ASPI report: Benchmarking critical technologies | China targets journalists, foreign students with planned new surveillance system | Twitter’s Jack Dorsey steps down from C.E.O. role
Technology policy formulation has recently gained a renewed importance for governments in the era of strategic competition, but contextual understanding and expertise in deciding where to focus efforts are lacking. This new ASPI ICPC report fills that gap by benchmarking critical technologies to help build an evidence base for an informed critical technologies strategy. ASPI
Security officials in one of China's largest provinces have commissioned a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other "suspicious people", documents reviewed by Reuters showed. Reuters
Jack Dorsey stepped down on Monday as chief executive of Twitter, the social media site he co-founded in 2006 and guided through the tumultuous years of the Trump administration and increasing calls for regulation from lawmakers around the world. The New York Times
Benchmarking critical technologies
Kitsch Liao, Dr Samantha Hoffman, Karly Winkler
Technology policy formulation has recently gained a renewed importance for governments in the era of strategic competition, but contextual understanding and expertise in deciding where to focus efforts are lacking. As a result, decision-makers might not understand their own national strengths and weaknesses. It’s difficult to judge whether a country’s R&D outputs, no matter how advanced, and its development of production capacity, no matter how significant, align with the country’s intended strategic objectives or can be used effectively to achieve them.
Months-long Interpol crackdown nets more than 1,000 online fraud arrests
An Interpol operation to combat online fraud concluded with the arrests of 1,003 people and the interception of $27 million in illicit funds, according to the international police organization, which conducted the crackdown alongside 20 countries.
PM’s social media bill won’t stop trolls, but it will help the powerful seek revenge
Days after a senior minister successfully sued an unemployed activist for a six-word tweet, Scott Morrison and his Attorney-General Michaelia Cash proudly fronted up to talk about a scheme that promises to make it easier to pursue online anonymous accounts for defamation. An increase in malicious text messages in recent months has been described as a ""tsunami"", with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) receiving tens of thousands of reports of scams.
Social media companies could soon be forced to end anonymity for online trolls. But will this stop the trolling?
Courts will be allowed to force companies to hand over the identities of users to aid defamation cases, bringing order to the online ""Wild West"", the Prime Minister said on Sunday. But experts say the premise of the legislation is deeply flawed and won't curb rates of online bullying. So what evidence is there that stripping users of their anonymity makes them less aggressive to others online?
Government considering publicly funded legal services to enforce proposed anti-trolling laws
The Sydney Morning Herald
Lisa Visentin, Nick Bonyhady
A taxpayer-funded community legal centre model could be used by the federal government to back defamation actions launched by private citizens under proposed anti-trolling laws to be released this week.
Australia challenges Facebook to back anti-troll defamation law
Facebook Inc will show it has no interest in making the online world safe if it quits Australia over laws holding it liable for defamation on its platform, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. In the latest of several attempts to hold global internet companies to greater account for content on their platforms, Australia plans to make them share the identities of people with anonymous accounts if another person accuses them of defamation.
Federal government announces regulatory changes to combat scam text messages
Telecommunications companies will soon be able to block scam text messages from being sent in the first place, thanks to regulatory changes by the government.
An increase in malicious text messages in recent months has been described as a "tsunami", with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) receiving tens of thousands of reports of scams.
Telcos to use artificial intelligence to block scam text messages to save Australians millions of dollars
The West Australian
The draft legislation is aimed at forcing social media companies to unmask anonymous trolls who defame people online, with the federal government indicating it was prepared to financially back test cases in the courts.
Australia needs a sovereign ICT capability
Information and communications technology, encompassing digital services and infrastructure, cybersecurity and software, is ubiquitous throughout the economy and society. As the digital transformation gathers pace, the number and complexity of ICT services is accelerating.
Revenue NSW’s automated system took fines from people’s bank accounts
The Sydney Morning Herald
The state’s debt-collection agency unlawfully used an automated system to claw back unpaid fines from financially vulnerable people, in some cases emptying bank accounts and leaving them unable to buy food or pay rent. NSW Ombudsman Paul Miller has called for greater transparency in the government’s use of artificial intelligence after Revenue NSW was found to have used the technology to issue garnishee orders, without an authorised person ever overseeing it.
