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News Briefs
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

3 May, 2019
Russia moves closer to cutting citizens from the global Internet

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law measures intended to cut Russia from the World Wide Web, something that government officials say it’s good for national security but that critics say increases censorship. Russia has, in the past, enforced crackdowns on online use and content, such as prohibiting the use of VPNs, and banning

2 May, 2019
US reconsiders intelligence partnership with UK over Huawei row

The US and UK are in a confrontation about Chinese technology, and it got worse this week. The US is so categorically opposed to Chinese tech giant Huawei being part of Britain’s upcoming 5G network that a senior State Department official earlier this week said the US would “have to reassess” its ability to share

1 May, 2019
In a challenge to privacy, new facial recognition systems are rolling out across the world

Anyone who has recently passed through an airport will have noticed how new facial recognition systems have begun to assert themselves on all walks of travel. Earlier this week, Heathrow Airport announced passengers will be able to use facial recognition technology as of this summer. The airport, which has around 80 million annual passengers, is

25 April, 2019
Cybersecurity chiefs gather in UK amidst Huawei controversy

On Wednesday, representatives of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance took the stage at Glasgow’s CyberUK conference. Though the event was meant to showcase unity in the face of global cyber-threats, it was partly overshadowed by a fresh controversy that shone light on a rift within the alliance. Earlier this week, report indicated that the UK

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