US intel creating hub to combat foreign malign influence | Japan imposes tougher tech transfer rules | Chinese-founded social network Yalla popular in the Middle East
America’s top spy agency has begun work to establish a hub to combat hostile foreign meddling in U.S. affairs, following multiple assessments that Russia and other countries have sought to sway elections and sow chaos among the American people. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will create the Foreign Malign Influence Center “in light of evolving threats and in support of growing policy and congressional requirements,” an agency spokesperson said Monday in a statement to POLITICO. POLITICO
Seeking to promote joint research with the U.S. in quantum technology, artificial intelligence and other top fields, Japan will impose tougher disclosure rules on universities to keep information that could be used for military purposes out of foreign hands. Nikkei Asia
TikTok is the most famous example of a Chinese social media app that became a smash hit overseas, but in the Middle East there is a second Chinese-founded app that is taking the region by storm. Yalla, or “Let’s go” in Arabic, saw the monthly users of its chat app and its games app increase by nearly fivefold to more than 12m in the year to last June, and its share price has more than tripled since an IPO in New York last October. Financial Times
Leave No One Behind: A People-Centered Approach to Achieve Meaningful Connectivity
World Wide Web Foundation
In this letter, we call on governments, industry, multilateral institutions, civil society, and international financial institutions to close the digital divide by putting people at the centre of our approach to achieving meaningful connectivity for everyone.
Tinder 'in conversation' with police departments, as NSW Police propose new dating app safety measures
Triple J Hack
NSW Police has announced a proposal to make dating apps safer but Match Group, the parent company of Tinder and Hinge, has told Hack they have not yet agreed to implement the changes.
China’s digital economy surges in 2020 amid pandemic, making up nearly 40 per cent of country’s GDP
South China Morning Post
China’s digital economy made up nearly 40 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2020, as consumers and businesses moved many of their daily activities online amid the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
China holds 35% of global 6G patents, government report says
China currently holds 35% of all 6G patents worldwide, according to a recent report authored by the Chinese Patent Office.
Ant IPO-Approval Process Under Investigation by Beijing
The Wall Street Journal
Beijing is investigating how Jack Ma won speedy approvals for his Ant Group Co.’s stock listing last year, according to people with knowledge of the matter, signaling that state actors are getting embroiled in the crackdown on the tech billionaire.
E-commerce giant JD.com used China’s digital currency to pay some employees
Chinese e-commerce company JD.com has paid some employees with the digital yuan as the country's central bank looks to expand the scope of its use.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei hints for the first time that a public listing of one of its business units might be on the cards
South China Morning Post
Ren Zhengfei, the leader of embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co, hinted in a letter to employees on Sunday that the company may be exploring the capital market, marking a subtle shift from previous statements that it has no plans to go public.
A Professor, a Zoo, and the Future of Facial Recognition in China
In China, businesses are forcing customers to use facial recognition scanners. But Guo Bing is fighting to outlaw the practice — by taking his local safari park to court.
Alibaba's rural development program doesn't work
For years, Chinese ecommerce has been heralded by government and tech companies alike as a game changer for hundreds of million of poor rural residents. In particular, "Rural Taobao," an Alibaba-backed program that has connected thousands of villages to the online market, has held itself out as a job-creation engine that makes it easier for rural farmers to sell their products further afield. But a recently published study suggests Rural Taobao's impact has been oversold. The study shows that while the program makes it easier for villagers to buy online, it has almost no effect on helping locals sell their own products.
China Censors ‘Nomadland’ Director Chloé Zhao’s Oscar Win
The Wall Street Journal
After filmmaker becomes first Chinese woman to win top honor at Academy Awards, news disappears from search engines, social media and state outlets.
Intelligence community creating hub to gird against foreign influence
America’s top spy agency has begun work to establish a hub to combat hostile foreign meddling in U.S. affairs, following multiple assessments that Russia and other countries have sought to sway elections and sow chaos among the American people. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will create the Foreign Malign Influence Center “in light of evolving threats and in support of growing policy and congressional requirements,” an agency spokesperson said Monday in a statement to POLITICO.
