How the FBI secretly ran a phone network for criminals | US Senate passes bill to bolster competitiveness with China | Nato allies need to speed up AI defence co-operation
For years the FBI has secretly run an encrypted communications app used by organized crime in order to surreptitiously collect its users' messages and monitor criminals' activity on a massive scale, according to a newly unsealed court document. In all, the elaborate operation netted more than 20 million messages from over 11,800 devices used by suspected criminals. VICE News
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Tuesday that would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China. The wide margin of support reflected a sense of urgency among lawmakers in both parties about shoring up the technological and industrial capacity of the United States to counter Beijing. The New York Times
As Russia intensifies cyber hostilities and China weaponises artificial intelligence, joining forces in the field of high-tech warfare will feature high on the list of topics discussed by Nato allies at a summit next week. But the transatlantic alliance’s 30 members will need to move fast if they aim to make up lost ground. Financial Times
Explore the ‘Mapping China's Tech Giants’ map here.
Read the accompanying reports: ‘Mapping China's Tech Giants: Supply chains & the global data collection ecosystem’ & ‘Reining in China’s technology giants’.
The 'second quantum revolution' is almost here. We need to make sure it benefits the many, not the few
Quantum technologies are expected to impact many aspects of our society, including health care, financial services, defence, weather modelling, and cyber security. Clearly, they promise exciting benefits. Yet the history of technology development shows we cannot simply assume new tools and systems will automatically be in the public interest. We must look ahead to what a quantum society might entail and how the quantum design choices made today might impact how we live in the near future. The deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning over the past few years provides a compelling example of why this is necessary.. We need discussions involving a cross-section of society on the potential impacts of quantum technologies on society. This process should clarify societal expectations for the emerging quantum technology sector and inform any national quantum initiative in Australia.
Read ASPI ICPC’s ‘An Australian strategy for the quantum revolution’.
Trojan Shield: How the FBI Secretly Ran a Phone Network for Criminals
For years the FBI has secretly run an encrypted communications app used by organized crime in order to surreptitiously collect its users' messages and monitor criminals' activity on a massive scale, according to a newly unsealed court document. In all, the elaborate operation netted more than 20 million messages from over 11,800 devices used by suspected criminals.
Australian Federal Police and FBI nab criminal underworld figures in worldwide sting using encrypted app
More than 200 members of Australia's mafia and bikie underworld have been charged in the nation's largest-ever crime sting, police say. As part of a three-year collaboration between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), underworld figures were tricked into communicating via an encrypted app designed by police, authorities say. The app, known as AN0M, was used by organised crime gangs around the world to plan executions, mass drug importations and money laundering. Authorities say they were able to read up to 25 million messages in real time.
Twitch, Pinterest, Reddit and more go down in Fastly CDN outage (Update: Outage resolved after 1 hour)
Countless popular websites including Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, Stack Overflow, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, Quora, PayPal, Vimeo, Shopify, Stripe, and news outlets CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Financial Times are currently facing an outage. A glitch at Fastly, a popular CDN provider, is thought to be the reason, according to a product manager at Financial Times. Fastly has confirmed it’s facing an outage on its status website.
Scott Morrison to push G7 on reining in China
The G7 summit will be immediately followed by a key meeting of NATO members to refocus the alliance on growing global cyber threats and an increasingly aggressive China.
Chinese tech firms snub Australian office market amid Beijing’s spat with Canberra over trade, Covid-19 handling
South China Morning Post
The icy relations between Canberra and Beijing are unlikely to encourage mainland tech giants to view Australia as a favourable investment destination, say analysts.
Huawei Ramps Up Investment in Chipmaking as U.S. Sanctions Bite
Huawei is deepening its involvement in the semiconductor industry with an investment in a Chinese company engaged in producing a major component for chipmaking equipment, as the Chinese tech giant grapples with chip shortages caused by the U.S. sanctions.
Apple Worked With Company Tied To Xinjiang
The company, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, once sought “labor exports” in the region. Forced labor is a major part of China’s campaign against Muslims in Xinjiang.
Wix, Bing, YouTube "errors" stoke fear China's firewall is global
For decades, China’s “great firewall” that blocks most foreign internet services remained a vague concept for people outside the country. But the influence of Chinese domestic censorship is now impacting people overseas far more than before.
Chinese hackers implicated in breach of Russian government agencies
Chinese hackers were likely behind a series of intrusions at Russian government agencies last year, security firm SentinelOne said Tuesday.
China's Internet Trolls Go Global
Council on Foreign Relations
Chinese trolls are beginning to pose serious threats to economic security, political stability, and personal safety worldwide.
Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Bill to Bolster Competitiveness With China
The New York Times
The wide margin of support reflected a sense of urgency among lawmakers in both parties about shoring up the technological and industrial capacity of the United States to counter Beijing.
US targets China rare earth magnets for possible tariffs
Biden considers investigation of neodymium magnets in bid to reduce dependency on Beijing.
The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax
@eisingerj @jeffernsthausen @paulkiel
ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.
Tennessee Scientist Is First to Go on Trial on Charges He Hid Work in China
The Wall Street Journal
Prosecutors say the nanotechnology researcher did similar work in both countries while getting money from NASA.
Trump backs Nigeria on Twitter ban, says more countries should too
The New York Post
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday came out in support of the Nigerian government’s decision to block access to Twitter in the West African country — and called on more nations to follow suit. “Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President,” Trump said in an emailed statement. “More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech—all voices should be heard.
TikTok just gave itself permission to collect biometric data on US users, including ‘faceprints and voiceprints’
Japan teams up with Finland on 6G development
Industry groups from Japan and Finland will conduct joint research and development of sixth-generation communications technology, looking to lead the creation of 6G standards in a field increasingly influenced by Chinese companies.
Leading UK universities accept more than £40m from state-owned Chinese companies
Hawkish Tory MPs uncover 20 universities accepted million-pound research grants from companies such as Huawei.
NATO allies need to speed up AI defence co-operation
High-tech warfare will be high on agenda at summit, but most members are playing catch-up with China.
Europe’s AI rules open door to mass use of facial recognition, critics warn
Activists fear loopholes in the bloc’s artificial intelligence bill could allow for widespread facial recognition beyond Europe’s borders.
Google Pays $270 Million to Settle Antitrust Charges in France
The New York Times
The tech giant, which is facing similar scrutiny in the U.S., also said it would make changes to increase transparency of its online ad systems.
Romania adopts 5G law that could exclude Huawei
Romania’s parliament approved a law to regulate telecom networks and infrastructure, which could exclude Chinese giant Huawei from having access to its future 5G mobile networks.
Expect an Orwellian future if AI isn't kept in check, Microsoft exec says
Artificial intelligence could lead to an Orwellian future if laws to protect the public aren't enacted soon, according to Microsoft President Brad Smith. Smith made the comments to the BBC news program "Panorama" on May 26, during an episode focused on the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) and the race between the United States and China to develop the technology. The warning comes about a month after the European Union released draft regulations attempting to set limits on how AI can be used. There are few similar efforts in the United States, where legislation has largely focused on limiting regulation and promoting AI for national security purposes. "I'm constantly reminded of George Orwell's lessons in his book '1984,'" Smith said. "The fundamental story was about a government that could see everything that everyone did and hear everything that everyone said all the time. Well, that didn't come to pass in 1984, but if we're not careful, that could come to pass in 2024."
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.