Head of Chinese ride-share company expected to step down with rumours of government takeover | Security agencies split over blacklisting Huawei | Former NSA hacker describes being recruited as UAE spy

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  • Didi's co-founder and President Jean Liu has told some close associates that she intends to step down, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the Chinese ride-hailing giant faces intense regulatory scrutiny following its New York listing earlier this year. Liu, 43, has in recent weeks told some associates that she expected the government to eventually take control of Didi and appoint new management, said the two sources. Reuters

  • Key security agencies are divided over whether to place Huawei’s former smartphone company on an export blacklist, showing that the Trump-era debates about the trade-offs of doing business with Chinese technology companies continue during the Biden administration. The Washington Post

  • David Evenden was hired in 2014 to work in Abu Dhabi on a defensive cybersecurity project, only to discover it was actually an offensive spy operation for a United Arab Emirates intelligence service. Zero Day

ASPI ICPC

The real potential of AUKUS is about far more than submarines
ASPI Strategist
@fergushanson
As we have just witnessed with the construction of AUKUS, governments with foresight and policy capability are now making big and quick bets on future technologies, and new groupings or ‘minilaterals’ (like the Quad) are providing vital vehicles to do so. Many are also doing their best to preserve their intellectual property, broaden their research and development base, invest in university sectors and build expertise by attracting and retaining global talent. But just as AUKUS is not only about submarines, neither is massive technological change only about geopolitics and conflict. At a national level, governments are struggling with how to relate to the commercial sector. Global debate is raging over who should make the rules when it comes to issues like data protection, privacy, social media and tech standards—governments or industry? It’s sometimes both, and sometimes neither, leaving policy patchy, citizens vulnerable and democratic processes open to interference.

America’s China Strategy Is Working
The Atlantic
@MichaelSchuman
Yet a 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute asserted that Chinese authorities facilitated the dispatch of tens of thousands of Uyghurs from Xinjiang, sometimes directly from detention centers, to factories in a range of industries across the country. The study went on to name major international companies with these Uyghurs working in their supply networks, including Apple, Nike, and Gap.

  • Read our report “Uyghurs for Sale - ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang” here.

World

Inquiry finds World Bank officials, including now-I.M.F. chief, pushed staff to inflate China data.
The New York Times
@arappeport
An investigation into manipulation of an annual World Bank report has found that Kristalina Georgieva, the bank’s former chief executive, who now leads the International Monetary Fund, directed staff to alter data to placate China.

Australia

New AUKUS alliance will see Australian technological research assist US, UK defence forces
ABC Radio
The adoption of nuclear-powered submarines is being heralded as a game-changer of Australia's maritime capability but there's much more to the announcement than submarines. The three nations party to the agreement are establishing what's being described as "a new inner circle of strategic trust" as they develop technology and weapons for the future.

Why it’s more profitable to back women-led start-ups
Australian Financial Review
BCG looked at 350 start-ups in the US in 2018 and found that companies founded and co-founded by women had significantly better financial returns. “Investments in companies founded or co-founded by women averaged $US935,000, which is less than half the average $US2.1 million invested in companies founded by male entrepreneurs,” its report said.

Canva’s success masks national innovation shortfall
Australian Financial Review
@harejulie @jessicasier @SaysSmithy
Canva’s astonishing valuation this week after its latest mega capital raise has sent optimism levels soaring within the local tech scene, but experts are warning it masks the reality that the opportunity to create a globally successful innovation sector will be squandered for lack of government support.

China

Didi co-founder Liu told associates she plans to leave
Reuters
@julie_zhuli
Didi's co-founder and President Jean Liu has told some close associates that she intends to step down, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the Chinese ride-hailing giant faces intense regulatory scrutiny following its New York listing earlier this year. Liu, 43, has in recent weeks told some associates that she expected the government to eventually take control of Didi and appoint new management, said the two sources.

