U.S., U.K. & Australia announce joint deal on tech, cyber, defence | Norway's Telenor Myanmar unit sale came after junta's pressure on surveillance tech | TikTok faces GDPR probe

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  • President Joe Biden will announce a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies — including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by Canberra — in a thinly veiled bid to counter China, four U.S. officials said. The trio, which will be known by the acronym AUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities. POLITICO

  • Norwegian telecom firm Telenor is selling its Myanmar operations to avoid European Union sanctions after "continued pressure" from Myanmar's military junta to activate intercept surveillance technology, the company's Asia head told Reuters. Reuters

  • The Irish data commissioner has launched investigations into TikTok over its handling of children’s data and alleged transfer of user information to China, marking the latest regulatory concerns over the popular video app. Financial Times

ASPI ICPC

China responsible for two thirds of state-sponsored cyber attacks
The Sydney Morning Herald
@Gallo_Ways
Foreign governments like China and Russia are increasingly blending their cyber capabilities with criminal networks to hide their identity. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s cyber policy director, Fergus Hanson, said cyber attackers were increasingly targeting health services because they would be desperate to pay a ransom because it was a “matter of life and death”. “What we will see, particularly as people harden defences, is the healthcare sector and those types of sectors that supply essential services will be targeted more because they will be more desperate to pay quicker,” he said.

Warning to Australians as concerning online trend flourishes during lockdowns
3AW 693
@RossAndRussel
Cybercrime has flourished in Australia during lockdown, with criminals targeting people working from home. A cybercrime is now reported every eight minutes across the country. There was a 13 per cent jump in cybercrime reports made last financial year, compared with the previous year. But Head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Fergus Hanson, says reported crime is just the tip of the iceberg.

Who’s Afraid of Big Tech?
Sydney Writer’s Festival
Hear a panel of leading technology experts discuss the "horrifying, beautiful, wonderful, terrifying reality of big tech” (Rae Johnston). Together, they tackle questions about who owns what on the internet, the right to privacy, digital threats to democracy, Australia’s legislative showdown with Silicon Valley, the sinister impact of the algorithm and more. Award-winning STEM journalist and proud Wiradjuri woman Rae Johnston speaks with tech reporter Angharad Yeo, ASPI cyber policy analyst Ariel Bogle, Reset Australia Executive Director Chris Cooper and Technology Editor for The Australian Financial Review Paul Smith about the role of big tech in our lives – online and off.

British diplomat draws attention to removal of Chinese mosque minarets
ABC News
Dong Xing @maxwalden_
A senior UK diplomat has taken to social media to comment on the removal of minarets at several mosques in western China, drawing attention to the ongoing crackdown against Muslims in the country..A 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimated that some 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang had been destroyed since 2017.

  • This report - Cultural erasure: Tracing the destruction of Uyghur and Islamic spaces in Xinjiang - can be accessed on the Xinjiang Data Project website.

World

Biden announces joint deal with U.K. and Australia to counter China
POLITICO
@alexbward @paulmcleary
President Joe Biden will announce a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies — including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by Canberra — in a thinly veiled bid to counter China, four U.S. officials said. The trio, which will be known by the acronym AUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities.

Australia

Defence in dark on contractor security
The Australian
@bennpackham
The Defence Department allowed contractors to repeatedly access highly classified information without proper security vetting and continued to do so for years after the problem was first identified, an Auditor-General’s report has found.

USA

Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.
The Wall Street Journal
@
keachhagey @JeffHorwitz
Internal memos show how a big 2018 change rewarded outrage and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg resisted proposed fixes.

Senators Seek Answers From Facebook After WSJ Report on Instagram’s Impact on Young Users
The Wall Street Journal
@dseetharaman
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn said they would launch a probe into Facebook Inc.’s internal research on the way its Instagram photo- and video-sharing service affects young users, prompted by a Wall Street Journal investigation that showed the company knew the app was harmful to some in that group.

Instagram insiders reveal its growing TikTok turmoil
WIRED
@LouisStaples
As TikTok goes from strength to strength, Instagram is suffering from an identity crisis under the ever-closer control of Facebook.

This US company sold iPhone hacking tools to UAE spies
MIT Technology Review
@HowellONeill
An American cybersecurity company was behind a 2016 iPhone hack sold to a group of mercenaries and used by the United Arab Emirates.

China Initiative aims to stop economic espionage. Is targeting academics over grant fraud ‘overkill’?
The Washington Post
@
nakashimae @davidnakamura
The rise in academic grant fraud cases, and several dismissals, boosts concerns that researchers of Chinese descent are being unfairly targeted.

