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News Briefs
21 April, 2019
Ukraine elections marred by disinformation wars

Ukraine has long been occupied territory for Russia’s disinformation war machine. Ahead of the weekend presidential elections, which has been riddled with fake news and cyber attacks, the country went on alert bracing for more destabilizing efforts to upend the vote. Ahead of Sunday, incumbent leader President Petro Poroshenko barred Russian social networks, the search

18 April, 2019
Islamophobic fake news explodes after Notre Dame

The fire started high in Notre Dame’s roof at 6:43pm Paris time. The blaze quickly ripped through the cathedral’s roof, toppling its spire. And almost as quickly, conspiracies, whispers and lies began spreading across the internet, filled with Islamophobic hate. French prosecutors who are investigating the fire said they don’t believe the blaze was a

17 April, 2019
Google’s sharing of personal data with law enforcement prompts concerns

Law enforcement officials in the United States seem to have readily obtained information from a Google owned database which stores the location records of hundreds of millions of devices, according to a new investigation. The New York Times reports that police officials have, for years, sent Google warrants seeking location data on user accounts in

15 April, 2019
Microsoft’s AI research project in China prompts criticism

A collaboration between Microsoft researchers and academics linked to a military-backed university in China has raised concerns about the extent of U.S. participation in helping build China’s surveillance and censorship infrastructure. For the past year, researchers working at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing have co-authored at least three papers with academics linked to China’s National

12 April, 2019
Russia ‘sovereign’ Internet law passes 2nd vote

Russia is one step closer to cutting the nation from the global Internet with parliament passing the second vote for the “sovereign internet” bill, keeping it on track to become a law in November this year. The bill aims to create an autonomous, “segmented” Russian internet, which lawmakers say will protect Russia from being “cut

11 April, 2019
Hungary’s latest news site spreads pro-Orban messages in English

In Hungary’s smoke-and-mirrors world of press freedom, a mysterious new player has emerged. A London-based Hungarian news site called V4NA launched Monday with an editorial line that matches many of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s favorite disinformation narratives. Scroll down the homepage and the reader is met by headlines such as “Migrant kills wife after

9 April, 2019
Britain plans a social media regulator to combat harmful content

A week after Australia introduced unprecedentedly broad social media legislation, the UK is considering something similar. A new UK government white paper, released on Monday, seeks to address online content that “threatens our way of life in the UK, either by undermining national security, or by reducing trust and undermining our shared rights.” The white

France ‘fake-news law’ courts censorship controversy

With the ink not yet dry, France’s anti-fake news law is already embroiled in controversy — underscoring the global debate about who should judge what is harmful online behavior. Last week, Twitter blocked a French government voter registration account in compliance with the new law that forces social media advertising and political campaigns to reveal

5 April, 2019
What the EU’s new road safety laws could mean for civil liberties

In a bid to overhaul road safety, the European Union has introduced sweeping new car regulations which could pave the way for wholesale data collection and the potential for 24/7 surveillance. The European parliament has approved regulations that will make speed limiters and data loggers a mandatory feature of all new cars. The technology uses

New Slovak President represents rare victory against disinformation

Political newcomer Zuzana Caputova has swept Slovakia’s presidential election on the back of a campaign focused on reversing a bill intended to limit press freedom, beating a candidate backed by the country’s governing party. Caputova’s win is a rare good news story for progressive movements in Europe. Her campaign overcame a wide-ranging disinformation campaign by

3 April, 2019
Singapore introduces new bill to punish online fake news outlets

As countries around the world grapple with undemocratic or criminal involvement with fake news, companies like Facebook have come under pressure from lawmakers who demand the platform addresses the problem or risk losing their monopoly. Now details have emerged of new legislative attempt to tackle the problem head on. Singapore plans to introduce tough new

WhatsApp announces fact-check hotline for India’s elections

WhatsApp has launched a hotline, designed to check the authenticity of the information shared through its service about the upcoming national elections in India. The service center, which will be run by an Indian IT startup called PROTO, will accept queries by text, photo or video and will work in five languages: English, Hindi, Telugu,

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