EU mulls five-year ban on facial recognition tech in public areas | CSIRO says laws should be published in code | The crime-fighting app that caused a phone-hacking scandal in Italy
The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses. Reuters
Commonwealth legislation should not only be published in words but in machine-readable code, which would allow it to be read not only by lawyers but also computers, a move CSIRO suggests will boost the adoption of new regulatory technology across the economy, improving compliance while reducing costs. The Australian Financial Review
Authorities found that eSurv employees allegedly used the company’s spyware to illegally hack the phones of hundreds of innocent Italians—playing back phone conversations of secretly recorded calls aloud in the office, according to legal documents. The company also struck a deal with a company with alleged links to the Mafia, authorities said. Bloomberg
Australia’s defence department calls time out on TikTok
The news that Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok is not approved for use on devices owned by Australia’s Department of Defence, as the ABC reported today, is hardly a surprise. Defence’s default position on what apps it allows on its work phones is, in effect, that all apps are banned unless there’s a need for them and they pass a security test. Unsurprisingly, seeing how our defence personnel put their own spin on the ‘Haribo Challenge’ is not a top priority for the department.
U.S. and Iran Are Trolling Each Other — in China
The New York Times
The Chinese authorities operate one of the world’s most aggressive censorship systems, routinely scrubbing reports, comments and posts on the internet that are deemed politically sensitive or subversive. Posts by foreign diplomats are known to have been censored, especially on topics such as North Korea or human rights. But the government has so far allowed the war of words between the United States and Iran to continue, perhaps because it deflects attention away from issues in China, analysts said. “Any topic that provides a distraction from internal problems in China is beneficial to Beijing,” said Fergus Ryan, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who has studied China’s censorship of posts by foreign embassies. “This just happens to be a case where Beijing sees little downside for itself as Iran and the U.S. squabble.”
Shutting down the internet to shut up critics
Human Rights Watch
Governments are increasingly resorting to shutdowns in times of crisis, arguing they are necessary for public safety or curbing the spread of misinformation. But such sweeping measures are more like collective punishment than a tactical response. When the internet is off, people’s ability to express themselves freely is limited, the economy suffers, journalists struggle to upload photos and videos documenting government overreach and abuse, students are cut off from their lessons, taxes can’t be paid on time, and those needing health care cannot get consistent access.
Read Chris Painter’s report for ASPI ICPC: Deterrence in cyberspace
CSIRO says laws should be published in code
The Australian Financial Review
Commonwealth legislation should not only be published in words but in machine-readable code, which would allow it to be read not only by lawyers but also computers, a move CSIRO suggests will boost the adoption of new regulatory technology across the economy, improving compliance while reducing costs.
US may subsidize Huawei alternatives with proposed $1.25 billion fund
The US government should spend at least $1.25 billion "to invest in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE," a bipartisan group of six US senators said yesterday.
The FBI Got Data From A Locked iPhone 11 Pro Max—So Why Is It Demanding Apple Unlock Older Phones?
As the FBI claims it can’t access older versions of the iPhone in Pensacola, a case in Ohio shows that the feds have access to hacking tools that can get data from the latest Apple device.
The AI literacy gap hobbling American officialdom
War on the Rocks
Along with the public, companies, universities, civil society organizations, and governments are all rushing to understand exactly what sort of impact AI will have on their respective daily operations. Most people will not be AI experts, but just as military personnel, policymakers, and intelligence analysts in previous generations needed to adapt and learn the basics of electricity and combustion engines in order to drive national security forward then, the same will be true of AI now. A renewed emphasis on AI education for those that will make key decisions about programs, funding, and adoption is essential for safe and effective U.S. adoption of AI in the national security sphere.
Brothers Built A $2.8 Million Dark Web Drug Empire With Help From Mom’s Amazon, FBI Claims
Two brothers have been charged with running a six-year dark Web drug-dealing operation under the name Pill Cosby, laundering $2.8 million in the process, according to a federal indictment. And Forbes has discovered that investigators were looking at linked cryptocurrency and Amazon accounts held under their mother’s name.
Expect the US-Iran conflict to continue to play out in cyberspace
Now that Iran appears to have ended its retaliation for the deadly strike against Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, Americans might be breathing a sigh of relief. Indeed, President Trump indicated Wednesday that he would seek to avoid further kinetic strikes on Iranian targets. This is a good thing, but Americans should expect this conflict to continue to play out in cyberspace within our nation.
Microsoft Raises Stakes in Corporate Climate-Pledge Race
The Wall Street Journal
Microsoft Corp. is pledging to eliminate its carbon emissions and invest $1 billion as part of a wider climate commitment, raising the stakes in the corporate race to show greater awareness of environmental concerns.
