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News Briefs
19 June, 2019
Russia denies meddling in the 2019 European Parliament elections in wake of EU report

Russia has denied participating in a disinformation campaign after the European Commission released a preliminary report, saying it had found evidence that sources from the country meddled in the European elections, which took place at the end of May. The report, published on Friday, found “continued and sustained disinformation activity” by Russian groups to spread

18 June, 2019
The ‘intellectual dark web’ launches anti-censorship social network

Canadian psychologist and champion of the so-called “intellectual dark web,” Jordan B. Peterson has announced the launch of a new social media platform called Thinkspot, created in defiance of the censorship that conservative and alt-right internet users claim they regularly experience online. Peterson claimed, in an interview with comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan, that

17 June, 2019
Hong Kong protesters mask digital footprint to avoid arrest

Protesters campaigning against a new extradition law in Hong Kong deleted Chinese apps and reverted to using cash and buying single-ride subway tickets to avoid being identified by security forces. Those who went to protests were warned not to take selfies or pictures of the people there, but instead, to take wide shots, avoiding showing

13 June, 2019
Huawei exec defends company to UK parliament

With the British Tory party facing a tumultuous leadership battle that won’t reach a conclusion until July 22, readers could be mistaken for thinking a range of pressing issues might be on pause. Yet earlier this week, the House of Commons heard from Huawei’s global cybersecurity and privacy officer, who defended the firm’s record on

11 June, 2019
Kazakh authorities label protestors “radical elements” as they arrest hundreds

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets angered by the results in Kazakhstan’s snap election which crowned their long-time leader’s hand-picked successor as the new president. So what did the Interior Ministry do? Arrest 600 demonstrators and label them as “radical elements seeking to destabilize society.” Kazakh authorities are using a familiar disinformation playbook

New AI tool lets you “rewrite” a video, raising concerns

Deepfakes, or AI-powered fake videos, are a well-known disinformation issue, but so far a theoretical one. That may change sooner than expected. After an AI startup unveiled an uncanny computerized Joe Rogan impersonator last month, researchers at Stanford and several other universities have created something similar for video. Feed the algorithm forty minutes of a

7 June, 2019
Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov arrested amid police controversy

One of Russia’s most prominent investigative journalists was arrested in the center of Moscow Thursday as he was on route to visit a source after police said they found illegal drugs in his backpack. The independent news outlet Meduza, say that the police planted the drugs on their reporter, 36-year-old Ivan Golunov, as a way

6 June, 2019
Under user pressure, YouTube reverses itself about removing discriminatory content

YouTube has announced it will block discriminatory content just a day after it said videos that promoted racism, sexism and religious bigotry did not violate its policy. The move follows a viral Twitter thread posted on May 30th by Carlos Maza, a Vox journalist, who has been targeted by far-right YouTubers for his sexual orientation.

Widespread use of facial recognition technology in the U.S. intensifies debate

Facial recognition technology used in schools, universities, businesses, and apartment buildings is sparking debate and backlash across the United States. In New York, the Lockport public school system was set to pilot the facial recognition system, the first public school in the U.S. to use the technology. The pilot project raised concerns over civil rights

Visa applicants to US to submit social media details

New plans unveiled by the Trump administration will require visa applicants to the United States to submit details about the social media accounts they have used in the last five years. According to the new State Department policy, which was rolled out last week, most visa applicants, including temporary visitors, will be required to list

‘Sex with Stalin’ video game ignites fury in Russia

In Russia, a new video game invites users to meet, avenge and ultimately have virtual sex with an avatar of Joseph Stalin. Rather than ironic laughs, the game has sparked an eruption of new controversy in a country with a mixed view of the Soviet dictator’s legacy. The game, rather unimaginatively entitled “Sex with Stalin,”

5 June, 2019
Twitter apologizes after suspending accounts ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary

Twitter has issued an apology after it suspended accounts criticizing China in the run up to the 30th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. The social media platform explained that mistakes were made as part of its efforts to “protect the health of public conversation”. “These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese

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