Big Tech CEOs face off with Congress | The Vatican is said to be hacked from China before talks with Beijing | Turkey's MPs vote to tighten grip on social media
Democrats and Republicans in Congress came out swinging against Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on Wednesday, needling the tech giants’ top executives over their size, power and approach to a wide array of issues, including the content they allow online. Washington Post
Chinese hackers infiltrated the Vatican’s computer networks in the past three months, a private monitoring group has concluded, in an apparent espionage effort before the beginning of sensitive negotiations with Beijing. The New York Times
Turkey's parliament has passed a law to control social media platforms, a move human rights groups say poses a severe threat to freedom of expression. The law requires social media firms with more than a million Turkish users to set up local offices and comply with requests to remove content. If companies refuse, they face fines and may have data speeds cut. BBC
CMWLSN @cameronwilsoni'm being a broken record but this is not how you cover misinformation: look at the headline. look how long until the article contests any of the untrue claims. look who's shared the articles (almost all in support of the the misinfo) & how many engagements it has https://t.co/A27veJdbU7
Five Eyes alliance could expand in scope to counteract China
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance could be expanded to include Japan and broadened into a strategic economic relationship that pools key strategic reserves such as critical minerals and medical supplies, according to centre-right MPs working internationally to decouple the west from China.
Critical minerals, known as rare earth elements, are the key components in a wide range of consumer products including mobile phones, laptops and TVs, and have widespread defence applications in jet engines, satellites, lasers and missiles. On average, China has accounted for more than 90% of the global production and supply of rare earths during the past decade, according to the US Geological Survey.
Joint Statement Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020
Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Both sides reaffirmed that allowing high-risk vendors that are subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government to supply 5G network equipment or build telecommunications cables creates unacceptable risks to national security, critical infrastructure, and privacy.
The principals noted the role of 5G network security best practices, such as the Prague Proposals, and expressed their intent to work with like-minded partners to develop end-to-end technical solutions for 5G that use trusted vendors. Acknowledging that 5G is only the starting point, the two nations also reaffirm their commitment to lifting the security of critical and emerging technologies that will be vital to our nations’ prosperity.
China Is What Orwell Feared
Xi Jinping is using artificial intelligence to enhance his government’s totalitarian control—and he’s exporting this technology to regimes around the globe.
Huawei to double down on HSBC as Meng Wanzhou’s legal battle intensifies
South China Morning Post
Huawei, which has hired five law firms in an all-out effort to free Meng Wanzhou, will explore ‘all evidence and remedies against’ HSBC, according to a source.
China is using Facebook to build a huge audience around the world
The Chinese Communist Party’s approach to Facebook is, ahem, two-faced. At home, to stop citizens sharing messages it cannot read, it blocks the site. Clever users can defy the ban, but only 3m do. It is easier to use WeChat or Weibo, local rivals that the state watches closely.
Big Tech CEOs face off with Congress
Democrats and Republicans in Congress came out swinging against Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on Wednesday, needling the tech giants’ top executives over their size, power and approach to a wide array of issues, including the content they allow online.
Google’s Sundar Pichai grilled over ‘destroying anonymity on the internet’
Google’s Sundar Pichai faced an awkward line of enquiry during today’s House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing related to its 2007 acquisition of adtech platform DoubleClick, and how it went on to renege on an original promise to lawmakers and regulators that it would not (nor could not) merge DoubleClick data with Google account data — automagically doing just that almost a decade later.
U.S. senator introduces legislation to curb Big Tech's ad business
Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Tuesday introduced legislation that would penalize large tech companies that sell or show targeted advertisements by threatening a legal immunity enjoyed by the industry - the latest onslaught on Big Tech's business practices.
TikTok's new CEO says company will reveal how its algorithms work
In his first public statement as CEO of TikTok, former Disney exec Kevin Mayer says the company will be releasing that code that drives its content-moderation algorithms so that experts can observe how its policies are enforced in real time. He says TikTok will also reveal its data flows to regulators, and is calling on its rivals to do the same.
Facebook Says China Is Its Biggest Enemy, but It’s Also a Highly Valued Customer
Behind the scenes, Facebook has managed to claw billions of dollars from China, with more on the way. Even though Facebook’s apps and websites have been banned in the country for more than a decade, Gizmodo found proof that the company’s spent the past two years quietly engineering backdoors into its ad platform to give Chinese companies seemingly the same tracking and targeting abilities we’ve come to know and loath here in the states.
Instagram can hurt us': Mark Zuckerberg emails outline plan to neutralize competitors
Antitrust panel says the messages show Zuckerberg trying to buy out his competition.
Intel ‘Stunning Failure’ Heralds End of Era for U.S. Chip Sector
Intel Corp.’s decision to consider outsourcing manufacturing heralds the end of an era in which the company, and the U.S., dominated the semiconductor industry. The move could reverberate well beyond Silicon Valley, influencing global trade and geopolitics.
Election Officials Are Vulnerable to Email Attacks, Report Shows
Many of the thousands of county and local election officials who will be administering November’s presidential election are running email systems that could leave them vulnerable to online attacks, according to a new report by cybersecurity vendor Area 1 Security Inc.
Rite Aid deployed facial recognition system in hundreds of U.S. stores
Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States, in one of the largest rollouts of such technology among retailers in the country, a Reuters investigation found. In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.
Marine Corps base gets military's first look at 'ultra wideband' 5G - FedScoop
Another military base has been added to the growing list of fifth-generation wireless technology test beds, this time testing “ultra wideband” 5G, which can use lower energy levels over a wider portion of the radio spectrum to rapidly send data.
