TikTok insiders say the company is tightly controlled by Beijing-based ByteDance | Saudi women sues three ex-US intel operatives over hacking for UAE | US is set to ban Chinese AI company SenseTime
A former TikTok recruiter remembers that her hours were supposed to be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but more often than not, she found herself working double shifts. That’s because the company’s Beijing-based ByteDance executives were heavily involved in TikTok’s decision-making, she said, and expected the company’s California employees to be available at all hours of the day. TikTok employees, she said, were expected to restart their day and work during Chinese business hours to answer their ByteDance counterparts’ questions. CNBC
Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi women’s rights activist, has filed a lawsuit against three former US intelligence and military officers who have admitted in a US court to helping carry out hacking operations on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The Guardian
The US will put SenseTime, the Chinese artificial intelligence company that specialises in facial recognition software, on an investment blacklist on Friday, the same day that it prices its Hong Kong initial public offering. The action against SenseTime, which Washington says enables human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, will be part of a package of sanctions against a number of countries to mark Human Rights Day Financial Times
Visa launches crypto advisory service for financial institutions, merchants
Noor Zainab Hussain
Visa Inc, the world's largest payment processor, launched a global crypto advisory service for its banking clients and merchants on Wednesday, as the adoption of digital currencies gains steam. The move is aimed at financial institutions eager to attract or retain customers with crypto offerings, retailers looking to delve into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or central banks exploring digital currencies, the company said.
How Cryptocurrency Revolutionized the White Supremacist Movement
Southern Poverty Law Center
Michael Edison Hayden, Megan Squire
White supremacists embraced cryptocurrency early in its development, and in some cases produced million-dollar profits through the technology, reshaping the racist right in radical ways, a Hatewatch analysis found.
Read more in our report Buying and selling extremism
Ransomware attack on Australian utility claimed by Russian-speaking criminals
One of the most prolific Russian-speaking ransomware gangs has claimed credit for a weekend attack on an Australian electric utility serving millions of people. Australian media reported on Monday that Chinese government hackers were behind the breach at CS Energy, which is owned by the Queensland state in northeast Australia.
Australia's central bank sceptical on digital A$, but that could change
The head of Australia's central bank still sees no strong case for a retail digital currency in the country, though he conceded one could emerge as technology and public preferences are changing rapidly. In a speech on the payments system on Thursday, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe also said regulators were reviewing the treatment of crypto-assets, and cautioned investors to be wary of the risks when buying.
TikTok insiders say social media company is tightly controlled by Chinese parent ByteDance
A former TikTok recruiter remembers that her hours were supposed to be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but more often than not, she found herself working double shifts. That’s because the company’s Beijing-based ByteDance executives were heavily involved in TikTok’s decision-making, she said, and expected the company’s California employees to be available at all hours of the day. TikTok employees, she said, were expected to restart their day and work during Chinese business hours to answer their ByteDance counterparts’ questions.
Read more in our report Tiktok and WeChat
US to blacklist Chinese AI company SenseTime over Xinjiang ahead of IPO
Demetri Sevastopulo, Hudson Lockett, Ryan McMorrow
The US will put SenseTime, the Chinese artificial intelligence company that specialises in facial recognition software, on an investment blacklist on Friday, the same day that it prices its Hong Kong initial public offering. The action against SenseTime, which Washington says enables human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, will be part of a package of sanctions against a number of countries to mark Human Rights Day, according to three people familiar with the decision.
Read more about Sensetime via our Mapping China’s Technology Giants project
Pentagon creates new digital and artificial intelligence office
The U.S. Defense Department is creating a new position to oversee its digital and artificial intelligence activities, with the hope the office will be able to drive faster progress in those areas and meet threats posed by China, according to a senior defense official. The new chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, or CDAO, will directly report to the deputy defense secretary and oversee the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the Defense Digital Service and the DoD’s chief data officer, according to a memo released Dec. 8. Today, those offices directly report to the deputy defense secretary, something the senior defense official said has led to disjointedness.
