Meta may shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe, data-sharing dispute | I.R.S. to end use of facial recognition for ID verification | Israel ramps up scrutiny of police as NSO scandal spreads
Meta has said it is considering shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S. The social media giant issued the warning in its annual report last Thursday. CNBC
The Internal Revenue Service plans to stop using facial recognition software to identify taxpayers accessing their accounts on the agency’s website amid concerns over privacy and data security. The New York Times
Israel announced it was setting up a national inquiry on Monday after a newspaper reported illicit use by police of powerful spyware against confidants of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other public figures. Reuters
How China uses influencers to squash human rights concerns
Fergus Ryan spoke to Canada's CBC News about ASPI ICPC's new report 'Borrowing Mouths to Speak on Xinjiang'.
Read our latest report ‘Borrowing Mouths to Speak on Xinjiang.’
Facebook appeal over Cambridge Analytica data rejected by Australian court as ‘divorced from reality’
Facebook has lost a major battle with the Australian regulator over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, after a court dismissed the social media giant’s claim that it neither conducts business nor collects personal information in the country.
Labor pushes for ‘digital licence’ to improve kids’ digital literacy
School-aged children will be able to obtain a “digital licence” which gives them the skills to use the internet safely, under an election commitment from the federal Opposition. Labor on Monday announced it would support the national rollout of two digital skills programs already developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF), if it wins the upcoming election.
US-born Chinese skater savaged online after Olympics blunder
China appeared Sunday to censor an outpouring of social media vitriol against a naturalised US-born figure skater who took a tumble at the Beijing Games and nearly cost the hosts dear. The 19-year-old Beverly Zhu, who was born and raised in the United States but now competes for China under the name Zhu Yi, came last in the women's singles short programme in the team event.
Peng Shuai Tells the West She Is Safe. But Her Name Is Still Censored for Chinese People.
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is attending the Beijing Games, meeting with Olympic officials, and getting interviewed by a French news outlet as the Chinese government tries to allay the global community’s concerns about her safety. But people in China are still banned from talking about the athlete and her explosive sexual assault allegation against a former Communist Party leader.
Forget Big Tech: China’s new motto for ‘little giants’ is stay small and don’t stray
South China Morning Post
Many Chinese businesses have long lived by the motto “zuo da zuo qiang”, or “become big and strong”. A company in need of consolidation may put “strong” ahead of “big”, but getting big remains the ultimate goal. China’s latest plan to forge an army of “little giants”, therefore, is extraordinary. The government is essentially seeking to persuade the country’s entrepreneurs to be less ambitious about scale and instead focus on specific niche areas.
Why Chinese information warfare is different from those of the US and Russia
South China Morning Post
Chinese state propaganda is primarily defensive in nature and aims at pushing the country’s preferred viewpoints and narratives about itself. Comparable operations by Russia and the United States are generally offensive as they aim at regime change, political delegitimisation, and societal and economic destabilisation in the targeted country.
How Thousands in China Gently Mourn a Coronavirus Whistle-Blower
The New York Times
Li Wenliang, a doctor in the Chinese city of Wuhan, died of the coronavirus on Feb. 6 at the age of 34. More than a month before that, he went online to warn friends of the strange and deadly virus rampaging through his hospital, only to be threatened by government authorities. He became a hero in China when his warnings proved true, then a martyr when he died. After his passing, people began to gather, virtually, at his last post on Weibo, the Chinese social media platform. In the comments section, they grieve and seek solace. Some call it China’s Wailing Wall, a reference to the Western Wall in Jerusalem where people leave written prayers in the cracks.
I.R.S. to End Use of Facial Recognition for Identity Verification
The New York Times
The Internal Revenue Service plans to stop using facial recognition software to identify taxpayers accessing their accounts on the agency’s website amid concerns over privacy and data security.
Huge government agencies clash over imposing facial recognition
The Washington Post
Even as the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies are pushing to require Americans to consent to facial recognition to sign on to government websites, the government’s central management office has refused to use the technology on its own secure log-in service, Login.gov. The General Services Administration, which oversees federal offices and technology, says the face-scanning technology has too many problems to justify its use as an identity-verification service.
The News Corp breach illustrates how badly China wants to hack the U.S.
The Washington Post
A multiyear email breach at News Corp. publications shows the massive scope of Chinese hackers’ intelligence gathering. The hackers, who are likely tied to the Chinese government, gained access to emails and documents from reporters and others at publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and News UK, Aaron Gregg and Eva Dou report. They were rooting around in those systems since at least February, 2020, the Journal’s Alexandra Bruell, Sadie Gurman and Dustin Volz report.
Thousands of Pentagon contractors could buckle under cybersecurity push
The Biden administration is forging ahead with a scaled-back plan to regulate cybersecurity in the vast and complicated defense industry marketplace. But the halting rollout of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or CMMC, program illustrates the perils and pitfalls of rewriting supply chain cyber rules for the defense industrial base.
Trump’s Truth Social app, self-proclaimed foe of Big Tech, needs Apple and Google to survive
Julia Love and Helen Coster
With just weeks to go before an expected launch, Donald Trump’s new media venture is trying to strike a delicate balance with its app: giving Trump's base the freedom to express themselves, without running afoul of Apple and Google’s app store policies.
Secret DEA Files Sell For Just $5 On Facebook—Here’s How Gangs (And Cops) Use Social Media
Facebook is used by drug, gun and human trafficking gangs to organize, intimidate and brag. Some police say they’re glad, from an investigatory perspective, that social media giants don’t always kick the crews off their platforms.
