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Internet Gov Monthly brief (July): Geopolitics of 5G; Covid-19 vaccine hack controversy; UN E-gov survey; US-EU data agreement invalidated; USMCA enforcement; E-waste in Africa; Brazil fake news bill; Turkey social medias bill; G20, ISO, UNESCO, OECD on AI; Twitter hacked

Internet Gov Monthly brief (July): Geopolitics of 5G; Covid-19 vaccine hack controversy; UN E-gov survey; US-EU data agreement invalidated; USMCA enforcement; E-waste in Africa; Brazil fake news bill; Turkey social medias bill; G20, ISO, UNESCO, OECD on AI; Twitter hacked

CYBER GEOPOLITICS

GEOPOLITICS OF 5G: US-CHINA BATTLE CONTINUES

The US Federal Communications Commission designated Chinese Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp as posing threats to U.S. national security. China responded urging USA to stop “oppressing Chinese companies” accusing Washington of “abusing state power”. However, Huawei found rooms for business in USA allies with companies from Japan stepping up to go for Huawei services on 5G telecommunication.

In Europe, U.K. announced it will ban Huawei from its 5G networks. According to U.K. Culture Secretary, mobile network operators in UK will stop buying equipment from Huawei by the end of the year. Also, they will be required to remove Huawei gears from their infrastructure by 2027. Moreover, a German judge ruled that Huawei violated European privacy law failing to comply with GDPR rules.

CONSULATES CLOSURE: US-CHINA CYBER DIPLOMATIC WAR

China passed a law on 30 June criminalising acts that support Hong Kong independence. Following that, The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston in a response to a surge in Chinese espionage in the United States. USA directed the closure of the consulate “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said. In response, China has ordered the closure of the United States consulate in Chengdu, days after USA forced the Chinese consulate in Houston to cease operations.

INDIA – CHINA DISPUTE OVER PRIVACY AND SECURITY CONCERNS ON MOBILE APPS

India’s government banned nearly 60 Chinese mobile apps  including TikTok, amid national security concerns following accusation that Tik Tok has been sharing data with china. These accusations was denied by the Chinese company saying it “complies with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law.” TikTok has denounced India App ban saying Chinese authorities have never requested the data of their Indian users.

UK – RUSSIA COVID-19 VACCINE HACK CONTROVERSY

US, UK and Canadian security officials has accused Russia cyber actors for targeting organizations involved in coronavirus vaccine development and called for an end of these malicious activities.  Following these accusations, The UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament published reports on the issue highlighting the fact UK government not looking deep to possible Russian meddling in UK elections above all during 2016 Brexit referendum. Besides, Russia’s ambassador to the UK rejected allegations that his country’s intelligence services tried to steal coronavirus vaccine research.

Moreover, US Department of Justice indicts two Chinese hackers working with the Ministry of State Security for Global Computer Intrusion Campaign Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information, Including COVID-19 Research.

RUSSIA-GERMANY CYBER DISPUTES

Moscow has invited Berlin to hold cybersecurity consultations to address the existing cyber disputes between the two countries, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Information Security, said. The ministry was commenting on Germany‘s claims about Russia‘s alleged involvement in the 2015 cyberattacks on the Bundestag.

E-GOVERNMENT

The Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) has launched  the 2020 edition of the United Nations E-Government Survey as Denmark, Korea and Estonia make top of the 2020 ranking.

PRIVACY – DATA PROTECTION

In Europe, The European Data Protection Supervisor announced that it had published its strategy for 2020-2024  with main focus on digital solidarity.

The Court of Justice of the European Union issued its judgment in Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited, Maximillian Schrems (C-311/18). The Court has invalidated the “Privacy Shield” data sharing system between the EU and the US because of overreaching US surveillance. However, the Court upheld the validity of the EU Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses which remain an effective tool for transferring personal data outside the EU. Following the decision, the European Commission released a statement outlining the need of to having a broad toolbox for international transfers while ensuring a high level of protection for personal data.

On data safety over COVID-19, the European Commission has adopted a decision to support the setting up of a voluntary gateway service to facilitate the interoperability of contact tracing and warning apps.  Besides, The European Data Protection Supervisor published a document to give advices on questions such as teleworking tools, staff management, health data aspects and replying to data subject access requests.

On Brexit, the Commission adopted a communication to help national authorities on Readiness at the End of the Transition Period between the European Union and the United Kingdom. It also launched a public consultation on common European data spaces.

In Israel, the Privacy Protection Authority announced its compliance with Article 1 of the Privacy Protection Regulations, 5761-2001 stressing that information can be transmitted from the State of Israel to EU Member States.

SECURITY

In the United Nations, an agreement adopted by 53 countries obliges national authorities responsible for approving car models before they go on sale to ensure that vehicles are built with cybersecurity protections.

