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Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W8Y20): EU’s Strategy for Data Governance and Artificial Intelligence; Facebook backs digital tax and content regulation; US, UK Blame Russia for 2019 Cyber Attacks in Georgia; US judge rejects Huawei’s lawsuit challenging; US IRS sues Facebook for $9 billion in unpaid taxes ; ICANN to Hold First-Ever Remote Public Meeting; IGF 2020 thematic tracks…

Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W8Y20): EU’s Strategy for Data Governance and Artificial Intelligence; Facebook backs digital tax and content regulation; US, UK Blame Russia for 2019 Cyber Attacks in Georgia; US judge rejects Huawei’s lawsuit challenging; US IRS sues Facebook for $9 billion in unpaid taxes ; ICANN to Hold First-Ever Remote Public Meeting; IGF 2020 thematic tracks…

INDEX / MAIN NEWS

WEEKLY REVIEW

CYBERPOLITICS

Europe sets out plan to boost data reuse and regulate ‘high risk’ AIs / techcrunch.com

European Union lawmakers have set out a first bundle of proposals for a new digital strategy for the bloc, one that’s intended to drive digitalization across all industries and sectors — and enable what Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has described as ‘A Europe fit for the Digital Age‘….”

EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy / euobserver.com

“The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday the EU’s vision for digital policies, focusing on data and artificial intelligence governance. The commission wants to establish new binding requirements for the development and use of “high-risk” AI applications – which might pose risks for citizens or be related to specific sectors such as healthcare, policing or transport. Additionally, the commission wants to create a common single market for data…..”

Europe outlines plans to restore ‘technological sovereignty’ / telegraph.co.uk

Brussels has unveiled sweeping powers to rein in the power of America’s tech giants and impose tougher rules on companies using artificial intelligence in a bid to assert Europe’s “technological sovereignty”. 

CYBER GEOPOLITICS

U.S. urges EU to use 5G by Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, seen on par with Huawei / reuters.com

“EU countries have no reason to use 5G mobile technology from Huawei because Sweden’s Ericsson (ERICb.ST), Finland’s Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and South Korea’s Samsung (005930.KS) are on par with the Chinese group in the field, a senior U.S. diplomat said….”

Dana Rohrabacher denies offering Assange a pardon from Trump / bbc.com

“Assange’s lawyer said Dana Rohrabacher claimed to be acting “on instructions” from Mr Trump in offering clemency.

In return, the president was said to have wanted Assange to say Russia was not involved in leaking emails during the 2016 US election….”

U.S. judge rejects Huawei challenge to federal law restricting its business / reuters.com

“A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday rejected Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s constitutional challenge to a U.S. law that restricted its ability to do business with federal agencies and their contractors….”

The US Blames Russia’s GRU for Sweeping Cyberattacks in Georgia / wired.com

“For more than a decade, Russian hackers have tormented the country’s neighbors, bombarding Estonian websites with junk traffic and even triggering blackouts in Ukraine. As long as Russia has kept those relentless, disruptive cyberattacks within its own region, the West has mostly turned a blind eye…..”

Facebook must unblock NSO Group employee’s account, Israeli court rules / cyberscoop.com

“An Israeli court has ordered Facebook to unblock the account of an employee of NSO Group after a complaint from the software surveillance vendor, according to officials at both companies….”

U.S. largest state actor of spying in cyberspace: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson / ecns.cn

“Facts have proven once again that the United States is the largest state actor of spying in cyberspace, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Monday, urging the United States to clarify to the international community on relevant affairs….”

Japan reveals Russia’s ‘dark power’ in SoftBank spy incident/ asia.nikkei.com

“Russian espionage that targeted Japanese telecom SoftBank was recently revealed publicly by the Japanese government — an unexpected move given Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent diplomatic overtures to Moscow…..”

Estonian foreign intelligence warns of growing cyber threats from Russia / computing.co.uk

“The warning comes from the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS), which in its 2020 annual threat assessment report states that Russian cyber operations have been successful so far and will continue to look for new security vulnerabilities to exploit in coming months….”

Germany moves to protect its military-cyber industry / fifthdomain.com

“Government officials made the move with the publication of a paper this week outlining the types of technology Berlin wants to buy at home, in Europe or from global vendors. The designation of a key technology means the government can sidestep European Union rules requiring public acquisitions be open to companies throughout the bloc….”

DIGITAL ECONOMY

Facebook faces tax court trial over Ireland offshore deal / reuters.com

“Facebook Inc is slated to begin a tax trial in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, as the Internal Revenue Service tries to convince a judge the world’s largest social media company owes more than $9 billion linked to its decision to shift profits to Ireland….”

