Australian MPs urge Britain to ban Huawei I Student jailed in China over tweets I UN Warns Against the Global Threat to Elections

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  • Four Australian MPs and chairs of parliamentary committees have launched an unprecedented combined intervention into Britain's Huawei debate, urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow Australia's ban. Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie, Tim Wilson, James Paterson and Labor's Kimberley Kitching all issued statements to The Times of London explaining why Liberal and Labor Australian governments had banned the company from building the national broadband network and supplying the 5G rollout. The Sydney Morning Herald

  • A Chinese student at the University of Minnesota has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States. Axios

  • A new UN-sponsored report offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of the challenges to global electoral integrity posed by the onslaught of misinformation, online extremism, and social media manipulation campaigns. Wired


Chinese surveillance cameras removed due to security concerns
The Age
South Australia’s health department is removing Chinese-made closed-circuit cameras due to security concerns, but they remain in other government buildings across the country. Danielle Cave, deputy head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said state governments and businesses should be cautious about which companies they work with when it comes to surveillance systems. “One of the challenges of working with Chinese companies like Hikvision and Dahua is that these companies are not independent from the Chinese state,” she said.

The World

The UN Warns Against the Global Threat to Election Integrity
A new United Nations-sponsored report offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of the challenges to global electoral integrity posed by the onslaught of misinformation, online extremism, and social media manipulation campaigns, and calls for a series of reforms from platforms, politicians, and international governing bodies.


Four Australian MPs urge Britain to ban Huawei
The Sydney Morning Herald
Four Australian MPs and chairs of parliamentary committees have launched an unprecedented combined intervention into Britain's Huawei debate, urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow Australia's ban. But their calls came amid further signs Johnson is likely to rebuff pleas from Australia and the United States and allow the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer to supply some parts of the country's 5G network.

The Australian behind Clearview AI, a facial recognition software, says it is being used here
The Australian
@AlexTighe_ @julia_andre7
This statement has drawn the interest of Australian privacy commissioner Angelene Falk, who said she wanted to know whether the data of Australians had been collected. “It has caught my regulatory attention and I am making inquiries of Clearview AI to ascertain whether or not Australians' data is implicated," she told RN Breakfast.

Geopolitics in the age of cyber warfare
The effects of cyber warfare are not limited to the digital domain and can have real-world consequences. For instance, an attack on a hospital, or nuclear facility can cause injury or even worse loss of life. To navigate this new threat landscape, it is important to be able to control the cyber world just as allied forces seeks control in traditional domains, with air supremacy or command of the sea.


University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets
A University of Minnesota student has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a "national leader." Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government's attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.

Exporting China’s Social Credit System to Central Asia
The Diplomat
China has been busily creating an elaborate, digital system of governance since Xi Jinping came to power. This year, the social credit system is set to cover all corners of China. “In 2020, China will conduct a feasibility run for social credit system in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia,” Russian expert Dr. Vladimir Ovchinsky, a member of the Council on Foreign and Defence policy, said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda in December 2019.


Amazon battles Microsoft over military cloud
Amazon has asked a court to "pause" Microsoft's work on a multibillion dollar deal to provide cloud services to the US military. In a statement, Amazon's cloud division Amazon Web Services said: "It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending, and it's important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the Jedi award decision be reviewed.”

Clearview AI Says Its Facial Recognition Software Identified A Terrorism Suspect. The Cops Say That's Not True.
Buzzfeed News
@RMac18 @carolineha_ @_loganmcdonald
Clearview AI has crossed a boundary that no other tech company seemed willing to breach: building a database of what it claims to be more than 3 billion photos that can be used to identify a person in almost any situation. It’s raised fears that a much-hyped moment, when universal facial recognition could be deployed at a mass scale, is finally at hand.

FBI Announces New Policy for Notifying State and Local Election Officials of Cyber Intrusions with Elections
Security Magazine
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced a new internal policy to clarify and guide the timely federal notification of appropriate state and local officials of cyber intrusions affecting election infrastructure.

Huawei is a cyber-security risk
The Economist
No firm exemplifies the arguments around technology better than Huawei. The Chinese firm has risen from an obscure importer of foreign telecoms gear to one of the world’s biggest makers of equipment for fifth-generation (5g) mobile networks. Its prowess has caused jitters in other countries, which worry that Huawei’s kit might come with “back doors”—deliberate security holes that could act as conduits for Chinese spies or cyber-saboteurs. Huawei is a cyber security risk, but risks can be managed.

NZ & Pacific Islands

Report to guide development of cyber secure economy
Defence Connect
Standards Australia released a report focused on cyber security in the Pacific region. Pacific Islands Cyber Security Standards Cooperation Agenda sets out recommendations on how to strengthen cyber security in the Pacific Islands with the use of standards.

South & Central Asia

Troll armies, 'deepfake' porn videos and violent threats. How Twitter became so toxic for India's women politicians
@elizamackintosh @sw_gs
Women politicians in India face high levels of harassment, including sexist abuse from organized "troll armies," discouraging their political participation, new Amnesty International study finds.


