Russian Intelligence Hackers Are Back and Targeting Both Parties I D.H.S. Downplayed Threats From Russia and White Supremacists I ByteDance Will Likely Miss US Deadline for TikTok Sale
The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff members, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans. That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies. The New York Times
Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security directed agency analysts to downplay threats from violent white supremacy and Russian election interference, a Homeland Security official said in a whistle-blower complaint released on Wednesday. The New York Times
ByteDance Ltd. is increasingly likely to miss a Trump administration deadline for the sale of its TikTok U.S. operations after new Chinese regulations complicated negotiations with bidders Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China @ipacglobalBREAKING: #IPAC members representing 10 legislatures sign a statement of solidarity with Australia amidst rising threats from Beijing. We #StandTogether against coercive diplomacy and the PRC's attempts to rewrite the norms and values of the international rules based order. https://t.co/LGf1j3TDcK
Read the ASPI ICPC report The Chinese Communist Party’s coercive diplomacy here.
TikTok admits restricting some LGBT hashtags
TikTok has acknowledged that it restricts LGBT-related hashtags in some countries as part of its "localised" approach to moderation. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) think-tank said many LGBT hashtags were "shadow-banned" in Bosnia, Jordan and Russia.
Read the ASPI ICPC report TikTok and WeChat: Curating and controlling global information flows here.
University of New South Wales refuses to release internal investigation into Chinese influence
Alex Joske, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said some universities had been too cautious about offending China. "I think some universities are still really teaching themselves about China at the leadership level," he said. "While they're building that understanding, they've tended to take unreasonably cautious or even a paranoid position about some of these engagements with China. "I think this has potentially prevented good policy making by universities — measures that would cut out risky kinds of behaviour like collaborating with Chinese military-linked institutions while also knowing when to support things like freedom of speech."
Read the ASPI ICPC report Hunting the Phoenix: The Chinese Communist Party’s global search for technology and talent here.
Read Elise Thomas’ Strategist piece Why do conspiracy theorists film themselves refusing to wear face masks? here.
Exclusive: China bars media coverage of Disney's 'Mulan' after Xinjiang backlash - sources
Chinese authorities have told major media outlets not to cover Walt Disney Co's release of "Mulan", in an order issued after controversy erupted overseas over the film's links with the Xinjiang region, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Three sources told Reuter’s media outlets had received the notice, two of whom said it was sent by the Cyberspace Administration of China.
China demands Twitter inquiry as ambassador to UK 'likes' porn tweet
China’s UK embassy has demanded Twitter carry out a “thorough” investigation and reserved the right to take further action after its ambassador’s account liked a pornographic post. The embassy claimed Liu Xiaoming’s account had been “viciously attacked” on Wednesday, after it liked tweets including posts critical of the Chinese Communist Party and a 10-second video of a sex act.
The Coming Tech Cold War With China
The contours of the “tech cold war” have become clear, but who, if anyone, will benefit from this competition remains an open question. A bifurcated technology world will likely innovate more slowly, at least in the short term. It will also be expensive. A report from Deutsche Bank estimates the costs of the tech war at more than $3.5 trillion over the next five years. Still, leaders on both sides of the Pacific hope to fast-track technological development at home by making it a matter of national security.
Russian Intelligence Hackers Are Back, Microsoft Warns, Aiming at Officials of Both Parties
The New York Times
The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff members, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans. That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies.
Russian Hackers Have Targeted 200 Groups Tied to U.S. Election, Microsoft Says. The Wall Street Journal
Treasury Sanctions Russia-Linked Election Interference Actors
US Department of the Treasury
Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Russia-linked individuals for attempting to influence the U.S. electoral process. Russia uses a variety of proxies to attempt to sow discord between political parties and drive internal divisions to influence voters as part of Moscow’s broader efforts to undermine democratic countries and institutions. In the United States, Russia has used a wide range of influence methods and actors to target our electoral process, including targeting U.S. presidential candidates.
ByteDance Is Poised to Miss U.S. Deadline for TikTok Sale
ByteDance Ltd. is increasingly likely to miss a Trump administration deadline for the sale of its TikTok U.S. operations after new Chinese regulations complicated negotiations with bidders Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. ByteDance probably needs beyond the U.S. executive order ban on Sept. 20 to nail down an agreement with either party because of the regulatory review, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. In preliminary talks with Chinese officials, ByteDance has been told any proposal must be submitted for approval with detailed information about technical and financial issues, and the review will be substantial and take time, one of the people said. The officials haven’t been willing to give specific guidance on what kind of deal would work, the person said.
D.H.S. Downplayed Threats From Russia and White Supremacists, Whistle-Blower Says
The New York Times
Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security directed agency analysts to downplay threats from violent white supremacy and Russian election interference, a Homeland Security official said in a whistle-blower complaint released on Wednesday. Brian Murphy, the former head of the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence branch, said in the complaint that he was ordered this spring by Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the department, to stop producing assessments on Russian interference and focus instead on Iran and China. That request, Mr. Murphy said, was routed through Mr. Wolf from Robert C. O’Brien, the White House national security adviser.
