US FTC officials to investigate if 'Facebook Papers' indicate a breach of 2019 settlement | UK spy agencies sign cloud contract with Amazon | The strategic importance of Australia's Digicel purchase
Federal Trade Commission staffers have begun looking into disclosures that Facebook Inc.’s internal company research had identified ill effects from its products, according to people familiar with the matter. Officials are looking into whether Facebook research documents indicate that it might have violated a 2019 settlement with the agency over privacy concerns, for which the company paid a record $5 billion penalty. The Wall Street Journal
The new cloud service — designed to host top-secret information securely — will enable spies to share data more easily from field locations overseas and power specialist applications such as speech recognition which can “spot” and translate particular voices from hours’ worth of intercept recordings. It will also allow GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 to conduct faster searches on each other’s databases. The Financial Times
Digicel’s near-monopoly on telecoms is of clear strategic importance. Controlling the telco would enable the owner to spy on and directly shape the information ecosystem to suit their needs. As we move into an interconnected 5G world, telecoms networks will become the backbone for public utilities and financial services. Controlling telecoms gives any actor tremendous power as a spoiler in these interconnected systems. It is clearly not in Australia’s interests for Digicel to fall into China’s hands. The Australian
Agencies ‘hunting every night’ with offensive cyber capabilities
Australian Strategic Policy Institute International Cyber Policy Centre director Fergus Hanson said Australia’s offensive cyber capability is well known, but more is needed to combat cyber risks. “It’s one part of the response, but in the scheme of things it’s not going to solve this problem unfortunately. The effects are only temporary so it’s not a huge deterrent. But it’s a good option to have,” Mr Hanson told InnovationAus.
Read our report Australia’s Offensive Cyber Capability.
Far more than just the money, Digicel is a very big deal
By underwriting Telstra’s purchase of Digicel Pacific, the region’s largest telco, the Australian government is making the largest single foreign policy investment in decades, perhaps ever. The $US1.33bn deal eclipses Australia’s annual aid program to the Pacific and rivals Defence’s flagship 30-year Pacific Maritime Security Program – all in one transaction.
Facebook has hurt the US. The real scandal is how it treats the rest of the world.
In 2019, Facebook ran an experiment on Australian users. The company was trialling removing the number of likes on a post in an attempt to “focus more on the quality of the interactions that they’re having on the services” according to Facebook Australia’s Mia Garlick at the time. The trial was judged to be unsuccessful. Why? Because it failed to encourage people to post more content. This decision, not made public before now, was a throwaway line in one story out of the avalanche of stories about the Facebook Papers, a trove of leaked internal Facebook documents that came from a lawyer representing whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Sydney start-up sets sights on becoming India’s TikTok
The Australian Financial Review
Sydney-based start-up 8secondz, which positions itself as an alternative to TikTok, is about to hit Bollywood after signing a partnership with India’s leading cinema and digital media business, Carnival Group.
China launches world’s fastest programmable quantum computers
South China Morning Post
Physicists in China say they have built two quantum computers with performance speeds which top their Western competitors – a superconducting machine and an even faster type which uses light photons to achieve never-before seen results. According to the research team, the light-based Jiuzhang 2 can calculate in one millisecond a task that would take the world’s fastest conventional computer 30 trillion years.
China’s Hypersonic Weapon Test Likened to ‘Sputnik Moment’ by Gen. Mark Milley
The U.S.’s top uniformed military officer called China’s suspected test of a hypersonic weapons system a “very concerning” development in the escalating competition between Washington and Beijing. “What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview for “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” on Bloomberg Television. “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention.”
Can US missile-defence systems handle China’s new missiles?
Despite hyperbolic headlines in the media, suggesting that this was a ‘Sputnik moment’, a Chinese FOBS capability isn’t a fundamental game-changer in nuclear stability. Yet it’s not unimportant or irrelevant either. The US will need to respond to this increased threat.
Jack Ma Tours Netherlands in Farming Technology Quest, SCMP Says
Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is visiting research institutions in the Netherlands to further his interest in agriculture-related technology, South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. Ma, who is traveling to Europe for the first time since a bruising Chinese government crackdown on his tech empire, was photographed visiting a number of institutes in the Netherlands, including aluminum extrusions and greenhouse roofs specialist BOAL Group, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people. He is undertaking the tour in his personal capacity, it said.
What does China's centrally backed digital currency mean for the world?
