NEW REPORT: Genomic surveillance | EBay former PR chief in cyberstalking indictment | India to bar BSNL from sourcing Chinese gear
A new report by the ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre finds that the Chinese Government is building the world’s largest police-run DNA database in close cooperation with key industry partners across the globe. Yet, unlike the managers of other forensic databases, Chinese authorities are deliberately enrolling tens of millions of people who have no history of serious criminal activity. ASPI ICPC
Steven Wymer, who has not been charged with a crime, was EBay’s public-relations chief for about nine months in 2019, when six EBay employees allegedly harassed the proprietors of an e-commerce newsletter that wrote articles about the company. Bloomberg
The Indian government will bar Chinese companies from providing any telecom equipment to state-run telcos and may also prohibit private mobile phone operators from using gear supplied by the likes of Huawei and ZTE going forward, a senior official said, marking India’s first major economic reaction to the skirmishes on the border with Chinese troops. Economic Times
Genomic surveillance: inside China’s DNA dragnet
The Chinese Government is building the world’s largest police-run DNA database in close cooperation with key industry partners across the globe. Yet, unlike the managers of other forensic databases, Chinese authorities are deliberately enrolling tens of millions of people who have no history of serious criminal activity. Those individuals (including preschool-age children) have no control over how their samples are collected, stored and used. Nor do they have a clear understanding of the potential implications of DNA collection for them and their extended families.
James Leibold @jleiboldNew @ASPI_ICPC report by @emiledirks & me pulls back the lid on China's national forensic DNA database & how the tools of bio-surveillance first sharpened in Xinjiang/Tibet are being exported to the rest of China, deepening state control & repression https://t.co/tsm2BbeW2G 1/
China is collecting DNA from tens of millions of men and boys, using US equipment
The New York Times
The police in China are collecting blood samples from men and boys from across the country to build a genetic map of its roughly 700 million males, giving the authorities a powerful new tool for their emerging high-tech surveillance state. They have swept across the country since late 2017 to collect enough samples to build a vast DNA database, according to a new study published on Wednesday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a research organization, based on documents also reviewed by The New York Times.
Facial surveillance is slowly being trialled around the country
Cyber security expert Fergus Hanson says the technology can be a useful tool for stopping identity fraud and other police activities. "Facial recognition does have some legitimate uses for law enforcement," he told 7.30. "You could see them having the photograph of a suspect that they could run through a database, pull up their details and then show up at their house and arrest them." But he concedes it needs to be well-regulated. "I think we need to think carefully about the extent they can be exploited and the slippery slope we can end up on, where really minor offenses get picked up and we start to chip away at the democratic freedoms we take for granted."
Govt now scoping ‘urgent’ ICT capability audit
Public sector IT is currently fragmented and messy, and the audit would likely find that it will take a lot of work to transform it, Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre senior analyst Tom Uren said.. “The government needs to understand IT well. It seems like a lot of departments outsource too much, and then they lose expertise to make good decisions.”
Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook
The New York Times
On Tuesday, the social network said it would allow people in the United States to opt out of seeing social issue, electoral or political ads from candidates or political action committees in their Facebook or Instagram feeds. The ability to hide those ads will begin with a small group of users, before rolling out in the coming weeks to the rest of the United States and later to several other countries.
COVIDSafe app tests revealed iPhone performance issues at launch that weren't shared with the public
When the coronavirus contact tracing app was released in late April, Australians were largely told they did not need to do anything special for the app to work. While the Federal Government strongly tied downloads of COVIDSafe to the lifting of lockdown restrictions, its own testing at the time showed the software only worked effectively on locked iPhones about a quarter of the time or less.
China’s Great Firewall Looms Over Hong Kong As Surveillance Grows
Hong Kong, already grappling with tightened policing to rein in widespread protests that followed last year's proposed extradition bill, is now bracing for the prospect of stricter digital controls -- ones that would curtail free speech, communications and the ability to organize and turn the city of 7 million into a surveillance state that more closely resembles China.
TikTok Users Gush About China, Hoping to Boost Views
The Wall Street Journal
Glorifying China—with a wink—is emerging as an unexpected new trend on TikTok, the short video app whose already high popularity has soared during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares in China telecoms groups rise as US eases Huawei sanctions
Shares in Chinese telecoms companies jumped on Tuesday after the US watered down some of its biting sanctions on Chinese technology giant Huawei, over fears it was inadvertently excluding itself from global talks shaping future technologies.
China is setting itself up to win cold war 2.0
The superpower rivalry between the US and China has also acquired a different, and possibly decisive, new dimension: cyber. If cold war 1.0 revolved around military hardware and the threat of nuclear annihilation, then cold war 2.0 is more about civil software and technological innovation. The internet is emerging as a technology of control, not just communication. Whoever runs the global Internet of Things, connecting billions of devices, will have a geostrategic advantage. And China is strengthening its position: the row over the use of Huawei equipment in the 5G networks of several western countries is a taste of things to come.