Chinese province targets journalists, foreign students with planned new surveillance system
Security officials in one of China's largest provinces have commissioned a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other "suspicious people", documents reviewed by Reuters showed.
China surveillance of journalists to use 'traffic-light' system
The Chinese province of Henan is building a surveillance system with face-scanning technology that can detect journalists and other ""people of concern"". Documents seen by BBC News describe a system that classifies journalists into a ""traffic-light"" system - green, amber and red.
Chinese CCTV cameras monitoring Britons in more than 275,000 separate networks are identified at five Uighur internment camps
Surveillance cameras made by firms monitoring the movements of Britons in more than 275,000 separate networks have been identified at five Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
A ‘Simpsons’ Episode Lampooned Chinese Censorship. In Hong Kong, It Vanished.
The New York Times
An episode of “The Simpsons” that ridicules Chinese government censorship appears to have been censored on Disney’s newly launched streaming service in Hong Kong, adding to fears about the shrinking space for free expression and criticism in this city.
China c.bank gives go-ahead to credit-scoring venture backed by Ant, state firms
China's central bank said on Friday it had accepted the application to set up a personal credit-scoring joint venture backed by Alibaba's fintech affiliate Ant Group and other firms.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Steps Down From C.E.O. Role
The New York Times
Kate Conger, Lauren Hirsch
Jack Dorsey stepped down on Monday as chief executive of Twitter, the social media site he co-founded in 2006 and guided through the tumultuous years of the Trump administration and increasing calls for regulation from lawmakers around the world.
As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash
The New York Times
Universities in the United States once welcomed the best and brightest scientific talents from around the world. But government officials have become increasingly suspicious that scientists like Dr. Hu are exploiting the openness of American institutions to steal sensitive taxpayer-funded research at the behest of the Chinese government. It’s had a chilling effect across campuses that scientists and university administrators say has slowed research and contributed to a flow of talent out of the United States that may benefit Beijing.
China blowback looms for Schumer’s Innovation and Competition Act
Phelim Kine, Gavin Bade
After months of discord and delay, the House will soon be moving ahead on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s China-targeted $250 billion U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, bolstered by a bipartisan consensus that the U.S. government needs to act decisively to better compete with China. But Beijing isn’t taking this lying down: Its officials have warned that reprisals are coming, should the bill become law, and experts caution that the effect could be severe on key U.S. economic sectors.
FBI Document Says the Feds Can Get Your WhatsApp Data — in Real Time
As Apple and WhatsApp have built themselves into multibillion-dollar behemoths, they’ve done it while preaching the importance of privacy, especially when it comes to secure messaging. But in a previously unreported FBI document obtained by Rolling Stone, the bureau claims that it’s particularly easy to harvest data from Facebook’s WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage services, as long as the FBI has a warrant or subpoena. Judging by this document, “the most popular encrypted messaging apps iMessage and WhatsApp are also the most permissive,” according to Mallory Knodel, the chief technology officer at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Seoul wants to build a metaverse. A virtual New Year’s Eve ceremony will kick it off.
The Washington Post
At an October conference hosted by the city of Seoul, the mayor was dressed in a patterned green suit jacket and a dark tie, his hair neatly combed. But Oh Se-hoon was not really there. Instead he attended as his avatar, and the conference was held in the “metaverse,” a communal, virtual space, seen by many as the next frontier of the Internet, where users interact using avatars.
UK regulator set to block Meta's Giphy deal
The UK competition regulator is expected to block Meta Platforms' acquisition of online GIF platform Giphy in the coming days, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The Competition and Markets Authority is set to reverse the deal in what would be the first time the watchdog has reversed a Big Tech acquisition, the report said, citing individuals close to the matter.
US facial recognition firm faces £17m UK fine for ‘serious breaches’
A US company that gathered photos of people from Facebook and other social media sites for use in facial recognition by its clients is facing a £17m fine after the Information Commissioner’s Office found it had committed “serious breaches” of data protection law.
