Ruling on FTC's Facebook suits slams brakes on tech's legal foes | Iranian disinformation went under big tech’s radar | Hikvision did not "knowingly" commit human rights abuses
A federal judge's decisions Monday tossed out antitrust lawsuits against Facebook — and threw cold water on the heated campaign to brand Big Tech's leading companies as illegal monopolists. Axios
Over several months, Iranian agents had infiltrated small WhatsApp groups, Telegram channels and messaging apps that Israeli activists used for intimate discussions among dozens to thousands of people. Once there, the agents shared polarizing images and text, and began to send direct messages to people within the groups. Their goal, most likely, was simply to cause trouble, and to make people in these otherwise trusting online communities wary of one another. The New York Times
A law firm hired by Hikvision concluded it did not "knowingly or intentionally" abuse human rights in Xinjiang. However, clear evidence shows that Hikvision knew as it directly built and operates five huge Xinjiang police projects. IPVM
Finding Australia’s asymmetric advantage in big data
It’s important to think beyond the cliché that data is the new oil. The dystopian dream of seamless data integration and the ability to ‘collect and know it all’ overlooks the complex politics of data.
Dr. Samantha Hoffman, Senior Analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, joined INSPIRAFY Media's Ted Gover for a discussion on China’s new data security law. She reviewed the new law's implications for personal data, national security and protocols for creating data security frameworks. Dr. Hoffman also shared thoughts on how the Biden administration & its democratic allies can respond to this development and she urged Washington to invest more in R&D to become more competitive in tech innovation. Lastly, Dr. Hoffman explained the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to state security, in particular its tech-driven social and political control programs.
LinkedIn denies data breach with 700 million records
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn says a recent report about personal information of some 700 million users of its members being put up for sale is due to scraping of the careers social networking site, and not a new data breach. The claims of a data leak were made by Restore Privacy founder Sven Taylor, who said that a hacker had posted a sample on an unnamed internet forum with information on 1 million LinkedIn users.
LinkedIn breach reportedly exposes data of 92% of users
A second massive LinkedIn breach reportedly exposes the data of 700M users, which is more than 92% of the total 756M users. The database is for sale on the dark web, with records including phone numbers, physical addresses, geolocation data, and inferred salaries.
From blood clots to Craig Kelly, is the media reporting Covid responsibly?
The World Health Organization has described what we are currently living through as an “infodemic” running alongside the Covid pandemic. It is, the WHO said, “the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected”. But at the same time, communications technology enabled the undermining of the global response. Journalism struggles to keep up. One of the touchstones of the craft is the idea that sunshine and publicity are like disinfectant in public life. A journalist’s job is to find things out and tell people about them. Suppressing the news is considered indefensible in a democracy.
National Archives win $67m in urgent funding
The National Archives of Australia will receive a significant immediate funding boost to ensure documents, photos, maps, audio and film recordings that tell the story of Australia will be preserved for future generations and digitised to make them more easily accessible. The Australian can reveal that on Wednesday the Morrison government’s Expenditure Review Committee approved $67.7m in new funding for urgent digitisation and preservation, additional staffing to speed-up access to records, and enhanced cybersecurity and digital record custody measures.
Read ASPI ICPC's report by Anne Lyons - Identity of a nation: Protecting the digital evidence of who we are.
Govt may ban ransomware insurance
The federal government is considering banning insurance reimbursements for companies opting to make ransomware payments, as the Opposition pushes for a mandatory notification scheme around these attacks. A House Committee inquiry last week heard from a number of Australian insurance companies, with Chair and Liberal MP Tim Wilson investigating insurance reimbursements for ransomware attack payments and the potential to make this illegal. Several of the insurance companies confirmed they do offer some coverage for companies making a ransom payment following a cyber-attack, and that these attacks are occurring far more frequently recently.
Australian telco industry extends COVID hardship terms until September
The Australian telco industry has extended its COVID financial hardship terms until the end of September. The extension arrives as four Australian capitals -- Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, and Perth -- are in lockdown following a surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
NSW to rebuild digital licence platform
The New South Wales government will be rebuilding its digital licensing platform, bringing in CGI to untangle the existing systems currently used by the state. The agreement with the Department of Customer Service will see CGI support a "digital first approach to state licensing", using Calytera's Amanda licencing platform used internationally for broad licensing functions.
Higher NBN speeds and changing retailers does not make web browsing faster: ACCC
If you are thinking that you need to jump from an NBN 50Mbps speed plan to 100Mbps because your web browsing seems slow, the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has a simple piece of advice: Don't. "Moving from the 50/20Mbps tier to the 100/40Mbps tier would lead to almost no noticeable improvement in web performance," a report from the ACCC prepared by Sam Knows said.
Hikvision Did Not "Knowingly" Commit Human Rights Abuses, Despite Clear Evidence
@Gurami Jamaspishvili @CharlesRollet1
A law firm hired by Hikvision concluded it did not "knowingly or intentionally" abuse human rights in Xinjiang. However, clear evidence shows that Hikvision knew as it directly built and operates five huge Xinjiang police projects.
