China looms large over Twitter’s future under Elon Musk | U.S. intel helped Ukraine protect air defenses | Maps show exactly where Scott Morrison is targeting his slick video ad campaign
China has a record of using business interests to extract political concessions, said Fergus Ryan, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has done substantial research on Chinese state-backed information campaigns. “There will be lots of opportunities for Beijing to put the squeeze on Musk.” The Wall Street Journal
As Russia launched its invasion, the U.S. gave Ukrainian forces detailed intelligence about exactly when and where Russian missiles and bombs were intended to strike, prompting Ukraine to move air defenses and aircraft out of harm’s way. NBC News
For the first time in an Australian election we’re able to see exactly where the political parties are targeting some of their ads. The Guardian
China looms large over Twitter’s future under Elon Musk
The Wall Street Journal
Liza Lin and Karen Hao
China has a record of using business interests to extract political concessions, said Fergus Ryan, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has done substantial research on Chinese state-backed information campaigns. “There will be lots of opportunities for Beijing to put the squeeze on Musk.”
China’s ‘grey zone’ tactics
Dr Jake Wallis, Head of Program, Information Operations and Disinformation with ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre discusses grey zone competition with China and what Australia can do to counteract this.
Ukraine - Russia
U.S. intel helped Ukraine protect air defenses, shoot down Russian plane carrying hundreds of troops
Ken Dilanian, Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee and Dan De Luce
As Russia launched its invasion, the U.S. gave Ukrainian forces detailed intelligence about exactly when and where Russian missiles and bombs were intended to strike, prompting Ukraine to move air defenses and aircraft out of harm’s way, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News. That near real-time intelligence-sharing also paved the way for Ukraine to shoot down a Russian transport plane carrying hundreds of troops in the early days of the war, the officials say, helping repel a Russian assault on a key airport near Kyiv.
Vicious blame game erupts among Putin’s security forces
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan
The security institutions, the ‘siloviki', that are key to propping up the regime are exchanging recriminations for a growing list of failures in the war on Ukraine.
Election 2022: These maps show exactly where Scott Morrison is targeting his slick video ad campaign
In previous elections we’ve had to piece together an incomplete picture from fragments of ad targeting sent to us by individuals, or hack together databases of political ads by scraping Facebook. Transparency in election advertising is important – collecting and maintaining such an ad database is what allowed us to cover the mediscare campaign in such depth, and reveal how the Coalition was using Facebook ad targeting for its “war on the weekend” campaign. Now, thanks to data buried within Google’s political transparency report, and with a bit of technical wrangling, we can see where they are pitching their digital campaigns in close to real-time – right down to the postcode.
Minor parties spread 'big brother' fears as they ramp up campaign against proposed digital ID laws
Ariel Bogle, Michael Workman, and Dunja Karagic
United Australia Party and One Nation candidates are stirring up fear about a proposed digital identity bill in a last-ditch effort to mobilise their voter base, experts say.
China dismisses speculation it may try to influence Twitter via Tesla
Martin Quin Pollard and Tony Munroe
China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday there was no basis to speculation that Beijing could try to use leverage over electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) in order to influence content on U.S. social media site Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N)
Free media in Hong Kong almost completely dismantled
Free media in Hong Kong has been almost completely dismantled by the government crackdown, clearing the market for an expanded pro-Beijing and state-owned media sector, a new report has said. The report, by UK-based advocacy group Hong Kong Watch, came shortly after Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondent’s Club announced it was suspending its Human Rights Press Awards because it did not want to unintentionally violate the city’s wide-ranging national security law imposed in 2020 by Beijing.
Report: Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda
A U.S.-based intelligence company says it uncovered a network of more than 600 inauthentic Twitter accounts that spread a positive narrative of China’s far-western Xinjiang region, as Beijing was being accused of human rights abuses and locking up hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities there.
The Biden White House’s cyberwarfare power grab
The Wall Street Journal
Jacquelyn G. Schneider
At a pivotal time in Ukrainian cyber defense, the Biden administration is reportedly considering a proposal to take away Defense Department authorities to conduct offensive cyber operations and reinstate a centralized approval process from the White House. This would be a mistake.
Government is racing against the clock to keep encryption secure
The Washington Post
The U.S. government is readying a game plan to protect encryption against a super-powerful new generation of computers that don’t exist yet and aren’t expected for another 15 to 20 years.
