U.S. court: Mass surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal | Rwanda dissidents suspect Paul Rusesabagina was under surveillance | Facebook moves to limit election chaos in November
Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful - and that the U.S. intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth. Reuters
Rwandan dissidents say they suspect that Paul Rusesabagina, the inspiration behind the film Hotel Rwanda, was hacked or otherwise tracked using surveillance technology in the days before his arrest this week by the Rwandan government, raising questions about the country’s alleged use of spyware. The Guardian
Facebook on Thursday moved to clamp down on any confusion about the November election on its service, rolling out a sweeping set of changes to try to limit voter misinformation and prevent interference from President Trump and other politicians. The New York Times
Cybersecurity experts agree that a ban on WeChat and even TikTok for its mass collection of personal user data should be on the table when it comes to national security. “That’s a discussion we need to have, and any regulation shouldn’t necessarily look in the first instance where the app is from, although that should be part of the mix,” says ASPI’s Fergus Ryan.“But at the end of the day,” he says, “there’s a reason why there’s only one app people use. It’s because of China’s Great Firewall and the fact that they’ve blocked alternatives from around the world. It’s a position the Chinese Communist Party has now put everyone else in.”
Stop the cabal': What is the conspiracy movement QAnon?
The Sydney Morning Herald
"Since mid-March, we have seen an enormous explosion in conspiracy-related activity," says Elise Thomas, a researcher of extremist dialogue and conspiracy extremism at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. While Facebook and other social media platforms have made efforts to manage its spread, Thomas warns that it could prove a "double-edged sword". "When they crack down and these people move to code words, thinly veiled code words, you will lose some of the membership, and some won’t find it again," she says. "But those who find it again are the people who are more committed. “You end up with an increasingly small but more radicalised group."
Under Growing US Pressure, China’s Huawei is Pivoting to Russia
The two governments have also declared 2020 the year of Chinese-Russian scientific, technical, and innovation cooperation. This burgeoning partnership is largely driven by the shared desire of both countries to reduce their technological dependence on the U.S. a report from ASPI, an independent think tank in Canberra, concluded last October. “Over the past couple of years, U.S. policy has sought to limit Chinese and Russian engagements with the global technological ecosystem, including through sanctions and export controls,” the report said. “Under these geopolitical circumstances, the determination of Chinese and Russian leaders to develop indigenous replacements for foreign, particularly American technologies, from chips to operating systems, has provided further motivation for cooperation.”
NYTimes Tech @nytimestechWe need tech optimists to shoot for the moon. But we also need those looking for problems, writes @shiraovide in On Tech https://t.co/BsCUT9OUTv
Cybercrime, deterrence and evading attack
Australia’s 2020 cybersecurity strategy says the government will publicly call out, when it is in the nation’s interests to do so, countries responsible for unacceptable intrusions or activity. It’s appropriate for the world’s 13th largest economy to have that capability and to be prepared to use it. But what are the options for economies that are much smaller or less developed?
The shrinking of the Australian mind
The Lowy Interpreter
The ambitiousness of Australia’s foreign policy has also been stymied by the Information Age. Over the past 30 years, governments have been subject to an ever-expanding stream of information. Through every waking moment, ministers are assailed with departmental briefs, Office of National Intelligence assessments, memos, as well as correspondence from constituents and interest groups. Then there are private texts and emails, the news and (for better or worse) Twitter.
ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report, July 2019 to June 2020
Australian Signals Directorate
This report has been jointly produced by the ACSC, the ACIC and the AFP, and is the first unclassified annual threat report since the ACSC became part of the ASD in July 2018. The report identifies and describes key cyber security threats targeting Australian systems and networks, and provides a range of examples and real-world case studies of malicious activity targeting Australian networks, between July 2019 and June 2020.
How China’s Great Firewall Could Encircle Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s internet users worry that the new national security law imposed on the city by the Chinese government will end up cutting off the free flow of information, landing them on the dark side of China’s Great Firewall. One social media company has pulled out, others are considering how far they can push back against the law’s provisions and keep doing business. For the former British colony, how Big Tech reacts to the law could have a much wider impact on its future as a global financial hub.
China Clamps Down on Mongols Protesting New Mandarin-Language Rules
Chinese authorities are searching for protesters in Inner Mongolia after a new policy aimed at pushing Mandarin-language education across the region sparked widespread unrest among the country’s ethnic Mongols, with many angered by what they saw as a move to erase their culture.
U.S. court: Mass surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal
Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful - and that the U.S. intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth. In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional.
A futuristic data policing program is harassing Pasco County families
Tampa Bay Times
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened. What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.
Facebook Moves to Limit Election Chaos in November
The New York Times
The social network said it would block new political ads in late October, among other measures, to reduce misinformation and interference.
How Facebook Failed Kenosha
Facebook said it removed a militia event associated with the shooting of three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It didn't. Here's what really happened, and why it could happen again.
Justice Dept. Plans to File Antitrust Charges Against Google in Coming Weeks
The New York Times
The attorney general is said to have set a deadline over the objections of career lawyers who say they need more time to build the case.
Apple won't force developers to let users opt out of tracking until next year
At its global developer conference in June, Apple said its forthcoming iOS 14 update would allow users to opt out of in-app ad tracking, a privacy feature that quickly drew ire from advertising giants over fears that it would make it harder to deliver targeted ads to users.
Duped by Russia, freelancers ensnared in disinformation campaign by promise of easy money
The website succeeded in tricking and hiring freelance journalists to write articles about topics including the U.S. presidential election, the coronavirus pandemic and alleged Western war crimes, Facebook said.
South and Central Asia
Facebook, Under Pressure in India, Bans Politician for Hate Speech
Facebook Inc. banned a politician from India’s ruling party for violating its policies against hate speech, amid a growing political storm over its handling of extremist content on its platform. The removal of the politician, T. Raja Singh, is an about-face for the company and one that will be politically tricky in India, its biggest market by number of users.
Rwanda dissidents suspect Paul Rusesabagina was under surveillance
Rwandan dissidents say they suspect that Paul Rusesabagina, the inspiration behind the film Hotel Rwanda, was hacked or otherwise tracked using surveillance technology in the days before his arrest this week by the Rwandan government, raising questions about the country’s alleged use of spyware. In 2019 at least six dissidents connected to Rwanda were warned by WhatsApp that they had been targeted by spyware made by the NSO Group, the Israeli surveillance company that sells its software to governments, in a targeted attack that affected hundreds of users around the world over a two-week period from April to May that year.
The Razor’s Edge: Liberalizing the Digital Surveillance Ecosystem
Center for a New American Century
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating global trends in digital surveillance. Public health imperatives, combined with opportunism by autocratic regimes and authoritarian-leaning leaders, are expanding personal data collection and surveillance. This tendency toward increased surveillance is taking shape differently in repressive regimes, open societies, and the nation-states in between.