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Internet Governance Weekly Brief: Foreign interference in US elections; IGF Call for session proposals; Bitcoin legalised in India and Germany; US plans IPv6-Only Readiness…

Internet Governance Weekly Brief: Foreign interference in US elections; IGF Call for session proposals; Bitcoin legalised in India and Germany; US plans IPv6-Only Readiness…

INDEX / MAIN NEWS

WEEKLY REVIEW

CYBER GEOPOLITICS

U.S. moves high-level U.S. meeting on China tech, possible new Huawei curbs to March / reuters.com

“Trump administration officials have rescheduled for March 11 a critical meeting to discuss potential new U.S. restrictions on sales of technology to Huawei and China, people familiar with the matter said….”

The United States and Ukraine Hold Third Cyber Dialogue

“The United States and Ukraine held their third cyber dialogue in Kyiv on March 3, 2020.  This dialogue reaffirms our shared commitment to ensure an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure cyberspace in which all states behave responsibly….”

US Senate passes bill providing $1 billion for rural telecom networks to replace Huawei / abc7news.com

“US: The Senate passed a bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase equipment from Huawei and provide $1 billion for rural telecom companies to replace equipment from the Chinese tech giant that the U.S. has blacklisted…”

Foreign interference: Joint Statement from DOS, DOJ, DOD, DHS, ODNI, FBI, NSA, and CISA on Preparations for Super Tuesday / fbi.gov/

“Tomorrow, millions of voters in more than a dozen states and territories will cast their votes in presidential primaries. ‘Super Tuesday’ will see more Americans head to the polls than any other day of the primary season. We continue to work with all 50 states, U.S. territories, local officials, political parties, and private sector partners to keep elections free from foreign interference….”

Switzerland files criminal complaint over Crypto spying scandal / reuters.com

“The Swiss government has filed a criminal complaint over the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s alleged use of a cryptography company as a front to spy on various governments’ secret communications, the Swiss attorney general’s office said on Sunday….”

NSA Chief Says Super Tuesday Defenses Showed Improvement / bloomberg.com/

“An intensive U.S. government effort to protect the Super Tuesday primaries from foreign interference made efforts in the 2018 midterm election look “like a pick-up game,” according to Paul Nakasone, who leads the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command….”

The Cybersecurity 202: Los Angeles county voting machine breakdown sparks concerns about November / washingtonpost.com

“Politicians and voters are fuming about technical problems that bedeviled Los Angeles County on Super Tuesday, producing hours-long voting lines and undermining confidence in the county’s new custom-built voting machines that were supposed to be a model for the nation….”

New Bill to prepare Australian law enforcement for the US CLOUD Act / zdnet.com

“The Australian government has on Thursday introduced a Bill into Parliament that would prepare the nation for accessing the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (the CLOUD Act).

The CLOUD Act creates a legal framework regulating how law enforcement can access data across borders….”  

Judge orders Hillary Clinton deposition in email flap / politico.com

“A federal judge has ordered former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to sit for a sworn deposition for the first time in connection with her use of a private email account during her State Department tenure….”

DIGITAL ECONOMY

Germany recognizes Bitcoin as a legal financial instrument / decrypt.co

“The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) of Germany has officially defined cryptocurrencies as financial instruments, providing further regulatory clarity. This makes it easier for those spending cryptocurrencies and will give some relief to businesses built around them.

According to the translation of BaFin’s press release published on March 2, cryptocurrencies are now classified as the “digital representations of value” that have the following characteristics:…”

Supreme Court Legalises Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency Trading In India / inc42.com

“ what is great news for India’s crypto community, the Supreme Court of India has struck down the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) banking ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The apex court ruled that RBI circular dated April 6, 2018 is illegal and the circular is likely to be withdrawn by the RBI…”

Saudi Arabia to Adopt Independent Policy in Digital Economy / aawsat.com

“Saudi Arabia is planning to adopt key laws and principles on technical and digital developments related to the economy.

On Wednesday, the Kingdom announced preparing a legislative draft for developments in the digital economy….”

EU court backs Google in Hungary tax challenge / irishtimes.com

“The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Google Ireland in a case in which the internet behemoth had challenged fines imposed by Hungary for non-payment of a national tax on advertising….”

UK puts digital services tax on the table in trade talks following US pressure / washingtonexaminer.com

“The United Kingdom said on Monday that it would put its proposed digital services tax on the table for discussion in upcoming trade talks with the United States, a move that will cool tensions following tariff threats from the White House….”

French court rules against Uber to class drivers as employees, not independent contractors / france24.com

“France’s top civil court dealt ride-hailing giant Uber a setback on Wednesday with a ruling that it had effectively employed one of its drivers.

Uber has long argued that it is merely a platform linking self-employed drivers with riders, a model which allows it to avoid paying certain taxes and social charges as well as provide paid vacations…..”

