Chinese tech groups shaping UN facial recognition standards | ASIO takes lead as spy agencies on war footing | Singapore ‘fake news’ law targets a Facebook post about Salt Bae restaurant chain

Produced by the ASPI International Cyber Policy CentreSenetas.com

Follow us on Twitter. The Daily Cyber Digest focuses on the topics we work on, including cyber, critical technologies & strategic issues like foreign interference.

  • Chinese technology companies are shaping new facial recognition and surveillance standards at the UN, according to leaked documents obtained by the Financial Times, as they try to open up new markets in the developing world for their cutting-edge technologies. Companies such as ZTE, Dahua and China Telecom are among those proposing new international standards — specifications aimed at creating universally consistent technology — in the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for facial recognition, video monitoring, city and vehicle surveillance. FT.

  • An elite intelligence taskforce led by ASIO, the Australian Signals Directorate and Defence intelligence will be created to put the country on a virtual war footing to combat national security threats from an unprecedented level of foreign interference and espionage. The Australian.

  • Singapore invoked its “fake news” law for the first time Monday, making a citizen amend a Nov. 13 post that the government said used “false and misleading statements” to smear reputations.But the first use of the law did not focus on misinformation sown by a foreign state or posts aimed at provoking sectarianism in Singapore’s multiethnic state, two stated aims of the “fake news” law. Instead, the legislation was used in response to a Facebook post from an opposition politician who accused the government of responsibility for a failing investment in Turkish restaurant chain Salt Bae. Washington Post.

ASPI ICPC

Has Huawei’s Darkest Secret Just Been Exposed By This New Surveillance Report?
Forbes
@UKZak
Now, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has followed up the leaked documents with a report on the main technology providers supporting the region. And Huawei is front and centre. “Huawei’s work in Xinjiang is extensive and includes working directly with the Chinese Government’s public security bureaus in the region,” the report says. “Huawei’s Xinjiang activities should be taken into consideration during debates about Huawei and 5G technologies.”

Huawei providing surveillance tech to China’s Xinjiang authorities, report finds
The Globe and Mail
@nvanderklippe
The idea that Huawei is not working directly with local governments in Xinjiang is “just straight-up nonsense,” said Vicky Xu, a researcher with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Cyber Policy Centre.

Russia and China's High-Tech Bet
US News
@sintiaradu
This increased collaboration – which includes efforts to improve censorship and surveillance techniques, create new media distribution channels and promote cyber strategies abroad – will pose new challenges for Western countries, say the authors of a report produced by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, or ASPI, an independent think tank in Canberra, Australia.

TU Dublin links up with Chinese university linked to nuclear arms programme
The Sunday Times
@JohnMooneyST
Alex Joske, a researcher studying the Chinese Communist Party at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, claimed UESTC was a “high-risk” institution for western universities.

TikTok's owner ByteDance works with Chinese government to whitewash Beijing's Muslim re-education camps through viral videos, study reveals
Daily Mail
ByteDance, a start-up worth $75 billion, collaborates with public security bureaus across China, including in Xinjiang, to disseminate state propaganda on its Muslim policy, according to a recent study from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

  • Read the new report - Mapping more of China's tech giants: AI and surveillance
    ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has updated the public database that maps the global expansion of key Chinese technology companies. This update adds a further 11 companies and organisations: iFlytek, Megvii, ByteDance (which owns TikTok), SenseTime, YITU, CloudWalk, DJI, Meiya Pico, Dahua, Uniview and BeiDou.

Watch @xu_xiuzhong’s take on the TikTok ‘eyelash curling’ videos raising awareness of the situation for Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang here.

World

Chinese tech groups shaping UN facial recognition standards
Financial Times
Chinese technology companies are shaping new facial recognition and surveillance standards at the UN, according to leaked documents obtained by the Financial Times, as they try to open up new markets in the developing world for their cutting-edge technologies. Companies such as ZTE, Dahua and China Telecom are among those proposing new international standards — specifications aimed at creating universally consistent technology — in the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for facial recognition, video monitoring, city and vehicle surveillance.

Billion-dollar offer for .org a 'really bad deal'
IT News
@juhasaarinen
Did ISOC leave US$1 to US$2 billion on the table?

Authorities take down 'Imminent Monitor' RAT malware operation
ZD Net
@campuscodi
Law enforcement agencies from all over the world announced today they took down the infrastructure of the Imminent Monitor remote access trojan (IM-RAT), a hacking tool that has been on sale online for the past six years. Europol reports 14 arrests across eight countries, including the RAT's creator, in Australia.

Australia

ASIO takes lead as spy agencies on war footing
The Australian
An elite intelligence taskforce led by ASIO, the Australian Signals Directorate and Defence intelligence will be created to put the country on a virtual war footing to combat national security threats from an unprecedented level of foreign interference and espionage.

After robo-debt smackdown, Robert claims Canberra's digital transformation pushes on
ZD Net
@achanthadavong
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert has announced the federal government has started to undertake work to build a single, whole-of-government technology architecture as part of its digital transformation strategy to make all its services digital by 2025.