Viet Nam: Arrests and social media crackdown follow deadly clashes over land
Vietnamese authorities have stepped up a countrywide crackdown marked by arrests and widespread social media censorship as they attempt to stifle public debate about a deadly land dispute, said Amnesty International today.
Former head of MI6: Huawei is a threat to Britain "without question"
Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has told the Article that Huawei, the Chinese technology company, poses a threat to British security, “without question”.
Tom Tugendhat: Huawei’s human rights record needs scrutiny before 5G contracts are signed
The debate about Huawei’s involvement in our key 5G infrastructure has so far focused on the national security risks. These are considerable – both the US and Australia have registered serious concerns, with the US threatening to stop sharing security with the UK if our deal goes ahead. But Huawei’s human rights record has been notably absent from discussion. It is vital that we do our human rights due diligence on companies bidding for massive public contracts, but there is precious little evidence that this critical question regarding Huawei is even on the agenda. Thanks to some superb investigative reporting, the world is slowly waking up to the mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China. But Huawei’s role in the surveillance state has barely received a single column inch.
Angela Merkel warns EU: ‘Brexit is a wake-up call’
The Financial Times
In what sounds like a new European industrial policy, Ms Merkel also says the EU should identify the technological capabilities it lacks and move fast to fill in the gaps. “I believe that chips should be manufactured in the European Union, that Europe should have its own hyperscalers and that it should be possible to produce battery cells,” she says. It must also have the confidence to set the new global digital standards. She cites the example of the General Data Protection Regulation, which supporters see as a gold standard for privacy and proof that the EU can become a rulemaker, rather than a rule taker, when it comes to the digital economy.
EU mulls five-year ban on facial recognition tech in public areas
The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses, according to proposals seen by Reuters.
The Crime-Fighting App That Caused a Phone-Hacking Scandal in Italy
The concept behind the company’s product was simple: With the help of Italy’s telecom companies, suspects would be duped into downloading a harmless-seeming app, ostensibly to fix network errors on their phone. The app would also allow Fasano’s company, eSurv, to give law enforcement access to a device’s microphone, camera, stored files and encrypted messages.
In Huawei Battle, China Threatens Germany ‘Where It Hurts’: Automakers
The New York Times
For months, German lawmakers have danced around the issue of whether effectively to exclude Huawei from the bidding process. The issue is expected to be debated in Parliament again in the coming weeks. As a decision approaches, Chancellor Merkel has found herself caught between worried German automakers, who accompanied her on a dozen junkets to Beijing, and her own wary intelligence community.
Canada Accidentally Sent an Emergency Alert About a Nuclear 'Incident'
People in Ontario woke up Sunday morning with phones alerting them to a nuclear incident that hadn’t happened.
Turkey Restores Wikipedia After More Than 2-Year Ban
The New York Times
The Turkish government lifted a two-and-a-half-year ban on Wikipedia on Wednesday, restoring access to the online encyclopedia a month after the country’s top court ruled that blocking it was unconstitutional.
70,000 Tinder Photos Of Women Just Got Dumped On A Cyber-Crime Forum
More than 70,000 photos of Tinder users are being shared by members of an internet cyber-crime forum, Gizmodo has learned, raising concerns about the potential for abusive use of the photos. Ominously, only women appear to have been targeted.
The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat
Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to transform human lives, but could also bring unintended consequences in the form of making society more vulnerable to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.
Analyst – Technical: ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and passionate technically-focused analyst to join its growing centre. We are looking for a creative and passionate individual who can contribute unique technical skills to work across a range of projects in the centre. This individual may possess skills and experience in one or more of the following areas including malware analysis, reverse-engineering, data analysis and web scraping (for work on online disinformation for example) and/or a deep technical knowledge of critical technologies. The successful candidate will be offered a remuneration package at a level aligned with their demonstrated skills and expertise. This is a contract position for an initial 1 year term with the option of extension. At any one time ASPI has multiple people working at the institute who are on secondments or unpaid leave from the Australian Public Service (APS). Similar arrangements - including secondments - can be negotiated in this instance pending approval from the APS department/agency.
Researcher – Cyber, Technology, Asia-Pacific: ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has an outstanding opportunity for an emerging researcher to join its growing centre and work directly with the ICPC Director. Staff in the centre have diverse backgrounds and are usually involved in several projects at once. We are looking for a team member with a flexible, entrepreneurial approach, who is a self-starter, has the ability to deliver to deadlines and enjoys working in a collaborative team environment. Foreign languages (particularly Asian languages) and social media analysis skills are desirable but not essential. We are looking for a creative and passionate individual who can work collaboratively in a team environment to support the centre’s program of work. This will include working with a variety of centre staff to conduct research on a range of priority projects, on project coordination and administration, working to facilitate international fellowships, supporting public and private events and engaging with key stakeholders.