Spy chiefs look to declassify intel after rare plea from 4-star commanders
America’s top spies say they are looking for ways to declassify and release more intelligence about adversaries’ bad behavior, after a group of four-star military commanders sent a rare and urgent plea asking for help in the information war against Russia and China. “Unfortunately, we continue to miss opportunities to clarify truth, counter distortions, puncture false narratives, and influence events in time to make a difference," they added. “The Russians and the Chinese, in particular, have weaponized information," said Kari Bingen, who was one of the recipients of the memo when she was undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security. "This is a significant concern that is being raised by military commanders and intelligence professionals.”
Cock.li' Admin Says He’s Not Surprised Russian Intelligence Uses His Site
On Monday the FBI, DHS, and CISA—the U.S. government agency focused on defensive cybersecurity—published a report laying out the tools, techniques, and capabilities of the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service that the U.S. has blamed for the wide-spanning SolarWinds supply chain hack. That report said that the SVR makes use of a specific anonymous email service called cock.li.
“Newsworthiness,” Trump, and the Facebook Oversight Board
Columbia Journalism Review
The Facebook oversight board, a company-appointed body tasked with making content moderation decisions, is modeled on the American courtroom. The board aspires to objective standards and delivers irreversible judgments; borrowing legal vocabulary, it speaks of “appeals” and “eligible cases” and promises to issue explanations styled in the manner of judicial opinions. In the case of Donald Trump’s suspension from Facebook, soon to be decided, the board will evaluate a key concept from American jurisprudence and journalism: “newsworthiness.”
Congress must decide: Will it protect social media profits, or democracy?
The Washington Post
Policymakers often focus on whether Facebook, YouTube and Twitter should take down hate speech and disinformation. This is important, but these questions are about putting out fires. The problem is that the product these companies make is flammable. It’s that their algorithms deliver to each of us what they think we want to hear, creating individually tailored realities for every American and often amplifying the same content they eventually might choose to take down.
Cyber-attack hackers threaten to share US police informant data
Washington DC's Metropolitan Police Department has said its computer network has been breached in a targeted cyber-attack, US media report. A ransomware group called Babuk is reportedly threatening to release sensitive data on police informants if it is not contacted within three days. The FBI is investigating the extent of the breach, US media reported, citing the Washington DC police department.
Ransomware gang threatens to expose police informants if ransom is not paid
A ransomware gang is threatening to leak sensitive police files that may expose police investigations and informants unless the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia agrees to pay a ransom demand.
The Extremism Machine
University of Toronto Magazine
Scott-Railton says the attack on the U.S. Capitol is one of the most alarming instances of how toxic online culture translates into real – and highly damaging – offline consequences. While he watched the movement grow online and suspected that many people were underestimating the danger it posed, the reality of the attack still unnerved him. “I was taken aback by the physical manifestation of violent rhetoric,” he says.
Extremists Find a Financial Lifeline on Twitch
The New York Times
QAnon adherents and other far-right influencers are making thousands of dollars broadcasting election and vaccine conspiracy theories on the streaming site.
Japan tightens rules on tech theft to safeguard research with US
Seeking to promote joint research with the U.S. in quantum technology, artificial intelligence and other top fields, Japan will impose tougher disclosure rules on universities to keep information that could be used for military purposes out of foreign hands.
Japan’s Quiet Pushback Against China
Future Directions International
Japan’s understated strategy of pushing back against China’s technological and military plans appears to be accelerating. The question is, will Prime Minister Suga continue the Abe Administration’s expansion of its own military’s remit in doing so?
How TSMC has mastered the geopolitics of chipmaking
The most serious danger to TSMC comes from the Sino-American ructions. The company’s position at the cutting edge offers a buffer against geopolitical turmoil. Chip-industry insiders say that the Taiwanese government encourages all its chipmakers, including TSMC, to keep their cutting-edge production on the island as a form of protection from foreign meddling. Taiwanese contract manufacturers account for two-thirds of global chip sales.
Chipmaker CEO says Washington’s anti-China tech blockade is a bad idea
Europe shouldn't block exports of high-end tech to China as doing so would only speed up Beijing's efforts to achieve "tech sovereignty," according to the CEO of the bloc’s highest-valued technology company.
Vaccine ‘passport’ could be in use from August
The EU’s digital green certificate for travel may be rolled out in Ireland in late summer, health workers have been told.
Uploads to social media could be regulated under proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law
Canadians who upload videos to the internet could find that their content falls under the watchful eye of the federal government after proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law were modified at the eleventh hour last week.