Huawei’s Decline Shows Why China Will Struggle to Dominate
Bloomberg
@HalBrands
One of the biggest geopolitical developments of the last two years has been the quiet decline of Huawei Technologies Co. In 2019, the Chinese telecommunications behemoth was racing toward dominance of the world’s 5G networks. It was a symbol of Beijing’s apparent rise to technological primacy. Today, however, Huawei isn’t thinking about supremacy: “Our aim is to survive,” its chairman has announced.

Xi Jinping Aims to Rein In Chinese Capitalism, Hew to Mao’s Socialist Vision
Wall Street Journal
@lingling_wei
Early this year, when Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. took down former U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts, Mr. Xi saw yet another sign America’s economic system was flawed—it let big business dictate what a political leader should do or say—officials familiar with his views said.

China roundup: Beijing is tearing down the digital ‘walled gardens’
TechCrunch
@ritacyliao
The Chinese internet is infamously siloed, with a handful of “super apps” each occupying a cushy, protective territory that tries to lock users in and keep rivals out. E-commerce platforms fend off competition in different ways. Taobao uses Alibaba’s affiliate Alipay as a default payments option, omitting its arch rival WeChat Pay. Tencent-backed JD.com, a rival to Alibaba, encourages its users to pay through its own payments system or WeChat Pay. But changes are underway. “Ensuring normal access to legal URLs is the basic requirement for developing the internet,” a senior official from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said at a press conference this week. He added that unjustified blockages of web links “affect users’ experience, undermine users’ rights, and disrupt market orders.”

China rolls out self-driving standards as carmakers work towards goal
South China Morning Post
@CocoF1026
China has published its first national standards for grading autonomous driving, which will come into force in March, providing a benchmark for carmakers to develop the futuristic technology.

U.S.-China tensions knock 96% off of bilateral tech investment
Nikkei Asia
Overall FDI fall 75% over five years, according to latest Bain and Co. report.

Hong Kong Forces Tiananmen Vigil Group to Delete Online Presence
The New York Times
@vwang3
The Hong Kong police have forced one of the city’s best-known activist groups to scrub its online presence, in the latest sign of how officials may use a powerful national security law to restrict online speech and impose mainland Chinese-style internet censorship.The group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, has for decades organized annual vigils to commemorate the 1989 government massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.

China’s digital dictatorship
Financial Times
Beijing has pushed through reams of regulations and policies to shore up the country’s data security.

USA

Former NSA Hacker Describes Being Recruited for UAE Spy Program
Zero Day
@KimZetter
David Evenden was hired in 2014 to work in Abu Dhabi on a defensive cybersecurity project, only to discover it was actually an offensive spy operation for a United Arab Emirates intelligence service.

America Is Being Held for Ransom. It Needs to Fight Back.
The New York Times
@DAlperovitch
To combat the ransomware problem, the Biden administration has so far taken a two-prong approach: concerted diplomacy with nations harboring cybercriminals and expanded defensive capabilities at home. These are critically important efforts. But to really address the issue, the administration must develop an offensive strategy, too — and fight back.

Key security agencies split over whether to blacklist former Huawei smartphone unit
The Washington Post
@nakashimae @JeanneWhalen
Key security agencies are divided over whether to place Huawei’s former smartphone company on an export blacklist, showing that the Trump-era debates about the trade-offs of doing business with Chinese technology companies continue during the Biden administration.

Amazon’s AI Cameras Are Punishing Drivers for Mistakes They Didn’t Make
Motherboard
@laurenkgurley
Netradyne cameras regularly punish drivers for so-called "events" that are beyond their control or don't constitute unsafe driving. The cameras will punish them for looking at a side mirror or fiddling with the radio, stopping ahead of a stop sign at a blind intersection, or getting cut off by another car in dense traffic, they said.

Why Washington can’t just fix Facebook
Protocol
@BenBrodyDC @issielapowsky
Reporting on Facebook's misdeeds from The Wall Street Journal has academics and regulators alike clinging to solutions that are both elusive and insufficient.