The office is expected to reach initial operating capability by February 2022 and full operating capability no later than June 1, the document states. It notes that James Mitre, senior advisor to Hicks, will submit an implementation plan by mid-January.
Why Congress Should Regulate Cryptocurrency Now
Gahyun Helen You
When Bitcoin was first introduced in 2008, few lawmakers could have predicted that cryptocurrencies would grow into a $2.5 trillion asset class. The potential of cryptocurrencies to create a more efficient and inclusive financial system has captured investors’ attention. But the rise of stablecoins, which are largely backed by fiat currencies, poses regulatory hurdles and could destabilize the global monetary system.
White House to fund tech to evade censorship and increase privacy
The White House will launch an initiative on Wednesday to award grants to innovators working on technology to bolster democracy by developing tools that enhance privacy or circumvent censorship, a White House official told Reuters.
Apple's nightmare before Christmas: Supply chain crisis delays gift deliveries
Cheng Ting-Fang, Lauly Li, Shunsuke Tabeta, Ryo Namiki
At the beginning of October, when most of China shuts down for the Golden Week holidays, the factories run by Apple's most important suppliers usually go into overdrive. This is the week when Foxconn, Pegatron and others ramp up production to 24 hours a day, employing shift after shift of workers to pump out newly launched models of Apple's iPhone in time to capture holiday season demand. But it was different this year; workers got time off, not overtime. For the first time in more than a decade, iPhone and iPad assembly was halted for several days due to supply chain constraints and restrictions on the use of power in China, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told Nikkei.
Birds Aren’t Real, or Are They? Inside a Gen Z Conspiracy Theory.
The New York Times
The events were all connected by a Gen Z-fueled conspiracy theory, which posits that birds don’t exist and are really drone replicas installed by the U.S. government to spy on Americans. Hundreds of thousands of young people have joined the movement, wearing Birds Aren’t Real T-shirts, swarming rallies and spreading the slogan.
How political advertisers skirted Facebook’s rules in 2020 — and got away with it
Political advertisers on Facebook are supposed to identify themselves as such. That way, Facebook can log their ads in an archive and, as was the company's policy in 2020, even prevent those ads from running close to an election.
Twitter’s Newsworthiness Standard – What is It?
Tech Policy Press
Ellen P. Goodman
Twitter adopted a policy last week that forbids the posting of private photos and videos of someone without their permission. The reason, it said, was to protect the vulnerable, especially “women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities” who are harassed and silenced through unwanted exposure. It would make an exception if the posted “media and the accompanying tweet text add value to the public discourse or are shared in public interest”.
Twitter Spaces Is an Unsurprising Problem
W. F. Thomas
Twitter is currently rolling out a new feature granting bad actors a larger and mostly unmoderated platform to spread hate speech and misinformation: Twitter Spaces. Over Thanksgiving week in the U.S., Twitter expanded the presence of Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse-like feature that Twitter first introduced earlier in 2021 to a limited set of users. Like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces is now acting as a vector for misinformation and hate speech.
‘Reading your mind’: How eyes, pupils and heart rate could be used to target ads in the metaverse
Aisling Ní Chúláin
But now that Meta, a targeted advertising powerhouse, has staked its claim to the metaverse, some experts are raising the alarm about the specific implications immersive advertising will have for user privacy, safety and consent.
Starbucks union drive spurred by barista burnout from mobile orders
Hilary Russ, Julia Love
Starbucks Corp baristas waging a union campaign in Buffalo, New York, say they are organizing in part to have more of a say in the workload created by the company's mobile app, which has left them struggling to keep up with surges in orders for $6 Frappuccinos and other custom coffee drinks.
Chinese hackers targeted Southeast Asian nations
Chinese hackers, likely state-sponsored, have been broadly targeting government and private-sector organizations across Southeast Asia, including those closely involved with Beijing on infrastructure development projects, according to a report released Wednesday by a U.S.-based private cybersecurity company.
