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News Briefs
23 May, 2019
US could target Chinese firm that powers Uyghur surveillance

The New York Times reports that the United States government may apply export restrictions to Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance tech company involved in China’s crackdown on Uyghurs. According to The Times, the U.S. may put Hikvision on its “entity list.” This would make it legally difficult for American companies to export their technology to Hikvision,

As the European elections get underway, Facebook is drowning in fake news

From today until Sunday, European citizens will cast their votes in the European Parliament elections. And in the latest in a succession of damning reports published by US-based activism nonprofit Avaaz, it has emerged that millions of EU citizens have been exposed to far-right disinformation during this year’s campaign. “The results are overwhelming,” the report

22 May, 2019
Android stops selling to Huawei as China-US tech cold war deepens

Last week, after a months-long campaign against Huawei, U.S. President Donald Trump dealt the company its greatest blow yet through an executive order which declared a “national emergency”, and blocked American companies from doing business with foreign technology firms which posing “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.” Now, in the

Team of Russian Journalists quit after two of the members are forced out of a newspaper

The entire politics reporting team at Kommersant, a leading Russian national newspaper, resigned in response to the publication forcing out two of its prominent journalists on Monday. The entire 10-person unit and the deputy managing editor, Gleb Cherkasov, walked out shortly after the newspaper’s special correspondent Ivan Safranov and a politics deputy chief editor, Maksim

21 May, 2019
Protests in Yekaterinburg spark a wave of fake news online

An intensive disinformation war on social media erupted in the aftermath of street protests against the building of a new church in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Hundreds of people protested the construction of the new church in green space in the center of the bustling city, part of a wave of demonstrations over the past several years

17 May, 2019
Trump executive order targets Chinese tech giants over espionage worries

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday banning the import of technology “posing an unacceptable risk” to U.S. security. It marks the latest step in a uniquely bipartisan push to evict Chinese tech giants like Huawei from American networks. Though the order does not name specific companies, it is expected that Huawei and

16 May, 2019
In the fight against fake news, Italy is losing – badly

As the European Union elections draw nearer, new breeding grounds for disinformation are forming, especially in Italy. Facebook announced Sunday it had taken down 23 Italian Facebook pages with a combined reach of 2.46 million followers known to be disseminating fake messages. Many were run by automated accounts and were determined to be spreading “false

Fearing more communal violence, Sri Lanka reinstates a block on social media

For the third time in less than a month and the fourth time in about a year, Sri Lanka has blocked major social media platforms in the wake of communal violence which authorities worry has been inspired by hate speech and fake news posts. The latest blocks saw the government order a temporary ban on

Russia bans website critical of Putin

Launched in 2015 by Artem Kruglov, “Putinism as it is” was a blog dedicated to unmasking what the Putin government actually represented, instead of what the Kremlin propaganda machine described it. It became a place for critics of Moscow to read allegations of the president’s connections with criminals and illegal activities. Until this week. When curious

13 May, 2019
San Francisco poised to reject police facial recognition

San Francisco’s City Council is set to vote on an ordinance restricting the use of surveillance tech by law enforcement. The May 14 vote would also outright ban the use of facial recognition to identify people in surveillance camera footage, noting that “it shall be unlawful for any Department to obtain, retain, access, or use…any

8 May, 2019
Russian celebration of Victory Day includes commemorating secret police

Russians around the world will likely pause on May 9 and perhaps raise a glass in memory of the nation’s great victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. In Rostov, in southern Russia, police officers have organized an additional way to celebrate the Great Patriotic War: a photoshoot where participants dress up as Soviet

7 May, 2019
India leads the world in Internet shutdowns

As India enters the fifth stage of its marathon election cycle, the multi-phase ballot presents a good opportunity to look at how digital repression isn’t a phenomenon unique to authoritarian states, but also a feature of the world’s largest democracy. A detailed report in New American Weekly explains how India now leads the world in

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