Facebook lifts ban on posts claiming Covid-19 was man-made | Twitter calls on Indian govt to respect free speech | Tech giants publish inaugural Australian transparency reports
Facebook has lifted a ban on posts claiming Covid-19 was man-made, following a resurgence of interest in the “lab leak” theory of the disease’s onset. The social network says its new policy comes “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin”. The Guardian
After the government targeted posts criticizing its response to the coronavirus spread, Twitter said it would push back on what it called “intimidation tactics.” The New York Times
Technology giants -- Twitter, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, Apple, Redbubble, and Adobe -- have all published their inaugural transparency report that outline their commitments and efforts on how they plan to protect Australians against harm from online disinformation and misinformation on their respective platforms. ZDNet
Funding for public research into foreign policy issues
Fergus Hanson and Danielle Cave have made a submission to the Australian Parliamentary Senate committee into funding for public research into foreign policy issues. They argue for funding to be tied to empirical, data-driven, policy relevant research; New ways of thinking about grant funding so we don't focus on yesterday's policy problems; Untied funding options: the best research that think tanks produce is often research no one will fund. If it is breaking new ground it is often difficult to convince potential funders of its merit & if it’s on topics that government departments may see as sensitive (many topics associated with China or foreign interference, for example) policymakers will actively avoid funding it, no matter how much they need it; Growing the pool of non-government research funding: government could look at new ways to incentivise this through greater public recognition, public-private partnerships & tax concessions; Encourage a greater flow of people across the community between government & non-government foreign policy focused roles including secondments into think-tanks & giving public servants more flexibility to leave the APS & return easily. Read the submission here.
Privacy or Piracy on the Subsea Data Superhighway?
Digital Privacy News
Tom Uren, a senior analyst at the Cyber Policy Centre of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Digital Privacy News that at least some of the cables would provide significant new bandwidth to underserved regions of the world — rural Indonesia, for instance — and that the internet giants simply were building lucrative new markets for themselves. He and other experts stressed the importance of global regulations to safeguard the undersea information superhighway. “The biggest geopolitical issue is the contest between the U.S. and China over the development of long-term infrastructure,” Uren said.
Twitter, Google, and Facebook publish inaugural Australian transparency reports
Technology giants -- Twitter, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, Apple, Redbubble, and Adobe -- have all published their inaugural transparency report that outline their commitments and efforts on how they plan to protect Australians against harm from online disinformation and misinformation on their respective platforms.
Australian Human Rights Commission @AusHumanRightsArtificial intelligence offers great opportunities – but it can also do great harm. @aushumanrights’s new Human Rights and Technology Final Report recommends safeguards to protect the community as @esantow explains. Read the report at https://t.co/zRYY2XHElR. https://t.co/jSvdB4K9yZ
Thousands of YouTube comments on Sky News Australia video celebrate BLM activist being shot in head
Sky News Australia’s YouTube channel has published more than 9,000 comments mostly celebrating and mocking the shooting of a Black Lives Matter activist in Britain who is fighting for her life. The racist and violent comments, which could be described as hate speech, appear below a short video news report uploaded on Monday about the activist Sasha Johnson. Johnson remains in a critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to her head in an incident in south London.
$300 Million of The Victorian Budget Set Aside to Improve Cyber Security
The National Law Review
The recently released Victorian budget shows that more than $300 million of the 2021-2022 state budget is to be used to improve the government’s ability to prevent, detect and control cyber risks. Well, sort of… it also includes a range of more vanilla possible projects such as case administration systems at AAT, upgrading radio communication for Forest Fire Management Fire Victoria staff – so perhaps it is not as large a cybersecurity spend as it first looks.
China Tech Giants Spend Billions to Fuel Growth After Crackdown
Beijing’s crackdown on its tech giants is fueling a noticeable phenomenon: it’s opened the spending floodgates. China’s largest internet corporations are digging deep into their pockets to open up new avenues of growth as Beijing curtails their most lucrative businesses from fintech to e-commerce. Tencent Holdings Ltd., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Meituan have all warned investors in recent weeks they’re prepared to open their coffers to expand in areas such as cloud computing, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. The coming deluge promises to transform the internet landscape by funneling capital into fundamental technology and infrastructure -- not coincidentally priority areas for the Communist Party.
Chinese hackers are attacking Uyghurs by posing as UN Human Rights Council
MIT Technology Review
Chinese-speaking hackers are targeting Uyghur Muslims with fake United Nations reports and phony support organizations, according to a new report.
China's crypto crackdown speeds shift to central Asia, North America mining
Samuel Shen, Alun John
A crackdown by Beijing is rapidly accelerating a shift in focus by makers of machines that 'mine' cryptocurrencies like bitcoin from China to North America and Central Asia as Chinese clients face an uncertain future.
China forges ahead with undersea data centers
Hainan, China's southernmost island province, is building an undersea data center for commercial use, local newspapers have reported. The entire project will build 100 underwater cabins for data storage by 2025, with five pilot cabins being finished within this year.
Killer robots need ethical rules, US and Chinese analysts agree
Prospect of robots run amok raises thorny questions of accountability.
U.S. Says Looking at Quad Meeting in Fall Focused on Infrastructure
US News & World Report
The United States is looking to convene an in-person fall summit of leaders of the Quad countries - Australia, India and Japan - with a focus on infrastructure in the face of the challenge from China, President Joe Biden's Indo-Pacific policy coordinator said on Wednesday.
Facebook lifts ban on posts claiming Covid-19 was man-made
Facebook has lifted a ban on posts claiming Covid-19 was man-made, following a resurgence of interest in the “lab leak” theory of the disease’s onset. The social network says its new policy comes “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin”.