Zuckerberg backs digital tax that could boost Facebook’s bill / aljazeera.com

“Mark Zuckerberg for the first time said he supports efforts to create a global digital tax that would ultimately raise the amount Facebook Inc. pays to foreign countries, in a move that may boost efforts to put a new levy in effect by year-end….”

Spanish government approves digital services tax targeting large multinationals / mnetax.com

“The Spanish government is engaged in international discussions to address the tax challenges of the digital economy but the government also maintains that the new tax is needed because the current international income tax regime applicable to multinational companies results in under taxation. The reality is that the tax must be approved now, before the budget is approved, due to the need for increased revenues to fund increased public spending already adopted by the government for 2020….”

Thailand hopes to cash in on demand for e-commerce in China amid virus outbreak / thestar.com.my

« Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) says e-commerce and digital content are gaining ground in China amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, TPSO’s director-general, said the trends of e-commerce and digital content were gathering momentum as Chinese people tended to stay home during the crisis….”

DATA PROTECTION – PRIVACY

Google plans to move UK users’ accounts outside EU jurisdiction / reuters.com

“Google is planning to move its British users’ accounts out of the control of European Union privacy regulators, placing them under U.S. jurisdiction instead, the company confirmed late on Wednesday….”

Personal data of millions exposed in MGM hack / thehill.com

Personal information from more than 10 million people who stayed at MGM Resorts was posted to a hacking forum earlier this week, NBC News reported.

According to the network, no financial data was posted, but full names, birthdates, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers were exposed.

U.S: Sen. Gillibrand proposes a new government agency to protect privacy on the internet / cnbc.com

“Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., just unveiled her new proposal for digital privacy legislation, including a new federal agency to enforce consumers’ privacy rights online….”

Colombia Tells Facebook to Boost Security for Users’ Data / nytimes.com

“Colombia on Monday issued an ultimatum to Facebook, telling the Silicon Valley-based tech giant it must strengthen its security measures to better protect users’ personal data in the Andean country….”

Google sued by New Mexico attorney general for collecting student data through Chromebooks / theverge.com

“Google is facing a new lawsuit filed by the state of New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Thursday, alleging the company violates the privacy of students who use free Chromebooks provided to schools through the company’s G Suite for Education platform….”

CONTENT

Britain starts setting up ‘first internet watchdog’ / ibtimes.co.uk

“The British government said Wednesday it plans to allow its broadcast regulator to police the internet and issue substantial fines when social media giants fail to remove “online harm”…”

Germany to crack down on online hate speech

“Ministers in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government are expected to wave through a new package of measures on Wednesday, days after 12 men were arrested for planning deadly attacks on mosques, communicating in part via chat groups.

“In future, those who make threats or spread hate online will be prosecuted more toughly and more effectively,” Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said on her ministry’s website….”

Facebook blocks Singapore anti-govt page, slams misinformation law / thejakartapost.com

“Facebook on Tuesday blocked the page of an anti-government website in Singapore following a demand from authorities but slammed the “disproportionate” use of a controversial law against online misinformation….”

Facebook ‘deeply concerned’ about Singapore directive to block access / zdnet.com

“Facebook has called out the Singapore government for its use of the country’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to block access to a page on the social networking platform. The move goes against an earlier pledge that the legislation would not be used to censor voices, says the US internet giant….” 

Facebook: Charting a Way Forward on Online Content Regulation / about.fb.com

“Over the past decade the internet has improved economies, reunited families, raised money for charity and helped bring about political change. However, the internet has also made it easier to share harmful content like hate speech and terrorist propaganda…..”

Zuckerberg urges more regulations on harmful online content / i24news.tv

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, told the Munich Security Conference that Facebook needs more state regulations on harmful content in order to deal with the problem effectively.

Tech Giants, Rights Watchdogs Oppose Pakistan’s Social Media Rules / gandhara.rferl.org

 “…The regulations, adopted by the federal cabinet late last month, were notified last week. They seek to establish complete government control over social media platforms, a move that many see as ultimately aimed at silencing dissent and curbing online free speech…”

CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION

Korea to fund INTERPOL projects combating cyber-enabled crime / interpol.int

“To support global law enforcement efforts to combat online child exploitation and cyber-enabled financial crimes, the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) has announced additional funding for INTERPOL.

Some EUR 2.1 million will be provided for a three-year initiative as part of INTERPOL’s Fight Against Child (Sexual) Exploitation (FACE) project which was launched in 2015…..”

SECURITY

The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has responded to a ransomware incident at an unnamed natural gas compression facility in the US. / us-cert.gov

“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages asset owner operators across all critical infrastructure sectors to review the below threat actor techniques and ensure the corresponding mitigations are applied….”