Twitter expands rules against election-related misinformation, setting up showdown with Trump
Twitter announced Thursday that it is expanding its policies against election-related misinformation, setting new rules that will likely force the platform to more aggressively fact-check President Donald Trump during the final months of the 2020 campaign. The social media giant rolled out the new policies in a blog post, which said that Twitter (TWTR) will either add fact-check labels to or hide altogether tweets that contain "false or misleading information that causes confusion" about election rules, or posts with "unverified information about election rigging."
Expanding our policies to further protect the civic conversation. Twitter Safety
What’s Biden’s New China Policy? It Looks a Lot Like Trump’s
Wall Street Journal
Biden aides say they would expand the American-government-backed campaign to compete in strategic high-tech sectors such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the next-generation 5G wireless standard. These policies are meant to curb Chinese economic power and influence, and reduce interdependence.
Former NSA chief Keith Alexander has joined Amazon’s board of directors
Gen. Keith Alexander is joining Amazon’s board of directors, the company revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. (Alexander has also been added to the company board’s official site.) A former director of the National Security Agency and the first commander of the US Cyber Command, Alexander served as the public face of US data collection during the Edward Snowden leaks, but he retired from public service in 2013. Alexander is a controversial figure for many in the tech community because of his involvement in the widespread surveillance systems revealed by the Snowden leaks. Those systems included PRISM, a broad data collection program that compromised systems at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook — but not Amazon.
Amazon Spent $24,000 To Kill Portland's Facial Recognition Ban
On Wednesday, Portland lawmakers will vote on what could be the strongest facial recognition ban in the United States. After a City Hall session attended by technology companies and local businesses in late January, the private sector has ramped up lobbying efforts to undermine or end the legislation. Since late last year, Amazon has spent $24,000 silently lobbying Portland city council commissioners to soften the legislation’s language and create loopholes or exemptions in the facial recognition ban.
FBI’s Terror Hunters Turn to a Different Threat: Incels
The Daily Beast
The FBI’s top terrorism cops took down a different kind of alleged terrorist in a complaint filed earlier this month: an incel. The involuntarily celibate or “incels,” as they call themselves, are a rarer threat that has surfaced over the past few years. Incels, the FBI notes in court documents, have “committed acts of violence against women across the world” and in the United States. Incels have their own subculture largely online, with specific language used to signify their anti-women beliefs.
How to Lead Innovation in a Changed World
Issues in Science and Technology
For the United States to remain a leader in global science and technology, focusing on only one kind of input (federal investment) or on one other country (China) won’t be sufficient. In fact, a fundamentally new approach to S&T policy is required, one that can leverage and optimize the diverse and dynamic system that has evolved, manage new risks, and better deliver benefits to society.
China’s tech and finance groups flock to Singapore
China’s largest technology and financial services companies are stepping up efforts to expand in Singapore, as doors slamming shut on mainland groups in the US and India make the Asian finance hub crucial for international growth. Alibaba-backed Ant Group, China’s second-largest brokerage Haitong Securities, Huawei’s cloud division and Tencent-backed digital bank WeBank are among the companies that have in recent months approached Singapore’s industry groups about becoming members or partnerships.
Crypto Traders Cut Out the Middleman, Simply Rob Victim
Two alleged crypto traders in Singapore apparently came up with a fool-proof plan: rather than convert a customer’s 365,000 Singapore dollars to bitcoin, they would simply rob the victim when he came in to do the trade. The cash, worth about $US267,556 ($367,702) U.S., changed hands in 2018 when the alleged 20-year-old Malaysian victim, Pang Joon Hau, came to Singapore to buy cryptocurrencies.
New Zealand & The Pacific
Why there is no white knight on the horizon for TikTok in India
The possibility that there will be a local white knight in India who can save TikTok, following the Modi government’s recent ban on scores of China’s biggest mobile apps, grows more unlikely by the day against a backdrop of rising tensions between Beijing and its counterparts in Washington and New Delhi. As is the case in the US, the fate of TikTok’s operations in India is a function of politics more than economics — however benign a video app designed to entertain teenagers may appear at first glance.
The disconnect on Digital Pakistan
In this episode of Himal Podcasts, we speak to Ramsha Jahangir, a Karachi-based journalist covering technology and human rights about digital media, disinformation, surveillance and propaganda in Pakistan.
Beware Dominic Cumming’s technology investment arms race
The Cummings view of the ‘AI arms race’ and the type of policies needed to compete in it is strikingly similar to the sort of stuff one heard about the technological prowess of the Soviet Union.
The future of citizen data systems
Foresight report examining different approaches to the governance, control and use of citizen data across the world, and future trends.
Facebook to be forced to stop sending EU data to the US
Ireland's privacy watchdog has told Facebook that it will soon have to stop transferring its European users' data to the United States because the social media giant's current procedures fall foul of EU law. Facebook was told in early August that the Irish privacy regulator was reviewing how it moved data to the U.S., according to two people with knowledge of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Facebook May Be Ordered to Change Data Practices in Europe. The New York Times
Brazil’s ‘fake news’ bill won’t solve its misinformation problem
MIT Technology Review
Brazil is grappling with a crisis of misinformation. To solve it, the country should be investing in education and holding the financiers of fake-news networks accountable. Instead, Brazil’s National Congress is considering legislation that would violate the privacy and freedom of expression of the country’s 137 million internet users.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Even when evidence reveals the work of an influence operation campaign, it’s hard to measure the effects and harder still to counteract them.
Read the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and ASPI ICPC report The Challenges of Countering Influence Operations here.