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Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W14Y20): United Nations on misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis; Privacy vs. COVID-19 tracking; Cyber-attacks on the rise amid COVID-19 outbreak; Brazil launches public consultations on 5G; Data Protection Officers 2020 report…

Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W14Y20): United Nations on misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis; Privacy vs. COVID-19 tracking; Cyber-attacks on the rise amid COVID-19 outbreak; Brazil launches public consultations on 5G; Data Protection Officers 2020 report…







UN tackles ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis

“From selling fake coronavirus cures online to a cyberattack on hospitals’ critical information systems, criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis, the United Nations has warned, as it also steps up its fight against a proliferation of false information about the virus…”

Ukraine president urged citizens to remain vigilant and trust official information sources only

“President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said more than a hundred perpetrators had been exposed over misinforming the public about the novel coronavirus…”


ICO approves use of British mobile phone tracking data to fight spread of coronavirus

“In a statement, the ICO’s Deputy Commissioner Steve Wood said that analysis of generalised location data trend is helping agencies to fight the spread of virus, and that its use does not fall under data protection law if it is properly anonymised and aggregated….”

An EU coalition of techies is backing a ‘privacy-preserving’ standard for COVID-19 contacts tracing

« A European coalition of techies and scientists drawn from at least eight countries, and led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute for telecoms (HHI), is working on contacts-tracing proximity technology for COVID-19 that’s designed to comply with the region’s strict privacy rules — officially unveiling the effort today…”

US: FTC Data Shows Jump in Coronavirus-related Complaints from Consumers

“Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission related to the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) have surged in recent weeks.

Since the beginning of the year, the FTC has received more than 7,800 coronavirus-related reports from consumers, double what they were about a week ago….”

Google releases location data to show if coronavirus lockdowns working in 131 countries

« Alphabet Inc’s Google on Thursday published reports for 131 countries showing whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, when many governments issued stay-at-home orders to rein in the spread of the novel coronavirus….”

Russia’s Planned Coronavirus App Is a State-Run Security Nightmare

“the head of Moscow’s Department of Information Technologies, Eduard Lysenko, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that local authorities had developed a smartphone app meant to be downloaded by Moscow residents that had contracted the disease, which would allow federal officials to keep watch on their movements….”

Ireland planning to launch voluntary phone tracker app to combat Coronavirus outbreak

“The government of Ireland is set to roll out a voluntary phone-tracking app to alert the users if someone they have been in contact with falls sick with the deadly coronavirus or COVID-19, its health service stated on Sunday two weeks before the pandemic is expected to peak in the nation….”

 UK: NHS developing app to trace close contacts of coronavirus carriers

“The NHS is in talks to roll out a smartphone app that instantly traces close contacts of people carrying the coronavirus and advises them to self-isolate…. »

The Australian government has released a coronavirus app and WhatsApp service to provide information on the pandemic – but some are concerned about privacy

« The Australian Government released a new Coronavirus Australia app to give Aussies up to date information and advice related to the virus…”

Palantir in Talks With Germany, France for Virus-Fighting Tool

« Data-analytics company Palantir Technologies Inc. is in talks to provide software to governments across Europe to battle the spread of Covid-19 and make strained health-care systems more efficient, a person familiar with the matter said….”

Coronavirus: real-time tracking platform launched in Belgium

« A collective of medical experts, scientists and big data specialists is launching “covid19stop,” an online platform that charts the evolution of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium in real time…”

Germany to use app to track coronavirus spread

« Germany is considering using a smartphone app to help manage the spread of the coronavirus…”

German minister says tracking apps to tackle coronavirus must be voluntary

“German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday that tracking apps to help tackle coronavirus could only be used voluntarily in Germany, where people are deeply suspicious of digital surveillance….”

African governments team up with tech giants to fight coronavirus lies

“Governments across Africa are teaming up with technology giants including Facebook and WhatsApp to fight misinformation about coronavirus on social media platforms that could propel the pandemic on a continent with shaky healthcare systems….”


FBI warns on Zoom conference security

“The FBI is warning Zoom video-conferencing platform users to guard against “VTC hijacking” and “Zoom-bombing” by outsiders intent on making threats and offensive displays…”

New Europol report on latest developments of COVID-19 on the criminal landscape in the EU

“During this unprecedented crisis, governments across Europe are intensifying their efforts to combat the global spread of the coronavirus by enacting various measures to support public health systems, safeguard the economy and to ensure public order and safety….”

