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AEC battles against Twitter posts that ‘incite violence’ and spread ‘disinformation’ ahead of voice | Canada blames border checkpoint outages on cyberattack | US spy bureau NSA ‘hacked Huawei HQ’
Good morning. It's Thursday 21st September.
The Australian Electoral Commission has struggled to get Twitter to remove posts that it says are inciting violence against staff and promoting disinformation about the electoral process ahead of the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum, documents reveal. The documents show Twitter repeatedly ruled that tweets referred by the AEC were not against its terms of service. The Guardian
A cyberattack suspected to be carried out by a pro-Russia hacking group reportedly resulted in widespread service disruptions at several Canadian airports. The Canada Border Services Agency confirmed to Recorded Future News that the connectivity issues that affected check-in kiosks and electronic gates at airports last week are the result of a distributed denial of service attack. Such attacks work by flooding systems with junk traffic, disrupting their operations. The Record by Recorded Future
Nearly a decade after documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the US National Security Agency hacked the servers of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Beijing has officially acknowledged the attack. A Ministry of State Security report published on Wednesday said the NSA, through its Office of Tailored Access Operations, “repeatedly carried out systematic and platform-based attacks” on China in an attempt to steal its “important data resources”. South China Morning Post
AEC struggles to get Twitter to remove posts that ‘incite violence’ and spread ‘disinformation’ ahead of voice
The Australian Electoral Commission has struggled to get Twitter to remove posts that it says are inciting violence against staff and promoting disinformation about the electoral process ahead of the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum, documents reveal. The documents show Twitter repeatedly ruled that tweets referred by the AEC were not against its terms of service.
Pizza Hut Australia hack: data breach exposes customer information and order details
Pizza Hut’s Australian operations have been hit by a cyber-attack, the company says, with customer data including delivery addresses and order details stolen in the hack. In an email to customers on Wednesday, Pizza Hut Australia’s chief executive, Phil Reed, said the company became aware in early September that there had been “unauthorised third party” access to some of the company’s data.
Labor urged to include news outlets in social media crackdown to curb ‘dangerous’ misinformation
The Albanese government has been urged to remove the “professional news content” exemption from its crackdown on misinformation on social media, amid concerns that news coverage of the voice and Covid has spread false information and lies. The draft bill would allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) to require social media companies to toughen their policies on content that is “false, misleading or deceptive, and where the provision of that content on the service is reasonably likely to cause or contribute to serious harm”.
China’s top memory chip maker YMTC forges closer ties with domestic supplier to replace US parts, sources say
South China Morning Post
China’s top memory chip maker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp is forging closer ties with domestic tool suppliers in an urgent bid to replace US components in its manufacturing equipment, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Wuhan-based company has recently intensified discussions and cooperation with Chinese semiconductor equipment makers, including a major Beijing-based company, to develop and produce replacements for crucial parts widely used in its equipment made by US firm Lam Research, according to the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Huawei unit ships Chinese-made surveillance chips in fresh comeback sign
A Huawei Technologies unit is shipping new Chinese-made chips for surveillance cameras in a fresh sign the Chinese tech giant is finding ways around four years of U.S. export controls, two sources briefed on the unit's efforts said. The shipments to surveillance camera manufacturers from the company's HiSilicon chip design unit started this year, according to one of the sources, and a third source familiar with the industry supply chain. One of the sources briefed on the unit said at least some of the customers were Chinese.
Huawei's Meng stresses commitment to AI development
Huawei Technologies deputy chairwoman Meng Wanzhou outlined the Chinese company's commitment to artificial intelligence development in a speech delivered Wednesday, pledging to build a "computing backbone" for China. But in her keynote address at the annual Huawei Connect industry event in Shanghai, she apparently did not make any mention of Huawei's new Mate 60 Pro smartphone, believed to have 5G capabilities despite U.S. tech sanctions imposed on the company.
Chinese satellite ground stations installed on disputed South China Sea reefs
South China Morning Post
China has built two ground stations for its BeiDou satellite system on disputed South China Sea reefs, according to state television. The stations, connected to China’s land-based ship automatic identification system, are installed at lighthouses located on North Reef and Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taipei. They use the BeiDou satellite network – completed in 2020 as a rival to the US global positioning system – to locate the vessels and transmit signals, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Tuesday.
