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News Briefs
22 March, 2019
UK official concerned with far-right views hitting the mainstream

The deadly consequences of far-right viewpoints — many adhering to false historic facts — getting more mainstream airing have become a serious concern for security officials. In the UK, the most senior official on counter terrorism warned that mainstream media is serving as a powerful conductor for far-right messaging, in comments delivered in the wake

20 March, 2019
What do an Italian model and a Russian defector have in common? Perhaps poison

What do an Italian model and a Russian defector have in common? Perhaps poison. At least that’s what Kremlin critics are saying as Italian investigators look into the suspicious death of Imane Fadil, a 34-year-old model who until her death was better known in Italy as the woman who testified against the former Italian Prime

Xi Jinping orders new Ideology Classes to battle ‘False Ideas’

China’s President Xi Jinping wants to stamp out “false ideas”  in his nation’s schools and foster patriotism in students. But he’s not talking about fake news like the type spread by WhatsApp in India and YouTube about anti-vaccination beliefs or celebrity scandals. In his speech to Chinese  teachers of ideological and political theory in Beijing,

The British role in exporting spyware

As the United Kingdom lurches towards Brexit, British politicians have promised a new era of trade deals which will make an economic success of the U.K.’s long planned departure from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a “truly global Britain”; the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has described Britain as “open

14 March, 2019
Researchers Find Flaw In Swiss Internet Voting, With Global implications

Switzerland’s new online voting system has a problem. After a group of researchers recently examined the source code, they announced that a malicious actor could change ballots without anybody noticing, Motherboard reports. Swiss Post, which developed the new system with a Barcelona-based company called Scytl, countered that the flaw can only be exploited by someone

EU Parliament Bloc Gives Hungary an Ultimatum: Stop Fake News

The dispute between the European Union’s most powerful political bloc and the Hungarian government could reach breaking point this week over Hungary’s incendiary information war against the European project. The European People’s Party, the EU Parliament’s largest faction, gave Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling party an ultimatum: stop disseminating anti-EU propaganda, or face ejection

13 March, 2019
Spain Assembles Special Unit for Election Disinformation

Spain has announced a new special intelligence unit guard against possible cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns during several elections scheduled this spring. According to El Pais, a prominent daily newspaper in Spain, the responsibilities and duties of the unit are still being worked out among officials from the National Security Department and the government, but the

As It Turns 30, The World Wide Web Is An Arena For Conflict

State sponsored hacks, government-backed fake news and criminality—as the World Wide Web turns 30 years of age, this week presents a good opportunity to examine how a global digital public square is being threatened by authoritarian states, tech companies and criminals whose acts have walled off large areas of digital space. At their worst, instances

12 March, 2019
UK Disinformation Researcher Hacked by Russia

A Russian cyber-attack allegedly knocked a London-based organization tasked with fighting disinformation offline in the latest cyber-strike between Western countries and the Kremlin. British government sources say Russian military intelligence, the GRU, is likely behind the hack of the Institute for Statecraft in retaliation for Britain’s implication of the GRU in the Salisbury poisoning. If

9 March, 2019
UK Government Trade Fair Peddles Tech to Authoritarian Regimes

Last week, the British government held its annual “Security & Policing” fair, which promotes European surveillance technology to, among others, authoritarian regimes. A new Vice News investigation shed fresh light on what goes on at the fair. One company, Gamma, allegedly helped the Bahraini government hack the computers of opposition activists. Gamma has used the

8 March, 2019
Back to USSR: Russia Prohibits Govt Criticism Online

Russian President Vladimir Putin is one step closer to making it illegal to criticize or joke about his government online. A new law sailed through Russian parliament allowing courts to jail those who “disrespect” the government, state officials or the president, according to the Guardian. Under the new measure, which Putin is expected to sign

Facebook Promises a Pivot to Privacy

In a blog post, Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, announced a major shift in the company’s approach to privacy. In the next few years, Zuckerberg writes, Facebook will put a much greater emphasis on encrypted and temporary messages among small groups of people. “[P]rivate messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the

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