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News Briefs
19 August, 2019
New UK Home Secretary calls for backdoor into end-to-end encryption

Britain’s new Home Secretary, appointed when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and the third in the last three years, recently announced that encryption safeguards should be eliminated to allow access for law enforcement agencies. End-to-end encryption means only the sender and recipient can read encrypted messages. Priti Patel, widely considered to be a social conservative

1 August, 2019
Amazon employees launch new campaign calling for more accountability on business with US government

One hallmark of the dominance of big technology firms like Amazon and Google is the rise of small groups of activist workers who use their proximity to the decision making process to lobby for change. This was demonstrated earlier this week when an anonymous group of Amazon employees, using a new social media account, began

26 July, 2019
US government intensifies its push for a ‘backdoor’ into encrypted communications

This week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr made another move in the long-running argument between the government and tech companies by reiterating the government’s belief that electronics manufacturers need to make their encryption breakable by the authorities. “The deployment of warrant-proof encryption is already imposing huge costs on society,” Barr said according to Ars Technica.

24 July, 2019
Another US city bans police facial recognition, but it’s an uphill battle

Oakland, California has become the third American city to ban facial recognition. The president of its city council cited “potential abuses of data” and “the invasive nature of the technology” as reasons to do so. The latest ban, which would also prohibit the police, will be seen as a welcome trend by activists. In the

18 July, 2019
Data and information is power – and a risk to political authority

Digital technologies have changed the modern application of power. Political leaders mobilize large resources to win information wars on Twitter and Facebook. Rarely a day passes where new and viral instances of “fake news”, sometimes produced by state employed trolls, don’t pollute social media networks and monopolize our attention. Much of this was on discussion

12 July, 2019
Wary of crypto and Facebook, India voices concerns about Libra

As governments around the world ready themselves for the launch of Facebook’s forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, India announced last week that Asia’s third largest economy will probably not allow the digital offering to operate in the country. “Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained,” said Economic Affairs Secretary, Subhash Garg. “But whatever it

10 July, 2019
Myanmar says its internet blackout is for “the people.” Research suggests otherwise

A month ago, we published Kayleigh Long’s dispatch from Myanmar, where she described how the country’s internet has become a battlefield. In one province in particular — Rakhine State — online content has both encouraged atrocities and helped activists document them. “The phone is our gun,” one opposition activist was quoted as saying. Myanmar’s government

3 July, 2019
Moscow rolls out facial recognition to boost policing

As new tech such as biometrics and cloud intelligence changes the nature of law enforcement, Russia has put facial recognition systems at the heart of its policing strategy. Last week, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed the results of its latest facial recognition system test: over two years, 90 individuals were detained as a

28 June, 2019
China behind prolonged cyber invasion against IBM, Hewlett Packard and more

Chinese hackers have been targeting eight U.S. computer service giants, infiltrating their systems for years in an organized hacking campaign known as “Cloud Hopper.” The intense campaign, reportedly sponsored by China’s Ministry of State Security, had one goal — to gather corporate and state secrets that could potentially boost Chinese economic interests. According to a Reuters

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

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