Tech giants quietly buy up dozens of companies a year. The Biden administration is finally noticing.
The Washington Post
Most acquisitions go unreported and unannounced, making it harder to tell how companies like Google and Apple are shaping markets.

Meet the startup helping the US marshals figure out crypto
Protocol
@benpimentel
Anchorage's Diogo Mónica said institutions are turning to the crypto bank for different needs, from buying CryptoPunk art to storing digital assets seized from criminals.

Alaska discloses ‘sophisticated’ nation-state cyberattack on health service
The Record
@campuscodi
A nation-state cyber-espionage group has gained access to the IT network of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Service (DHSS), the agency said last week.

Ransomware gang strikes Iowa agriculture business New Cooperative, the latest hack on food supply chain
CyberScoop
@timstarks
The BlackMatter ransomware gang has struck an Iowa agricultural business, New Cooperative, and is demanding a $5.9 million ransom. Several security researchers first called attention to the hack on Monday, and the company confirmed that it had been hit with a cyberattack and shut down its systems in response.

South and Central Asia

Member of CIA chief's team reported Havana syndrome symptoms on recent trip to India
CNN
@kylieatwood
When CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to India earlier this month a member of his team reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome and had to receive medical attention, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The incident set off alarm bells within the US government and left Burns "fuming" with anger, one source explained. Some officials at the CIA viewed the chilling episode as a direct message to Burns that no one is safe, including those working directly for the nation's top spy, two sources said.

UK

Why Aukus is welcome in the Indo-Pacific
Financial Times
The Australia-UK-US security pact — Aukus — has been greeted with rage in China and France. But more significant than the flamboyant anger in Beijing and Paris are the countries that are quietly applauding the agreement..The significance of this co-operation goes well beyond naval exercises and submarine sales. The three countries involved in Aukus will work together on strategic technologies, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence. India and Japan also have much to contribute in those areas.

Afghanistan: Investigation launched into interpreter data breach
BBC News
@lucymanning @edcampbell71
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has ordered an investigation into a data breach involving the email addresses of dozens of Afghan interpreters who worked for British forces. More than 250 people seeking relocation to the UK - many of whom are in hiding - were mistakenly copied into an email from the Ministry of Defence asking for an update on their situation. Profile pictures associated with some email addresses were also visible.

Europe

Police Announce Huge Bust of Mafia’s Cyber Crime Operations
Motherboard
@lorenzofb

Police in Europe arrested 106 people accused of working for several Italian Mafia groups and laundering more than 10 million euros they made through various cybercrimes. The cops accuse them of SIM swapping and "business email compromise," a common crime where criminals send phishing emails to companies and trick employees into sending money to their bank accounts.

How Hamburg became Europe’s unlikely data protection trailblazer
WIRED
@cathrinschaer
In over a decade as the data protection commissioner for the German city-state of Hamburg, Johannes Caspar has attempted to redefine the role of local data protection authorities. Germany has a department for data protection in each of its 16 states, plus another at the federal level.

Hungary Primaries Deadline Extended After 'Cyber Attack'
AFP
Hungary's first ever opposition primary elections to find a candidate to take on Prime Minister Viktor Orban were extended Sunday by two days after a suspected cyber attack forced polling to be suspended.

Russia

Russia election: Putin's party heads for victory amid vote fraud claims
BBC
There has also been anger after a Smart Voting app devised by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was removed from Apple and Google stores on the day that Russians started voting. Russian authorities had threatened the two companies with big fines if they refused to drop the app, which told users who could unseat ruling party candidates. Navalny ally Leonid Volkov accused the tech giants of having “caved under the Kremlin’s blackmail”.

The Americas

Despite Censorship and Poor Internet, Cuban Podcasts Are Booming
The New York Times
@londonoe
Cubans began having access to the internet on smartphones only in 2018. Since then, podcasts about politics, current events, history, entrepreneurship and language have upended how Cubans get their information, expanding the middle ground between the hyperpartisan content generated by government-run media outlets and American government funded newsrooms that are highly critical of the island’s authoritarian leaders.

