CIA weighs creating special China unit | WhatsApp, Twitter, & Facebook reportedly blocked in Zambia | FB removes George Christensen’s anti-lockdown speech for breaching Covid misinformation policy
Follow us on Twitter. The Daily Cyber Digest focuses on the topics we work on, including cyber, critical technologies & strategic issues like foreign interference.
The Central Intelligence Agency is weighing proposals to create an independent “Mission Center for China” in an escalation of its efforts to gain greater insight into the U.S.’s top strategic rival, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Bloomberg
WhatsApp and other apps are reportedly blocked in Zambia during ongoing general elections being held in the country Thursday, according to digital rights organization Access Now and internet monitor NetBlocks. The Verge
Facebook has removed a video of George Christensen’s anti-lockdown speech to federal parliament after finding it contained “harmful health information” in breach of its Covid misinformation policy. The Guardian
A New Dimension to China’s Tech Crackdown?
@lemertabby & Eleanor Runde
- Fergus Hanson and Marietje Schaake discuss democracy, authoritarianism and tech regulation on an Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) webinar.
- Samantha Hoffman writes for Foreign Policy on the future of data collection in China and its ramifications for companies operating there.
The U.S.-China Data Fight Is Only Getting Started by Dr Samantha Hoffman in Foreign Policy
Spyware scandal: UN experts call for moratorium on sale of ‘life threatening’ surveillance tech
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN human rights experts today called on all States to impose a global moratorium on the sale and transfer of surveillance technology until they have put in place robust regulations that guarantee its use in compliance with international human rights standards.
Under pressure, Google to add privacy protections for teenagers
The Sydney Morning Herald
Google says it plans additional privacy measures to protect teenage users on YouTube and its search engine, becoming the latest technology giant to adopt tougher standards in the face of criticism that companies are not doing enough to protect children. In a blog post, Google announced that videos uploaded to YouTube by users 13–17 years old would be private by default, allowing the content to be seen only by the users and people they designate.
Facebook removes George Christensen’s anti-lockdown speech for breaching Covid misinformation policy
Social media giant found MP’s speech to federal parliament contained ‘harmful health information’.
Conspiracies about Australia’s COVID lockdowns are going viral on TikTok
Conspiracy videos falsely claiming a totalitarian government is taking over Australia and US troops are invading the country are gaining tens of thousands of views on TikTok and young users say the app's algorithm is allowing the content to flourish.
NSW cops come knocking after internet commenter allegedly threatened police horses
The New South Wales Police task force for investigating the recent anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, Strike Force Seasoned, have arrested an internet commenter. Police said they have pressed four charges of using a carriage service to menace, harass, offend after arresting a 65-year-old Paddington man on Wednesday who allegedly threatened to harm police horses.
You may not have heard of CDNs, but you will if they stop working
Every minute, Australians are accessing websites and apps operated across the world, without a second thought. CDNs are one part of the system allowing that to happen. They speed up the experience for users, and are largely invisible — until something goes wrong.
China unveils five-year plan to strengthen control of economy
@cdcshepherd @rwmcmorrow @kanghexin @edwardwhitenz
Communist party seeks to extend oversight of important sectors in latest step of regulatory assault.
Huawei spinoff Honor secures Qualcomm backing for new phones
US chipmaker's CEO welcomes Chinese brand's first global launch on its own.
Alibaba Rape Allegation Reveals China Tech’s Seamy Side
The New York Times
Sexually suggestive office games, boozy dinners and a culture of ignoring problems have long plagued the industry. Changing it will still be hard.
China’s mental health system has long been inadequate. Can AI change that?
Hundreds of Chinese apps have popped up promising to provide support or healing through chatbots, virtual reality or other newfangled technologies.
CIA Weighs Creating Special China Unit in Bid to Out-Spy Beijing
The Central Intelligence Agency is weighing proposals to create an independent “Mission Center for China” in an escalation of its efforts to gain greater insight into the U.S.’s top strategic rival, according to people familiar with the deliberations..The agency’s broader China review is also considering whether to deploy China specialists in locations around the world, following the approach used to counter Soviet influence in the Cold War, Burns said in an interview with NPR last month. He also said the agency was looking into how to deal with the “ubiquitous technical surveillance” and other “very advanced capabilities on the part of the Chinese intelligence service,” which make it more difficult to conduct espionage overseas. The review comes after senior officials raised concerns over the scale and ambition of Chinese spying in the U.S. FBI Director Christopher Wray said last year that Chinese tactics, from cyber espionage to threats against Chinese nationals living in the U.S., created a situation in which “Americans find themselves held over a barrel by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Summit of democracies called to push back on strongmen
The Sydney Morning Herald
“Technology companies – which benefit from the fruits of democracy – should make concrete pledges for how they can ensure their algorithms and platforms are not empowering the surveillance state, facilitating repression in China and elsewhere,” Biden urged on his campaign website.
Biden's digital trade idea reveals emerging US strategy for Asia
As it seeks to compete with China, can the United States reclaim its once-dominant position as Asia's trade architect? Having pulled out of one major regional deal and shown scant inclination to lead the creation of others, the answer until recently appeared to be a clear "no." Reports that the U.S. is preparing to propose a new Asian digital trade agreement suggest this conclusion may be premature. The fact that President Joe Biden is even mulling such a proposal is likely to be welcomed in a region struggling to find new sources of post-pandemic growth. But whether it might then mark the first step in a wider economic re-engagement fit to check Beijing's influence remains far from clear.
