US and China need to repair tech ties says Microsoft president | Australia's COVID-19 vaccination certificates at risk of forgery | Brazil’s President Bans Social Networks From Removing Some Posts

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  • Washington and Beijing must try to improve their relationship and address issues around technology exchanges, Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Thursday during an online media session held by the company. Nikkei Asia

  • The Australian federal government's COVID-19 vaccination certificate can be forged using a widely known technique to bypass the protections. ABC News

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily banning social media companies from removing certain content, including his claims that the only way he’ll lose next year’s elections is if the vote is rigged — one of the most significant steps by a democratically elected leader to control what can be said on the internet. The New York Times

Australia

COVID-19 vaccination certificates at risk of forgery after discovery of another security flaw
ABC News
@JamesPurtill
The federal government's COVID-19 vaccination certificate can be forged using a widely known technique to bypass the protections.

Why Canberra struggles with digital technology and how to fix it
InnovationAus
@lesleyseebeck
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boom for tech companies, even in Australia, as working from home, isolation and lockdowns have driven increased digitalisation. Given that — and the prospect of vaccine passports — it’s timely to consider why the federal government struggles with digital technology.

Australian shares fall on virus fears; miners, tech stocks drop
Reuters
Australian shares fell on Thursday, on mounting concerns that the Delta coronavirus variant may derail a global economic recovery, with declines in mining and technology stocks contributing to most of the losses.

China

Tencent draws a clearer line between international and Chinese WeChat users
South China Morning Post
@YanziDeng_Iris
WeChat, the ubiquitous messaging super app operated by Tencent Holdings, is asking users to choose between mainland China and overseas accounts, a move analysts say the social media giant is taking to comply with the country’s increasingly stringent laws and regulations concerning data sovereignty and content censorship.

Two Scientific Journals Retract Articles Involving Chinese DNA Research
The New York Times
@suilee
Two respected scientific journals have retracted two articles that relied on the DNA samples of Uyghurs in western China after questions were raised about whether the subjects had provided their full consent..Both studies were at the center of a 2019 article by The New York Times that described how Chinese researchers had analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of Uyghurs for a process called DNA phenotyping, which attempts to recreate a person’s face, including their height, relying solely on DNA samples.

China has become a laboratory for the regulation of digital technology
The Economist
The Communist Party has kept a firm grip on politics, but the tech firms have had considerable leeway in their business activities. “It was a Wild West within an authoritarian system,” says Martin Chorzempa of the Peterson Institute, an American think-tank. Now the Communist Party is reminding internet billionaires who is boss. President Xi Jinping has authorised an extraordinary crackdown.

China’s regulators said to slow their approval of new online games, as Beijing’s campaign against gaming addiction heats up
South China Morning Post
@TheRealJoshYe
Chinese regulators have temporarily slowed their approvals of new online games in the country, dealing a fresh blow to video gaming companies like industry giants Tencent Holdings and NetEase, as Beijing steps up measures to tackle gaming addiction among young people, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Grayfly: Chinese Threat Actor Uses Newly-discovered Sidewalk Malware
Broadcom
Recent campaigns involved exploits against Exchange and MySQL servers. Group has heavy focus on telecoms sector.

USA

US and China need to repair tech ties: Microsoft president
Nikkei Asia
Akito Tanaka
Washington and Beijing must try to improve their relationship and address issues around technology exchanges, Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Thursday during an online media session held by the company. Smith, who leads various businesses, legal, and corporate affairs team of the U.S.-based software and cloud service giant, described the current U.S.-China relationship as "the world's most important bilateral technology relationship, and certainly the world's most complicated bilateral technology relationship."

Smart Glasses Made Google Look Dumb. Now Facebook Is Giving Them a Try
The New York Times
@MikeIsaac
The company has teamed up with Ray-Ban to create glasses that can take photos, record video, answer phone calls and play podcasts.