Gender and Women in Cyber

Misc

The next healthcare revolution will have AI at its center
TechCrunch
@kaifulee
Today, I believe we are on the cusp of another healthcare revolution — one driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Advances in AI will usher in the era of modern medicine in truth.

India antitrust probe finds Google abused Android dominance, report shows
Reuters
@adityakalra
Google abused the dominant position of its Android operating system in India, using its "huge financial muscle" to illegally hurt competitors, the country's antitrust authority found in a report on its two-year probe seen by Reuters.

Google’s Former AI Ethics Chief Has a Plan to Rethink Big Tech
Bloomberg
@dinabass
Timnit Gebru says regulators need to provide whistleblowers working on artificial intelligence with fresh protections backed up by tough enforcement.

Facebook warned over ‘very small’ indicator LED on smart glasses, as EU DPAs flag privacy concerns
TechCrunch
@riptari
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said Friday that it has asked the tech giant to demonstrate that an LED indicator light also mounted on the specs — which lights up when the user is taking a video — is an effective way of putting other people on notice that they are being recorded by the wearer.

Events

FP Virtual Dialogue: Securing Our Digital Future
Foreign Policy
FP Analytics, in partnership with Microsoft, will unveil a groundbreaking special report on the economic, social, and geopolitical implications of escalating cybersecurity threats and the urgent need for international collaboration to combat them.

State power over citizen data post-pandemic
Chatham House
Of the vastly expanded government power to fight COVID-19, digital surveillance has moved to the forefront. Whilst lockdowns, testing, quarantines, and limited travel are some of the freedoms suspended to stop the spread, it is digital rights that are troubling many. Citizens have endured extensive digital intrusion conducted in the name of public health. From contact tracing and government apps to venue check-ins and enhanced medical data, questions regarding the state and digital liberty are rising. States have accrued substantial amounts of data to combat the virus. How this data will be used and stored worries data privacy advocates. But as vaccinations continue apace and economies reopen, have the boundaries of state intervention in the digital sphere shifted?

WIRED / RE: WIRED: Conversations About Humanity’s Biggest Bets
WIRED
Our world is facing some of the most critical challenges of all time. While the last decade ushered in dramatic technological acceleration, the last 18 months have kicked off a tectonic societal shift in how we live, work, and connect. Generating sustainable and strategic solutions to these challenges—from both communal action and heroic innovation—requires us to rewire discourse and the way we think. This is RE:WIRED. Join us this November for a series of conversations between technologists and people who think hard about the consequences for those technologies on society, economics, sustainability and, ultimately, our future.

Jobs

New ICPC Program on Critical Technologies - 3 positions
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for three exceptional and experienced senior analysts and analysts to join its large team from October 2021. These new roles will focus on original research, analysis and stakeholder engagement centred around international critical technology development, including analysis of which countries are leading on what technologies.

ICPC Pacific Islands Analyst - Information operations & disinformation
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and proactive Pacific Islands analyst who will work with the Centre’s information operations and disinformation program. The successful candidate will work with a small, high-performing team to produce original research and analysis centred around policy responses to information operations and disinformation by actors in the Pacific Islands region. They will also work with senior staff in the centre to engage globally with governments, social media and Internet companies. Candidates must have a demonstrated background in, and strong knowledge of, the Pacific Islands region, including the region’s digital, media and social media landscape.

ICPC Analyst & Project Manager - Coercive diplomacy
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an Analyst and Project Manager to manage, and help lead, a project on coercive diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. This new role will focus on analysis, workshops and stakeholder engagement centred around coercive diplomacy, including how countries in the Indo-Pacific can work together to tackle this complicated policy challenge. Candidates must have excellent coordination, project management and stakeholder engagement skills.

ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI ICPC
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.

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