Quad to build ties with other blocs to counter Chinese influence | U.S. charges Chinese company Hytera with conspiring to steal tech | Thiel to exit Meta’s Board to support Trump-aligned candidates
Foreign Ministers from Australia, Japan, India and the US will discuss their drive to provide coronavirus vaccines to the region, funding infrastructure in developing nations, mitigating climate change, countering disinformation, disaster relief, and cyber and critical technology. AFR
The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it has brought criminal charges against China-based telecommunications company Hytera, accusing it of conspiring with former Motorola Solutions Inc employees to steal the American company's digital mobile radio technology. Nikkei Asia
Peter Thiel sees the midterms as crucial to changing the direction of the country and he is backing candidates who support the agenda of former President Donald J. Trump. The New York Times
China’s cultural industry is being co-opted for disinformation operations
Beijing’s quest to promote positive images of China overseas blurs the distinction between publicity and propaganda. Government departments contract private companies to funnel disinformation on Western social media and co-opt influencers alongside their legitimate public-relations activities. Consequently, the country’s cultural industry is financially incentivised to follow a broader ideological agenda while being strangled by censorship and regulation on sensitive issues.
ASPI @ASPI_orgThis week on ASPI's pod 📢 1⃣ @fryan speaks to @joannachiu about her new book #ChinaUnbound 2⃣ @karly_w1 & @TechDiplomacy's @Bonnie_Glick discuss the need for tech diplomacy 3⃣ Anastasia Kapetas talks to @gidonb @EcoPeaceME about the Green Blue Deal 🎧 : https://t.co/Cz1c8XAUEC
Quad to build ties with other blocs to counter Chinese influence
Australian Financial Review
Foreign Ministers from Australia, Japan, India and the US will canvass how the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue can work in concert with other regional blocs as they seek to check Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific.
Peter Thiel to Exit Meta’s Board to Support Trump-Aligned Candidates
The New York Times
Ryan Mac & Mike Isaac
Mr. Thiel wants to focus on influencing November’s midterm elections, said a person with knowledge of Mr. Thiel’s thinking who declined to be identified. Mr. Thiel sees the midterms as crucial to changing the direction of the country, this person said, and he is backing candidates who support the agenda of former President Donald J. Trump.
Spotify CEO condemns Rogan over racial slurs, but won't silence him
Bhargav Acharya & Shivani Tanna
Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said on Sunday he "strongly" condemns racial slurs and other comments made by popular U.S. podcaster Joe Rogan but will not be removing him from the platform. Ek said it was Rogan's decision to remove a number of past episodes from "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, following discussions with the music streaming platform and his own reflections on some of the content in the show, including the usage of racially insensitive language.
Experts warn Olympics participants: China doesn't need an app to spy
China is the most digitally surveilled country in the world, rife with cameras paired with facial recognition software. Its government legally gets direct access to practically all privately held data in the country. If China wanted to get visiting athletes’ sensitive medical data, for instance, it wouldn’t have to rely on a buggy smartphone app to get it.
‘Fight Club’ Ending Is Restored in China After Censorship Outcry
The New York Times
Mike Ives & John Liu
Last month, viewers noticed that the ending of the 1999 film had been replaced with a pro-government message. Now the ending is back, and the message is gone.
U.S. charges Chinese company Hytera with conspiring to steal tech
The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it has brought criminal charges against China-based telecommunications company Hytera, accusing it of conspiring with former Motorola Solutions Inc employees to steal the American company's digital mobile radio technology. In a partially redacted indictment unsealed in Chicago, the government said Shenzhen-based Hytera Communications Corp recruited Motorola employees to steal proprietary trade data about the radios, known as walkie-talkies.
U.S university reverses decision to remove Olympic protest posters
The president of George Washington University in D.C. has reversed his earlier decision to remove campus posters protesting the Beijing Olympics, which Chinese student groups had said "incited racial hatred and ethnic tensions."
Trump’s Truth Social app, self-proclaimed foe of Big Tech, needs Apple and Google to survive
Julia Love & Helen Coster
TMTG’s mission of standing up to Big Tech is limited by its reliance on Google and Apple, which operate app stores that dominate the smartphone market. TMTG is working with Hive, a San Francisco-based company that does AI-based content moderation, to flag sexually explicit content, hate speech, bullying and violent content. That partnership is driven in part by TMTG’s desire for the Truth Social app to remain in the Apple App and Google Play stores, according to a person familiar with the venture.
Pentagon Cyber Official Resigns After Security Clearance Dispute
A Pentagon official who led a new cybersecurity initiative for defense contractors but was later placed on administrative leave after her security clearance was suspended has resigned, saying she was punished for political reasons.
