Morrison recruits Trump aide Kirstjen Nielsen for cyber war I AI researchers call out scientific publisher I Chinese tech companies with government links face curbs

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  • Former US secretary of homeland security Kirstjen Nielsen, who led the global campaign against Huawei, has been recruited by the Morrison government to prepare its cyber security strategy amid rising tensions with China and mass cyber attacks targeting Australian governments and companies. The Australian

  • An open letter from a growing coalition of AI researchers is calling out scientific publisher Springer Nature for a conference paper it reportedly planned to include in its forthcoming book Transactions on Computational Science & Computational Intelligence. MIT Review

  • India is trying to identify Chinese technology companies with direct or indirect links to that country’s government or military. Such companies will face challenges in getting investment approvals, given that this could have national security implications for India the wake of the recent border hostilities. The Economic Times

ASPI ICPC

China's disinformation campaign is real. We need better defences against state-based cyberattacks
The Conversation 
According to a report published this month by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a “persistent, large-scale influence campaign linked to Chinese state actors” has been targeting Chinese-speaking people outside China. The campaign is allegedly aimed at swaying online debate surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hong Kong protests, among other key issues. Earlier this week, analysts at ASPI reiterated how Islamophobic and nationalist content was intentionally spread online during last year’s election campaign. 

  • Read the ASPI ICPC report Retweeting through the Great Firewall here.

Calls for independent social media body
The Australian
Australia should have an independent authority to oversee social media platforms and protect its citizens from harm, senators have been told. Jake Wallis and Thomas Uren, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told a Senate inquiry into foreign interference through social media that the coronavirus pandemic has been used to harness the public's fears, with scams, conspiracy theories and states trying to gain advantage.

The World

AI researchers say scientific publishers help perpetuate racist algorithms
MIT Technology
An open letter from a growing coalition of AI researchers is calling out scientific publisher Springer Nature for a conference paper it reportedly planned to include in its forthcoming book Transactions on Computational Science & Computational Intelligence. The paper, titled “A Deep Neural Network Model to Predict Criminality Using Image Processing,” presents a face recognition system purportedly capable of predicting whether someone is a criminal, according to the original press release. It was developed by researchers at Harrisburg University and was due to be presented at a forthcoming conference.

Australia

PM recruits Trump aide Kirstjen Nielsen for cyber war
The Australian 
Former US secretary of homeland security Kirstjen Nielsen, who led the global campaign against Huawei, has been recruited by the Morrison government to prepare its cyber security strategy amid rising tensions with China and mass cyber attacks targeting Australian governments and companies.

Grey zone strike means cyber war
Australian Financial Review
@lesleyseebeck
A campaign over many months tells us several things: the perpetrators have little to fear from discovery, they’re likely seeking first-mover advantage possibly for new exploits, and they’re looking to map and shape the cyber environment. If they also weaken our systems and erode trust in the digital environment, so much the better. In strategic terms, this is classic grey-area activity – not quite an act of war, but close. Among the candidates most likely to be the state actor – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – it’s hard to believe the last two would see Australia as meriting such focused attention. 

Australian security cameras hacked, streamed on a Russian-based website
ABC News
@George_Roberts
Australians are being filmed through private security cameras that are being streamed on a website based in Russia.

Turnbull joins Kasada board, touts Huawei foresight
Financial Review
@eyersj
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has joined the board of fast-growing cyber protection firm Kasada and invested $1 million in the start-up, saying the increasing foreign threat revealed by Scott Morrison on Friday highlighted the wisdom of his decision to ban Huawei from Australia's 5G network.

Australia's powerful new supercomputer Gadi given Ngunnawal name in tribute to Canberra's first people
ABC News
@nikiburnside
Researchers are now making use of the Australian National University's new supercomputer, Gadi, one of the most powerful of its kind and the most powerful in the southern hemisphere. Gadi, based at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), was unveiled this week after a few months of early operation, described by the university as a "recognised powerhouse in the global supercomputing ranking.”

Victoria Police emails reveal Clearview AI's dodgy direct marketing
ZDNet
@stilgherrian
Controversial facial recognition service Clearview AI has been marketing directly to individual Australian police officers, encouraging them to make 100+ searches during free trials, and to refer the service to their colleagues. 

NEC pitches itself as Huawei replacement in 5G rollout
Financial Review
@TomMcIlroy
Japanese tech giant NEC has set its sights on the rollout of 5G in Australia, offering Australian telcos cutting edge technology and a secure counterbalance to China's Huawei.

Australia warned to not ignore domestic misinformation in social media crackdown
ZDNet
@ashabeeeee
Committee has been warned against outsourcing the job of deciding what is true or false in an Australian context to a handful of private US companies.

China

China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission
The New York Times
Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.

Huawei’s 5G Dominance Threatened by U.S. Policy on Chips
Wall Street Journal
@DanStrumpf
When Huawei Technologies Co. was banned last year from buying American parts, the Chinese tech giant had a workaround: make greater use of its own chips. That strategy is in jeopardy after the Commerce Department last month restricted chip makers globally who use U.S. technology from supplying semiconductors to Huawei, a rule that covers virtually all builders of high-end chips.

USA

President Trump Just Suspended the Tech Industry's Favorite Visa
WIRED
@AarianMarshall
President Trump on Monday signed an executive order temporarily suspending many nonimmigrant visas, including temporary H-1B visas popular among tech companies. Industry executives say the move will push highly skilled tech workers and prospective innovators to other countries.

Twitter bans DDoSecrets account over 'BlueLeaks' police data dump
ZDNet
@campuscodi
A Twitter spokesperson has told ZDNet today that they've permanently suspended the @DDoSecrets Twitter account for violating its policy about the distribution of hacked data after the account shared links to hacked data stolen from US law enforcement agencies.

