New US-UK AI partnership | Britain acknowedges offensive cyber capability | Russia asks for election interference reset, without mentioning its past
The Trump administration is set to announce that the United States and the United Kingdom have signed a new agreement to cooperate on research and development of artificial intelligence, in news shared first with Axios. Axios
Britain’s most senior cyber general has said the UK possesses the capacity to “degrade, disrupt and destroy” its enemies’ critical infrastructure in a future cyber conflict, in a rare acknowledgement of the military’s offensive hacking capability. The Guardian
Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed a truce with the United States in cyberspace, without acknowledging that Russia has used the internet to interfere in American politics. The New York Times
NEW RESEARCH: Cultural erasure
ASPI's new Xinjiang Data Project brings together rigorous, empirical research on a core set of topics including mass internment camps, surveillance and emerging technologies, forced labour and supply chains, the ‘re-education’ campaign, deliberate cultural destruction and other human rights issues. As a part of this new project ASPI researchers published a second research report (the first is here) - Cultural erasure - that, using satellite imagery, estimates approximately 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang (65% of the total) have been destroyed or damaged as a result of government policies, mostly since 2017. An estimated 8,500 have been demolished outright, and, for the most part, the land on which those razed mosques once sat remains vacant. A further 30% of important Islamic sacred sites (shrines, cemeteries and pilgrimage routes, including many protected under Chinese law) have been demolished across Xinjiang, mostly since 2017, and an additional 28% have been damaged or altered in some way.
Explore the New York Time’s multimedia reporting which verified many of the details of this research ‘by studying satellite images and visiting sites across southern Xinjiang last year.’ The report has received extensive global coverage.
TikTok shock as Home Affairs probe fails to contact app
The lead researcher of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s report into China’s influence on social media, Fergus Ryan, said TikTok may be actively suppressing certain types of content, and those claims warranted deeper investigation. “How can Australians have any faith in the security review of TikTok, when Home Affairs didn’t even engage with the company,” Mr Ryan said. “I was surprised at how quickly (the review) seemed to go from start to finish, and I don’t think you can have a thorough understanding of the national security risks of an app like this so quickly.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee urges UN General Assembly to lead global push to connect the world
World Wide Web Foundation
At the High Level panel “Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations” at the United Nations General Assembly, Sir Tim Berners-Lee was asked how the Covid-19 pandemic has shaped his thinking on expanding connectivity.
Thousands of nudes of underage Aussie girls and women illegally shared onto international forum
SBS The Feed
Thousands of sexually explicit images of underage girls and women have been uploaded onto a forum without their consent.
Taxpayers pick up the tab for MPs to boost their Facebook 'likes'
The Sydney Morning Herald
Individual politicians are spending thousands of dollars a week of taxpayers' money to boost their "likes" and push political messages on social media, with data released for the first time by Facebook's Ad Library revealing how much MPs of all political stripes spend on the platform.
Western influencers boost their careers by embracing Chinese nationalism
Foreign online personalities are amassing millions of followers by feeding pro-Beijing narratives to China’s social media users
Beijing Frets Over Losing Control of TikTok as It Debates App’s Fate
The Wall Street Journal
Chinese officials see deal with Walmart and Oracle as touching on country’s ‘core interests’—and want the app’s source code to remain secret.
Beijing blocked Wikimedia from a UN agency because of “Taiwan-related issues”
As an organization that boasts the world’s largest collection of human knowledge, the Wikimedia Foundation would presumably make a good candidate as an official observer at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United Nations specialized agency that promotes the protection of intellectual property. The problem is that China won’t have it. On Wednesday (Sept. 23), Beijing blocked Wikimedia’s application for observer status at WIPO.
The data dump that reveals the astonishing breadth of Beijing’s interference operations
The Washington Post
Last week, a small Chinese company made headlines when independent researchers revealed that it has been collecting information on prominent individuals around the world — 2.4 million of them.
China’s biggest chipmaker SMIC hit by US sanctions
The Financial Times
The US government has sanctioned China’s biggest chipmaker, dealing further damage to the country’s semiconductor industry after cutting Huawei off from its chip suppliers. On Friday, the US Department of Commerce told companies that exports to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) posed an “unacceptable risk” of being diverted to “military end use”, according to a copy of the letter seen by the Financial Times.
U.S. and U.K. announce AI partnership
The Trump administration is set to announce that the United States and the United Kingdom have signed a new agreement to cooperate on research and development of artificial intelligence, in news shared first with Axios.
Judge blocks TikTok ban in second ruling against Trump’s efforts to curb popular Chinese services
TikTok received a reprieve of its ban from U.S. app stores on Sunday after a federal judge in Washington granted a preliminary injunction blocking an order from President Trump.
While Facebook works to create an oversight board, industry experts formed their own
A group of about 25 experts announced Friday that they have formed a group to analyze and critique Facebook's content moderation decisions.
Majority polled back a social-media blackout for election
Fifty-two percent of voters support shutting down social media platforms altogether for the week of the presidential election, according to a poll from GQR research shared exclusively with Axios.
The U.S.’s whack-a-mole approach for dealing with People’s Republic of China (PRC) tech companies posing national security risks does not mitigate the inherent risks associated with these companies’ activities.
The TikTok Fiasco Reflects the Bankruptcy of Trump’s Foreign Policy
The New Yorker
A strong-arm effort to force a sale of the social platform’s U.S. operations has resulted in a windfall for Oracle but little discernible improvement in data security or protections against propaganda.