UK prepares to defy US by allowing Huawei to supply 5G kit
The Guardian
@dansabbagh @peterwalker99
Britain is preparing to defy Washington and allow Huawei to supply 5G equipment, although the US is expected to mount a last-ditch campaign arguing the Chinese technology still poses a serious security risk.

UK court allows Saudi dissident to sue kingdom over alleged hacking
The Guardian
The high court has given a green light to a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia that has been brought by a prominent dissident living in London who has claimed he was the victim of a sophisticated hacking campaign by the kingdom.


Protesters who demanded Huawei CFO's release revealed to be paid actors
The Guardian
Protesters calling for the release of a senior Chinese telecommunications executive arrested in Canada have admitted they were paid actors, in the latest twist in a closely watched extradition case that has chilled relations between Ottawa and Beijing.

Middle East

8,500 Tweets And Counting—Saudi Trolls Demand Amazon Boycott After Bezos Hack
An army of pro-Saudi Twitter trolls has gone into overdrive, issuing calls to boycott Amazon in the wake of allegations that a WhatsApp message from the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led to Jeff Bezos' iPhone being hacked. According to Ben Nimmo, director of investigations at Graphika, on Thursday 8,500 tweets had been sent by “fans of MBS” calling for people to wash their hands of the world’s richest man’s business.

The big questions from FTI's report on the Jeff Bezos hack
A cybersecurity forensics team has concluded with “medium to high confidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked Jeff Bezos’ iPhone X in 2018, but the analysis has not impressed the information security community.

How Iran's Military Outsources Its Cyber Threat Forces
Next Gov
While it is impossible to know Iran’s intentions, they are likely to continue operating numerous cyber espionage campaigns while developing additional capabilities for cyber sabotage. If tensions between Iran and the United States mount, Iran may respond with additional cyberattacks, possibly ones that are more damaging than we've seen so far.


Opinion: The Apps on My Phone Are Stalking Me
The New York Times
There is much about the future that keeps me up at night — A.I. weaponry, undetectable viral deepfakes, indefatigable and infinitely wise robotic op-ed columnists — but in the last few years, one technological threat has blipped my fear radar much faster than others. That fear? Ubiquitous surveillance.

Microsoft discloses security breach of customer support database
Microsoft disclosed today a security breach that took place last month in December 2019. The OS maker said that an internal customer support database that was storing anonymized user analytics was accidentally exposed online without proper protections between Dec.r 5 and Dec. 31.

Coming Soon to Tinder Dates: Panic Buttons and Safety Check-Ins
The Wall Street Journal
The popular dating app plans to start offering users an option to hit a panic button, receive check-ins to make sure they feel safe, and even summon authorities to their location.

Deepfake Porn Harms Adult Performers, Too
With deepfake technology, the same dynamic gets taken to a horrifying new level. Instead of merely worrying that your own image will be distributed in a way that feels off-brand or even offensive, performers must now consider the possibility that their bodies will be cut up into parts and reassembled, Frankenstein-style, into a video intended to harass and humiliate someone who never consented to be sexualized in this manner.

Jobs & Opportunities

Analyst – Technical

ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and passionate technically-focused analyst to join its growing centre. We are looking for a creative and passionate individual who can contribute unique technical skills to work across a range of projects in the centre. This individual may possess skills and experience in one or more of the following areas including malware analysis, reverse-engineering, data analysis and web scraping (for work on online disinformation for example) and/or a deep technical knowledge of critical technologies. The successful candidate will be offered a remuneration package at a level aligned with their demonstrated skills and expertise. This is a contract position for an initial 1 year term with the option of extension. At any one time ASPI has multiple people working at the institute who are on secondments or unpaid leave from the Australian Public Service (APS). Similar arrangements - including secondments - can be negotiated in this instance pending approval from the APS department/agency.

Researcher – Cyber, Technology, Asia-Pacific

ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has an outstanding opportunity for an emerging researcher to join its growing centre and work directly with the ICPC Director. Staff in the centre have diverse backgrounds and are usually involved in several projects at once. We are looking for a team member with a flexible, entrepreneurial approach, who is a self-starter, has the ability to deliver to deadlines and enjoys working in a collaborative team environment. Foreign languages (particularly Asian languages) and social media analysis skills are desirable but not essential. We are looking for a creative and passionate individual who can work collaboratively in a team environment to support the centre’s program of work. This will include working with a variety of centre staff to conduct research on a range of priority projects, on project coordination and administration, working to facilitate international fellowships, supporting public and private events and engaging with key stakeholders.

Policy Advisor (Electorate Officer)
Tim Watts MP
I'm now accepting applications for a Policy Advisor based in my Footscray electorate office (6kms from the Melbourne CBD).

Open Grants Process – Cyber Cooperation Program
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is pleased to invite project proposals for Australia's Cyber Cooperation Program. The Cyber Cooperation Program provides the framework to partner with countries in the Indo-Pacific region so they are equipped to respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by the growth of the global Internet and digital technologies.