Facial recognition lawsuit targets NY schools over student privacy
CNET
@alfredwkng
A lawsuit against the New York State Education Department is looking to dismantle a $3 million facial recognition system in schools, citing student privacy concerns and the technology's issues with racial and gender bias.

Canada

Huawei’s Meng far more valuable than Canada’s Kovrig and Spavor, Chinese journalist says
The Globe and Mail 
@nvanderklippe
The Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver is far more valuable than a couple of Canadians, a senior Chinese journalist has said—the latest online post from a Chinese government employee to attract global attention and condemnation.

North Asia

Taiwan’s TSMC has already replaced lost Huawei orders: Minister
Taiwan News
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has offset lost business from China's Huawei Technologies Co. Limited with other customers, according to a Taiwanese government minister on Monday (6/22).

James Griffiths on How China Controls the Internet
The Wire China
The Hong Kong-based journalist explains how the Great Firewall was tested by Covid-19 and the Hong Kong protests, as well as China's plans to export its model.

South Asia

Chinese tech companies with government links face curbs
The Economic Times 
India is trying to identify Chinese technology companies with direct or indirect links to that country’s government or military, a top official said. Such companies will face challenges in getting investment approvals, given that this could have national security implications for Indian the wake of the recent border hostilities, he said. But private companies that don’t fall under this category, such as smartphone manufacturers Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo, are unlikely to face any such hurdles to their plans to invest and expand in India, the official told ET.

Pakistan’s “dark web” sells your sensitive personal details for peanuts
Samaa TV
If you think your personal details are safe with the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra), you are in for a surprise. Sensitive data, including key information such as your date of birth, family tree details, and even your fingerprints could be on offer on one of the many WhatsApp groups run by con artists, and at a price that beggars belief.

Europe

UK

EasyJet faces group legal claim over cyber attack data breach
Financial Times
@TanyaPowley @KateBeioley_FT
EasyJet is facing a legal claim brought by thousands of its customers after the airline last month said the personal details of about 9m passengers were breached by a cyber attack. About 10,000 customers have joined the case, making it one of the UK’s biggest group-action personal data claims, according to lawyers. 

Facebook, YouTube usage linked to belief in coronavirus conspiracy theories, study finds
CNBC
People using social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube to find information about the coronavirus are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about the disease, according to new research out of the U.K.

Misc

Facebook faces advertiser revolt over failure to address hate speech
The Guardian 
@kari_paul
The North Face, REI and other brands pause advertising on the platform in “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign.

Twitter apologises for business data breach
BBC News
Twitter has emailed its business clients to tell them that personal information may have been compromised. 

Privacy-Focused OS Wants to Know How Facebook and the FBI Hacked it
Motherboard
@lorenzofb
The developers of a privacy-focused operating system championed by Edward Snowden are scrambling to find out the details of a hack that the FBI used—and Facebook paid for—to unmask a child predator.

Warning: “Invisible God” Hacker Sold Access To More Than 135 Companies In Just Three Years
Forbes
@iblametom
Major antivirus companies, banks, insurance providers, government agencies, large hotels, wineries, restaurants, airlines. Think of almost any kind of company and there’s a good chance a prolific, financially-motivated hacker known as Fxmsp has broken into it, or attempted to, according to a report released Tuesday.

Bahrain, Kuwait and Norway contact tracing apps among most dangerous for privacy
Amnesty
@amnesty
Bahrain, Kuwait and Norway have rolled out some of the most invasive COVID-19 contact tracing apps around the world, putting the privacy and security of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, an Amnesty International investigation reveals.

Research

How China’s Mercantilist Policies Have Undermined Global Innovation in the Telecom Equipment Industry
ITIF
@RobAtkinsonITIF
This report examines how China’s telecom equipment policies affect innovation in the industry globally. There is no question that, without unfair “innovation mercantilist” policies and programs, China would lack a globally competitive telecom equipment industry. Neither Huawei nor ZTE, China’s two national champions, would have more than de minimis market shares, even in China. Nor is there any question that Chinese market-share gains have come at the expense of innovative telecom equipment providers based in other nations. 

Border Control: The Rise of Data Nationalism
Data Catalyst
@jendaskal @jshermcyber
This paper details, breaks down, and analyzes the trends in favor of data nationalism. It details the various reasons that states engage in various efforts to exert national control over data—some for surveillance and access reasons, some to push particular data protection and privacy regimes, and some to control the kind of information that flows through one’s borders and/or about one’s citizens and residents. It provides a typology and analysis of the various forms of control, details the costs that arise, and ends with a discussion of some of the efforts at pushback.


Events

ASPI Webinar: UN Cyber Negotiations - What they mean for Australian diplomacy
ASPI
ASPI warmly invites you to a webinar on 'UN Cyber Negotiations - What they mean for Australian diplomacy'. Join ASPI’s Bart Hogeveen in conversation with Johanna Weaver, Special Adviser to Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, on how states can be restrained from conducting, condoning, and sponsoring cyber operations that destabilise international peace and security, and what states can do to encourage a safe, secure and resilient internet ecosystem at home.

How IXPs are supporting the Internet during COVID-19
Internet Society 
Join us on Thursday 25 June at 6:00 AM UTC for a 90-minute conversation about how IXPs are supporting the Internet during COVID-19. This virtual meeting will host deliberations with major IXPs in Asia-Pacific, to collect insights on how IXPs have dealt with increased volume of traffic, and how COVID-19 has tested capacity and resilience of local infrastructure. The goal of this meeting is to demonstrate the role IXPs as a key component in the architecture of local Internet infrastructure, and how they have played a role in supporting the Internet during COVID-19.

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