Ex-intel officials tell Congress breaking up Big Tech may hurt U.S. in competition with China
Axios
@
zacharybasu@margarethmcgill
Twelve former top U.S. national security officials are urging Congress to hit pause on a package of antitrust bills in order to consider how breaking up tech companies could harm the U.S. in its competition with China, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

North-East Asia

North Korea-linked account poses as KBS scriptwriter to dupe DPRK watchers
NK News
@EthanJewell @jeongminnkim
An NK News investigation has uncovered connections between the North Korea-linked phishing scam against DPRK defector Kang Mi-jin earlier this month and at least two other attacks, suggesting the extent of the sophisticated social-engineering scheme is larger than previously understood.

Is it too late for Japan’s semiconductor industry?
Financial Times
@urbandirt
This, more or less, is where some see Japan’s semiconductor industry. Once a producer of more than half the world’s chips, it is now struggling to retain its 10 per cent share despite a still formidable concentration of factories and critical links in the global supply chain. The car keys haven’t been handed over yet, but a life-changing moment is looming. In Japan, where past dominance of this industry fits into the national sense of self, it is difficult to overstate the discomfort this issue is causing.

South-East Asia

Norway's Telenor says Myanmar unit sale came after junta's pressure on surveillance tech
Reuters
@f_potkin
Norwegian telecom firm Telenor is selling its Myanmar operations to avoid European Union sanctions after "continued pressure" from Myanmar's military junta to activate intercept surveillance technology, the company's Asia head told Reuters..A Reuters investigation in May found telecom and internet service providers in Myanmar had been secretly ordered in the months before the junta's Feb. 1 coup to install invasive technology that would allow the army to freely eavesdrop on the communications of citizens.

How one coder became Indonesia’s misinformation guru
Rest of World
@timmerman91
The following month, Fahmi was invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to analyze another proliferating hoax, one that claimed the government was employing millions of undocumented Chinese workers. He worked his magic again: The news website at the source was blocked by the government shortly after.

UK

NHS app storing facial verification data via contract with firm linked to Tory donors
The Guardian
@ByRobDavies
The NHS app is collecting and storing facial verification data from citizens in England in a process which has fuelled concerns about transparency and accountability.

Europe

TikTok faces GDPR probe over children’s data and China transfers
Financial Times
@MsHannahMurphy
The Irish data commissioner has launched investigations into TikTok over its handling of children’s data and alleged transfer of user information to China, marking the latest regulatory concerns over the popular video app. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which oversees the enforcement of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in the country, announced on Tuesday that it would examine the company’s processing of personal data for under 18-year-olds, including the company’s age-verification measures for under-13s. A second inquiry will examine TikTok’s alleged transfers of personal data to China.

UCD risks being a pawn in China’s bigger game
The Irish Times
@AlexDukalskis @dfarrell_ucd
In February 2021, this paper reported that the head of Huawei Ireland wrote privately to Minister for Defence Simon Coveney regarding an academic article by our colleague Dr Richard Maher about the Chinese telecoms giant. The letter said that academic freedom was a “two-way street” and requested the Minister’s “full support in mitigating the damage that has been done”

Russia

Russia fines Facebook, Twitter for not deleting banned content
Reuters
A Russian court on Tuesday said it had fined U.S. social media companies Facebook and Twitter for failing to delete content that Moscow deems illegal, part of a wider crackdown by Russia on the internet and Big Tech.

Russia publishes plan to tax foreign tech, promote home-grown rivals
Reuters
The Russian government published a plan on Tuesday to impose new taxes on foreign-owned digital services by November, part of a package of proposals Moscow says are aimed at supporting its domestic tech sector.

Could Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ Strategy Shake Up Russia’s Election?
The New York Times
@
antontroian @INechepurenko
The idea, which Mr. Navalny calls smart voting, is to coalesce opposition-minded voters around one particular candidate running against United Russia in each of the country’s 225 electoral districts. That candidate could be a liberal, a nationalist or a Stalinist. Before Russians go to the polls, they can punch their address into the “Navalny” smartphone app, which then responds with the names of the candidates they should vote for — whether or not voters agree with those persons’ views.

Middle East

ExpressVPN Knew 'Key Facts' of Executive Who Worked for UAE Spy Unit|
VICE
@
josephfcox
Daniel Gericke, an executive of the company, previously helped build the UAE's Karma hacking system, according to court records.

Misc

Microsoft accounts can now go fully passwordless
The Verge
@tomwarren
Microsoft now lets you remove passwords from Microsoft accounts to embrace a passwordless future. Starting today, the software giant will let consumers sign into Microsoft accounts with its Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or an SMS / email verification code instead of a password.

The Third Revolution in Warfare
Defense One
@kaifulee
First there was gunpowder. Then nuclear weapons. Next: artificially intelligent weapons.

Events

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.

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