Reading Between the Lines of the CCP’s Centennial Propaganda Blitz
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday on July 1, Beijing’s propaganda and information-control apparatus is out in full force to ensure that the party – and “core leader” Xi Jinping – receive uniform praise for being “great, glorious, and correct.” Many of its initiatives illustrate the extent to which the CCP has managed to repurpose key features of capitalism – social media, e-commerce, and tourism, for example – with an ideological spin that serves the Leninist regime’s political interests.
Translation: Data Security Law of the People's Republic of China
The DigiChina translation team has provided a full english translation law of the Data Security Law of the People's Republic of China.
What’s fuelling China’s new online nationalists
The final element is the government’s hardline approach, which has created an online climate ripe for nationalism. “On the topics of nationalism and feminism, our hands are tied,” said a social media industry insider. China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration, aims to promote patriotic speech. But the line between fervent patriotism and aggressive nationalism is difficult to manage. “Platforms can’t gently direct the influencers, lest they leak our conversations and cause even more trouble,” says the insider. And even if posts are deleted, some controversies become big enough that they still burst into the open.
618 is not just about e-commerce platforms anymore
China’s second largest annual shopping festival, 618, has traditionally been a key battleground for the country’s e-commerce companies. But this year, the stakes are higher. E-commerce platforms not only have to contend with each other, but with an ambitious group of short-video and grocery delivery apps looking to grab a piece of the pie.
Ruling on FTC's Facebook suits slams brakes on tech's legal foes
A federal judge's decisions Monday tossed out antitrust lawsuits against Facebook — and threw cold water on the heated campaign to brand Big Tech's leading companies as illegal monopolists.
Dismissal of FTC’s Facebook antitrust lawsuit may spur rewrite of law
The Washington Post
In just a few years, “break up Big Tech” has gone from a radical slogan to a multipronged, mainstream policy movement with bipartisan support. Two of the progressive legal minds who sparked it, Lina Khan and Tim Wu, are now highly placed in the Biden administration. Dramatic antitrust reform legislation is wending through Congress. The federal government has sued Google and Facebook for monopolization and has been scrutinizing Amazon and Apple. (Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, is the founder and chief executive of Amazon).
Congress Faces Renewed Pressure to ‘Modernize Our Antitrust Laws’
The New York Times
On Monday, a pair of rulings dismissing federal and state antitrust lawsuits against Facebook renewed questions about whether the laws were suited to taking on tech power. A federal judge threw out the federal suit because, he said, the Federal Trade Commission had not supported its claims that Facebook holds a dominant market share, and he said the states had waited too long to make their case. The decisions underlined how cautious and conservative courts could slow an increasingly aggressive push by lawmakers, regulators and the White House to restrain the tech companies, fueling calls for Congress to revamp the rules and provide regulators with more legal tools to take on the tech firms.
Amazon Seeks Recusal of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan in Antitrust Investigations of Company
The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com Inc. filed a request with the Federal Trade Commission seeking the recusal of new Chairwoman Lina Khan from antitrust investigations of the company, in light of her extensive past criticisms of the online giant.
Digital Authoritarianism is a National Security Threat, Pentagon Cyber Leader Says
A top cyber official at the Defense Department called digital authoritarianism a threat to national security and said the U.S. must invest in partnerships and development of indigenous technology alternatives.
NSA surveillance program still raises privacy concerns years after exposure, member of privacy watchdog says
The Washington Post
An extensive surveillance program first revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 continues to operate with no judicial and limited congressional oversight despite its potential to capture Americans’ communications, a member of a privacy watchdog agency said in a statement released Tuesday.
Online activism is spilling into the streets of Southern California, sparking a post-Trump movement
The Washington Post
For years, social media companies have sought and failed to limit the reach of misinformation and other harmful material spread on their sites. That failure culminated in January when — after months of allowing falsehoods about a stolen election to proliferate — the companies kicked former president Donald Trump as, along with tens of thousands of rank and-file followers and some prominent ones off their platforms for inciting violence during the Capitol insurrection. But six months later, a right-wing movement is reconstituting itself across the United States, and once again, it is fueled by social media.
The Cybersecurity 202: Angus King says it's time to get tougher on Russian hackers
The Washington Post
The United States should get far more aggressive at punching back against cyber adversaries including ransomware gangs operating in Russia, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) says.
A Government Watchdog May Have Missed Clearview AI Use By Five Federal Agencies In A New Report
In a government accountability report about facial recognition, five federal agencies said they didn't use Clearview AI. Data reviewed by BuzzFeed News suggests they should have.
Citizen App Says It Will Get Access to Encrypted Police Comms
Citizen, the crime reporting and neighborhood watch app, says it will be granted access to the encrypted communications of at least one police department once it switches over to encrypting its radio traffic, according to an internal Citizen document obtained by Motherboard.
U.S., Taiwan Revive Trade Talks, With Pledge to Combat Forced Labor
The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. and Taiwan revived dormant trade and investment talks and pledged to keep supply chains free from forced labor, in a dig at China, which has objected to the negotiations.
