ACCC sues Telstra, Optus, TPG over NBN speed claims | China's tech crackdown widens to Tencent from Alibaba | NEW REPORT: Influence for hire: The Asia-Pacific’s online shadow economy
The ACCC is taking Telstra, Optus and TPG to court, hoping to exact a large enough penalty to prevent future misleading conduct. The consumer watchdog is suing Telstra, Optus and TPG over allegations the three telco operators misled hundreds of thousands of customers over NBN speeds. The Sydney Morning Herald.
Chinese authorities are cracking down harder on the country's tech titans of late, putting internet services company Tencent Holdings in their sights, after doing the same to e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding. Nikkei Asia.
A new policy report by ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre - 'Influence for Hire: The Asia-Pacific’s online shadow economy' - sheds new light on how the ‘influence for hire’ ecosystem operates across the Asia-Pacific region. ASPI ICPC
Influence for hire: The Asia-Pacific’s online shadow economy
@JakeWallis_ASPI @arielbogle @AlbertYZhang @hillarymansour5 @elena_yc_ho
Governments around the world are currently grappling with how to deal with disinformation-for-hire operations and cyber-enabled foreign interference. Australia is in the midst of a senate inquiry on foreign interference through social media, and in most countries, tackling this emerging online phenomenon has fallen down the cracks between intelligence, policing and policy agencies. And it’s not only nation-states that interfere in elections and manipulate political discourse. A range of commercial services increasingly engage in such activities, operating in a shadow online influence-for-hire economy that spans from content farms through to high-end PR agencies. An new policy report by ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre - 'Influence for Hire: The Asia-Pacific’s online shadow economy' - sheds new light on how the ‘influence for hire’ ecosystem operates across the Asia-Pacific region.
Growing online ‘influence-for-hire’ economy opens door for foreign interference: report
The Sydney Morning Herald
“What’s up with the BBC?” In November 2020, this hashtag – #AdaApaDenganBBC – began trending on Twitter in Indonesia. What may have seemed like an organic social media campaign was, in fact, a highly organised effort by vested interests to spread misinformation. More than 1200 tweets used the hashtag that day to criticise the British public broadcaster, in particular a BBC article that alleged fires had been deliberately lit to clear forests for palm oil in the province of Papua..A new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute examined a sample of accounts that used the BBC hashtag and found evidence they might be offering their services to various stakeholders. The report shines a light on a range of commercial services being used across the Asia-Pacific to promote disinformation. While foreign states are usually top of mind when commentators and governments talk about disinformation, the ASPI investigation suggests there is a shadow online “influence-for-hire” economy covering everything from content farms to high-end PR agencies.
‘Ethical hackers’ have tested Australia’s new online census system
In the lead-up to tomorrow’s census, cybersecurity specialists have been bombarding the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ online systems to see if they can be broken.
“How Xi Jinping’s New Era Should Have Ended U.S. Debate” With Peter Mattis
The Scholar's Stage
Joining me (Tanner Greer) to discuss this report is Peter Mattis. Mattis is a Senior Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and most recently was the Senate-appointed staff director at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, where he was part of the legislative team that passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, and the Tibetan Policy and Support Act.
At Least Two-Thirds of Global Car Sales Will Be Electric by 2040
Electric vehicle adoption is accelerating thanks to improvements in battery density and cost, more charging points, and government policies that make driving dirty cars more difficult. Still, if any country is going to meet its net-zero emissions targets in the next 30 years, more needs to be done to clean up road transportation.
Amazon, Walmart's Flipkart must face India antitrust probe, top court says
Amazon.com Inc and Walmart's Flipkart must face antitrust investigations ordered against them in India, the country's Supreme Court ruled on Monday, in a blow to the leading e-commerce giants which had urged judges to quash the inquiries. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered the investigation against the companies last year for allegedly promoting select sellers on their e-commerce platforms and using business practices that stifle competition.
If YouTube Algorithms Radicalize Users, Data Doesn’t Show It
New research tracking people’s behavior on the platform found that most don’t go down those ever-deepening rabbit holes.
‘We’re going in hard on this one’: ACCC sues Telstra, Optus, TPG over NBN speed claims
The Sydney Morning Herald
The ACCC is taking Telstra, Optus and TPG to court, hoping to exact a large enough penalty to prevent future misleading conduct. The consumer watchdog is suing Telstra, Optus and TPG over allegations the three telco operators misled hundreds of thousands of customers over NBN speeds. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has initiated separate legal proceedings against the three companies in the Federal Court, specifically related to guarantees they made about fibre-to-the-node connections between April 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020.