Hackers linked to Iran target WHO staff emails during coronavirus – sources

“Hackers working in the interests of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters…”

Microsoft works with healthcare organizations to protect from popular ransomware during COVID-19 crisis: Here’s what to do

“..As part of intensified monitoring and takedown of threats that exploit the COVID-19 crisis, Microsoft has been putting an emphasis on protecting critical services, especially hospitals. Now more than ever, hospitals need protecting from attacks that can prevent access to critical systems, cause downtime, or steal sensitive information….”

FTC Warns VoIP Providers to Stop Facilitating Coronavirus Scams

“The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned nine VoIP service providers against assisting and facilitating illegal robocalls designed to capitalize on public anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic….”


Special emergency session of the Broadband Commission pushes for action to extend internet access and boost capacity to fight COVID-19

UN advisory body sets out an Agenda for Action to ensure the networks the whole world is now relying on are robust, resilient and within reach of as many people as possible.


Data Protection and Privacy Officer Priorities 2020 Report

“A survey of 471 data protection and privacy officers provides valuable insights into their challenges and priorities for 2020…”

Federal court data breach sees names of protection visa applicants made public

“The names of hundreds of people seeking protection visas have been published on the website of the Federal Court in a catastrophic data breach that potentially puts asylum seekers at risk of harm…”

42 million Iranian “Telegram” user IDs and phone numbers leaked online: report

“42 million user IDs and phone numbers for a third-party version of Telegram were exposed online without a password. The accounts belong to users in Iran, where the official Telegram app is blocked…”

Marriott discloses another security breach that may impact over 5 million guests

“Marriott says a security breach may have exposed the personal information of 5.2 million guests. This marks Marriott’s second data breach in recent years, following a breach in 2018….”

Morrisons not liable for massive staff data leak, court rules

“The UK’s highest court has ruled that Morrisons should not be held liable for the criminal act of an employee with a grudge who leaked the payroll data of about 100,000 members of staff…”


FBI re-sends alert about supply chain attacks for the third time in three months

“The FBI says some attacks have also targeted the healthcare industry, currently grappling with the coronavirus outbreak…”

New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom’s Privacy Practices

“As the videoconferencing platform’s popularity has surged, Zoom has scrambled to address a series of data privacy and security problems….”

Saudis suspected of phone spying campaign in US

« Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting weaknesses in the global mobile telecoms network to track its citizens as they travel around the US, according to a whistleblower who has shown the Guardian millions of alleged secret tracking requests….”

Brazil launches public consultations on 5G equipment security

“Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) announced four ongoing public consultations that address 5G and cyber security: three involve the certification of equipment that will be used in 5G networks and one is on cyber security issues….” 

Google Confirms 40,000 Nation-State Cyber Attack Warnings Issued

“Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) is tasked with protecting the company, and those who use its services, against nation-state hacking attacks. One way it does this is by warning Google account holders if TAG has detected targeted activity from such threat actors…”

Coronavirus Will Not Delay Pentagon’s Contractor Cybersecurity Program, Official Says

“The Defense Department officially entered into an agreement with the nonprofit corporation that will serve as the accreditation body for its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, the chief information security officer for the department’s acquisition office confirmed…” 


Plea In Supreme Court Seeks High Speed Internet Restoration In J&K

“A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to restore 4G internet speed in the Union Territory in light of prevailing COVID-19 pandemic…”

Internet restored in Oromo region in Ethiopia

“Internet and voice services have been restored in several areas of the Oromo region in Ethiopia, the government announced earlier today, March 31, 2020. This ended the blockade of telecom services which started since 7 January in the Kellem Wellega, West Oromia, West Wellega and Horo Gudru Wellega zones due to the unrest in the areas, a total of 83 days blackout…”


NATO Report Warns of New Authoritarian Chinese Splinternet

“Chinese government plans to push through standardization of a new internet architecture could broaden the threat landscape, destabilize security and privacy, and fragment the world wide web, a new NATO report seen by Infosecurity will warn…”


World Bank approves additional financing for telecommunications development in the Eastern Caribbean

“The World Bank Board of executive directors approved additional financing of US$11.9 million for the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) underway in Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines….”

UK: Geospatial Commission to release core identifiers under Open Government Licence

Unique Property and Street Reference Numbers to become the standard way of referencing and sharing address information about properties and streets across government, helping to transform public services and boost our economy.

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