Chinese-founded social network Yalla is rising star in Middle East
TikTok is the most famous example of a Chinese social media app that became a smash hit overseas, but in the Middle East there is a second Chinese-founded app that is taking the region by storm. Yalla, or “Let’s go” in Arabic, saw the monthly users of its chat app and its games app increase by nearly fivefold to more than 12m in the year to last June, and its share price has more than tripled since an IPO in New York last October.
To Be Tracked or Not? Apple Is Now Giving Us the Choice.
The New York Times
On Monday, Apple released iOS 14.5, one of its most anticipated software updates for iPhones and iPads in years. It includes a new privacy tool, App Tracking Transparency, which could give us more control over how our data is shared.
This Researcher Says AI Is Neither Artificial nor Intelligent
AI is made from vast amounts of natural resources, fuel, and human labor. And it's not intelligent in any kind of human intelligence way. It’s not able to discern things without extensive human training, and it has a completely different statistical logic for how meaning is made.
Your tech devices want to read your brain. What could go wrong?
The Washington Post
Using your thoughts to make things happen in the real world was once a thing of science fiction. Now, it’s moving into reality, and Neurable’s interface is just one of the products companies are trying to develop that would usher in a consumer revolution in electronics.
Rights groups to NSO: actions speak louder than words in human rights compliance
Access Now is calling out claims by NSO Group of compliance to human rights standards through an open letter published today, 27 April, 2021, in coalition with Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, and other human rights groups... The coalition rejects NSO’s claims of their unverified compliance with human rights standards, and highlights how the vast majority of NSO’s commitments remain unfulfilled.
Google Pressured on Racial Equity Audit After AI Ethics Collapse
An influential racial justice group called on Google to allow independent auditors to investigate the company’s business for potential discriminatory conduct. Color of Change is urging the internet search giant to undergo a racial equity audit of its operations following the ouster of two women who led the company’s Ethical AI team.
Do credit monitoring and ID protection services do much for breach victims?
It has become a staple for companies that are hit by big data breaches: extending free crediting monitoring and identity protection services to customers whose sensitive personal information is at risk.
Google Promised Its Contact Tracing App Was Completely Private—But It Wasn’t
The Markup has learned that not only does the Android version of the contact tracing tool contain a privacy flaw, but when researchers from the privacy analysis firm AppCensus alerted Google to the problem back in February of this year, Google failed to change it. AppCensus was testing the system as part of a contract with the Department of Homeland Security.
Indo-Pacific 5G survey: Connections and conflict
Observer Research Foundation
@byniknat @michaeljaydepp @whoknowstrish
5G will likely become one of the foundational technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, enabling new applications in the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT), instant and seamless consumption of digital products and vastly improved connectivity for smart cities and smart factories. Two standout features—phenomenal speed and stunning reductions in latency—will separate current 4G/LTE networks from fifth generation networks (5G).
Iran’s Cyber Power
Iran is one of the states aiming to have regional and international power elements. It has shown remarkable progress on the issues of cybersecurity and operational cyber capabilities after it strengthened its national cyberinfrastructure and information technologies.
Mapping Research Agendas in U.S. Corporate AI Laboratories
This data brief provides an analysis of the research papers published by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft over the past decade to better understand what work their labs are prioritizing, and the degree to which these companies have similar or different research agendas overall.
Virtual Panel Discussion: Aligning U.S.-Israel Cooperation on Technology Issues and China
Join us for a panel discussion with the Center for a New American Security, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Institute for National Security Studies on "Aligning U.S.-Israel Cooperation on Technology Issues and China." The event will be held virtually on Thursday, April 29, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET.
ICPC Analyst or Senior Analyst - Cyber & technology
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an exceptional cyber-security or technology focused analyst or senior analyst to join its centre in 2021. Candidates must have the ability to synthesis complex cyber and technology developments and explain these developments to media and key stakeholders in plain language. The ability to engage with and brief seniors across parliaments, governments, civil society and the business community.
International Cyber Policy Centre – Program Coordinator
The Coordinator’s primary focus will be the organisation and execution of ICPC’s sponsorship program. The Program Coordinator will work closely with internal and external stakeholders to maintain and develop these relationships. The coordinator will also support the Director and the Deputy Director with the coordination and delivery of ICPC's global research program. This will be a busy, fast-paced and varied role that would suit a highly organised and energetic individual who thinks and acts strategically.