Optus under investigation for White Pages privacy breach
The Sydney Morning Herald
Regulators have opened an investigation into Optus for potential breaches of the Privacy Act, following an incident in which the telco accidentally sent off thousands of customers’ contact details to be published in the White Pages directory against their wishes.
Online account takeover bill faces 33 changes to pass parliament
PJCIS wants greater oversight, new assurances on use. Parliament’s intelligence and security committee has recommended a number of changes to proposed laws that would hand federal authorities unprecedented online account takeover powers.
Sky News Australia deletes dozens of videos promoting unproven Covid treatments
Sky News Australia has quietly deleted at least 31 videos that question the public health response to Covid-19 or promote unproven treatments as the broadcaster prepares for its chief executive, Paul Whittaker, to appear at a Senate inquiry on Friday, Guardian Australia can reveal.
China's tech crackdown widens to Tencent from Alibaba
Chinese authorities are cracking down harder on the country's tech titans of late, putting internet services company Tencent Holdings in their sights, after doing the same to e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding.
Read our new report: ‘Reining in China’s technology giants’
China’s tech tycoons lose $87bn of wealth after Beijing crackdown
Beijing’s regulatory assault on China’s technology industry has lopped $87bn off the net worth of the sector’s wealthiest tycoons since the start of July, hitting the fortunes of magnates such as Tencent’s Pony Ma and Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang. The combined net worth of the two dozen Chinese billionaires in tech and biotechnology whose holdings are tracked by Bloomberg has dropped by 16 per cent since ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing went public in the US at the end of June, according to Financial Times calculations.
Beijing’s Tech Crackdown Doesn’t Slow Early-Stage Chinese VCs
Beijing’s regulatory crackdown and a $1 trillion selloff of Chinese tech stocks haven’t stopped venture capitalists from making new investments in early-stage Chinese startups.
Sexual-Assault Allegation at Alibaba Triggers Outrage, Investigation
The Wall Street Journal
An allegation of sexual assault against a manager at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has sparked a firestorm of public criticism, prompting Chief Executive Daniel Zhang to intervene in a situation that has stirred questions about sexual harassment in Chinese workplaces.
Chinese regulators meet with delivery firms, call for stronger labour rights
China's delivery platform companies including Meituan and Alibaba's Ele.me recently joined a meeting with government regulators on improving safety and labour rights for delivery workers. Food delivery platforms, in the spotlight due to China's regulatory reforms, have attracted severe criticism on social media for their treatment of delivery workers, most of whom are not covered by basic social and medical insurance.
China has stolen enough data to compile a 'dossier' on every American
Top national security officials for former President Donald Trump are sounding the alarm about China's illicit pursuit of data through cyber theft and other means, with one warning the sensitive information is enough for them to put together a “dossier” on every American adult. Matthew Pottinger, a former Trump deputy national security adviser, warned during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday that China was looking to use the data it had stolen from the United States and worldwide to influence and coerce everyone from political leaders to private citizens.
China’s ByteDance aims for Hong Kong IPO despite tech crackdown
@mjruehl @Tabby_Kinder @MilesKruppa
ByteDance, the owner of short-video app TikTok, has revived a plan to go public despite a widening regulatory assault targeting Chinese technology companies, aiming for a Hong Kong listing by early next year. The Chinese group, which raised about $5bn in December at a $180bn valuation, is planning to list in either the fourth quarter of this year or early 2022, said three people with knowledge of the company’s plans.
Chinese state media blames video streaming for ‘unhealthy fan culture’
Chinese state media blames video streaming for "unhealthy fan culture." An article by People’s Daily took aim at the country’s video providers.
Apple keeps shutting down employee-run survey on pay equity — and labor laws say it's illegal.
Apple insists it does not have a problem with pay inequality. Skeptical Apple employees have been trying to verify that claim by sending out informal surveys on how much people make, particularly as it relates to women and underrepresented minorities. But the company has shut down three of those surveys, citing stringent rules on how employees can collect data. Now, multiple labor lawyers tell The Verge the company may be violating worker protections: the surveys can be considered a form of labor organizing — under US law, employees have the right to discuss pay.
Apple says it will refuse gov’t demands to expand photo-scanning beyond CSAM
Apple today said it will refuse any government demands to expand its new photo-scanning technology beyond the current plan of using it only to detect CSAM (child sexual abuse material).
Twitter’s racist algorithm is also ageist, ableist and Islamaphobic, researchers find
Twitter hosted an effort at Def Con to identify more flaws in the automated system, which went viral after it was found to focus on white people and crop out Black people.
