Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China | Twitter will hand @POTUS to Biden, even if Trump doesn’t concede | Fake Zoom invite cripples Aussie hedge fund with $8m hit
Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a bill aimed at preventing forced labor in China, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights. The Washington Post
The presidential @POTUS Twitter handle will automatically transfer to President-elect Joe Biden the moment he’s sworn in at noon on Inauguration Day - whether or not President Donald Trump has conceded, the company confirmed to POLITICO on Friday. Same goes for @whitehouse, @VP, @FLOTUS, and a handful other official accounts associated with the presidency. POLITICO
A Sydney hedge fund has collapsed after a cyber attack triggered by a fake Zoom invitation saw its trustee and administrator mistakenly approve $8.7 million in fraudulent invoices. Australian Financial Review
Mapping China's Tech Giants website Feedback
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China's tech authoritarianism too big to contain
Samantha Hoffman, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre said liberal democracies must coordinate if they want to address China’s “tech-enhanced authoritarianism.” That means avoiding a narrow public debate on spying, she said, and focusing instead on fundamental research (to avoid relying on tech developed in China) and more internationally agreed standards (so that China does not set the standards themselves).
How to spot a deepfake, according to experts who clocked the fake persona behind the Hunter Biden dossier
"Key giveaways for GAN-created faces tend to be vague, out of focus backgrounds, or weird textures," said Elise Thomas, the researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who first outed Aspen as an AI fraud. “Sometimes they look like they're borrowed from other things," she added. "Like a shirt which looks like it has the texture of the plant." Aspen's odd green clothes were a dead giveaway.
Read ASPI ICPC's report 'Weaponised deep fakes' here.
Opinion: The pandemic has made us even more dependent on a highly invasive technological ecosystem
The Globe and Mail
When it comes to digital technologies and COVID-19, by far the vast majority of discussion has focused on contact-tracing applications. Although important, this narrow focus has obscured more fundamental and far-reaching effects at the intersection of digital technology, surveillance and pandemic response. While we fixate on the merits of this or that app, we’ve been missing out on an entire landscape shifting beneath our feet. Largely without public debate - and absent any new safeguards - we’ve become even more dependent on a technological ecosystem that is notoriously insecure, poorly regulated, highly invasive and prone to serial abuse.
Covid-19 is accelerating the surveillance state The Strategist
Fake Zoom invite cripples Aussie hedge fund with $8m hit
Australian Financial Review
@AngusGrigg Jemima Whyte
A Sydney hedge fund has collapsed after a cyber attack triggered by a fake Zoom invitation saw its trustee and administrator mistakenly approve $8.7 million in fraudulent invoices.
Victoria police refuses to reveal how many young people tracked using secretive data tool
Fears young people from culturally diverse backgrounds are being disproportionately targeted.
Scott Morrison won't commit to compensation for Robodebt victims
The New Daily
The 400,000 Australians unwittingly caught up in the Robodebt scandal will get little more than their own money finally paid back, after Scott Morrison appeared to rule out any further compensation for people hounded over unlawful debts.
Nasal spray which could fight Covid and other respiratory infections gets funding
The INNA-051 nasal treatment, developed by the Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory, targets the primary site of most respiratory infections, including Covid, and activates immune defence mechanisms in the respiratory tract. The technology could help fight coronavirus and other infections such as influenza and the common cold.
Department of Industry stands up Australian Public Service Blockchain Network
Speaking at the Digital Transformation Agency's 2020 Digital Summit on Thursday, Chloe White, who is part of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources' Emerging Technologies team, said a group comprised of a bunch of government blockchain users has been focused on continuing to build capability in blockchain within government.
Survey says Australian companies adopting multi-cloud more likely to pay ransom
A new survey has revealed Australian organisations that operate multi-cloud infrastructures run a greater risk of being exposed to a ransomware attack and are more likely to pay hackers to retrieve their data in the event of one. The survey - which was conducted in September 2020 and includes responses from 150 Australians senior IT executives from companies of 1,000 employees or more - also showed that a business with complex cloud architectures was likely to hinder how quickly they recover from a ransomware attack.
Australian 2021 Census preparation gets marginal pass mark from auditor
The Australian National Audit Office has labelled the preparation for the 2021 Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as "Partly effective". "The failure of multiple IT controls during the 2016 Census reinforced the need for the ABS to implement robust planning arrangements for the 2021 Census including for cyber security, procurement, and review recommendations. An audit of the ABS' preparedness for the 2021 Census would provide assurance on whether the ABS is on track to delivering its objectives for the Census," ANAO said in explaining the rationale behind its audit.
Cyber, data, identity: Canberra's approach to delivering an 'integrated urban plan'
Home Affairs and DTA bosses detail the government's plan for how the public service will 'get its act together' and get rid of the silos that currently plague 180-plus 'cities and towns' within Canberra. Pezzullo discussed how exactly the government hoped to achieve this, focusing on three elements: Cyber, data, and identity.