CNN exclusive: Mark Meadows' 2,319 text messages reveal Trump's inner circle communications before and after January 6
Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Elizabeth Stuart
CNN has obtained 2,319 text messages that former President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent and received between Election Day 2020 and President Joe Biden's January 20, 2021 inauguration. The vast trove of texts offers the most revealing picture to date of how Trump's inner circle, supporters and Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to try to overturn the election results and then reacted to the violence that effort unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Building the “big lie”: Inside the creation of Trump’s stolen election myth
Doug Bock Clark, Alexandra Berzon and Kirsten Berg
Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.
When police do marketing for surveillance tech companies
Matthew Gault and Jason Koebler
At first glance, the video is just another generic tech ad from a company that proposes, among other things, to use increasingly-automated drones to surveil American cities. But the cop in the ad is a real police officer named David Cameron, who runs Campbell, California's drone program. His participation in the video is just a small, public example of his promotion of the company, both publicly and behind the scenes; of the very close relationship that Skydio and companies like it have with their law enforcement clients; and of the increasingly blurry line between "public servant" and corporate cheerleader.
U.S. joins ‘historic’ global group focused on data privacy
The newly-formed Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Forum aims to promote international data sharing with an emphasis on bridging differences in privacy frameworks.
America has a plan to throttle Chinese chipmakers
Making chips is complex work. Semiconductor manufacturers such as Intel, Samsung and TSMC themselves rely on machine tools built by an array of firms that are far from household names. The equipment sold by Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML, KLA and Lam Research is irreplaceable in the manufacture of the microscopic calculating machines that power the digital economy. A supply crunch, coming after years of ructions between America and China over control of technology, has made governments around the world more aware of the strategic importance of chipmaking. The significance of the kit used to make chips is now being recognised, too.
North Korean state actors deploying novel malware to spy on journalists
New analysis has attributed a spear-phishing campaign targeting journalists covering North Korea to APT37/Ricochet Chollimia, a state-backed group linked to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Notably, researchers said the group is deploying a novel malware strain called Goldbackdoor, a variation of Bluelight malware previously attributed to APT37.
Taiwan's share of contract chipmaking to hit 66% this year
Taiwan's contract chipmakers will expand their global market share to 66% by revenue this year, cementing the island's dominant position in the chip supply chain, a new industry forecast shows.
Will Taiwan's banks stay stuck in a '1980s' time warp?
"Taiwan's banking industry is very, very traditional. There's a lot of bureaucratic issues in it, within the system, and it's slightly more rigid than other industries," says Sharon Hsu, a financial consultant at Enlighten Law Group in Taipei, which specialises in transnational finance.
French hospitals cut internet connection after data raid
A French hospital group has been forced to cut internet connectivity in two locations after hackers stole data in an attempted extortion campaign. GHT Cœur Grand Est revealed the news in an update yesterday, claiming the attack struck last Tuesday and succeeded in infiltrating the networks of its Vitry-le-François and Saint-Dizier hospitals.
State TV says Iran foiled cyberattacks on public services
Iran’s state television said authorities have foiled massive cyberattacks that sought to target public services, both government and privately owned.
The rise and fall of Boko Haram’s Sambisa settlements as seen through satellite images
Satellite photos give a glance into the emergence, growth, and disappearance of settlements around Sambisa forest, a notorious safe haven for insurgents waging a brutal war against Nigeria.
EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans
Brussels has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s new digital rules under his ownership, or risk hefty fines or even a ban, setting the stage for a global regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform.
Elon Musk is a problem masquerading as a solution
The New York Times
The “censorship” that Mr. Musk performatively deplores consists of efforts to rectify these very real problems of harassment and abuse. Twitter has taken modest but wildly inadequate steps to improve safety on the platform. It has acknowledged it has a problem. It has recognized positive freedom of speech — the creation of a safe and non-life-ruining environment for the airing of thoughts. And it is this that Mr. Musk and his ilk seem to loathe.
Twitter employees search for answers as Musk Takeover becomes reality
The New York Times
Workers say they have been left largely in the dark about what a sale to the billionaire will mean for them and their shares in the company.
As Musk wins Twitter, a new adversary looms: Advertisers
Sylvia Varnham O'Regan and Jessica Toonkel
Elon Musk reached a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Musk and the company announced Monday afternoon. But negotiating the deal may prove easier for Musk than owning the company. Musk faces immense challenges in reviving the 15-year-old service, which has suffered from stagnant user growth and uneven ad revenue performance for years. Ad industry executives on Monday warned that advertisers could flee the service if Musk relaxes controls over content and allows misinformation and other toxic material to flourish. He is also likely to face resistance from some of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, many of whom dislike Musk’s brand of free-speech politics.