How cryptocurrency became a powerful force in Washington
And after years of debate over how to improve America’s infrastructure, and months of sensitive negotiations between the White House and lawmakers, the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal suddenly stalled in part because of concerns about how government would regulate an industry best known for wild financial speculation, memes — and its role in ransomware attacks.
U.S. Steps Up Pressure on Businesses Over Forced Labor in China
The Wall Street Journal
U.S. lawmakers and Biden administration officials are stepping up pressure on American businesses to stop imports from the Western Chinese region of Xinjiang as Beijing’s alleged use of forced labor emerges as a top item on their bilateral trade agenda.
The FCC released a new broadband map that's actually pretty usable
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its brand new mobile broadband coverage map, which shows where people receive 4G LTE service from the nation’s four largest mobile wireless carriers: AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, UScellular, and Verizon. The map includes eight different layers for each carrier's broadband and voice coverage, which are all accurate as of May 15, 2021, Endgadget reported.
Samsung’s de facto leader, imprisoned for bribery, will be paroled.
The New York Times
Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the Samsung conglomerate, who was imprisoned for bribery, will be released on parole on Friday, the Ministry of Justice of South Korea said on Monday.
New Zealand & The Pacific
Universities tweak relationships with China to protect academic freedom and autonomy
As Covid disrupts international education and research, a quiet but significant shift is happening on our campuses. Laura Walters looks at what universities are doing to protect sensitive IP and their own academic integrity. Last year, New Zealand’s universities renewed their Confucius Institute agreements with the Chinese Communist Party.
Investigation Sheds Light on Aotearoa’s Largest Neo-Nazi Group
Critic Te Arohi’s undercover investigation into Action Zealandia, the largest white supremacist group in Aotearoa, revealed information including the organisation’s recent activities, internal membership structure, links to other neo-Nazi groups, and strategic plans for the future. The group has been active for just over two years.
South and Central Asia
India, France to launch Space Security Dialogue to protect space assets
India and France are soon set to launch a Space Security Dialogue at the heart of which is protecting space assets like satellites.
Fears over Chinese spying lead to calls for UK ban on DiDi Global ride-hailing app
MPs are calling for a ride-hailing app based in Beijing to be blocked from launching in Britain amid concerns that users’ data will be harvested by Chinese spies.
Gender and Women in Cyber
Activision Blizzard scandal a ‘watershed moment’ for women in the gaming industry
For women at Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s most famous video game companies, showing up to work meant navigating near daily episodes of humiliation, sexual harassment, and even physical abuse, according to a bombshell lawsuit that has prompted a reckoning within the gaming industry.
Digital transformation depends on diversity
We have an opportunity to apply AI and machine learning to propel the future and do good. That begins with diverse teams that reflect the full diversity and rich perspectives of our world.
How Twilio is moving beyond a diversity numbers game toward becoming an anti-racist company
When George Floyd was murdered in May 2020, it set off a firestorm of protests and shed a bright hot spotlight on the issues of racism in America and elsewhere. As a response, many companies gave messages of support to people of color, yet have failed to make substantive change since that time.
Twitter's Photo-Cropping Algorithm Favors Young, Thin Females
In May, Twitter said that it would stop using an artificial intelligence algorithm found to favor white and female faces when auto-cropping images. Now, an unusual contest to scrutinize an AI program for misbehavior has found that the same algorithm, which identifies the most important areas of an image, also discriminates by age and weight, and favors text in English and other Western languages.
Opinion | TikTok, YouTube and Facebook Want to Appear Trustworthy. Don’t Be Fooled.
The New York Times
Despite its posture as a transparent, trustworthy platform, however, TikTok suffers from some of the same afflictions as its peers do. In June, Mozilla reported that political ads, banned on TikTok, are stealthily infiltrating the platform and masquerading as organic content. It took a team of my colleagues conducting in-depth research with technical tools to expose this.
How to Fight Burnout, Turnover in Cybersecurity Industry
Cybersecurity pros are burning out faster than ever, with security teams facing increasing turnover. A rise in threats and blurring of boundaries between home and life amid the pandemic hasn't helped. Insider spoke to activists trying to push cyber-pros and employers to prioritize mental health.
Journal for Crime, Justice & Social Democracy @CrimJustJournalNew #OpenAccess article: @ausma_b empirical findings to demonstrate how #surveillance technology sales to #police and public security agencies have been bolstered by the global regulatory trade environment https://t.co/2B93ImrclB https://t.co/0OZd33Xfxx
ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
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.