US chip companies ask Biden for incentives | Egregor ransomware affiliates arrested | Censorious governments use 'fake news' to crackdown on critics
A group of U.S. chip companies on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to provide "substantial funding for incentives for semiconductor manufacturing" as part of his economic recovery and infrastructure plans. The chief executives of major U.S. firms such as Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Micron Technology Inc and Advanced Micro Devices Inc signed onto the letter. Reuters
Members of the Egregor ransomware cartel have been arrested this week in Ukraine, French radio station France Inter reported on Friday. The Egregor gang, which began operating in September 2020, operates based on a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model. They rent access to the actual ransomware strain, but they rely on other cybercrime gangs to orchestrate intrusions into corporate networks and deploy the file-encrypting ransomware. ZDNet
Covid-19 has indeed unleashed a flood of misinformation. But it has also given governments such as Egypt’s an excuse to crack down on their critics using the pretext of restricting the spread of fake news. The Economist
Working through the fallout from a Google market exit
For those concerned about the survival of Australia’s news outlets, requiring tech companies to pay for news is a better solution (although not the only one) than having the government directly subsidise them, which would result in obvious conflicts. For market-minded people, though, it’s an awkward solution. There’s no question that both issues are worthy of policy consideration, but compelling one industry to subsidise another, unrelated industry is a suboptimal solution that creates a bad precedent.
Are you being recorded on Clubhouse? What to know about privacy in the new digital democracy
Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says Clubhouse owes its users some answers. “Agora has stated that they do not store user data. They claim that Agora is just a ‘pass-over’ and that they don’t store any end-user data. The question for Clubhouse is do they trust this assurance?
Former Australian PMs put Murdoch in the hot seat on climate change
For all the anxiety about fake news on social media, disinformation on climate seems to stem disproportionately from one old man using old media.
AustCyber merges with Stone & Chalk to boost local capability in emerging tech
AustCyber, the organisation charged with growing a local cybersecurity ecosystem, will be merging with innovation hub Stone and Chalk, with the two non-profits hoping to boost Australia's domestic industrial capability in critical and emerging technologies.
SWIFT sets up JV with China's central bank
SWIFT, the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, has set up a joint venture with the Chinese central bank's digital currency research institute and clearing centre, in a sign that China is exploring global use of its planned digital yuan.
Read ASPI ICPC's ‘The flipside of China’s central bank digital currency’ here.
Semiconductor fraud in China highlights lack of accountability
Push for homegrown chipmakers leads to multimillion-dollar investment swindle.
The real star of China's New Year Gala: livestreaming ecommerce
China is leading the way on combining ecommerce with live video, and it's become a powerful economic tool for Beijing.
China Refuses to Give WHO Raw Data on Early Covid-19 Cases
The Wall Street Journal
Chinese authorities refused to provide World Health Organization investigators with raw, personalized data on early Covid-19 cases that could help them determine how and when the coronavirus first began to spread in China, according to WHO investigators who described heated exchanges over the lack of detail.
U.S. chip industry calls on Biden administration to fund factories
A group of U.S. chip companies on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to provide "substantial funding for incentives for semiconductor manufacturing" as part of his economic recovery and infrastructure plans. The chief executives of major U.S. firms such as Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Micron Technology Inc and Advanced Micro Devices Inc signed onto the letter.
Biden’s ambitious plan to push back against techno-autocracies
The Washington Post
The Biden administration is quietly developing an ambitious plan for an alliance of “techno-democracies” to try to prevent dominance of global technology by an authoritarian China. The policy is still in the discussion phase at the White House and State Department, but it has the strong backing of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The goal of the alliance, says a senior State Department official, would be “setting the rules and shaping the norms that govern the use of technology” and pushing back against China and other “techno-autocracies.”
China Supply Chain, Backdoor Money ‘Huge Priority’ For Biden Pentagon
The Pentagon’s new China Task Force will continue work already being done at the Pentagon by taking a hard look at the defense industry’s supply chain, and potential backdoor ties to China in funding and supply. “What is clear is that this issue of technology competition is of increasing importance in the US-China relationship” Ely Ratner, a top aide to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who has been tapped to lead a new China Task Force, said today. It’s “a huge priority for the administration.”
