Biden to counter China tech by urging US investment | Bitcoin payments to right-wing activists linked to foreign account | Social media disinformation campaign targets Ugandan presidential election
The new director of the U.S. National Economic Council says US under Joe Biden will fight for tech supremacy by rebuilding its core strengths rather than slapping restrictions on China. Nikkei Asia
Cryptocurrency researchers believe they identified who made a 28.15 bitcoins transfer to right-wing organizations and personalities in December. U.S. law enforcement is investigating whether the donations were linked to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Yahoo News
Facebook takes down a pro-government network after an investigation in Uganda; Twitter also removes suspicious accounts. Medium
Technology helping, and hindering, Uganda’s election
Uganda is heading to the polls today, after a heated campaign between the East African nation’s president, Yoweri Museveni (aged 76), and opposition frontrunner Robert Kyagulanyi (38), known more commonly by his stage name, Bobi Wine. It’s expected to be a fiercely contested election, embodying, as the Washington Post reported, ‘the most essential of democratic divides: change vs stability … the frustrated young vs the fearful old’.
Hong Kong telecoms provider blocks website for first time, citing security law
"This case represents a clear step towards the end of a relatively free and open internet in Hong Kong," said Fergus Ryan, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Cyber concerns behind block on Chinese Probuild bid
Australia’s decision to block the Chinese takeover of construction firm Probuild followed extensive discussions between security agencies and the Foreign Investment Review Board and comes against a backdrop of growing government concerns about cyber warfare.
Australia may finance buyer for Pacific mobile network Digicel to block China
China Mobile is firming as the likely company to make a play for the Pacific's Digicel network, a move that would trouble Australia’s national security agencies.
Craig Kelly decries censorship but blocks dissenting voices from his Facebook page, constituents say
Residents in Craig Kelly’s Sydney electorate of Hughes have reacted angrily to their MP accusing Facebook of censorship, saying he regularly blocks constituents from his page when they disagree with his climate change denialism and advocacy of unproven treatments for Covid-19.
WA's south coast touted as 'showroom' for wave energy tech
Western Australia's south coast city of Albany could be a showroom for wave energy technology after the deployment of a monitoring buoy in King George Sound.
ASIC swaps Global Switch for Canberra Data Centres
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will start moving out of Global Switch’s Sydney-based data centre later this year after signing a four-year deal with Canberra Data Centres.
A Hong Kong Website Gets Blocked, Raising Censorship Fears
The New York Times
Users of major mobile carriers can no longer access a service that detailed the personal information of police officers, a possible sign that the city is turning to tactics used in mainland China.
Buying Silence: The Price of Internet Censorship in China
This article synthesizes information from more than 85 budget and expense reports and dozens of supplemental documents from Chinese government and Party offices involved in internet censorship. It finds that these offices were authorized to spend more than $6.6 billion on tasks related to monitoring and guiding online public opinion (网络舆情, wangluo yuqing) in 2020, demonstrating that web censorship is one of the CCP’s top priorities.
Chinese Startup Leaks Social Profiles of 214 Million Users
A cloud configuration error at a Chinese startup exposed the personal data of at least 214 million social media users including celebrities, researchers have warned.
Biden formally appoints NSA's Anne Neuberger to key national security position
President-elect Joe Biden's transition team on Wednesday announced three key national security appointments, including tapping Anne Neuberger, a top official at the National Security Agency (NSA), to serve in a new cybersecurity-focused role on the National Security Council. Neuberger, who currently serves as director of cybersecurity at the NSA, will take on the position of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, a new position created as the nation continues to grapple with the fallout of a major Russian cyberattack on federal agencies.
Biden to counter China tech by urging investment in US: adviser
Brian Deese, the newly appointed director of the U.S. National Economic Council, says the U.S. under Joe Biden will fight for tech supremacy by rebuilding its core strengths rather than slapping restrictions on China.
Exclusive: Large bitcoin payments to right-wing activists a month before Capitol riot linked to foreign account
On Dec. 8, someone made a simultaneous transfer of 28.15 bitcoins — worth more than $500,000 at the time — to 22 different virtual wallets, most of them belonging to prominent right-wing organizations and personalities. Now cryptocurrency researchers believe they have identified who made the transfer, and suspect it was intended to bolster those far-right causes. U.S. law enforcement is investigating whether the donations were linked to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Are we entering a new era of social media regulation?