ICO issues provisional view to fine Clearview AI Inc over £17 million
Information Commissioner's Office
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has today announced its provisional intent to impose a potential fine of just over £17 million on Clearview AI Inc – a company that describes itself as the ‘World’s Largest Facial Network’. In addition, the ICO has issued a provisional notice to stop further processing of the personal data of people in the UK and to delete it following alleged serious breaches of the UK’s data protection laws.
Hackers plant card-stealing malware on website that sells baron and duke titles
A threat actor has hacked the website of the Principality of Sealand, a micronation in the North Sea, and planted malicious code on its web store, which the government is using to sell baron, count, duke, and other nobility titles. Called a “web skimmer,” the malicious code allowed the hackers to collect user and payment card details for anyone who purchased products, such as nobility titles, from the country’s online store.
Europe's telcos want U.S. tech giants to help fund network costs
Foo Yun Chee
U.S. tech giants should bear some of the costs of developing Europe's telecoms networks because they use them so heavily, chief executives of Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and 11 other major European telecoms companies said on Monday.
Russia fines Google 3 million roubles for not deleting banned content
A Moscow court fined Alphabet Inc.'s Google 3 million roubles ($40,400) on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal, part of a wider dispute between Russia and the U.S. tech giant. Russia in October threatened to fine Google a percentage of its annual Russian turnover for repeatedly failing to delete banned content on its search engine and YouTube, in Moscow's strongest move yet to rein in foreign tech firms.
Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed
Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator Roskomnadzor told Reuters, as Moscow continues to make demands of Big Tech.
Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull says Huawei 5G would leave Canada’s networks vulnerable to China
The Globe and Mail
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who banned China’s Huawei Technologies from providing equipment for his country’s 5G wireless networks, says Canadians should ask themselves a question as they ponder whether to do the same: are they comfortable with leaving a vital piece of infrastructure vulnerable to the Chinese government?
Hunt for the ‘Blood Diamond of Batteries’ Impedes Green Energy Push
The New York Times
Dionne Searcey, Eric Lipton
Dangerous mining conditions plague Congo, home to the world’s largest supply of cobalt, a key ingredient in electric cars. A leadership battle threatens reforms.
Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars
The New York Times
On Friday afternoons this fall, top American news executives have dialed into a series of off-the-record Zoom meetings led by Harvard academics whose goal is to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.”
It’s Not Misinformation. It’s Amplified Propaganda.
One Sunday morning in July of last year, a message from an anonymous account appeared on “Bernie or Vest,” a Discord chat server for fans of Senator Bernie Sanders. It contained an image of Shahid Buttar, the San Francisco activist challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2020 congressional runoff, and offered explicit instructions for how to elevate the hashtag #PelosiMustGo to the nationwide Trending list on Twitter. “Shahid Says…,” read the large print, “Draft some tweets with #PelosiMustGo—don’t forget to capitalize #EachWord. Don’t use more than two hashtags—otherwise you’ll be marked as spam.” The call to action urged people to start posting at noon Pacific time, attach their favorite graphics, and like and retweet other Buttar supporters’ contributions.
Ways to make social media less ‘viral’
The Financial Times
In 2020, the two questions merged when the World Health Organization warned of an “infodemic” of misinformation about Covid. Fake news, it said, “spreads faster and more easily than this virus”.
Freedom Online Conference
Freedom Online Coalition
The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) is a group of 34 governments working together to support Internet freedom and protect fundamental human rights – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide. At its 10-year anniversary in 2021, the FOC continues to perform a range of crucial functions: issuing joint statements, sharing policy approaches to complex issues, exchanging views on strategy, engaging with Internet stakeholders and planning participation in relevant forums.
ICPC Analyst & Project Manager - Coercive diplomacy
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an Analyst and Project Manager to manage, and help lead, a project on coercive diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region... This new role will focus on analysis, workshops and stakeholder engagement centred around coercive diplomacy, including how countries in the Indo-Pacific can work together to tackle this complicated policy challenge.
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.