Analysis: Xi's message to Jack Ma, 'You're nothing but a cloud'
For his part, Ma has stayed away from politics. Unlike the founders of Tencent, Baidu and other tech giants, he is not a member of China's "two sessions," the annual gathering of the national legislature and the top political advisory body. That said, his business empire's rapid growth, to a certain extent, has been protected by his political connections. Ma has relatively close relationships with former President Jiang Zemin, who led the so-called Shanghai faction, his right-hand man former Vice President Zeng Qinghong and the people around them.
Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China
The Washington Post
Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a bill aimed at preventing forced labor in China, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights.
Read ASPI ICPC’s report ‘Uyghurs for Sale’ here.
Twitter will hand @POTUS to Biden on Inauguration Day, even if Trump doesn’t concede
The presidential @POTUS Twitter handle will automatically transfer to President-elect Joe Biden the moment he’s sworn in at noon on Inauguration Day - whether or not President Donald Trump has conceded, the company confirmed to POLITICO on Friday. Same goes for @whitehouse, @VP, @FLOTUS, and a handful other official accounts associated with the presidency.
Airbnb Executive Resigned Last Year Over Chinese Request for More Data Sharing
Wall Street Journal
A high-profile hire for Airbnb, Mr. Joyce grew alarmed during his tenure that the company wasn’t being fully transparent about the data it shares with the ruling Chinese Communist Party government, including for Americans traveling in the country, these people say. He also was concerned about what he viewed as Airbnb’s willingness to consider more expansive data requests from China, the people familiar said. Airbnb has told users since 2016 that it shares information with Chinese authorities, according to a review of its communications. Even so, Mr. Joyce believed most people using the platform weren’t aware of the extent of the data shared, which included phone numbers, email addresses and messages between users and the company, two of these people said.
How Steve Bannon and a Chinese Billionaire Created a Right-Wing Coronavirus Media Sensation
The New York Times
@amyyqin @vwang3 @dannyhakim
Increasingly allied, the American far right and members of the Chinese diaspora tapped into social media to give a Hong Kong researcher a vast audience for peddling unsubstantiated pandemic claims.
In Praise of Chris Krebs
@Susan_Hennessey @rohini_kurup @benjaminwittes
Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was able to serve in a political position under President Trump without compromising his integrity. He made a significant contribution.
Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook over censorship requests
Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform, a senior official at the U.S. social media giant told Reuters.
Gender in Cyber
When AI Sees a Man, It Thinks 'Official.' A Woman? 'Smile'
When US and European researchers fed pictures of congressmembers to Google’s cloud image recognition service, the service applied three times as many annotations related to physical appearance to photos of women as it did to men. The top labels applied to men were “official” and “businessperson”; for women they were “smile” and “chin”.
Designed to Deceive: Do These People Look Real to You?
The New York Times
The people in this story may look familiar, like ones you’ve seen on Facebook or Twitter or Tinder. But they don’t exist. They were born from the mind of a computer, and the technology behind them is improving at a startling pace.
Can We Make Our Robots Less Biased Than We Are?
The New York Times
Dr. Howard, a leader of the organization Black in Robotics, and Dr. Borenstein wrote, “it is disconcerting that robot peacekeepers, including police and military robots, will, at some point, be given increased freedom to decide whether to take a human life, especially if problems related to bias have not been resolved.”
Technology and the truth: Novel approaches to combating misinformation
The big question that governments around the world are grappling with is how to regulate information systems, and specifically questionable content.
Democracies must team up to take on China in the technosphere
America has long dominated the world in information technology (IT). Its government, universities and enterprising spirit have provided it with decades of leadership in hardware and software. Its military drones, satellites and “system of systems” give its armed forces a powerful edge over those of any competitor. China, too, has digital resources in abundance, not least its huge population of 1.4bn, which means it will eventually boast an even deeper pool of data and experts to develop AI models.
Twitter fixing 'fleets' bug that showed messages after they disappeared
Twitter is still having a tough time rolling out its disappearing “fleets.” The social network confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s fixing a bug that let you see fleets after the 24-hour cutoff. If you used a set of leaked keys that allowed access to Twitter’s “firehose,” you could see and download expired fleets without letting the creator know you’d read them.
Brandy Zadrozny @BrandyZadroznyThe man who led Facebook's biggest (200K members), most odious, anti-vaxx, now-QAnon, Facebook group has just been ... banned from Facebook, he says. This is a big deal. https://t.co/Mra7bVGpMr https://t.co/Vfm2iQJlxk
IB 2020/29 China’s Media Strategy in the Pacific
Australian National University
Denghua Zhang @ahawatson
This paper analyses how China has both used its own media outlets and engaged with Pacific media organisations to ‘tell the China story’ in the region in recent years. It also briefly compares China’s media strategy with Australia’s. The research aims to enrich debates on China’s presence in the Pacific Islands region.
Senior Strategic Communications Manager
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has an outstanding opportunity for a highly experienced, strategic comms professional to contribute to the launch of a new, high profile global project. The Senior Strategic Communications Manager will be an integral member of a bespoke team that will liaise with the Australian government, foreign governments, industry and civil society to build up this exciting new project from scratch. The position will work closely with the Executive Director and the Institutes’s International Cyber Policy Centre.