Beijing is getting serious about a centrally backed digital currency, one that its central bank, the People's Bank of China, has been rolling out on a test basis in several major Chinese cities. Ultimately, the existence of a state-backed "digital Yuan," or e-CNY, could create a large, international platform for electronic payments that live on the blockchain. If that happens, what does this ultimately mean for the rest of the world, which still settles most international payments with the U.S. Dollar? This week, we asked five leading experts.
Federal Trade Commission Scrutinizing Facebook Disclosures
The Wall Street Journal
Federal Trade Commission staffers have begun looking into disclosures that Facebook Inc.’s internal company research had identified ill effects from its products, according to people familiar with the matter. Officials are looking into whether Facebook research documents indicate that it might have violated a 2019 settlement with the agency over privacy concerns, for which the company paid a record $5 billion penalty, one of the people said.
Lina Khan Isn’t Worried About Going Too Far
New York Magazine
Lina Khan was an associate professor at Columbia Law, working remotely from Texas, when she found out that President Joe Biden wanted her on the Federal Trade Commission. She was 32, just a handful of years out of law school, and the prospect of being one of five commissioners on the panel was a coup. Then the record skipped. At some point after her confirmation hearing, Khan says, she was “pretty startled” to learn that the administration would tap her to chair the commission — a century-old agency with 1,100 employees, a $384 million budget, and, she’d argue, a set of priorities that went disastrously astray some 40 years ago.
Facebook is having a tougher time managing vaccine misinformation than it is letting on, leaks suggest
@donie @claresduffy @tarasubramaniam Sarah Boxer
In public, Facebook has touted the resources it has dedicated to tackling Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation, even scolding US President Joe Biden for his harsh criticism of the company's handling of the issue. In doing so, it claimed that "more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet." But internal Facebook (FB) documents suggest a disconnect between what the company has said publicly about its overall response to Covid-19 misinformation and some of its employees' findings concerning the issue.
Facebook Is Bad. Fixing It Rashly Could Make It Much Worse.
The New York Times
The nicest thing you can say about the Health Misinformation Act, proposed in July by the Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Luján, is that it means well. The internet has been a key accelerant of widespread myths, misunderstandings and lies related to Covid-19; Klobuchar and Luján’s bill would force online companies like Facebook to crack down on false information during public health emergencies, or lose immunity from lawsuits if they don’t. There’s only one problem: What is health misinformation? I know of no oracular source of truth about Covid-19.
U.S. senators call for passing laws to protect online privacy for kids
Two Democratic senators called Wednesday for two bills to be voted into law that will limit what children are shown online and how their data can be used for advertising by Big Tech companies like Google's YouTube and Facebook. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey, both Democrats, called for the passage of an update of the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which would, among other things, raise the age of children whose data cannot be collected without consent from 12 to 15.
The Facebook Papers' missing piece
The coverage so far — my own included — reflects a naïveté about the role of Workplace posts in Facebook’s internal culture, this former employee told me. Some posts are simply much more credible than others, they said, based on a variety of factors. But because the names (and therefore job titles) of employees are redacted in the documents, it can be very difficult to sort out how much credibility to assign to any particular file. Of course, Facebook executives have been saying this publicly since the Wall Street Journal began publishing the Facebook Files. But the former employee walked me through what they called “the posting culture” of Facebook in a way I found illuminating. Their point wasn’t that the documents aren’t newsworthy — just that reporters should add more context when reporting on them. In particular, Workplace — a clone of Facebook that the company uses to manage its internal collaboration, and sells as a service to other companies — shapes the organization in ways that are rarely commented upon.
Consumer-facing Companies Still Have Few Incentives to Stop Data Breaches, and That’s a National Security Concern
Council on Foreign Relations
In August, personal information belonging to fifty million prospective, current, and former T-Mobile customers was stolen, marking the mobile carrier’s third customer data breach in two years. T-Mobile isn’t unique: dozens of well-known brands, as well as hundreds of lesser-known companies, have experienced data breaches in recent years. Although these breaches are embarrassing, T-Mobile and its peers appear to consider them little more than a cost of doing business.
FBI Raids Chinese Point-of-Sale Giant PAX Technology
Krebs on Security
U.S. federal investigators today raided the Florida offices of PAX Technology, a Chinese provider of point-of-sale devices used by millions of businesses and retailers globally. KrebsOnSecurity has learned the raid is tied to reports that PAX’s systems may have been involved in cyberattacks on U.S. and E.U. organizations. “FBI and MI5 are conducting an intensive investigation into PAX,” the source said. “A major US payment processor began asking questions about network packets originating from PAX terminals and were not given any good answers.