Clubhouse says reviewing data protection practices after report points to flaws
U.S. audio app Clubhouse said it is reviewing its data protection practices, after a report by the Stanford Internet Observatory said it contained security flaws that left users' data vulnerable to access by the Chinese government.
Clubhouse in China: Is the data safe?
Stanford Internet Observatory
@jackhcable @debutts @noUpside @Riana_Crypto @alexstamos @elegant_wallaby
The audio chat app “Clubhouse” went viral among Chinese-speaking audiences. Stanford Internet Observatory examines whether user data was protected, and why that matters.
The Long Hack: How China Exploited a U.S. Tech Supplier
For years, U.S. investigators found tampering in products made by Super Micro Computer Inc. The company says it was never told. Neither was the public.
Facebook, Twitter CEOs in talks to testify at House hearing as soon as March
The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter are in talks with House lawmakers to testify at a hearing as early as next month, according to people familiar with the plans.
Samsung races to guard its secrets as China rivals close in
Headhunting and corporate espionage threaten tech titan's global dominance.
Facebook Limits Reach of Posts from Myanmar Military During Coup to Limit 'Misinformation'
Facebook said it would place a limit on the distribution of posts made by military leaders in the country of Myanmar in order to reduce the spread of "misinformation."
Myanmar rattled by army movements, apparent internet cutoff
Sightings of armored personnel carriers in Myanmar’s biggest city and an internet shutdown raised political tensions late Sunday, after vast numbers of people around the country flouted orders against demonstrations to protest the military’s seizure of power.
NZ & Pacific Islands
New Zealand's visa application centre in Beijing has links to Chinese security police
VFS runs all New Zealand’s visa processing centres in China but work in the sensitive capital is subcontracted to Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Company, which is partly owned by the municipal Public Security Bureau, a feared arm of the security apparatus that controls movements inside and out of China. Australian cybersecurity consultant Robert Potter said the connection raised questions about the data security of people applying for New Zealand visas in China and whether their data was accessible by the Chinese security services.
Huawei takes HSBC to court as it tries to stop extradition
The Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is taking the bank HSBC to court in the UK as part of its attempt to prevent the extradition of its chief financial officer from Canada to the US.
‘They’d have made me a spy’: China uses LinkedIn to steal state secrets
The Sunday Times
Under fake profiles, agents offer money and lucrative business opportunities in exchange for sensitive information.
Egregor ransomware operators arrested in Ukraine
Members of the Egregor ransomware cartel have been arrested this week in Ukraine, French radio station France Inter reported on Friday. The Egregor gang, which began operating in September 2020, operates based on a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model. They rent access to the actual ransomware strain, but they rely on other cybercrime gangs to orchestrate intrusions into corporate networks and deploy the file-encrypting ransomware.
Nokia partners with Brazilian research group CPQD to develop 5G ORAN solutions
Nokia today announced a partnership with Brazil’s Telecommunications Research and Development Center, an independent government-affiliated research body, to jointly develop applications and solutions based on the Open RAN (O-RAN) compliant near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller.
Censorious governments are abusing “fake news” laws
Covid-19 has indeed unleashed a flood of misinformation. But it has also given governments such as Egypt’s an excuse to crack down on their critics using the pretext of restricting the spread of fake news.
Inside the Making of Facebook’s Supreme Court
The New Yorker
Since its founding, in 2004, Facebook had modelled itself as a haven of free expression on the Internet. But in the past few years, as conspiracy theories, hate speech, and disinformation have spread on the platform, critics have come to worry that the company poses a danger to democracy. Facebook promised to change that with the Oversight Board.
Silicon Valley’s Safe Space
The New York Times
In a style that was erudite, funny, strange and astoundingly verbose, the blog explored everything from science and medicine to philosophy and politics to the rise of artificial intelligence. It challenged popular ideas and upheld the right to discuss contentious issues.
Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All
In a 2018 paper, researchers said they found evidence of an elusive theorized particle. A closer look now suggests otherwise.
Elon Musk’s reality distortion field
Which brings us to the news this week that Tesla has just staked $1.5bn of its spare cash on bitcoin. To cryptocurrency speculators, this was taken as a solid endorsement from the acknowledged visionary of the age, lifting the price about 15 per cent. Cryptocurrency is a purer vehicle for Musk’s mythmaking than Tesla. Not weighed down by the reality of next quarter’s vehicle deliveries, it is quite simply the product of a mass willingness to believe.