How China uses shipping for surveillance and control
Elaine Dezenski and David Rader
Ninety percent of the world’s trade is shipped by sea, bringing finished goods, components, and commodities to markets around the globe. But maritime trade is not only critically important—it’s also fragile, easily disrupted by pandemics, port bottlenecks, or large ships getting stuck in canals. While maritime embargoes during wartime have been a staple of conflicts since the days of the Spanish Armada, today’s warfare won’t require a flotilla to keep essential goods from reaching their destination. Instead, adversaries can paralyze shipping by weaponizing information. The Chinese government has spent the past three decades trying to gain access and influence in the open seas, strategic shipping lanes, and foreign ports in Asia and around the globe.
US spy bureau NSA ‘hacked Huawei HQ’: China confirms Snowden leak
South China Morning Post
Nearly a decade after documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the US National Security Agency hacked the servers of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Beijing has officially acknowledged the attack. A Ministry of State Security report published on Wednesday said the NSA, through its Office of Tailored Access Operations, “repeatedly carried out systematic and platform-based attacks” on China in an attempt to steal its “important data resources”.
White House told U.S. ambassador to Japan to stop taunting China on social media
Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube, Peter Nicholas
President Joe Biden’s aides have asked that Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, stop posting messages on social media taunting Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to three administration officials.Officials at the National Security Council told Emanuel's staff in recent days that his comments risk undermining the administration’s efforts to mend deeply strained relations with China, including with a possible meeting this fall between Biden and Xi, according to the officials.
FTC nominees urge Congress to pass federal data privacy law
A trio of nominees to the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday it is crucial that Congress pass a federal privacy bill, even as the agency they are nominated to lead is looking to take stronger action on privacy issues. Speaking at their confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday, the two Republican nominees and one re-nominated Democrat all said that it is up to Congress, not the agency, to pass new regulations on growing concerns about privacy, data brokers, and artificial intelligence.
Donald Trump Jr.’s social media account on X is hacked, false tweets posted
One of Donald Trump Jr.’s social media accounts was hacked Wednesday and began sending out false tweets, his political advisor said. One of the posts from the X account of Trump Jr. falsely said his father, former President Donald Trump, had died, and that the younger Trump now was running for president. X formerly was known as Twitter. Another tweet that blasted President Joe Biden contained profanity and a racial slur.
Canada blames border checkpoint outages on cyberattack
The Record by Recorded Future
A cyberattack suspected to be carried out by a pro-Russia hacking group reportedly resulted in widespread service disruptions at several Canadian airports. The Canada Border Services Agency confirmed to Recorded Future News that the connectivity issues that affected check-in kiosks and electronic gates at airports last week are the result of a distributed denial of service attack. Such attacks work by flooding systems with junk traffic, disrupting their operations.
South & Central Asia
Bangladesh revised a digital security law. Is it really less severe?
Rest of World
Durga M Sengupta
Ahead of elections in January 2024, Bangladesh’s Parliament has passed the Cyber Security Act. It replaces a controversial law enacted in 2018, which allowed creators to be arrested for social media posts that were critical of the government or deemed to hurt religious sentiments. But nobody’s quite convinced that the new law is less “draconian.”
France reforms EV subsidy to freeze out China-made cars
The French government is redefining its electric vehicle subsidy criteria under a new law designed to exclude Chinese-made cars. Buyers of electric vehicles in France are eligible for a cash incentive of up to 5,000 euros ($5,360) but the government is now narrowing the criteria for its "green bonus." Details will be published later on Tuesday or on Wednesday about the method for calculating an environmental score, which is intended indirectly to limit Chinese car imports under the government's "Green Industry" plan.
Meta targeted for fresh UK gov’t warning against E2E encryption for Messenger, Instagram
Hot on the heels of securing parliament’s approval for its Online Safety Bill yesterday, the UK government is amping up pressure on Meta not to roll out end-to-end-encryption on Facebook Messenger and Instagram — unless it applies unspecified “safety measures” which the Home Secretary said should allow law enforcement to continue to detect child sexual abuse material at the same time as protecting user privacy.