U.S. arrests couple for allegedly laundering $4.5bn in crypto tied to Bitfinex hack
The action represents the Justice Department's largest-ever financial seizure, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, adding in a statement that it shows cryptocurrency is "not a safe haven for criminals."
Justice Department Says It Seized $3.6 Billion Worth of Bitcoin Stolen in 2016 Hack
The Wall Street Journal
Dustin Volz and Ian Talley
According to court documents, the suspects allegedly conspired to launder nearly 120,000 bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex’s platform in 2016 after a hacker breached the exchange’s systems and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions. The transactions funneled the stolen bitcoin to a digital wallet being controlled by Mr. Lichtenstein, federal prosecutors said.
North Korea targeted IAEA in cyberattacks: draft U.N. report
Hiona Shiraiwa & Kaori Yoshida
North Korea launched hacking attacks against the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as a key South Korean defense contractor, according to a draft United Nations report obtained by Nikkei on Monday.
NZ & Pacific Islands
Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami: Elon Musk's SpaceX reportedly in Fiji preparing to help with telecommunications
Engineers for SpaceX, owned by the world's richest man Elon Musk, are reportedly in Fiji with plans to help restore internet to the Kingdom of Tonga. The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, FBC News, reports that the team from SpaceX are now in Fiji to work on an internet gateway for the Kingdom of Tonga.
Quad focused on action, not talk, says Australian envoy ahead of ministers’ meet
Rezaul H Laskar
Further growth of Quad, the finalisation of a bilateral comprehensive economic cooperation agreement and continued cooperation in critical areas such as cyber technology and cyber-security will be among priority areas in India-Australia relations for this year, O’Farrell said in an interview.
Read our report ‘Critical technologies and the Indo-Pacific: A new India-Australia partnership’ here.
Foreign Office target of 'serious cyber incident'
The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) was the target of a "serious cyber-security incident", it has emerged. The details came via a tender document published on a government website, seemingly by mistake. The BBC understands unidentified hackers got inside the FCDO systems, but were detected.
Guto Harri reportedly lobbied No 10 chief of staff to stop ban on Huawei
Boris Johnson’s new communications director lobbied a former chief of staff at Downing Street not to ban Chinese technology company Huawei over spying fears, leaked documents suggest.
We’re Fine Without Facebook, German and French Ministers Say
William Horobin & Zoe Schneeweiss
Meta Platforms Inc.’s veiled threat to quit Europe because of blocked talks over privacy rules was more like music to the ears of two top German and French politicians.
Vodafone Portugal hit by hackers, says no client data breach
Vodafone’s Portuguese unit said on Tuesday a hacker attack overnight had disrupted its services but assured its customers that their personal data had not been compromised as a result of the incident, which is under investigation.
Russia arrests third hacking group, reportedly seizes carding forums
Russia arrested six people today, allegedly part of a hacking group involved in the theft and selling of stolen credit cards.
Palestinian hacking group evolving with new malware, researchers say
A Palestinian-aligned hacking group has targeted Middle Eastern governments, foreign policy think tanks and a state-affiliated airline with a new malware implant as part of “highly targeted intelligence collection campaigns,” according to research published Tuesday.
Africa embraces Huawei technology despite security concerns
Shunned in the Global North due to privacy and security issues, Huawei is a front-runner in Africa. But the Chinese giant's data collection methods may also appeal to authoritarian regimes as a way to cling to power.
Kids are flocking to Facebook’s ‘metaverse.’ Experts worry predators will follow.
Meta appears to have done little to address the possibility of child-grooming specifically, despite throwing huge amounts of resources into the development of the metaverse, even changing its corporate name from Facebook in October to reflect a new emphasis on virtual reality.
Unreal demand? Irregular sales worth billions fire up wild NFT market
The top 27 most expensive recorded sales across the whole NFT industry in January, totalling $1.3 billion, came from just two wallets transacting on LooksRare, according to DappRadar data as of Jan. 31, while the top 100 sales, worth $2.3 billion, came from 16 wallets trading on the platform.
Events and Podcasts
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.
Humint and National Security: An Opportunity to Rebuild a Neglected Asset?
Kings Intelligence and Security Group
Over the last decade, the miniaturization of cheap, sophisticated hi-tech technology has exploded worldwide in conducting audio and video surveillance. Has the value of HUMINT been degraded in this age of high-technology surveillance (both its ubiquitous and covert nature) and the use of social media providing a platform for instant mass communication? Do recent advances in omnipresent surveillance make HUMINT more challenging?
Visions of the Internet in 2035
Pew Research Centre
Janna Anderson & Lee Rainie
This report is the second of two analyzing the insights of hundreds of technology experts who responded in the summer of 2021 to a canvassing of their predictions about the evolution of online public spaces and their role in democracy in the coming years.
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.