Encryption poised to hamper Jan. 6 investigators' phone records push
POLITICO
@nicholaswu12
The congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection could soon face an obstacle familiar to law enforcement: the popularity of encrypted communications.

Rubio knocks CIA over consideration of TikTok presence
The Hill
@JordanNichelleW
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) knocked the CIA on Thursday over reports that the agency was considering establishing a presence on TikTok, which has faced scrutiny from lawmakers over its ties to China.

Chinese exile Guo Wengui uses misinformation network to push unproven drugs to treat Covid
CNBC
@schwartzbCNBC
Guo Wengui, a wealthy businessman who fled China in 2014 and is linked to several high-profile far-right personalities in America, has been using his online network to promote unproven drugs to treat Covid-19 while spreading misinformation about the vaccines used to combat the disease.

Confronting Chaos: A new concept for information advantage
War On The Rocks
@C_M_Dougherty
“It failed miserably.” With these words, Gen. John Hyten dropped a bomb on the Defense Department’s vision for fighting China and Russia, the joint warfighting concept. He told a defense industry group that an adversary red team “ran rings around” a U.S. team using the concept in an October 2020 wargame. Some defense thinkers claimed this was no big deal. However, although American teams lose wargames all the time, this is, in fact, a very big deal.

How the 9/11 attacks helped shape the modern misinformation, conspiracy theory industry
PolitiFact
@billdmccarthy
The sudden terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, seemed to defy explanation and occurred just as the internet started to boom. That combination spawned various conspiracy theories and made them accessible in new ways. The attacks also fueled distrust in government and fears of real and perceived enemies. Experts said the feeling of lost trust and security likely made some Americans more susceptible to conspiracy theories about 9/11 and other topics.

South-East Asia

Australia, Indonesia to boost cooperation against terrorism, cybercrimes
ABC News
@AnneABarker
During talks with their ministerial counterparts, Retno Marsudi and Prabowo Subianto, the two countries renewed the existing defence cooperation pact and updated two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity.

Sea looking to raise $6.3 bln in SE Asia's biggest fundraising
Reuters
@murdochsj @anshumandaga
E-commerce and gaming company Sea Ltd is looking to raise $6.3 billion in a share and convertible bond sale in Southeast Asia's largest ever capital raising, tapping growing investor interest in the region.

Council set to advance digital socio-economic development
The Phom Penh Post
Thou Vireak
The government has established the National Economic and Digital Society Council (NEDSC) to build a foundation of a digital society to drive new economic growth, according to a royal decree on the council’s organisation and functioning released on September 8.

New Zealand & The Pacific

Europe

ProtonMail Amends Its Policy After Giving Up an Activist’s Data
WIRED
@jrssnet
After providing the activist's metadata to Swiss authorities, ProtonMail removed the section that had promised no IP logs, replacing it with one saying, "ProtonMail is an email that respects privacy and puts people (not advertisers) first."

France recruits 1,800 extra staff to cyber warfare unit
The Local
@thelocalfrance
The French defence ministry on Wednesday announced plans to significantly boost the country's four-year-old cyber warfare force, citing the "growing number and gravity" of hacking attacks on the country. The government had already planned to add an additional 1,100 recruits to a unit created in response to the growing number of cyber attacks on the West, mostly blamed on Russia and China.

Russia

Russia Influences Hackers but Stops Short of Directing Them, Report Says
The New York Times
@julianbarnes
Moscow’s intelligence services have influence over Russian criminal ransomware groups and broad insight into their activities, but they do not control the organizations’ targets, according to a report released on Thursday.

Russia's Yandex says it repelled biggest DDoS attack in history
Reuters
A cyber attack on Russian tech giant Yandex’s servers in August and September was the largest known distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in the history of the internet, the company said on Thursday.

The Americas

Brazil’s President Bans Social Networks From Removing Some Posts
The New York Times
@jacknicas
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily banning social media companies from removing certain content, including his claims that the only way he’ll lose next year’s elections is if the vote is rigged — one of the most significant steps by a democratically elected leader to control what can be said on the internet.