In the USA, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released its strategy document, Securing Industrial Control Systems: A Unified Initiative while US Senate approves handful of amendments to The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) including Cyber Solarium recommendations.

In Europe, The Commission sets out a new EU Security Union Strategy for the period 2020 to 2025, to support Member States in fostering security for Europeans from protecting critical infrastructure to fighting cybercrime and countering hybrid threats.  The Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention Committee  finalised a new report to illustrate the benefits and impact of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime in view of facilitating dialogue with States and stakeholders interested in cooperation on cybercrime. Also, the Joint Research Centre published a report on cybersecurity in the EU recommending policies to help foster the right culture, knowledge and digital skills for a secure and innovative digital society in Europe.

In addition, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity released the 2019 Annual Report on Trust Services Security Incidents. It also published its Strategy for a Trusted and Cyber Secure Europe outlining its objective to achieve a high common level of cybersecurity, and its 9th annual report on telecom security incident outlining the impact of major incidents that happened in the course of 2019, as well as multi-annual trends. Also, the Organisation  published  its Annual Report for 2019 highlighting regulatory impact of Cybersecurity Act.

In China, the National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee announced its proposal for the establishment of a second batch of national cybersecurity standard projects in 2020.

In Africa, The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Federal Republic of Nigeria to repeal or amend its law on cybercrime to align with its obligation under Article 1 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

DIGITAL ECONOMY

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) officially entered into force, replacing the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The European Commission has published a set of resources to help traders, online platforms and search engines get the most out of the new Platform to Business rules.

DIGITAL IDENTITY

The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Telecommunications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation announced that the Federal Law of 27 December 2019 No. 476-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Electronic Signatures and Article 1 of the Federal Law on the Protection of the Rights of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs in the Implementation of State Control (Supervision) and Municipal Control had entered into force.

The World Travel & Tourism Council called for biometrics and integrated strategy to support safe air travel during COVID-19 outlining a systematic approach to using biometrics for verified identification throughout all traveller journeys without manual verifications.

E-WASTE

Thirty-four people were arrested in Spain for attempting to export 2,500 tonnes of e-waste to eight African countries. Furthermore, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, 2.9 million waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was generated in 2019 on the African continent.

Otherwise, the United Nations said that Humans discarded more than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste last year, an increase of 20% in just five years.

CONTENT

Brazil’s Senate approved a bill governing rules on fake news seeking to establish rules, guidelines, and mechanisms for the transparency of network services and private messaging services over the internet, in order to discourage the abuse or manipulation of information.

The Russian State Parliament announced that a bill amending the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation was introduced to the lower house establishing liability for violation of the procedure for deletion and/or restriction of access to information

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted a bill consisting of nine articles to regulate social media.

INTERNET OF THING

The International Organization for Standardization released three new standards relating to Internet of Things to establish a framework and requirements for transport interoperability in order to enable the construction of IoT systems with information exchange..

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The G20 Digital Economy ministers published a declaration following a meeting where they discussed ways to harness digital technologies in the 21st century in particular building trustworthy artificial intelligence systems that can have an impact on security, ethics, and human rights.

In Europe, to address the risks associated with the use of Artificial intelligence, the European Commission had proposed a White Paper (.pdf) for community comments from 19 February to 14 June 2020. Over 1250 replies were received from the public and private sectors, including governments, local authorities, commercial and non-commercial organisations, experts, academics and citizens. 

In USA, The Bill for the Future of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2020 passed, on 22 July 2020 the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The International Organization for Standardization has released a technical report looking at concerns related to trustworthiness regarding artificial intelligence.

UNESCO has embarked on a two-year process to elaborate the first global standard-setting instrument on ethics of artificial intelligence, following the decision of UNESCO’s General Conference at its 40th session in November 2019

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released a report on examples of artificial intelligence national policies for the G20 Digital Economy Task Force.

RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

The German Federal Constitutional Court published a decision balancing the right to be forgotten and the right to freedom of expression of the press in a case dealing with the reporting of a criminal act a publicly-known person had committed in the past.

Belgium’s Data Protection Authority fined Google Belgium €600,000 (U.S. $670,000) for not complying with European rules on a person’s “right to be forgotten”.

CYBERCRIME

Twitter said hackers accessed its internal systems and hacked Several high-profile twitter accounts  including US Presidential candidate Joe Biden, Former US President Barack Obama, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk & Kanye West in an apparent Bitcoin scam.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The African Union and African Electronic Trade Group has launched “SOKOKUU”, the African E-Commerce Platform, aiming to connect all businesses across the emerging integrated African market.

DIGITAL HEALTH

The Global Digital Health Partnership released a set of white papers which aim to share national experiences of digital health in key areas to assist with the planning, implementation and evaluation of digital health initiatives.

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