Australian cyber policymakers to face Audit Office probe / zdnet.com

“The objective of the audit, ANAO said, will be to assess the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies implemented by the selected entities, to see if they meet mandatory requirements under the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), and if the support provided by the responsible cyber policy entities are sufficient….” 

DDoS Attacks Nearly Double Between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019 / darkreading.com

“The number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks nearly doubled between the fourth quarter of 2018 and fourth quarter of 2019, researchers found in a new study of DDoS trends….”

Operations at U.S. Natural Gas Facilities Disrupted by Ransomware Attack / securityweek.com

“A ransomware infection at a natural gas compression facility in the United States resulted in a two-day operational shutdown of an entire pipeline asset, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revealed on Tuesday….”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Vestager: Facial recognition tech breaches EU data protection rules / euractiv.com

The EU’s flagship data protection regime renders automatic identification through facial recognition technology illegal, Commission Vice-President for Digital Margrethe Vestager has said.

ACCESS

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown / news.un

“Independent UN human rights experts on Tuesday voiced grave concern over the killing and displacement of civilians in north-west Myanmar during the intensifying conflict between the military and an armed group, the Arakan Army, amid an information blackout in some parts of Rakhine and Chin states…..” 

India cracks down on use of VPNs in Kashmir to get around social media ban / reuters.com

“Authorities in Indian Kashmir are cracking down on virtual private network (VPN) apps used to circumvent a months-long ban on social media, police said, as part of a broader effort to quell unrest over the withdrawal of the region’s autonomy….”

Indian police open case against hundreds in Kashmir for using VPN / techcrunch.com

“Local authorities in India-controlled Kashmir have opened a case against hundreds of people who used virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent a social media ban in the disputed Himalayan region in a move that has been denounced by human rights and privacy activists….”

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Sweden Is Testing Its New Central Bank Digital Currency / cointelegraph.com

“The country of Sweden has begun testing an e-krona, bringing it that much closer to the proper release of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The pilot program will be in operation for one year, until February 2021….”

RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

IOWA: Legislation pushes for ability to “be forgotten” from the internet / kcrg.com

“Under the bill, a person who is unhappy with what is written online about them would have to prove the content is “inaccurate, irrelevant, inadequate or excessive,” but it would exclude information that is related to criminal convictions or pending litigation involving violent crime, or matters of “significant current public interest,” which would stay online….”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

WIPO: More than 250 Submissions Received on AI and IP Policy Public Consultation / wipo.int

WIPO has received more than 250 responses to its call for public comment on a Draft Issues Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence, with submissions collected from a wide array of stakeholders from across the globe.

DOMAIN NAME

Ethos Capital Announces Accountability Initiatives to Secure a Strong Future for .ORG / keypointsabout.org

« Ethos Voluntarily Initiates Legally-Binding Public Interest Commitments that Enforce Price Limits on .ORG and Codify Strong Safeguards Against Censorship of Free Expression and Use of Personal Data….”

NET NEUTRALITY

FCC Seeks Comment on Restoring Internet Freedom Remand / multichannel.com

“The FCC is seeking comment on three issues related to its Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) order, issues the court remanded back to it for further action. One commissioner is already weighing in with advice on how to register those comments…” 

COMPETITION

EU says it will look closer at smaller acquisitions made by big tech firms after ‘shopping spree’

“Europe’s top competition authority will look into smaller acquisitions made by big technology giants after a “shopping spree” in recent years by American firms, as regulators in the region look to ramp up pressure on major U.S. players….”

ICANN

ICANN to Hold First-Ever Remote Public Meeting / icann.org

« The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that its ICANN67 Public Meeting, which was to be held in Cancún, Mexico, will now be held via remote participation-only. This decision was made as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, considered a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization….”

ICANN Org Executive Teams report / icann.org

« The latest ICANN org CEO report to the Board is now available. This report summarizes each function’s highlights, milestones, and provides an overview of recent activity. Click on the headline above to read more…..”

INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM

IGF 2020: CALL TO APPLY FOR FINANCIAL GRANTS TO SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NRIs ANNUAL MEETINGS / g

« In order to foster the capacity development in Internet governance on local levels, the IGF Secretariat, with the support of its donors, continues to allocate financial grants to the NRIs that ‎meet eligibility criteria and procedures. The main goal of these financial grants is to…” :

IGF 2020 : Validation of Thematic Tracks: Inputs Analysis / intgovforum.org

IETF

Birds of a Feather at IETF 107 / ietf.org

« The IETF 107 meeting in Vancouver taking place March 21-27 will host four sessions aiming to form new working groups….”

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