Bitcoin crashes on first day as El Salvador's legal tender
BBC News
@Katie_Silver
Angry protests, technological glitches and a plummet in value marked the first day of El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender.

Africa

In Kenya, Influencers Are Hired to Spread Disinformation
WIRED
@Odangaring
ON MAY 18 of this year, the insidious hashtag #AnarchistJudges appeared on Kenyan Twitter timelines. Apparently driven by a number of faceless bots, and retweeted by a series of sock puppet accounts, the deluge of tweets cast suspicion on both the competence and integrity of senior High Court of Kenya judges that had just shot down the Constitutional Amendments Bill of 2021. Many falsely claimed the judges were involved in narcotics dealings, bribery, and political partisanship. It quickly became one of the country’s top trending topics.

Misc

They Follow You on Instagram, Then Use Your Face To Make Deepfake Porn in This Sex Extortion Scam
VICE News
@Shazamgram
In a new sex extortion scam reported in India, blackmailers follow you on Instagram, make incessant video calls until you pick up, and then demand you pay them a hefty sum of money or else they’d slide into your friends’ and family’s DMs with deepfake porn featuring your face.

Schiff letter to Amazon on Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation
The Washington Post
Particularly concerning is that, despite the current public health crisis, misinformation about vaccines still does not appear in Amazon’s content guidelines. In your letter, your justification for this absence is that Amazon “provide[s] our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints.” This cannot possibly justify the sale of false information that directly endangers your customers. Furthermore, research has shown that combatting antivaccine conspiracies by posing factual and counter-factual information as opposing, but equal viewpoints is ineffective at combatting misinformation and disinformation.

What happens when your prescription drug becomes the center of covid misinformation
MIT Technology Review
@abbyohlheiser
Ivermectin has been falsely promoted as a covid treatment—but for those who use the drug legitimately, seeing it become a piece of anti-vaccine misinformation is disconcerting.

Research

Content-Oblivious Trust and Safety Techniques: Results from a Survey of Online Service Providers
SSRN
@Riana_Crypto
The focus on content analysis overlooks the prevalence and utility of what this article calls content-oblivious techniques: ones that do not rely on guaranteed at-will access to content, such as metadata-based tools and users’ reports flagging abuse which the provider did not (or could not) detect on its own.

Jobs

New ICPC Program on Critical Technologies - 3 positions
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for three exceptional and experienced senior analysts and analysts to join its large team from October 2021. These new roles will focus on original research, analysis and stakeholder engagement centred around international critical technology development, including analysis of which countries are leading on what technologies.

ICPC Pacific Islands Analyst - Information operations & disinformation
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and proactive Pacific Islands analyst who will work with the Centre’s information operations and disinformation program. 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 actors in the Pacific Islands region. They will also work with senior staff in the centre to engage globally with governments, social media and Internet companies. Candidates must have a demonstrated background in, and strong knowledge of, the Pacific Islands region, including the region’s digital, media and social media landscape.

ICPC Analyst & Project Manager - Coercive diplomacy
ASPI ICPC
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an Analyst and Project Manager to manage, and help lead, a project on coercive diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. This new role will focus on analysis, workshops and stakeholder engagement centred around coercive diplomacy, including how countries in the Indo-Pacific can work together to tackle this complicated policy challenge. Candidates must have excellent coordination, project management and stakeholder engagement skills.

ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI ICPC
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.

EOI - EL1 Cyberspace Analyst
ONI
We are looking for someone at the EL1 level to fill a 6 month non-ongoing vacancy in the Science and Technology Assessment team. Our team leads ONI’s assessments of the implications of developments in science, technology and cyberspace for power and economic relationships between states. As a key player in a small team, you will assess and communicate the political, economic and strategic consequences of developments in cyberspace.

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