Digital platforms response delayed
The Australian
The Morrison government is gearing up to delay its long-awaited ­response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission digital platforms inquiry until next year, with cabinet yet to discuss the still unfinished response to the landmark report. Despite being handed the report in July, The Australian understands cabinet has not considered the final ­response, which is being managed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Nick Xenophon Huawei's new legal counsel
The Courier
Former independent senator Nick Xenophon has gone into business with Chinese telco giant Huawei. Mr Xenophon sees the company as "underdogs" and will be representing Huawei in the media.

Massive reboot': Nation's attorneys-general agree to bring defamation laws into digital age
SMH
@fergushunter
The nation's attorneys-general have taken a major step towards revamping Australian defamation laws, releasing draft reforms designed to catch up with the changes of the internet age, stamp out frivolous lawsuits and protect public interest journalism.

China

China seeks to root out fake news and deepfakes with new online content rules
Reuters
@reuters
Chinese regulators have announced new rules governing video and audio content online, including a ban on the publishing and distribution of “fake news” created with technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

China due to introduce face scans for mobile users
BBC
People in China are now required to have their faces scanned when registering new mobile phone services, as the authorities seek to verify the identities of the country's hundreds of millions of internet users.

China looks to online influencers to spread the Communist Party message
SCMP
@lindalew
China’s Communist Party aims to enlist online influencers – from make-up tutors to stunt performers – into its cause through its main outreach arm, the United Front Work Department.

27 Companies Drafting China’s First National Facial Recognition Standard
Sixth Tone
@YujieXuett
Over two dozen Chinese companies have officially begun developing a national standard for facial-recognition technology, the group’s leader, artificial intelligence giant SenseTime, announced Wednesday.

USA

U.S. to discuss challenges posed by China, 5G with NATO allies
Reuters
@Reuters
The United States will discuss threats posed by China, including the country’s dominance of 5G telecommunications networks, when U.S. President Donald Trump meets with allies at a NATO summit in London next week, an official told reporters on Friday.

Opinion: Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up Facebook risks helping China
Nikkei Asian Review
@koekoetech @matthewfsmith
Antitrust breakups of the Big Tech companies could open paths for Chinese-led alternatives that are more prone to surveillance, more prone to share private data with governments and less prone to promote human rights or prevent incitement to violence.

Podcast: Caveat 04 - Slowly awakening to the problems we face
The Cyber Wire
@thecyberwire
Ben looks at the cozy relationship between Ring and local law enforcement, Dave shares a story about a DNA tests and search warrants. Our listener on the line wonders about deleted emails. Our guest is Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security, now head of the Chertoff Group.

Asia

First target of Singapore’s ‘fake news’ law is Facebook post that alleged failed state investment in restaurant
Washington Post
@mradamtaylor
Singapore invoked its “fake news” law for the first time Monday, making a citizen amend a Nov. 13 post that the government said used “false and misleading statements” to smear reputations.But the first use of the law did not focus on misinformation sown by a foreign state or posts aimed at provoking sectarianism in Singapore’s multiethnic state, two stated aims of the “fake news” law. Instead, the legislation was used in response to a Facebook post from an opposition politician who accused the government of responsibility for a failing investment in Turkish restaurant chain Salt Bae.

Cryptocurrency expert arrested for giving talk to North Korea about avoiding sanctions
ZD Net
@campuscodi
US authorities arrested a cryptocurrency expert and member of the Ethereum project for traveling to North Korea and giving a presentation at a tech conference about using cryptocurrency and blockchain to avoid international sanctions.

Europe

Marbella, the biggest video surveillance lab in Spain
El Pais
Regional legislation bans the use of facial recognition and other biometric data without consent... Marbella is not breaking this law. But the artificial intelligence (AI) software treads close to the line with its so-called “appearance search,” which detects unique facial traits, the color of a person’s clothes, age, shape, gender and hair color. None of this information can be considered biometric; it is what a police officer would see on the street.

How Belgium Became Europe’s Den of Spies and a Gateway for China
Bloomberg
Belgium may seem an unlikely destination for a Chinese agent. In fact, it’s a den of spies, according to domestic intelligence agency State Security (VSSE). It says the number of operatives is at least as high as during the Cold War, and Brussels is their “chessboard.”.. Espionage is “the far end of the spectrum” of interference that ranges from academia to “technological spillover”—collecting data to send back to China for mining, said Parton, a senior associate fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute.

EU antitrust regulators say they are investigating Google's data collection
Reuters
@Reuters
The EU executive said it was seeking information on how and why Alphabet unit Google is collecting data, confirming a Reuters story on Friday.

Russia

Russian Spy Submarines Are Tampering with Undersea Cables That Make the Internet Work. Should We Be Worried?
National Interest
@sebastienroblin
A massive cable attack is probably an over-hyped scenario, at least for a country with as many redundant cables as the United States pitted against a limited number of Russian special-operations submarines.

A decade of hacking: The most notable cyber-security events of the 2010s
ZD Net
@campuscodi
The 2010s decade is drawing to a close and ZDNet is looking back at the most important cyber-security events that have taken place during the past ten years.