multiculturalism, democracy which are deemed as Western influence "corrupting" Chinese society have also been scrutinised.

Universal Electronics  ended relationship with agency linked to Uyghur workers
Reuters
Universal Electronics Inc said on Wednesday it had ended its relationship with a staffing agency that hired Uyghur workers who were transported from China's Xinjiang province to a plant in southern China.

China is pushing a new Covid origin theory: Maine lobsters
NBC News
@oliviasolon @keirsimmons @amyperrettenbc
In mid-September, Marcel Schliebs, a disinformation researcher at the University of Oxford, spotted the emergence of a surprising coronavirus origin theory.

Huawei should dissolve, disperse and seed China’s high-tech future
The Economist
It is too prominent to be able to reinvent itself.

USA

Pranksters have already defaced Trump’s new social network
The Washington Post
@drewharwell
Former president Donald Trump and his team declared Wednesday night that they would soon launch a “media powerhouse” that would help them triumph in their long-running war against Big Tech. But within hours, pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the “donaldjtrump” account.

Oversight board condemns Facebook for withholding information on how it moderates VIPs
CNBC
@lauren_feiner
Facebook’s oversight board condemned the platform on Thursday for withholding relevant information about its content moderation system that was revealed by The Wall Street Journal through leaked documents.

How Many Users Does Facebook Have? The Company Struggles to Figure It Out
The Wall Street Journal
@samschech @JeffHorwitz
Internal research finds that new users with multiple accounts are undercounted, ‘very prevalent’; some are unintentional.

US Government warns of BlackMatter ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure
TripWire
@gcluley
The US Government has issued an alert to organisations about the threat posed by the BlackMatter ransomware group.

Huawei, SMIC suppliers received billions worth of licenses for U.S. goods -documents
Reuters
Suppliers to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and China's top chipmaker SMIC got billions of dollars worth of licenses from November through April to sell them goods and technology despite their being on a U.S. trade blacklist, documents seen by Reuters showed on Thursday.

FTC Staff Report Finds Many Internet Service Providers Collect Troves of Personal Data, Users Have Few Options to Restrict Use
Federal Trade Commission
Many internet service providers (ISPs) collect and share far more data about their customers than many consumers may expect—including access to all of their Internet traffic and real-time location data—while failing to offer consumers meaningful choices about how this data can be used, according to an FTC staff report on ISPs’ data collection and use practices.

Ransomware Gang Masquerades as Real Company to Recruit Tech Talent
The Wall Street Journal
@bobmcmillan
A criminal organization believed to have built the software that shut down a U.S. fuel pipeline has set up a fake company to recruit potential employees.

Seven years later, DHS set to roll out dramatic changes to system for hiring cyber pros
CyberScoop
@timstarks
The Cyber Talent Management System dispenses with traditional federal job classifications in place since 1949, changes how applicants prove themselves, ties pay increases to something other than longevity of service and much more. At a time when private sector organizations and government agencies struggle to recruit and retain cyber personnel, DHS officials and outside observers alike are hopeful the system will deliver results.

North-East Asia

Taiwan’s digital minister on China’s “digital authoritarianism”
Global Insider
@PoliticoRyan
Imagine a world in which middle schoolers fact check presidential debates and public officials publish transcripts of every conversation they have. That’s the world that Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister, has helped create, thereby fortifying Taiwan’s democracy even as it faces increasing threats from China. Tang tells POLITICO’s Ryan Heath what it’s like to govern and live in the shadow of China.

South Korean spy agency to support university program on counterespionage
North Korea News
@
chaewonjrn
South Korea’s state intelligence agency has agreed to work with a local university to support education programs in counterespionage and security, as the country continues to address cyber and other security threats from North Korea.

South & Central Asia

Security meet discusses cyberattacks from China
The Hindu
The rising cyberattacks from China on critical installations was discussed at the National Security Strategies Conference chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday.

Africa

New documents shed light on Amazon’s controversial Africa headquarters
Rest of World
@lmatsakis @PatrickEgwu6
The Cape Town development may not have met Amazon's requirements. So why was it chosen?

Misc

Seeking Secure, Private Conversations? Here Are Your Best Bets for Encrypted Communication.
New America
Pronoma Debnath
So which apps and services offer the strongest protection? Which messaging apps fall short by offering less than full end-to-end encryption? With so many tools for encrypted communications, which are the most important features? What security protections should users be looking for when deciding how they would like to communicate? When should users choose certain tools over others? Although these are complicated questions, there are a few basic factors that could help an average user choose one tool over another.

Sam Altman’s Worldcoin wants to scan eyeballs in exchange for crypto
TechCrunch
@lucasmtny
The startup, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Alex Blania, wants to put a crypto wallet (and some of their currency) onto every human’s smartphone, but in order to do so they have to build a way to determine whether someone is a unique human. Worldcoin is aiming to make their proof-of-personhood network in the least dystopian way possible. That being said, it still requires scanning a billion people’s eyeballs with a five-pound chromatic sphere called “The Orb”.

Events

Research

Ill Advice: A Case Study in Facebook’s Failure to Tackle COVID-19 Disinformation
ISD
Aoife Gallagher, Mackenzie Hart and Ciarán O’Connor
This report looks at Facebook’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 misinformation by analysing the online presence of a group called the World Doctors Alliance.

Jobs

ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for exceptional and experienced China-focused senior analysts or analysts to join its centre. This role will focus on original research and analysis centred around the (growing) range of topics which our ICPC China team work on. Our China team produces some of the most impactful and well-read policy-relevant research in the world, with our experts often being called upon by politicians, governments, corporates and civil society actors to provide briefings and advice. Analysts usually have at least 5 years, often 7-10 years’ of work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and, in addition to research, they take on a leadership role in the centre and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.

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