Facebook Is Resuming Political Contributions — But Not To Lawmakers Who Voted Against Certifying The US Election
"As a result of our review, the FBPAC Board has decided to resume contributions, but not to any members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election following the events at the Capitol on January 6."
FIND THIS FUCK:' Inside Citizen’s Dangerous Effort to Cash In On Vigilantism
Internal documents, messages, and roadmaps show how crime app Citizen is pushing the boundary of what a private, app-enabled vigilante force may be capable of.
Pentagon considering telling troops to report suspected 'Havana Syndrome' incidents
@barbarastarrcnn @KatieBoWillCNN @jeremyherb
The Pentagon is drafting a memo to the entire military and civilian workforce asking personnel to report any so-called anomalous health symptoms that might indicate they have been victims of a mysterious illness that has struck US diplomats, spies and military personnel around the world, according to two defense officials.
TSA to issue cyber directive for pipeline operators following Colonial ransomware attack
Following a ransomware attack on an artery for delivering fuel to the East Coast, the Transportation Security Administration plans to issue a security directive requiring pipeline companies to report hacks to federal authorities, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
White House taps Matt Olsen, Uber security boss and former NSA lawyer, to lead key DOJ division
The White House has nominated Matt Olsen to run the Justice Department’s National Security Division, a move that would put the Uber security executive and former civil servant at the helm of some of the most sensitive cases in the U.S.
FBI says an APT breached a US municipal government via an unpatched Fortinet VPN
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said today that foreign hackers had breached the network of a local US municipal government after exploiting vulnerabilities in an unpatched Fortinet networking appliance.
New NASA contract puts focus on cyber
NASA is aiming to correct longstanding cybersecurity management issues identified in a recent inspector general report through a unified IT contract that was scheduled to publish a request for proposals this month.
TPG hit by cyber attack
TPG Telecoms confirmed yesterday its legacy cloud-based hosting service was hit by a cyber attack.
Alleged North Korean hackers scouted crypto exchange employees before stealing currency, researchers say
Suspected North Korean hackers have breached cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan, Europe, the U.S. and Israel in an effort to steal millions of dollars from the platforms in the last three years, according to a new private sector report.
South and Central Asia
Twitter Calls on Indian Government to Respect Free Speech
The New York Times
After the government targeted posts criticizing its response to the coronavirus spread, Twitter said it would push back on what it called “intimidation tactics.”
Bogus fact-checking site amplified by dozens of Indian embassies on social media
Site published spurious fact-checks & other content that were amplified by over 50 Indian diplomatic accounts on Twitter & Facebook
Belgium uproots cyber-espionage campaign with suspected ties to China
A Belgian government ministry said this week that it was the victim of a cyber-espionage campaign that began two years ago, one that has apparent links to Beijing.
Censorship and resistance, with Sophie Beach
Sophie Beach is the executive editor of China Digital Times (CDT), an independent, bilingual media organization that brings uncensored news and online voices from China to the world. In this conversation, Sophie talks to Cindy about the genesis of CDT and its vision, the ever-evolving (and opaque) state censorship rules and tactics, and the necessity to amplify persistent voices of resistance of Chinese netizens.
Drones may have attacked humans fully autonomously for the first time
Military drones may have autonomously attacked humans for the first time ever last year, according to a United Nations report. While the full details of the incident, which took place in Libya, haven’t been released and it is unclear if there were any casualties, the event suggests that international efforts to ban lethal autonomous weapons before they are used may already be too late.
An Australian strategy for the quantum revolution
ASPI is delighted to invite you to the hybrid event ‘An Australian Strategy for the quantum revolution’ to be held in person in Canberra and streamed online via Livestorm on Thursday 3 June at 5.30pm. A new report by ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre – ‘An Australian strategy for the quantum revolution’ – argues Australia needs a clear quantum strategy with strong political leadership and an organised effort of policy focus and public investment. It also recognises that quantum is just one among a number of critical technologies and that a step change is needed in Australia’s policy settings related to critical and emerging technologies generally. Without this coordinated effort, Australia will be left behind. Join report authors Professor Gavin Brennen, Simon Devitt, Tara Roberson and Peter Rohde, and ASPI’s Danielle Cave for a one-hour panel discussion on the report’s findings, Australia’s competitive advantage in quantum and how we can better leverage the quantum revolution including across the research sector and the national security, defence and intelligence community.
Securing Cyberspace: How we can protect against digital threats to a free and open Indo-Pacific
The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened geostrategic competition, with a rise in tensions most acute in the Indo-Pacific. Security challenges are dynamic in this new era and not confined to the traditional domains of conflict. Indo-Pacific states are amongst the leaders of this digital age, spurring the growth of technological developments in a range of areas, including 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). On the panel: Bart Hogeveen, Head of Cyber Capacity Building - International Cyber Policy Centre, ASPI.
The Weaponized Web: The National Security Implications of Data
@LindsayPGorman, Bret Schafer, @tweetclarita & Dipayan Ghosh
The permissive and sector-based data governance laws that have shaped technological innovation in the United States have constituted both a tremendous boon to U.S. innovation and a growing vulnerability in our national security. Authoritarian states, like Russia and especially China, have made control over data, both domestic and foreign, a centerpiece of their global strategies. The EU has approached data very differently, adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to establish rules governing firms that use the data of European citizens. The United States’ approach has so far been piecemeal, but the very openness that has been an engine of U.S. technological development is also increasingly weaponized by authoritarian powers who see advantage or opportunity in the control and abuse of Americans’ data.
ICPC Analyst or Senior Analyst - Cyber & technology
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an exceptional cyber-security or technology focused analyst or senior analyst to join its centre in 2021. Please note that interviews have commenced for this position and will continue until the end of June. This role will focus on policy relevant cybersecurity analysis, informed public commentary and either original data-heavy research and/or technical analysis. Analysts usually have around 7-15 years work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.