Running Twitter is going to disappoint Elon Musk
Most of Musk’s vision does not actually appear to be that novel. Instead, it’s a return to the past. In its early years, Twitter staked out a position as more hands-off than its peers. It famously pronounced itself the “free speech wing of the free speech party.” But the past half decade of public criticism, and the pandemic especially, has prompted most major platforms to shift stance. Perhaps at times they overcorrected. But if Musk has a utopian vision of a libertarian internet, he should read about the history of content moderation. Many who thought an anything-goes internet governed by its users alone was a good idea came to regret their naivete.
Twitter’s top lawyer reassures staff, cries during meeting about Musk takeover
Emily Birnbaum and Betsy Woodruff Swan
Vijaya Gadde, a key executive involved in decisions to remove former President Donald Trump and ban political advertising, expressed uncertainty about the future of the platform.
Under Musk, some fear Twitter's moderation progress could unravel
Kat Tenbarge, David Ingram and Ben Goggin
Brianna Wu knows firsthand how bad the harassment on Twitter can get. A software engineer and game developer, Wu was targeted with death and rape threats during GamerGate, an online harassment campaign against women in the gaming industry that started in 2014. Wu, who has more than 100,000 Twitter followers and has used the platform throughout her career, said she consulted with the company’s trust and safety team in an unofficial, unpaid capacity from 2014 to late 2021. Now, after years of working with the company on reducing hate speech and harassment, she said tech titan Elon Musk could undo the platform’s progress.
The worst-case scenario for Elon Musk's Twitter
It’s not all that clear to me what Musk actually wants out of Twitter. The only thing I’m confident about is that Musk will return the company to its founding ethos—one that all of Twitter’s founders later lamented as overly simplistic or naive about the nuances of running a technology platform at scale. And so, Twitter will be left to face the problems of an aggressively polarized and increasingly toxic political and cultural environment with little of the crucial hindsight of its past. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like the dumbest possible outcome.
Musk's plans to make Twitter's algorithms public raises disinformation conundrum
Sharing the code for Twitter’s algorithms doesn’t pose nearly the same risk as pulling open the hood on the company’s entire technical infrastructure, any modifications to which could have enormous consequences for user privacy and security.
There’s a reason no smart buyer already purchased Twitter
In short, everything Musk wants to do to Twitter would seem to work against the goals of improving the service, enhancing revenue, and growing the user base globally. And he seems to have no vision beyond pumping Twitter full of more blather—just more racist and venomous. Even if Twitter is still important in the world today, a few years of Musk making bad choices might ensure it’s less influential in coming years. You might not have to worry about quitting Twitter in disgust because Musk owns it. Twitter might quit you soon enough.
What Does Musk's Purchase of Twitter Mean for Disinformation?
Elon Musk just bought Twitter; his ideas on free speech suggest the social-media platform might soon do less to moderate content, track extremism, monitor hate speech, and block domestic and foreign disinformation.
Bored Ape Yacht Club Instagram hacked, NFTs worth millions stolen
Hackers tricked victims into giving control of their wallets to them with a fake ad for an upcoming NFT project.
Facebook doesn’t know what it does with your data, or where it goes: leaked document
Facebook is facing what it describes internally as a “tsunami” of privacy regulations all over the world, which will force the company to dramatically change how it deals with users’ personal data. And the “fundamental” problem, the company admits, is that Facebook has no idea where all of its user data goes, or what it’s doing with it, according to a leaked internal document obtained by Motherboard.
In the dark
Rest of World
Over the last six months, Rest of World spoke to more than 70 technologists, telecomms experts, activists, and journalists from around the world to track how governments’ control over the internet has grown and evolved during the past decade. Their testimony shows that the free, open, global internet is under severe threat. Telecomms blackouts and mass censorship risk fragmenting the internet and even undermining its physical integrity. These threats come in many forms, but most of the experts we spoke to trace them back to a watershed moment, 11 years ago in Cairo, when, facing a mass protest movement that was evolving and growing online, the Egyptian government turned off the internet.
The Sydney Dialogue - Senior Events Coordinator
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is currently recruiting for an experienced events professional to coordinate the planning and logistics of the second iteration of ASPI’s Sydney Dialogue - the world’s premier summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies.
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.