Intel launches new PC chips, says U.S. supercomputer will double expected speeds
Intel Corp on Wednesday introduced a new, faster family of processor chips for personal computers and said that the supercomputer it is helping the U.S. government to build will reach double previously expected speeds.
TSMC founder chides U.S. plan for full chip supply chain onshore
As U.S. lawmakers look to invest $52 billion in the American chip industry, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. calls the plan far too small for rebuilding a complete supply chain in the country. Morris Chang, an American citizen who founded the company that is now the world's most valuable chipmaker, says it would be impossible for the U.S. to have a full chip supply chain onshore even if it spent far more - and that such a move may not be financially desirable in any case.
Singapore minister suggests real-time fake news busting tech
A Minister in the Singapore government has suggested the creation of an internet kill switch that would prevent minors from reading questionable material online – perhaps using ratings of content created in real time by crowdsourced contributors.
Amazon strikes deal with UK spy agencies to host top-secret material
The Financial Times
The UK’s three spy agencies have contracted AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, to host classified material in a deal aimed at boosting the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence for espionage. The procurement of a high-security cloud system has been championed by GCHQ, the UK’s signals intelligence body, and will be used by sister services MI5 and MI6, as well as other government departments such as the Ministry of Defence during joint operations.
London has the biggest climate tech startup ecosystem in Europe
London’s climate tech sector is one of the most promising in the world right now. The total value of climate tech startups in the UK’s capital city has almost tripled year-on-year to reach $28 billion, according to a new report released today (Oct. 26) by not-for-profit London & Partners and Dealroom.co, a data provider on startups. Only the Bay Area, which is far more established, has a bigger climate startup ecosystem, valued at a whopping $941 billion.
Workers sent home after ransomware attack on major automotive parts manufacturer
The Record by Recorded Future
German multinational company Eberspächer Group has sent a part of its factory workforce home on paid leave while its management and IT teams are dealing with a ransomware attack that crippled its IT systems over the weekend.
After a Year of Silence, Are EU Cyber Sanctions Dead?
One year ago, on Oct. 22, 2020, the Council of the European Union imposed its second, and so far last, EU cyber sanctions package in response to malicious cyber activities that constitute an external threat to the European Union or its member states. Though these sanctions were envisioned as a new tool to impose significant costs and bring about a change in policy or behavior from the sanctioned governments and individuals in cyberspace, they have failed in both substance and volume to achieve their strategic aims.
Hackers-for-Hire drive the Evolution of the New ENISA Threat Landscape
The 9th edition of the ENISA Threat Landscape (ETL) report released by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity highlights the surge in cybercriminality motivated by monetisation using ransomware or cryptojacking.
First code of ethics of artificial intelligence signed in Russia
The AI Alliance and several other organizations have signed a code of ethics of artificial intelligence (AI). The signing took place at TASS as part of the first international forum "Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: The Beginning of Trust", which takes place on October 26 in Moscow. The Code will become part of the Artificial Intelligence federal project and the Strategy for the Development of the Information Society for 2017-2030. It establishes general ethical principles and standards of conduct to guide those involved in activities using artificial intelligence.
Facebook, YouTube take down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim
Facebook and YouTube have removed from their platforms a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS.
Climate tech start-ups have raised $32 billion this year
Technology companies working on combating climate change have raised a record breaking $32 billion so far this year, according to a report published Tuesday. The amount of venture capital money flowing into climate tech this year has already exceeded the whole of 2020, the report by venture capital analysis firm Dealroom and promotional agency London & Partners said. Meanwhile, investment in climate tech has more than quadrupled since 2016, when investors backed start-ups in the in the sector with just $6.6 billion.
Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web
The New York Times
Richard Errington clicked to stream a science-fiction film from his home in Britain last month when YouTube carded him. The site said Mr. Errington, who is over 50, needed to prove he was old enough to watch “Space Is the Place,” a 1974 movie starring the jazz musician Sun Ra. He had three options: Enter his credit card information, upload a photo identification like a passport or skip the video. “I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress,” he said.
I found my stolen Honda Civic using a Bluetooth tracker. It’s the latest controversial weapon against theft.
The Washington Post
The third time my 1999 Honda Civic was stolen, I had a plan. I’d taken the usual preventive measures like locking the doors, using a steering-wheel lock and parking on a well-lit street. But I also had something hidden deep in the car: a Tile tracker the size of a coin quietly transmitting its approximate location over Bluetooth.
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.