Why Apps Suddenly Want to Protect Kids
The New York Times
When people younger than 18 record videos and add them to YouTube, the public can no longer watch them. TikTok says it will stop sending app notifications to teenagers at night. Facebook and Google have sharply restricted the ways that advertisers can tailor messages to minors on their sites. In recent months, internet companies have reworked their apps and policies to try to better protect the safety, privacy and mental health of children. One big reason is Britain.
Italy fines Amazon record $1.3 bln for abuse of market dominance
Elvira Pollina, Maria Pia Quaglia
Italy's antitrust watchdog said on Thursday it had fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.28 billion) for alleged abuse of market dominance, in one of the biggest penalties imposed on a U.S. tech giant in Europe.
Trucks catch up in the self-driving vehicle race
Nick Carey, Paul Lienert
nstead, fully self-driving cars are struggling to get away from the starting grid and some investors are betting that driverless trucks will reach the chequered flag first. Only a year ago, startups developing robotaxis were pulling in eight times more funding than firms working on autonomous trucks, buses and logistics vehicles, but the gap has narrowed dramatically in 2021.
Russian military movements near Ukraine: What satellite images show
The Washington Post
Paul Sonne, Ruby Mellen, Laris Karklis
Since at least October, Russian military movements near the Ukrainian border have been prompting worries among U.S. and European officials about the possibility that Moscow is preparing to launch a large-scale offensive in Ukraine early next year.
Russia blocks privacy service Tor, ratcheting up internet control
Russia stepped up state oversight of internet activity on Wednesday by blocking the website of global privacy service Tor and part of its wider network, with the communications regulator accusing it of enabling access to illegal content. Russia has exerted increasing pressure on foreign tech companies this year over content shared on their platforms and has also targeted virtual private networks (VPN) and other online tools in a campaign critics say stifles internet freedom.
Saudi women’s rights activist sues three ex-US intel operatives over hacking for UAE
Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi women’s rights activist, has filed a lawsuit against three former US intelligence and military officers who have admitted in a US court to helping carry out hacking operations on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
Gender and Women in Cyber
100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics™ – 2022
Women in AI Ethics™
List of 100 brilliant and inspiring women recognized in the 2022 list.
Internet’s technical success factors revealed
By describing the actual state of the Internet, according to its technical implementation in different geographies, economies, and societies, the study explains the evolution of Internet standards and protocols, as well as its architecture design and system structures, in relation to these four dimensions of success.
Benchmarking Critical Technologies: Building an evidence base for an informed critical technologies strategy
Samantha Hoffman, Professor Tanya Monro, Louise Talbot, Karly Winkler, Bunro Shiozawa
Critical and emerging technologies underpin our futures, creating enormous opportunities and also potential risks to our national and security interests. This, and increasing strategic competition, have heightened the importance of policy formulation, collaboration and cooperation. The ability to measure relative strengths and weaknesses of a country, by weighing respective strategic objectives against technical achievements, is of paramount importance for countries. This is especially true as countries seek to resolve supply chain resilience problems underscored by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Internet of Things: China's rise and Australia's Choices
The world is being transformed by expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT). The security challenges that go with this expansion require confronting the transnational character of these evolving technological ecosystems. Distrust of China and its ever-more pervasive presence in the transnational IoT is driving US efforts to diversify digital technology supply chains away from China, and to limit China’s presence in global digital connections. But these efforts are unlikely to shift the established trend among East and Southeast Asian countries towards deepening integration with China.
Chinese smart technology poses increasing threat to Australia, report warns
China’s increasing dominance in smart cars, home devices and other “internet-of-things” technologies poses a growing risk to Australia’s economy, a new report warns. There were an estimated 12 billion “intelligent” internet-connected devices worldwide last year, and that figure could be 125 billion by the end of the decade. The world is being transformed by the internet of things (IoT), which encompasses everything from “smart home” appliances fitted with sensors, to connected electric vehicles like the Tesla, to metro-scale “smart city” networks linked by CCTV, phone location tracking and facial recognition.
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.