Sam Vinograd @sam_vinograd@FBI @CISAgov says in another PSA that they "have not identified any threats, to date, capable of preventing Americans from voting or changing vote tallies for the 2020 Elections." https://t.co/p6caqVXFrx
The Victims Of Violence During The Kenosha Protests Are Suing Facebook
Citing a law that dates from the Reconstruction era, four people, including the partner of a man killed during the protests, are taking the company to court.
Facebook Groups Sent Armed Vigilantes to Kenosha. Your Polling Place Could Be Next.
If the election turns chaotic, expect the platform to aid the spread of violent threats and dangerous information.
TikTok Judge Asks U.S. Whether to Delay Trump’s Ban of App
The federal judge who will decide whether to temporarily block President Donald Trump from enforcing a ban on TikTok starting Sunday asked U.S. lawyers whether they would agree to postpone the deadline so he could rule on the request.
DHS Flew Two Surveillance Aircraft Over Breonna Taylor Protests
The aircraft did not show up on radar but did show up on air traffic control feeds.
U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations (“The Quad”)
US State Department
Noting the importance of digital connectivity and secure networks, the officials discussed ways to promote the use of trusted vendors, particularly for fifth generation (5G) networks.
Huawei Thailand project signals start of US-free industry chain
The Global Times
As the world enters the 5G era, related cooperation and competition has been under spotlight across the world.
New Zealand & The Pacific
Local music sharing via mobile phones in Melanesia
The transition from analog to digital media in PNG has been compressed into a shorter timespan than in the Global North.
South and Central Asia
Tech Companies Wager Billions On Race To Win Over These Consumers
Investor's Business Daily
An epic technology war is raging in India, where the biggest U.S. and Chinese tech companies are taking on homegrown players like Reliance Jio and investing billions to grab hundreds of millions of new customers.
Britain has offensive cyberwar capability, top general admits
Britain’s most senior cyber general has said the UK possesses the capacity to “degrade, disrupt and destroy” its enemies’ critical infrastructure in a future cyber conflict, in a rare acknowledgement of the military’s offensive hacking capability. Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, who heads the UK’s strategic command, said that he been told by Boris Johnson to ensure Britain is a “leading, full-spectrum cyber power” able both to defend against – and carry out – hacking attacks.
Military under daily blitz of ‘significant’ cyberattacks
The British military is fending off 60 significant cyberattacks a day, a senior commander has revealed, describing digital warfare as the modern Blitz. General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander Strategic Command, outlined how the Ministry of Defence and its assets were under “constant attack” in cyberspace. Up to ten attacks daily are said to stem from hostile state actors.
Europe’s digital emergency
Europe also needs to declare a domestic ‘digital emergency’, lest it continue to fall behind in the industries that will be necessary for achieving all other development goals—including a green economy.
German military launches space junk tracking system
The German armed forces want to keep a closer eye on space in the future. A new system to track space junk orbiting Earth and send out early warnings about potential threats has begun work.
Putin Wants a Truce in Cyberspace — While Denying Russian Interference
The New York Times
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday proposed a truce with the United States in cyberspace, without acknowledging that Russia has used the internet to interfere in American politics. Mr. Putin issued an unusual written statement outlining a four-point plan for what he called a “reboot” in the relationship between the United States and Russia in the field of information security. Moscow and Washington, he wrote, should issue “guarantees of non-intervention into the internal affairs of each other, including into electoral processes.”
Russia Is Trying Something New to Isolate Its Internet From the Rest of the World
On Sept. 21, Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media (Minkomsvyaz) released a draft law that would criminalize the use of internet protocols that, in its words, encrypt a website name.
German-made FinSpy spyware found in Egypt, and Mac and Linux versions revealed
Since 2011 researchers have documented numerous cases of targeting of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) - including activists, journalists, and dissidents with the use of FinSpy in many countries, including Bahrain, Ethiopia, UAE, and more.
Twitter is warning devs that API keys and tokens may have leaked
Twitter is emailing developers stating that their API keys, access tokens, and access token secrets may have been exposed in a browser's cache.
Three Coming Shifts In AI
In this article, I’d like to focus not on far-off, vague hopes and wishes about AI, but instead on a few concrete developments that lie in the not-so-distant future.
Inside the unusual world of cyber insurance, where ransoms are legally paid to criminal hackers
Hacking groups have started asking for multi-million dollar ransoms over the past 18 months.
Pastebin adds 'Burn After Read' and 'Password Protected Pastes' to the dismay of the infosec community
The two new features will make it easier to disguise malware operations.
KuCoin cryptocurrency exchange hacked for $150 million
KuCoin said an intruder drained all its hot wallets today.
Nikola shows the tech hype cycle can’t stop worshipping founders
The press fueled Trevor Milton’s rise. A short-seller turbocharged his downfall.
Gen A | The Latest TikTok Challenge: Tech Decoupling
The Asia Society
Tue 06 Oct 2020. 11 - 11:45 a.m. Melbourne Time. Asia Society Australia and PwC Australia warmly invite you to our first Gen A Flashpoints program, with Fergus Ryan, Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. From Huawei to Google, TikTok to Twitter, join us as we explore growing ideological, political and economic fractures causing the latest TikTok challenge: tech decoupling.
The Breakout Scale: Measuring the impact of influence operations
This paper seeks to answer that challenge by proposing “The Breakout Scale,” a comparative model for measuring IOs based on data that are observable, replicable, verifiable, and available from the moment they were posted. It is intended for use by the operational research community for real-time categorization of IOs as they are identified.
Senior Researcher / Project Lead
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a senior researcher to lead a one-year project looking at leadership networks across Asia. Interviews will start immediately.