Facebook to shut down face-recognition system, delete data | Yahoo pulls out of China, ending two-decade relationship | Kazakhstan granted access to Facebook's content system to flag 'harmful content'
Facebook said it will shut down its face-recognition system and delete the faceprints of more than 1 billion people. “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” said a blog post Tuesday from Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence for Facebook’s new parent company, Meta. “Its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.” Associated Press
Yahoo said it was pulling out of China, citing an increasingly challenging business and legal environment, the latest foreign company to be caught up in Beijing’s toughening rules for businesses. Yahoo said it had ceased to offer its services from Nov. 1, becoming the second well-known U.S. technology firm to downsize China operations in less than a month following the closure of Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn social-networking site. The Wall Street Journal
Kazakhstan has obtained access to Facebook's internal content-reporting system after the two sides came to an agreement -- the first of its kind in Central Asia -- that will allow the government to remove content it deems "harmful." The joint agreement between Kazakhstan and Facebook owner Meta Platforms, announced on November 1, comes after the country threatened to block the social-media giant's millions of local users. Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty
‘Surveillance’ doesn’t begin to describe what Beijing is doing to Uyghurs
Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, 27, is a writer, researcher and stand-up comedian living in Australia. Her work has been instrumental in exposing the scale of China’s forced labor program in Xinjiang, where Uyghurs are corralled into heavily guarded compounds to work in factories under prison-like conditions. She became a key propaganda target for Chinese authorities, who have denounced her as a national traitor, after her research on human rights abuses was published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
Facebook to shut down face-recognition system, delete data
Facebook said it will shut down its face-recognition system and delete the faceprints of more than 1 billion people. “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” said a blog post Tuesday from Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence for Facebook’s new parent company, Meta. “Its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.”
An Update On Our Use of Face Recognition
We’re shutting down the Face Recognition system on Facebook. People who’ve opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos and we will delete more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.
Facebook, Citing Societal Concerns, Plans to Shut Down Facial Recognition System
The New York Times
Facebook plans to shut down its decade-old facial recognition system this month, deleting the face scan data of more than one billion users and effectively eliminating a feature that has fueled privacy concerns, government investigations, a class-action lawsuit and regulatory woes.
‘Trojan Source’ Bug Threatens the Security of All Code
Krebs on Security
Virtually all compilers — programs that transform human-readable source code into computer-executable machine code — are vulnerable to an insidious attack in which an adversary can introduce targeted vulnerabilities into any software without being detected, new research released today warns. The vulnerability disclosure was coordinated with multiple organizations, some of whom are now releasing updates to address the security weakness.
Rennick’s vaccine pivot shows how anti-vaxxers reward those who play their song
A little-known government senator from Queensland has quickly become a big figure on Facebook after his embrace of anti-vaccine rhetoric. Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick has seen an explosion in popularity on Facebook as he shared first person accounts of people claiming to have been injured by vaccines, critical news articles and memes that are all negative about vaccines.
Aus Gov releases cyber safety campaign as 2.8m Aussies fall prey to cybercrime each year
The Australian Government has released a new campaign via BMF, titled ‘Beat Cybercrime in Your Downtime’, which is aimed at raising awareness on the importance of cyber security. According to the Federal Government, cybercrime costs an estimated $29 billion per year to the Australian economy, with over 2.8 million Australians falling victim to a scam in 2019.
Yahoo Pulls Out of China, Ending Tumultuous Two-Decade Relationship
The Wall Street Journal
Yahoo said it was pulling out of China, citing an increasingly challenging business and legal environment, the latest foreign company to be caught up in Beijing’s toughening rules for businesses. Yahoo said it had ceased to offer its services from Nov. 1, becoming the second well-known U.S. technology firm to downsize China operations in less than a month following the closure of Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn social-networking site.
As Yahoo leaves China, an accelerating stream of exits
This morning, global media noted weekend news that Yahoo, TechCrunch’s parent company, is pulling its remaining services from China. The move follows decisions by other major American companies to also end certain operations from China, including Microsoft and Epic Games.
Huawei Said to Sell Key Server Division Due to U.S. Blacklisting
Huawei Technologies Co is in advanced talks to sell its x86 server business after the U.S. blacklisting of the company made it difficult to secure processors from Intel Corp.
ByteDance to reorganise into six units, CFO steps down to focus on TikTok
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will step down as its parent ByteDance's chief financial officer to focus on running the short video platform full time, according to an internal memo the company shared with Reuters.
In Just One Year, Beijing’s Crackdown Has Changed Corporate China Forever
China's government kicked off a sweeping crackdown on its most powerful corporations a year ago, chilling investors and tech industry players alike by signaling that the leeway enjoyed by tech moguls like Jack Ma is coming to an end.