Apple Wants to Protect Children. But It’s Creating Serious Privacy Risks.
The New York Times
Apple last week announced a plan to introduce new tools that will allow it to scan iPhones for images related to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Apple is billing these innovations as part of a child safety initiative, and indeed they may help make the online world a safer place for children, which could not be a worthier goal.
If You Build It, They Will Come: Apple Has Opened the Backdoor to Increased Surveillance and Censorship Around the World
Electronic Frontier Foundation
While Apple aims at the scourge of child exploitation and abuse, the company has created an infrastructure that is all too easy to redirect to greater surveillance and censorship. The program will undermine Apple’s defense that it can’t comply with the broader demands.
Apple's child protection features spark concern within its own ranks -sources Reuters
Businesses Push to Shape Federal Rules for Disclosing Hacks
The Wall Street Journal
Companies are pushing to narrow legislation that would require them to report cyberattacks to the U.S. government, as a series of hacks has added momentum to a nearly decadelong effort in Congress to approve such a law. Emerging proposals in the House and Senate offer competing visions for how businesses operating most U.S. critical infrastructure would feed information to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which could then share it across the public and private sectors.
Rumble, a YouTube rival popular with conservatives, will pay creators who ‘challenge the status quo’
The Washington Post
A fast-growing YouTube rival popular with conservative influencers has a new strategy to expand its online audience: Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to well-known media personalities it says work to “challenge the status quo.”
Hackers stole client info, work materials in Accenture ransomware attack
Ransomware hackers began leaking Accenture data after the consulting giant suffered a security incident where the perpetrators made off with client-related documents and work materials. The gang, known as LockBit 2.0, has threatened to leak further after providing purported proof of the breach. Accenture acknowledged the attack on Wednesday, but has downplayed its severity.
Mathematicians are deploying algorithms to stop gerrymandering
MIT Technology Review
With the 2020 US Census data release, states start the process of redrawing district maps. New computational tools will help hold politicians to account.
Clear Rules for Research Security and Researcher Responsibility
The White House
The Biden-Harris Administration holds a strong commitment to protecting research security and maintaining the core values behind America’s scientific leadership, including openness, transparency, honesty, equity, fair competition, objectivity, and democratic values.
DOD awards $1B contract to Peraton to counter misinformation
The Department of Defense has awarded a task order worth up to $979 million over a five-year period to Peraton to counter misinformation from U.S. adversaries.
Hong Kong to outlaw acts desecrating Chinese flag on the internet
Hong Kong Free Press
The Hong Kong government has announced plans to outlaw the desecration of the Chinese national flag and national emblem on the internet by amending the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance (NFNEO).
Instagram is trying to make racist material harder to view as England’s soccer players face abuse.
The New York Times
Instagram is rolling out new features on Wednesday to make racist material harder to view.
WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook are reportedly blocked in Zambia during its presidential election.
WhatsApp and other apps are reportedly blocked in Zambia during ongoing general elections being held in the country Thursday, according to digital rights organization Access Now and internet monitor NetBlocks. The block, affecting state-owned internet providers and other private networks, could be cutting off voters from a vital form of communication during a contentious election.
Cryptocurrency heist hacker returns $260m in funds
The hacker behind one of the largest cryptocurrency heists to date has returned almost half of the $600m (£433m) stolen assets.
He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?
The Washington Post
Philip Agre, a computer scientist turned humanities professor, was prescient about many of the ways technology would impact the world.
Nvidia Reveals Its CEO Was Computer Generated in Keynote Speech
Nvidia pulled off a stunt to promote and showcase its latest technology by digitizing its CEO Jensen Huang in a conference keynote.
Topologies and Tribulations of Gettr: A month in the life of a new alt-network
Stanford Internet Observatory
On July 1, 2021, a new social network modeled after Twitter was launched by former Trump spokesman Jason Miller, with assistance and promotion by exiled Chinese businessman Miles Guo, form Trump strategist Steve Bannon, and others. Today, the Stanford Internet Observatory is releasing the first comprehensive analysis of the new platform. We chart the growth of Gettr over its first month, examining the user community, content, structure and dynamics. We also highlight some of the perils of launching such a network without trust and safety measures in place: the proliferation of gratuitous adult content, spam and, unfortunately, child exploitation imagery, all of which could be caught by cursory automated scanning systems.
A year of disinformation in Belarus: Infographic
EU vs DISINFORMATION
Since the outbreak of anti-Lukashenka protests in August 2020, EUvsDisinfo collected over 450 examples of pro-government and pro-Kremlin disinformation about Belarus, illustrating just the tip of the iceberg of the state-controlled (dis)information machine.
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. Analysts usually have at least 5 years, often 7-10 years’ of work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and, in addition to research, they take on a leadership role in the centre and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.
Senior Reporter, Security & Surveillance at Vox Media, LLC New York
As the leading independent modern media company, Vox Media ignites conversations and influences culture. Across digital, podcasts, TV, streaming, live events, and print, we tell stories that affect our audience's daily lives and entertain as much as they inform.