The World Needs Deepfake Experts to Stem This Chaos
A crisis over a suspicious confession video in Myanmar underscores why we need a coordinated response to discern fact from fiction.
South and Central Asia
Big Tech Is Gearing Up for a Massive Fight With Modi’s India
The largest U.S. internet firms are fighting new Intermediary rules issued by Narendra Modi’s government in February that they say curtail privacy and free speech. Officials have demanded Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. take down hundreds of posts this year, divulge sensitive user information and submit to a regulatory regime that includes potential jail terms for executives if companies don’t comply.
EU watchdog takes deep dive into banks' use of tech
Banks' increasing dependence on 'RegTech' technology to automate fraud checks and send data to regulators may need common rules to encourage wider use, the European Union's banking watchdog said on Tuesday.
Artificial Intelligence in policing: safeguards needed against mass surveillance
In a draft report adopted with 36 votes to 24, and 6 abstentions, MEPs highlight the need for democratic guarantees and accountability for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in law enforcement.
Why Brussels went easy on Britain in its data deal
British business avoided a £1.6 billion cliff edge when London clinched a data agreement with the EU this week. But it was Brussels that bent over backwards to get the deal done.
Coordinated action cuts off access to VPN service used by ransomware groups
This week, law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe, the US and Canada have seized the web domains and server infrastructure of DoubleVPN. This is a virtual private network (VPN) service which provided a safe haven for cybercriminals to attack their victims. This coordinated takedown, led by the Dutch National Police (Politie), under jurisdiction of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office (Landelijk Parket), with international activity coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, has now ended the availability of this service.
Iranian Disinformation Effort Went Small to Stay Under Big Tech’s Radar
The New York Times
Over several months, Iranian agents had infiltrated small WhatsApp groups, Telegram channels and messaging apps that Israeli activists used for intimate discussions among dozens to thousands of people. Once there, the agents shared polarizing images and text, and began to send direct messages to people within the groups. Their goal, most likely, was simply to cause trouble, and to make people in these otherwise trusting online communities wary of one another.
Israeli charged in global hacker-for-hire scheme wants plea deal -court filing
@razhael @Bing_Chris @joel_schectman
An Israeli private detective detained in New York since 2019 on charges of involvement in a hacker-for-hire scheme wants a plea deal, according to a letter filed in court by his lawyer. The unusual case has revealed the impacts of a secretive but thriving cyberespionage industry in India.
Cybersecurity Workers Flood Twitter With Bikini Pics to Protest Harassment
On Sunday, a woman who works in cybersecurity was headed to the beach and posted a selfie wearing a bikini on her Twitter feed. When she woke up hours later, after not checking Twitter for a while, she saw that someone was complaining about her posting a picture in "underwear" even though her bio says she works in infosec, suggesting that what she did is unprofessional. Her response quickly went viral, prompting several women who also work in cybersecurity—and a handful of men—to come out in her support.
The Internet Is Rotting
This absence of central control, or even easy central monitoring, has long been celebrated as an instrument of grassroots democracy and freedom. It’s not trivial to censor a network as organic and decentralized as the internet. But more recently, these features have been understood to facilitate vectors for individual harassment and societal destabilization, with no easy gating points through which to remove or label malicious work not under the umbrellas of the major social-media platforms, or to quickly identify their sources.
Using A.I. to Find Bias in A.I.
The New York Times
The problem of bias in artificial intelligence is facing increasing scrutiny from regulators and is a growing business for start-ups and tech stalwarts.
Mapping China’s semiconductor ecosystem in global context: Strategic dimensions and conclusions
Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
@JPKleinhans John Lee
China’s government is making great efforts to raise the competitiveness of Chinese industry in the semiconductor sector, building on and supporting China’s role in global electronics manufacturing and emerging technological ecosystems. With growing strategic concerns in the US and Europe about China, a better understanding and systematic assessment of China’s capabilities in producing semiconductors is needed.
ASPI Webinar: In-conversation with Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp
ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre is delighted to invite you to the webinar 'In-conversation with Will Cathcart, Head of Whatsapp'. Join Fergus Hanson in a 'fireside chat' with the CEO of WhatsApp Will Cathcart as they discuss the big issues facing the world’s largest messaging service. This webinar will include Q&A with the online audience. How do we balance requirements for safety, privacy and security? Why does WhatsApp use end-to-end encryption and how has WhatsApp evolved to combat misinformation? Join us at 10am on Thursday, 8 July to take part in this important conversation.
ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - Information operations & disinformation
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and proactive senior analyst or analyst to join its centre. The successful candidate will work with a small, high-performing team to produce original research and analysis centred around policy responses to information operations and disinformation by state and non-state actors. They will also work with senior staff in the centre to engage globally with governments, social media and Internet companies.
ICPC Analyst or Senior Analyst - Cyber & technology
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an exceptional cyber-security or technology focused analyst or senior analyst to join its centre in 2021. Please note that interviews have commenced for this position and will continue until the end of June. This role will focus on policy relevant cybersecurity analysis, informed public commentary and either original data-heavy research and/or technical analysis. Analysts usually have around 7-15 years work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.
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.