Airbnb Freezes Beijing Check-Ins Until March to Curb Coronavirus / bloomberg.com

« Airbnb Inc. is suspending check-ins at all of its Beijing listings until March to comply with local regulations intended to curb the coronavirus outbreak that’s spreading across China….”

INTERNET RESOURCES

U.S. Federal Government Plans for IPv6-Only Readiness / teamarin.net

“On 2 March 2020, the United States Federal Government released a statement about their plan to transition the majority of U.S. Government networks and services to IPv6-only networks inside the next five years. The new draft guidance issued Monday requires agencies to develop and implement plans to ensure “at least 80% of IP-enabled assets on federal networks are IPv6-only by the end of fiscal 2025,” with lower targets to hit in fiscal 2023 and 2024. I strongly encourage everyone to read the draft memorandum that was published by the Office of Management and Budget in the Federal Register for full details….”

ENCRYPTION – SURVEILLANCE

Facebook Sets Spyware Firm NSO Back Over Court No-Show / bloomberg.com

« Facebook Inc. moved closer to winning a lawsuit that accuses NSO Group of exploiting WhatsApp services for mass surveillance after the Israeli spyware manufacturer didn’t show up in U.S. court to contest the allegations….”

Legislation to further secure America’s 5G network from foreign espionage gets accepted by the Senate / phonearena.com

The bill was passed unanimously on Wednesday. This shows the growing concern over national security online and especially, the worry over foreign network equipment companies using their manufacturer privileges to gain unauthorized access to Americans’ data. More specifically, it’s Huawei and ZTE that have received a lot of heat in the last couple of years. Huawei has repeatedly declined all the accusations of espionage and unlawful access to data.

CYBER ATTACK

U.S. Charges Two Chinese Nationals Linked to North Korean Hacker Attacks / securityweek.com

“The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that two Chinese nationals have been charged with laundering over $100 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen by North Korean hackers from a cryptocurrency exchange….”

German BSI Tells Local Govt Authorities Not to Pay Ransoms / bleepingcomputer.com

BSI, Germany’s federal cybersecurity agency, recommends local governments and municipal institutions not to pay the ransoms asked by attackers after they get affected by ransomware attacks.

Ryuk ransomware hits Fortune 500 company EMCOR / zdnet.com

EMCOR Group (NYSE: EME), a US-based Fortune 500 company specialized in engineering and industrial construction services, disclosed last month a ransomware incident that took down some of its IT systems.

Nunavut government has spent $5M to cope with November ransomware attack / nunatsiaq.com

“Government of Nunavut has so far spent just over $5 million to deal with the ransomware attack that knocked out its computers on Nov. 2, says the Department of Community and Government Services.

The department’s minister, Lorne Kusugak, recently told the legislature that the territory is now developing a “state-of-the-art” computer system designed to prevent similar attacks….”

Hackers Target Companies With Coronavirus Scams / wsj.com

Criminals are using concerns about the coronavirus epidemic to spread infections of their own.

They are forging emails mentioning the outbreak that appear to be from business partners or public institutions in an effort to get users to open the messages, unleashing malware.

Bipartisan commission to make 75 recommendations to defend against cyberattacks / thehill.com

A new report by a bipartisan commission will include at least 75 recommendations for Congress and the executive branch on how to defend the nation against cyberattacks, including bipartisan recommendations for defending elections. 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The EU has launched a €5.1m package designed to promote media freedom / euractiv.com

“As part of the new measures, a cross-border response mechanism designed to “detect, answer and prevent violations of press and media freedom” has been launched with the view of appeasing recent challenges to the media sector in this field….”

SECURITY

UK cybersecurity chief warns about smart camera and baby monitor security / gearbrain.com

“Owners of smart home security cameras and baby monitors are being urged to always change the default password, after a spate of incidents which saw hackers gain access to the devices and spy on their owners……”

CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION

No country is free from child sexual abuse, exploitation, UN’s top rights forum hears / un.org

“In a report to Member States at the UN’s top rights forum, independent expert Maud de Boer-Buquicchio reiterated concerns about protection gaps for children who are increasingly using the internet at a younger age.

She warned that while the growth of the internet had benefited people’s lives in many ways, it has also offered “secrecy, anonymity and opacity” to perpetrators who often act “with utter impunity”…”.

African MPs urged on online child sexual exploitation laws / independent.co.ug

“Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) have been urged to make appropriate laws that protect victims of Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE).

Speaking to MPs of the continental parliament in South Africa, experts said that the interpretation of the laws on OCSE are ambiguous and continue to be a bottleneck in seeking justice for the victims of the vice across the globe….”

UNICEF: A new era for girls – Taking stock of 25 years of progress

“Nearly 64 million girls were born in 1995, the year the Beijing Platform and Declaration for Action was adopted, beginning their lives as the global community committed to improving their rights. In 2020, nearly 68 million girls are expected to be born….”