Turning ghosts into humans: Surveillance as an instrument of social engineering in Xinjiang
War on the Rocks
Wrists and ankles strapped into a restraining “tiger chair,” a man is used as a subject with which to “train” artificial intelligence-assisted facial recognition technology to detect states of emotion. This is a lived reality in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far north-west of China, where the Chinese state, in concert with a number of China’s major surveillance technology companies, has striven to perfect new means of monitoring the region’s Uyghur population. Researchers estimate that, between 2016 and 2019, up to one million people in the region had been detained without trial in a system of “re-education” camps. In addition, between 2017 and 2020, 533,000 people were formally prosecuted for a variety of “crimes” under broad definitions of “extremism” and “terrorism.”
Meta Makes Changes to Marketing Strategy Amid Scandals
The New York Times
Since the spring, the social media company formerly known as Facebook has been evaluating where it advertises and how much it spends doing so, taking pitches from agencies that want to help manage its enormous marketing budget.
The so-called media review — the first for Meta, the new parent company name for Facebook and its sister apps Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — concluded on Tuesday when it chose the Spark Foundry agency as its new global planning and buying partner.
Breitbart has outsized influence over climate change denial on Facebook, report says
The Washington Post
Breitbart is the most influential producer of climate change denial posts on Facebook, according to a report released Tuesday that suggests a small number of publishers play an outsized role in creating content that undermines climate science.
Former Google Activist Whittaker Expected to Join FTC as AI Adviser
Meredith Whittaker, a former employee activist and artificial intelligence researcher at Google, is expected to be hired full time at the Federal Trade Commission as a policy adviser on AI, according to a person with knowledge of her pending hire.
A Mysterious Network of Twitter Bots Promote Alleged NRA Hack
The Daily Beast
When a mysterious Russian hacking gang announced last week that it had assaulted the National Rifle Association with a ransomware attack, the NRA was quiet on whether the claim was true. But a network of hundreds of Twitter trolls were far from mute—they lapped up the news and went to town amplifying it across Twitter.
Facebook whistleblower Haugen urges Zuckerberg to step down
In her first public address since she leaked a trove of damaging documents about Facebook's inner workings, whistleblower Frances Haugen urged her former boss, Mark Zuckerberg, to step down and allow change rather than devoting resources to a rebrand.
U.S. regulators say issuers of 'stablecoins' should be policed like banks
A U.S. Treasury Department-led regulatory body called on Monday for Congress to regulate issuers of "stablecoins" like banks and urged financial agencies to assess whether the role of these fast-growing digital assets in the country's payments system posed a systemic risk.
Biden administration calls on Congress to take the lead regulating stablecoins
The Washington Post
A high-level task force of financial regulators recommended Monday that firms that issue stablecoins — a type of cryptocurrency linked to real-world assets — be more tightly regulated but called on Congress to write the necessary laws, suggesting they lacked the power themselves. The report — written by a Treasury-led group that includes Secretary Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler — was widely anticipated as the administration’s first attempt at establishing a framework for the $2 trillion cryptocurrency industry.
Visa Restrictions on Chinese Students Endanger U.S. Innovation Edge, Universities Say
The Wall Street Journal
American universities and research institutes say the U.S.’s dominance in science and technology could be undermined by toughened U.S. visa requirements that are squeezing the flow of talent from China. The tighter rules are slowing down work at research labs like the one run by Christo Wilson, an associate professor of computer science at Northeastern University in Boston, who studies how algorithms used by internet companies can reinforce biases or lead to price discrimination.
Explore our China Defence University Tracker project, and report, here
CISA and partners coordinate on security, combatting misinformation for election day
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
With elections in more than 30 states tomorrow, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will host an election situational awareness room to coordinate with federal partners, state and local election officials, private sector election partners, and political organizations to share real-time information and provide support as needed. While there is no specific, credible threat to election infrastructure, CISA stands ready to provide cyber incident response and expertise if needed. CISA encourages voters to turn to state and local election officials as trusted sources of information.
Supreme Court won’t hear case seeking more transparency from secretive surveillance court
The Washington Post
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide whether the public has at least a limited right to review the decisions of a largely secret federal surveillance court whose influence has been growing. The justices turned down a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and others to review a ruling that denied access to decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). That court said it lacked authority even to consider a public claim under the First Amendment to its secret decision-making.
Project Kuiper announces plans and launch provider for prototype satellites
Amazon continues to make progress on Project Kuiper, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation that will provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world. This is a major, long-term initiative, and today we're excited to share plans to launch and deploy our first satellites.
South & Central Asia
Kazakhstan Granted Access To Facebook's Content System To Flag 'Harmful Content'
Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty
Kazakhstan has obtained access to Facebook's internal content-reporting system after the two sides came to an agreement -- the first of its kind in Central Asia -- that will allow the government to remove content it deems ""harmful."" The joint agreement between Kazakhstan and Facebook owner Meta Platforms, announced on November 1, comes after the country threatened to block the social-media giant's millions of local users.