North Korea grows nuclear, missiles programs, profits from cyberattacks -U.N. report
North Korea continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs during the past year and cyberattacks on cryptocurrency exchanges were an important revenue source for Pyongyang, according to an excerpt of a confidential United Nations report seen on Saturday by Reuters.
NZ & Pacific Islands
Tonga starving for data as satellite capacity meets only 12.5% of demand
Mary Lyn Fonua
After two weeks of scrambling for satellite connectivity, one of Tonga's two main telecommunications networks started rolling out more data capacity last week, but there's simply not enough capacity to meet national demand, and allocation of bandwidth has to be carefully managed until the fibre optic cable is repaired. Tonga went into digital darkness when its international telecommunications fibre optic cable was cut during the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption and tsunamis on January 15. The domestic submarine cable linking the capital to Vava'u was also cut, severing outer island communications.
How Facebook Fuels Religious Violence
Mubashar Hasan, Geoffrey Macdonald, and Hui Hui Ooi
Since its founding in 2004, Facebook has been aware of the potential dangers of its platform. Its terms of service have always reserved the right to remove threatening speech, and as harmful content increasingly plagued the platform, it regularly updated its policies to better define its guidelines and enforcement approaches. For years, Facebook’s corporate owner, now known as Meta, has funneled billions of dollars into improving “safety and security” measures across all of its products, including WhatsApp and Instagram. But these efforts have failed to curb hate speech-fueled violence.
British using Chinese CCTV linked to repression of Uighurs
Schools, councils, police forces and government departments are using Chinese surveillance cameras linked to the repression of Uighurs, data shared with The Times shows. Hikvision and Dahua, both Chinese state-owned companies, have been blacklisted by the US authorities over their links to the systematic oppression of Muslim Uighurs in China. British officials and rights campaigners say they provide the “technological infrastructure” for Chinese concentration camps.
Meta says it may shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe over data-sharing dispute
Meta has said it is considering shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S. The social media giant issued the warning in its annual report last Thursday.
EU watchdogs call for rapid action to catch up with digital finance
Rapid action is needed to update how cross-border financial services are scrutinised and consumers protected as the sector becomes digitalised with ""Big Tech"" playing an increased role, European Union regulators said on Monday.
Israel ramps up scrutiny of police as NSO scandal spreads
Israel announced it was setting up a national inquiry on Monday after a newspaper reported illicit use by police of powerful spyware against confidants of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other public figures.
No one was immune: Israel Police Pegasus surveillance list revealed
CEOs of government ministries, journalists, tycoons, corporate executives, mayors, social activists, and even the Prime Minister’s relatives, all were police targets, having their phones hacked by NSO’s spyware, prior to any investigation even opening and without any judicial authorization.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa most affected as Meta halts low-cost Express Wi-Fi
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been worst-affected by Meta’s plan to discontinue its low-cost Express Wi-Fi internet, launched five years ago to drive connectivity in underserved regions. Meta (formerly Facebook) quietly issued a notice saying that it plans to wind down the program later this year. In countries like Kenya, however, the service has been off since mid-December 2020.
Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All
The New York Times
Helium, a wireless network powered by cryptocurrency, hints at the practical promise of decentralized services.
Kids are flocking to Facebook’s ‘metaverse.’ Experts worry predators will follow.
The Washington Post
Children aren’t allowed in the Horizon Worlds virtual-reality app, but that isn’t stopping them from socializing with adult strangers.
A New Trick Lets Artificial Intelligence See in 3D
Some algorithms can now compose a 3D scene from 2D images—creating possibilities in video games, robotics, and autonomous driving.
Indigenous Technologies: Innovations Powering the Continuation of our Oldest Civilisations
The Sydney Dialogue
Indigenous technology entrepreneurs are blending their ancient cultures with new technologies in ways that are transforming the oldest civilisations on earth and challenging perceptions about the way new and emerging technology can be harnessed. In this panel discussion, Indigenous tech entrepreneurs and thought leaders will look ahead at how the world’s oldest societies will co-exist in a technology fuelled future. Streaming on Monday 14th February at 12pm AEDT.
Increasing Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World
The Sydney Dialogue
Covid-19 has created unprecedented disruption to our economic, health, and travel systems. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of governments, scientists, and industry leaders working together to ensure healthy and thriving communities. How will this relationship re-write itself in the wake of the pandemic? In this panel discussion, speakers will look at how governments, scientists and industry leaders can better work together to protect global health and promote economic recovery using technology. Streaming on Monday 21st February at 5:30pm AEDT.
Behind the scenes on Central Bank Digital Currency
Launch for IMF fintech paper on CBDCs featuring Kristalina Georgieva, Josh Lipsky, Tobias Adrian, Gabriela Guibourg, and representatives from select central banks. Alice Fulwood of the Economist will moderate. Wednesday 9th February 9:00am ET.
China’s online campaign to shift the narrative on Xinjiang
A conversation on the Chinese Communist Party’s digital authoritarianism with New York Times award-winning journalist Paul Mozur, moderated by Nonresident Senior Fellow Rayhan Asat. Friday 11th February 12pm ET.
#ProactiveLAC: A digital future for regional prosperity
A virtual conversation on the role of public-private partnerships and policy actions in increasing digital connectivity across Latin America and the Caribbean. Thursday 17th February 9:00am ET.
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.
ICPC Data Analyst
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for talented Data Analysts to join its growing centre. ASPI’s ICPC undertakes complex research on some of the most challenging issues at the intersection of technology and public policy. How do we develop international norms to deter information operations and coercive diplomacy, how should we build international cooperation on the development of emerging critical technologies, what is the right balance between regulation and innovation? We deliver empirical research that is policy-relevant and we’re looking for people who can help us analyse data at scale.