CONTENT

Taiwan accuses China of waging cyber ‘war’ to disrupt virus fight / reuters.com

Taiwan’s foreign minister on Saturday accused giant neighbor China of waging cyber “war” on the island to disrupt its fight against the coronavirus by using fake news, as the island Beijing claims as its own reported a jump in new cases.

Facebook purges hundreds of fake accounts from state actors, marketers / nakedsecurity.sophos.com

In the first of what’s going to be monthly reports on its efforts to battle coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) leading up to the 2020 US elections and beyond, Facebook said that it removed five networks of accounts, Pages and Groups engaged in foreign or government interference in February.

Fake cures and other coronavirus conspiracy theories are flooding WhatsApp, leaving governments and users with a ‘sense of panic’ / washingtonpost.com

“Hours after Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus Friday, Olumide Makanjuola, who lives in the state of Lagos, opened WhatsApp and was bombarded with a “sense of panic.”

EU Rapid Alert System used amid coronavirus disinformation campaign / euractiv.com

“The EU’s Rapid Alert System for monitoring serious cases of disinformation has been put into use following a series of online campaigns surrounding the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the European Commission has confirmed….”

US officials in contact with TikTok over political disinformation / cnet.com

“To take on the next generation of disinformation, the US government has started reaching out to TikTok, senior government officials said on Tuesday. The Chinese-owned platform has grown increasingly popular in the US among teens, and has frequently been used for sharing political memes….” 

DATA PROTECTION

Cathay Pacific fined £500k by UK’s ICO over data breach disclosed in 2018 / techcrunch.com

“Cathay Pacific has been issued a £500,000 penalty by the UK’s data watchdog for security lapses which exposed the personal details of some 9.4 million customers globally — 111,578 of whom were from the UK….”

FCC seeks $200M from top wireless carriers over location data flap / axios.com

“The Federal Communications Commission proposed fines totaling more than $200 million against the nation’s biggest wireless carriers for sharing customers’ location information with outside parties without proper safeguards, Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday….”

UK Home Office breached GDPR 100 times through botched management of EU Settlement Scheme / zdnet.com

“The UK Home Office has breached European data protection regulations at least 100 times in its handling of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)….”

CORONAVIRUS

Putin says Russia targeted from abroad by fake news on coronavirus / reuters.com

“Russia has been targeted from abroad by foes spreading fake news about the coronavirus to sow panic, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday…”

Twitter told its 5,000 employees to work from home because of the coronavirus / vox.com

“Twitter is encouraging its more than 4,800 employees around the world to work from home in response to the spread of the coronavirus. It’s one of the most drastic steps taken by any tech company so far in response to the outbreak….”

India restores full internet access in Kashmir for 2 weeks / local10.com

“Indian authorities on Wednesday temporarily revoked a ban on social media sites and restored full internet access in disputed Kashmir for two weeks, seven months after they stripped the restive region of its statehood and semi-autonomy and enforced a total communications blackout….”

Google says its cloud conference will only be held virtually as coronavirus spreads / cnbc.com

« Google said on Monday that its upcoming cloud conference will only be held virtually due to the spreading of the coronavirus….”

Coronavirus: Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi calls for Skype and VoIP ban lift / thenational.ae

“The ban on free internet calling should be reconsidered as schools start using e-learning and companies allow people to work remotely, an Emirati academic and art collector said.

Lifting restrictions on Skype and voice over internet (VoIP) services would minimise the impact coronavirus could have, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi said on Wednesday….”

Facebook is giving free ads to the WHO and taking down ‘conspiracy theories’ about coronavirus / cnbc.com

« Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the social network will give the World Health Organization free advertising for its coronavirus response and take down false claims about the virus….” 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Artificial Intelligence Speeds Efforts to Enhance Online Arabic Content / al-fanarmedia.org

“Arabic is spoken by more than 440 million people worldwide and is the fourth most-common language used on the Internet today. Yet the Arabic language is seriously underrepresented online. ..”

INFRASTRUCTURE

High-speed fibre now makes up half of all fixed internet in nine OECD countries / vanillaplus.com

“Nine OECD countries – up from six a year ago – now have high-speed fibre that makes up 50% or more of their fixed Internet connections, according to an update to the OECD’s broadband portal. Working with more than 100 countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world….”

INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM

IGF Call for session proposals, Village booths, Travel support / intgovforum.org

“The IGF 2020 has opened several calls for session proposals and other process activities to be hosted at the 15th annual IGF meeting in Katowice, Poland (2 – 6 November 2020):  The Deadline to apply for the above-mentioned calls is 15 April 2020, 23:59 p.m. UTC….”

ICANN

ICANN 67 Virtual meeting / icann.org

« Read our quick guide on how to participate in the ICANN67 virtual sessions. Find information like how to locate Zoom session links, ask a question in session, and access language resources. Learn how to make the most of the Virtual Community Forum. Click the link above for more information…. »

ICANN67 Schedule / icann.org

« The ICANN67 schedule is now available. Start planning and download our ICANN Meetings mobile app now available in the app stores…..”

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