Secrecy and abuse claims haunt China’s solar factories in Xinjiang | FB Oversight Board accepting user appeals to remove content | Defending democracies from disinformation in the COVID-19 era
In the wilderness of the Gobi Desert sit two factories that churn out vast quantities of polysilicon, the raw material in billions of solar panels all over the world. It’s a four-hour drive from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region at the center of China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The only structures that rise up among miles of rolling snow-covered fields are the chimneys of coal-fired power plants, belching white smoke. Bloomberg
From today, users will be able to appeal content to the Oversight Board which they want removed from Facebook and Instagram. Where users have exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, they can challenge the company’s decision by appealing eligible content to the Oversight Board. So far, users have been able to appeal content to the Board which they think should be restored to Facebook or Instagram. Facebook Oversight Board
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unique societal stress as governments worldwide and their citizens have struggled to work together to contain the virus and mitigate its economic impact. This has been a trying time for democracies, testing the capacity of democratic governance to mobilise state and citizenry to work together. It has also tested the integrity of open information environments and the ability of these environments to deal with the overlapping challenges of disinformation, misinformation, election interference and cyber-enabled foreign interference. ORF
Defending Democracies from Disinformation and Cyber-Enabled Foreign Interference in the COVID-19 Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unique societal stress as governments worldwide and their citizens have struggled to work together to contain the virus and mitigate its economic impact. This has been a trying time for democracies, testing the capacity of democratic governance to mobilise state and citizenry to work together. It has also tested the integrity of open information environments and the ability of these environments to deal with the overlapping challenges of disinformation, misinformation, election interference and cyber-enabled foreign interference.
Why the ACCC isn’t done with Big Tech just yet
The Australian Financial Review
Fresh from his victory over Google and Facebook through the news media bargaining code, consumer and competition boss Rod Sims is now seeking broader regulatory powers to put an end to other controversial Big Tech shakedowns, such as Google holding small businesses to “ransom” through its advertising practices, and Facebook profiting from scam advertisements that it refuses to take down.
NDIS gets a government app with blockchain but no ethics
The Australian government is preparing to deploy income compliance against disabled people, and eventually a single app for all government services. There will be blockchain. What could possibly go wrong?
Tasmanian casino operator Federal Group confirms ransomware attack
Federal Group, which is best known as a casino operator in Tasmania, was hit by a ransomware attack that has impacted its poker machines since April 3.
DFAT cyber strategy delayed by ‘busy’ parliament
The government is still yet to publish Australia’s 2020 international cyber engagement strategy, four months past its scheduled release and three and a half years on from the inaugural strategy.
Secrecy and Abuse Claims Haunt China’s Solar Factories in Xinjiang
@danmurtaugh @Colum_M @JDMayger @brianreports
Almost no one outside China knows what goes on inside these factories, or two others elsewhere in Xinjiang that together produce nearly half the world’s polysilicon supply. State secrecy cloaks the raw material for a green boom that researchers at BloombergNEF project will include a nearly tenfold increase in solar capacity over the next three decades.
China semiconductor imports surge to all-time high in March amid global chip shortage
South China Morning Post
Semiconductor imports by China surged to an all-time high in March, according to the latest figures released by the country’s customs authorities, as an acute chip shortage continued to disrupt major industries around the world.
U.S. intelligence community details destructive cyber capabilities, growing influence threats
The intelligence community made its most direct public attribution yet that Russia was behind weaving malicious code into a SolarWinds software update to facilitate a sweeping espionage operation, impacting hundreds of companies and U.S. federal agencies.
Justice Department announces court-authorized effort to disrupt exploitation of Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities
Department of Justice
Authorities have executed a court-authorized operation to copy and remove malicious web shells from hundreds of vulnerable computers in the United States. They were running on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server software used to provide enterprise-level email service.
The Intelligence Community’s Deadly Bias Toward Classified Sources
For years, government officials, commissions, and think tanks have warned that the U.S. intelligence community has blinded itself to enormous sources of intelligence, simply because the information is publicly available. In other words, the intelligence community would prefer to rely on billion-dollar classified satellites and intelligence-collection programs rather than to gather unclassified information on the internet for free.
Wrongfully arrested man sues Detroit police over false facial recognition match
The Washington Post
The case could fuel criticism of police investigators’ use of a controversial technology that has been shown to perform worse on people of color
Investor Pushes Alphabet for Whistleblowing Review
The Wall Street Journal
Citing recent red flags, Trillium Asset Management files another shareholder proposal urging tech giant to review protections for employees voicing human rights concerns
Sweden drops Russian hacking investigation due to legal complications
The Record by Recorded Future
The Swedish government dropped today its investigation into the 2017 hack of its sports authority, citing the legal constraints that would have prevented prosecutors from charging the Russian hackers responsible for the intrusion, which officials claimed were mere pawns operating on behalf of a "foreign power."
Facebook knew of Honduran president’s manipulation campaign – and let it continue for 11 months
@julliacarriew Jeff Ernst
Juan Orlando Hernández falsely inflated his posts’ popularity for nearly a year after the company was informed about it
Israel May Have Destroyed Iranian Centrifuges Simply by Cutting Power
The explosion and blackout at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran over the weekend raised the specter of past sabotage — including the Stuxnet cyberattack that took out some of Natanz’s centrifuges between 2007 and 2010 as well as an explosion and fire that occurred there last July — destroying about three-fourths of a newly opened plant for the assembly of centrifuges.
Adobe Patches Slew of Critical Security Bugs in Bridge, Photoshop
The security bugs could open the door for arbitrary code-execution and full takeover of targeted machines.
It’s creepy that AI is teaching workers to be more human
Empathy is one of those precious human qualities that we don’t think artificial intelligence will ever supplant. It is argued that jobs requiring empathy will be relatively untouched (and perhaps even elevated) by the rise of smart machines. But in the call centre industry, a more complicated story is beginning to play out.
Big Tech’s guide to talking about AI ethics
MIT Technology Review
AI researchers often say good machine learning is really more art than science. The same could be said for effective public relations. Selecting the right words to strike a positive tone or reframe the conversation about AI is a delicate task: done well, it can strengthen one’s brand image, but done poorly, it can trigger an even greater backlash.
Google is poisoning its reputation with AI researchers
The firing of top Google AI ethics researchers has created a significant backlash
‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing
The New York Times
Nearly a year after the Internet Engineering Task Force took up a plan to replace words that could be considered racist, the debate is still raging.
How Facebook's Ad System Lets Companies Talk Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths
Jeremy B. Merrill
The Markup found 18 Exxon ads on Facebook targeted to political liberals and 15 to conservatives—many with messages implying a contradictory attitude toward the urgency of adapting to climate change. The ads—and information about their targeting—came from the Ad Observatory at NYU’s Cybersecurity for Democracy project.
Data Brokers Are a Threat to Democracy
Unless the federal government steps up, the unchecked middlemen of surveillance capitalism will continue to harm our civil rights and national security.
‘This was not a breach’: How Big Tech gaslights the world on data leaks
More than a billion people’s data has appeared on hacker forums in recent days, but no-one’s owning up to doing anything wrong.
Reimagine the Internet
The Knight First Amendment Institute
Reimagine the Internet is a virtual conference co-hosted by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the soon-to-be-launched Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In six sessions over five days, there will be more than a dozen speakers whose work hints at what the internet could become over the next decade. Monday 5/10/2021 – Friday 5/14/2021.
Locked Shields 2021 largest cyber defense exercise worldwide
This year's high-level cyber security Exercise Locked Shields is the largest of its kind, organizers, the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), have announced.