Facebook denies Kazakh claim of exclusive access to content reporting
Facebook owner Meta Platforms on Tuesday denied a claim by the Kazakh government that it had been granted exclusive access to the social network's content reporting system.
Trolls will be jailed for ‘psychological harm’
Trolls could face two years in prison for sending messages or posting content that causes psychological harm under legislation targeting online hate. Ministers will overhaul communication laws by creating new offences in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, the flagship legislation to combat abuse and hatred on the internet.
Nicaragua accused of running internet troll farm
The company behind Facebook and Instagram has removed more than 1,000 fake accounts in Nicaragua which it says were part of a disinformation campaign by the government. Meta said those who ran the accounts included staff at the telecoms regulator and the Supreme Court. It comes ahead of presidential elections this weekend with the president's main challengers jailed.
‘Chilling pattern’: Pakistani journalists ‘targeted’ by cyber law
At least 23 Pakistani journalists have been “targeted” under the country’s draconian cyber-crime law in the last two years, establishing a “chilling pattern” of using the threat of legal action to silence dissent, a new report by a media rights watchdog says.
Microsoft takes on Facebook by launching metaverse on Teams
Microsoft has taken its first step towards bringing the metaverse to office life, in the latest sign that some of the biggest tech companies see the blending of the digital and physical worlds as one of the most important new trends in computing.
The Booming Underground Market for Bots That Steal Your 2FA Codes
With bots that cost a few hundred dollars, anyone can start getting around multi-factor authentication, a security measure that many members of the public may assume is largely secure. The bots' existence and increased popularity raises questions on whether online services need to offer more phishing-resistant forms of authentication to protect users.
The ‘Groove’ Ransomware Gang Was a Hoax
Krebs on Security
A number of publications in September warned about the emergence of “Groove,” a new ransomware group that called on competing extortion gangs to unite in attacking U.S. government interests online. It now appears that Groove was all a big hoax designed to toy with security firms and journalists.
‘Squid Game’-inspired cryptocurrency that soared by 23 million percent now worthless after apparent scam
The Washington Post
In the Netflix hit series “Squid Game,” characters gambled with their lives. The price of playing the game in the real world may not be as steep as a life, but for many people who piled their money into Squid, a once red-hot cryptocurrency named after the show, the financial loss has still been significant.
Who's building the metaverse?
The metaverse broadly refers to the idea of a shared virtual platform that people can access through different devices and where they can move through digital environments.re. The concept, which could be more than a decade away from being fully realized, will take cooperation among tech giants. In June, investment firm Roundhill Investments created an exchange traded fund to track and profit from the work of the metaverse enablers. Hours before Facebook announced its rebrand, another firm launched its own metaverse ETF.
Funding clean technology is the way to avoid climate disaster
Australian Financial Review
Shifting the world’s focus to inventing clean technologies was among the greatest successes of the Paris COP. Continuing that trajectory is, perhaps, its biggest opportunity this year, because innovation is the only way the world can cut net greenhouse gas emissions from roughly 51 billion tonnes per year to zero by 2050.
The Sydney Dialogue
The Sydney Dialogue is a world-first summit for emerging, critical and cyber technologies. Launching virtually on 17 November, the inaugural Sydney Dialogue will have an Indo-Pacific focus, featuring keynote addresses from Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison; India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi; and former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe - as well as a number of panel discussions with experts from around the world. You will hear from political, technology, business and civil society leaders and - as well as the world’s best strategic thinkers - as they generate new ideas, work towards common understandings and formulate possible solutions to maximise the opportunities and minimise the negative consequences of the next wave of new technologies. Head on over to our brand new website to check out the line-up of events and speakers, and register for the virtual sessions you’d like to attend.
Where to next for the Indigenous Procurement Policy?
On Friday 5th November 2pm, ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre’s IndigiCyber, Defence & Space Program will host an online roundtable ‘Where to next for the Indigenous Procurement Policy?’ This will provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss and explore the IPP, and potential opportunities for Indigenous businesses.
“Censored on the App Store”: new report shows the staggering scale of app censorship by Apple
Today, in “Censored on the App Store”, AppleCensorship reveals in its new report the scale of unavailability of apps in Apple’s App Store. This report is based on data collected from the AppleCensorship.com website. Using data from user tests conducted since 2019, we estimate that there are a staggering 29 million instances of app unavailability across Apple’s 155 App Stores. In its transparency reports, over the period from July, 2018 until December, 2020, Apple claims that there have been a total of 1470 app removals based on legal and platform violations. 1182 of these app removals occurred in mainland China.
The Projection of Cyber Power by Australia and Japan: Contrasting Their Doctrines and Capabilities for the Rule-Based International Order
This third paper in the International Cyber Operations Research Paper Series offers an analysis of how and under what guidance Australia and Japan now seek to build and employ their offensive cyber capabilities – the capabilities to disrupt, degrade, or deny a targeted computer system or network – to project their power outward across the region. In doing so, it offers the following observations:
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.