Japanese ruling party pushes for limits on TikTok
Nikkei Asian Review
Japan's ruling party will urge the government to restrict the use of Chinese-developed apps like TikTok and better protect sensitive information, aiming to ensure that the country can keep working closely with the U.S. on security matters. Members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party met with experts Tuesday to start discussing new recommendations that could be proposed as early as August. The move forms part of a broader push in the LDP for tighter controls on the handling of sensitive information.
Duterte’s troll armies drown out Covid-19 dissent in the Philippines
Trolls and bots are deflecting criticism of President Duterte’s handling of the worsening crisis.
No change in mobile internet prices in PNG
Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre
Despite predicted improvements in mobile internet prices and quality in Papua New Guinea with the completion of the Coral Sea Cable, prices have not fallen.
Chile picks Japan's trans-Pacific cable route in snub to China
Nikkei Asian Review
Chile has chosen a route proposed by Japan for the first fiber-optic cable to directly connect South America and the Asia-Pacific region, designating Australia and New Zealand as endpoints while stopping short of landing in China, Nikkei has learned. Japan's route beat out a pitch by China that would have made Shanghai the final landing point. This decision comes amid a U.S. pressure campaign to keep China out of global telecommunication projects.
New MI6 boss named as Richard Moore
The next chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been named as Richard Moore..MI6 is the UK's foreign intelligence service and is responsible for gathering intelligence outside the UK. It says its three core aims are stopping terrorism, disrupting the activity of hostile states, and giving the UK a cyber advantage.. Internally, a chief needs to make sure MI6 is able to keep producing intelligence from agents. This requires complex decisions about risk and resources, but also making sure the secret service keeps up with technology - the interconnected data-driven world is challenging traditional spying because it makes it harder to keep secrets and work undercover.
Read Danielle Cave’s essay in Australian Foreign Affairs
Australian Foreign Affairs
Data-Driven: How Covid-19 and cyberspace are changing spycraft.
49% of voters believe Kremlin interfered in Brexit referendum
Almost half the British public believes the Russian government interfered in the EU referendum and last year’s general election, according to a poll. The latest Opinium poll for the Observer found that 49% of voters think there was Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, with 23% disagreeing. Some 47% believed Russia interfered in the December general election.
The Vatican Is Said to Be Hacked From China Before Talks With Beijing
The New York Times
Chinese hackers infiltrated the Vatican’s computer networks in the past three months, a private monitoring group has concluded, in an apparent espionage effort before the beginning of sensitive negotiations with Beijing. The attack was detected by Recorded Future, a firm based in Somerville, Mass. The Chinese Communist Party has been waging a broad campaign to tighten its grip on religious groups, in what government leaders have periodically referred to as an effort to “Sinicize religions” in the country.
Hackers Broke Into Real News Sites to Plant Fake Stories
A disinfo operation broke into the content management systems of Eastern European media outlets in a campaign to spread misinformation about NATO.
Covid-19 Disinformation & Social Media Manipulation
A range of actors are manipulating the information environment to exploit the COVID-19 crisis for strategic gain. ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is tracking many of these state and non-state actors online, and will occasionally publish investigative, data-driven reporting that will focus on the use of disinformation, propaganda, extremist narratives and conspiracy theories by these actors.
Elisa hits out at prospect of Estonia Huawei restriction
Mobile World Live
Elisa Estonia CEO Sami Seppanen reportedly slammed a draft government proposal to restrict the role of non-European vendors from 5G networks, as questions continue to be asked about Huawei’s role across the region.
YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia
YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. Representatives of Google, which owns YouTube, said on July 28 that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations.
Turkey's MPs vote to tighten grip on social media
Turkey's parliament has passed a law to control social media platforms, a move human rights groups say poses a severe threat to freedom of expression. The law requires social media firms with more than a million Turkish users to set up local offices and comply with requests to remove content. If companies refuse, they face fines and may have data speeds cut.
US files new indictment against former Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia
U.S. prosecutors filed a superseding indictment against former Twitter employees who allegedly spied for Saudi Arabia, according to court filings obtained.
Promo Data Breach Hits 14.6 Million User Accounts
An Israeli marketing video firm this week announced a major breach of user data which appears to have impacted over 14 million accounts. Promo, which describes itself as “the world’s #1 marketing video maker,” revealed in an online notice that a vulnerability in a third-party service was to blame for the incident, which also affected customers of its Slidely business.
How Do You Know a Human Wrote This?
The New York Times
Machines are gaining the ability to write, and they are getting terrifyingly good at it.
Weaponised deep fakes - National security and democracy
Deep fake technology isn’t inherently harmful. However, ready access to deep fake technology also allows cybercriminals, political activists and nation-states to quickly create cheap, realistic forgeries.
OKCupid security flaws could have given hackers access to user accounts
The data contained in dating apps is both very personal and valuable to hackers, who can use it to make highly convincing cyberattacks. So it’s always disturbing to learn about dating app security flaws. In a report released today, security research firm CheckPoint Research announced that it found several security vulnerabilities in OKCupid’s website and mobile apps. The flaws could have allowed hackers to access users’ full profile details, private messages, personal addresses and more. Hackers could even send messages from their victims’ profiles.
Elaborating International Law for Cyberspace
The European Union has called for all states to publicise their views on how international law applies to cyberspace. To date, primarily European states have shared their national views. The OAS’s Improving Transparency project aims to add more American voices to the conversation.