Harvard Business Review
Revealed: walkie-talkie app Zello hosted far-right groups who stormed Capitol | US Capitol breach
Audio and chat logs reveal that at least two insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol on 6 January used Zello, a social media walkie-talkie app that critics say has largely ignored a growing far-right user base.
Accountable Tech @accountabletechShout-out to @AOC for calling out Facebook Group recommendations and it’s role in radicalizing users in last week’s attempted coup. https://t.co/8YVnhCW1up
A major militia group says its website was taken down days after it sent members to the Capitol riots
Oath Keepers, one of the largest right-wing paramilitary groups in the country, had its website suddenly shut down this week, temporarily closing one of its last remaining avenues to recruit and organize its ranks.
Facebook Has Been Showing Military Gear Ads Next To Insurrection Posts
Earlier this week, Facebook employees warned that military product ads were being advertised against news about DC riots. The company did not act.
They used to post selfies. Now they’re trying to reverse the election.
The New York Times
Right-wing influencers embraced extremist views, and Facebook rewarded them.
Telegram tries, and fails, to remove extremist content
The encrypted messenger is the latest social network under pressure to clamp down on extremist content.
Snapchat permanently bans Trump
The platform cited the president’s “attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines.”
Twitter was right to ban Donald Trump
The Sydney Morning Herald
How social media’s obsession with scale supercharged disinformation
Harvard Business Review
Tech companies, including start-ups wary of overreach, and VCs should begin to draw up model policies for regulators to consider, bearing in mind that openness and scale pose significant risks not only to profits, but to democracies.
Harassment of Chinese dissidents was warning signal on disinformation
Shawna Chen, @BethanyAllenEbr
In the weeks leading up to the November presidential election, Chinese dissidents across the U.S. and at least five other countries found their homes blockaded by dozens of angry and sometimes violent protesters accusing them, without evidence, of being spies for China. The protesters were mobilized through a disinformation ecosystem that overlaps with the one that led to violence in the U.S. Capitol last week. The harassment targeting the global Chinese diaspora was an early warning sign.
U.S. charges MIT professor with grant fraud over hidden Chinese ties
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in nanotechnology research was arrested on U.S. charges that he failed to disclose his ties to the Chinese government when seeking federal grant money.
MIT Professor Arrested and Charged with Grant Fraud
Department of Justice
Amazon’s Ring Neighbors app exposed users’ precise locations and home addresses
A security flaw in Ring’s Neighbors app was exposing the precise locations and home addresses of users who had posted to the app.
TSMC says fixing global auto chip drought is a priority
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said rectifying a shortage of automotive chips was a “priority”, as the world’s largest contract chipmaker reaped a quarterly demand boost from 5G smartphones.
EU court opinion leaves Facebook more exposed over privacy
Any EU country can take legal action against companies like Facebook over cross-border violations of data privacy rules, not just the main regulator in charge of the company, a top court adviser said Wednesday.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine data leaked by hackers
Healthcare IT News
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has reported that some of the data on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that was stolen during a cyber-attack in early December 2020 was released online illegally shortly after the attack.
Social media disinformation campaign targets Ugandan presidential election
Facebook takes down pro-government network after investigation inspired by DFRLab research; Twitter also removes suspicious accounts.
The Moderation War Is Coming to Spotify, Substack, and Clubhouse
Smaller services are coming under scrutiny now that the big platforms have warmed to aggressive moderation
Taking the Helm
Technological leadership—how a country invents, innovates, and deploys technologies to compete economically and to secure its interests—will shape the coming years to a remarkable degree. The United States has maintained such leadership for decades. Today, that leadership is at risk. The United States is failing to rise to the occasion
Maintaining the Intelligence Edge: Reimagining and Reinventing Intelligence through Innovation
In this final report, the CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force set out to understand the emerging technology landscape, identify the opportunities and challenges to applying technology to intelligence missions, and generate recommendations that will enable the IC to adapt, integrate technology, and maintain an advantage over sophisticated rivals.
Read How COVID-19 and cyberspace are changing spycraft here.