Suella Braverman urges Meta not to 'go dark' detecting online child abuse
Ms Braverman called on Meta to work with the government and enable police officers to "access online fora, acquire data and build investigations". She accused the company - which is behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp - of failing to provide assurances that underage users will be protected from predators amid the rollout of end-to-end encryption on its platforms. It comes after a similar intervention in July, when Ms Braverman wrote to Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg expressing her concerns about the planned rollout.
Chinese spies infected dozens of networks with thumb drive malware
For much of the cybersecurity industry, malware spread via USB drives represents the quaint hacker threat of the past decade—or the one before that. But a group of China-backed spies appears to have figured out that global organizations with staff in developing countries still keep one foot in the technological past, where thumb drives are passed around like business cards and internet cafés are far from extinct. Over the past year, those espionage-focused hackers have exploited this geographic time warp to bring retro USB malware back to dozens of victims’ networks. At the mWise security conference today, researchers from cybersecurity firm Mandiant revealed that a China-linked hacker group they’re calling UNC53 has managed to hack at least 29 organizations around the world since the beginning of last year using the old-school approach of tricking their staff into plugging malware-infected USB drives into computers on their networks. While those victims span the United States, Europe, and Asia, Mandiant says many of the infections appear to originate from multinational organizations’ Africa-based operations, in countries including Egypt, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, and Madagascar.
Elon Musk woos world leaders, courting controversy
He is "very impressed" with Emmanuel Macron. Narendra Modi can count him as "a fan". And Benjamin Netanyahu just dropped in to see him. A parade of foreign leaders on recent US trips, including on official state visits at the White House's invitation, have added sit-downs with Elon Musk to their schedules. This year, the world's richest man has met with, to name a few, the heads of France, Italy, India, South Korea - and, in just the past two days, Turkey and Israel. Yet while the mercurial billionaire is more highly sought after than ever, there is no love lost between him and the Biden administration. And as the outspoken contrarian's political reach expands, including by wading into sensitive geopolitical issues, there is growing unease for some over Mr Musk's power and access.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink approved to recruit humans for brain-implant trial
Elon Musk’s brain-implant startup, Neuralink, said it has received approval from an independent review board to begin recruiting patients for its first human trial. The company is seeking people with paralysis to test its experimental device in a six-year study.
Franzen, Grisham and other prominent authors sue OpenAI
The New York Times
Alexandra Alter, Elizabeth A. Harris
A group of prominent novelists, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen and Elin Hilderbrand, are joining the legal battle against OpenAI over its chatbot technology, as fears about the encroachment of artificial intelligence on creative industries continue to grow. More than a dozen authors filed a lawsuit against OpenAI on Tuesday, accusing the company, which has been backed with billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft, of infringing on their copyrights by using their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot.
Emerging AI risks require vigilance from in-house legal counsel
As companies have raced to embrace artificial intelligence tools, the legal pitfalls have become one of the hottest issues for general counsels to handle. But lawyers insist that many legal maxims — from client privacy to absolute accuracy — endure in the AI era. Until recently, lawyers showed little concern for AI. Thomson Reuters polled corporate legal departments in 2017 and found many people were unfamiliar with the software and not too interested in trying it.
OpenAI unveils better image generator, DALL-E 3, as AI arms race deepens
The Washington Post
OpenAI on Wednesday began previewing a new version of its DALL-E tool, which creates images from written prompts, and announced plans to integrate it into its popular ChatGPT chatbot, increasing the reach of a controversial technology at a time when lawmakers are calling for more restraint. The new tool, called DALL-E 3, offers improved understanding of users’ commands and is better at rendering legible and coherent text into images, a well-known weakness in AI image generators.
Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and more conversational’ Alexa amid AI race among tech companies
Amazon has unveiled a slew of gadgets and an update to its popular voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with more generative AI features to better compete with other tech companies who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots. During a demonstration at the company’s second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, Amazon’s devices chief Dave Limp said the latest language model will allow consumers to have more human-like conversations with a “smarter and more conversational” Alexa.
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