Apple's Diversity Chief Leaves as Companies Vow to Tackle Racism
Apple Inc.’s head of diversity and inclusion Christie Smith is leaving the iPhone company, according to people familiar with the matter.
US blacklists 'China's MIT' as tech war enters new phase
The U.S. war on Chinese technology has entered a new phase, with universities in the country added to Washington's blacklist of tech entities.
EBay's Former PR Chief Is 'Executive 2' in Cyberstalking Indictment
Steven Wymer, who has not been charged with a crime, was EBay’s public-relations chief for about nine months in 2019, when six EBay employees allegedly harassed the proprietors of an e-commerce newsletter that wrote articles about the company. Bloomberg reported Monday that “Executive 1” is former chief executive officer Devin Wenig, who is also referred to in the indictment but not charged with anything.
Mark Zuckerberg: Historic Facebook campaign will boost voter registration, turnout and voices
I believe Facebook can strengthen democracy by maintaining as open a platform as possible, accompanied by ambitious efforts to lift voter participation.
Inside The Dangerous Online Fever Swamps Of American Police
Cops have a far-right media ecosystem of their own, where they post racist memes, spread disinformation and call for violence against antifa.
Facebook Groups Are Destroying America
THE COVID-19 “INFODEMIC” has laid bare how vulnerable the United States is to disinformation. The country is less than five months away from the 2020 presidential election, and Americans by the thousands are buying into conspiracy theories about vaccines containing microchips and wondering about the healing powers of hair dryers. Where does all this come from? Let’s not be too distracted by a fear of rumormonger bots on the rampage or divisive ads purchased with Russian rubles. As two of the leading researchers in this field, we’re much more worried about Facebook groups pumping out vast amounts of false information to like-minded members.
Big blow for ZTE, Huawei! India to bar BSNL from sourcing Chinese gear; may also bar pvt telcos
The Indian government will bar Chinese companies from providing any telecom equipment to state-run telcos and may also prohibit private mobile phone operators from using gear supplied by the likes of Huawei and ZTE going forward, a senior official said, marking India’s first major economic reaction to the skirmishes on the border with Chinese troops.
Gig Workers In India Can’t Do Their Jobs Unless They Install A Controversial Contact Tracing App
The app, called Aarogya Setu, requires constant access to GPS and Bluetooth data, and has drawn criticism from around the world for enabling state surveillance.
How spies used LinkedIn to hack European defense companies
For LinkedIn users, receiving unsolicited messages from pushy job recruiters comes with the territory. It’s an annoyance for some, a welcome path toward a new gig for others. What the experience isn’t supposed to entail is the theft of sensitive data from the defense company that employs you. That’s what happened to employees at two European aerospace and defense firms from September to December 2019, according to research published Wednesday.
OECD to host Secretariat of new Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence
The OECD will host the Secretariat of the new Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), a coalition launched today that aims at ensuring that Artificial Intelligence is used responsibly, respecting human rights and democratic values. Arrangements for the OECD’s role as host will be finalised in the coming days.
How the Kremlin Targets Lies, and Truths, about Russia’s COVID Response
Russia’s top prosecutor has ordered Russia’s internet- and media-regulation agency to block online access to “inaccurate socially significant information” about the pandemic, according to a June 8 statement from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.
CEO of Open Technology Fund Resigns After Closed-Source Lobbying Effort
The head of the Open Technology Fund (OTF) Corporation, which funds internet freedom projects and technologies, resigned Wednesday because she said she became aware of a lobbying effort that would push the group's funds toward closed-source tools rather than the open-source ones it has traditionally championed.
Understanding Information Operations with Twitter Data Launch Event
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
In 2018, Twitter released a large archive of tweets and media from Russian and Iranian troll farms. This archive of information operations has since been expanded to include activity originating from more than 15 countries and offers researchers unique insight into how IO unfolds on the service. Join ASPI's Jake Wallis on July 9 as he discusses these information operations.
ASPI Webinar: Unraveling the Chinese Communist Party's overseas influence: United front work from Australia to Europe
ASPI is delighted to invite you to the webinar discussion: 'Unraveling the Chinese Communist Party's overseas influence: United front work from Australia to Europe’ on 18 June at 5pm. The ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre's recent report The party speaks for you: Foreign interference and the Chinese Communist Party's united front system revealed the structure and growing scale of Chinese Communist Party influence. These activities can involve political interference, technology transfer and media influence, and risk inflaming racial tensions around Chinese communities.
ASPI Webinar: UN Cyber Negotiations - What they mean for Australian diplomacy
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.