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Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W9Y20): EU condemns cyber-attacks against Georgia; US accuses Russia spread coronavirus disinformation; ITU calls ICT industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030…..

Internet Governance Weekly Brief (W9Y20): EU condemns cyber-attacks against Georgia; US accuses Russia spread coronavirus disinformation;  ITU calls ICT industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030…..




Georgia thanks EU for condemning Russian cyber attack /

“Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani has thanked High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of European Commission Josep Borrell for condemning Russia’s widespread cyber attack against Georgia back in October 2019…” 

Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Begins In London /

“The extradition hearing for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange began Monday in London — the latest turn in the legal saga of perhaps the world’s most famous secret-spiller….”

Russia Complains Elon Musk’s Satellites Are ‘Too Bright’/

« The Russian Academy of Sciences said it plans to file a complaint with the United Nations over tech billionaire Elon Musk’s high-speed internet satellites, which it says will interfere with astronomers’ work…”

EU considers sanctions against Chinese and Russian groups over cyberattacks /

“The European Union may target a Russian and a Chinese entity, as well as several individuals, with sanctions over cyberattacks, adding to signs of increasing alarm in the bloc over network security….”

Coronavirus: US says Russia behind disinformation campaign /

“Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread misinformation and alarm about coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to fight the epidemic, US officials have said….”

EU’s Chief Diplomat Borrell Concerned About Cyber Attack Against Georgia /

“High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell issued a statement in response to recent developments regarding a massive cyberattack against Georgia. “Georgia was the victim of a targeted cyber-attack causing damage to their social and economic infrastructure,” EU’s top diplomat said….”

Julian Assange’s attorneys say he won’t receive a fair trial if extradited to U.S. /

“Attorneys for Julian Assange argued Monday that the Trump administration is targeting the WikiLeaks founder for political reasons and that he would be denied a fair trial if extradited to the United States….”

Bernie Sanders Was Warned Russia Is Trying to Boost His Presidential Campaign /

“U.S. officials have informed Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is actively trying to support his campaign for the Democratic nomination as part of Moscow’s broader efforts to interfere in the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter….”

Finnish minister: EU needs to establish own OS, web browser /

“A top Finnish government member wants the European Union to develop its own computer operating system and internet browser to reduce reliance in the 27-nation bloc on tech giants….”


Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union – call to promote and conduct responsible behaviour in cyberspace /

“On 28 October 2019, Georgia was the victim of a targeted cyber-attack causing damage to their social and economic infrastructure. The European Union and its Member States express their concern about the cyber-attack, which showed disregard for security and stability in cyberspace and undermines the development of political, social and economic benefits provided by the Internet and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)….”

Second Staff Exchange between EU Cybersecurity Organisations /

“After a successful first edition at Europol in June 2019, the second iteration of the Staff Exchange initiative between the four Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – the European Defence Agency (EDA), CERT-EU, the EU Cybersecurity Agency (ENISA) and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), took place from 17 to 20 February 2020…..”


Firefox rolls out encrypted DNS over HTTPS by default /

“In an effort to further protect the privacy of its users online, Firefox has begun rolling out encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users.

The rollout will continue over the course of the next few weeks as Mozilla works to confirm that no major issues are discovered as US Firefox users begin to use the new protocol….”


ICT industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 /

“A new ITU standard highlights that compliance with the Paris Agreement will require the information and communication technology (ICT) industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 per cent from 2020 to 2030. The standard will support ICT companies in reducing GHG emissions at the rate necessary to meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°c above pre-industrial levels….”


U.S. agency that handles Trump’s secure communication suffered data breach /

“The U.S. defense agency that handles secure communications for President Donald Trump said Social Security numbers and other personal data in its network may have been compromised, according to letters seen by Reuters on Thursday that were sent to people possibly affected….”

New Legislation in U.S. Proposes Federal Data Protection Agency, Broad Range of New Enforcement Actions /

“The United States lags behind much of the world in having yet to establish some sort of a data protection agency at the national level. Several attempts at federal data privacy standards have been floated in recent years, but failed to gather traction….”

Ireland’s privacy regulator handled 6,000 data breach reports in 2019 /

“Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) handled thousands of data breach reports during GDPR’s first full calendar year in force, but is yet to conclude any cases against multinational tech firms.

According to the DPC’s 2019 Annual Report (PDF), the regulator received more than 6,000 valid data breaches last year, up 71% on 2018….”

UK financial watchdog admits to leaking confidential consumer data /

“The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has admitted to a data breach that exposed confidential information belonging to roughly 1,600 consumers. 

On Tuesday, the financial watchdog said it the information exposure occurred following the public release of data in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request….”


Major European financial infrastructures join forces against cyber threats /

« A group of Europe’s largest and most important financial infrastructures, members of the Euro Cyber Resilience Board for pan-European Financial Infrastructures (ECRB), chaired by the European Central Bank (ECB), today launched an initiative to share vital cybersecurity threat information to help protect European citizens’ savings against cybercriminals….”

UK to launch specialist cyber force able to target terror groups /

“A specialist cyber force of hackers who can target hostile states and terror groups is due to be launched later in the spring, after many months of delays and turf wars between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ….”


Mexico’s economy ministry hit by cyber attack /

“Mexico’s economy ministry detected a cyber attack on some of its servers on Sunday but did not consider sensitive information to have been compromised, and beefed up safety measures, it said in a statement…..”

Statement of the Polish MFA on cyberattacks against Georgia /

« We join the statements issued by Georgia, USA, UK and number of EU countries that attribute the responsibility for this cyber-attacks to intelligence services of the Russian Federation. We share the position of our allies and international partners, that irresponsible and malicious cyber activities of the Russian Federation, undermining the international stability and sovereignty of other countries, must be exposed and strongly condemned…..”

RMLD Targeted by Ransomware /

“On Friday, February 21, 2020, RMLD was the target of a ransomware security breach, which has been sweeping the nation. The RMLD IT team is working to assess and isolate the problem and to ensure that the technology infrastructure is swept of all immediate threats. RMLD has hired an outside IT consultant. The RMLD IT team along with the security consultants are working towards returning to normal business as soon as possible….”

Pentagon looks to ‘zero trust’ as cloud security concerns persist /

« The Defense Department’s cloud computing applications face approximately 10,000 “serious cyber attacks” on a weekly basis, according to a DOD official, who said the department needs the commercial sector’s help in shifting to a better cloud security model…..”

US – GAO: Federal agencies fall short on use of NIST cyber framework to protect critical industries /

« The Government Accountability Office is recommending steps federal agencies should take to demonstrate use of the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s cybersecurity framework for protecting critical infrastructure sectors…..”

Cyber attack forces cancellation of wool sales across Australia /

« Wool sales across Australia have been cancelled for the rest of the week after the IT system underpinning auctions and exports was hit by a cyber attack…..”

The Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)Aware of DDoS Threats being made against Australian Organisations /

“The Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a number of Denial of Service (DoS) for ransom threats being made against Australian Organisations, primarily in the banking and finance sector.

The threats in question are delivered via email, and threaten the recipient with a sustained DoS attack unless a sum of the Monero cryptocurrency is paid. The actors behind these threats claim to be the ‘Silence Hacking Crew’, however the ACSC is unable to verify this claim…”


Women digital entrepreneurs in francophone Africa make their mark /

Christelle Assirou, a serial entrepreneur from Côte d’Ivoire, is revolutionizing e-commerce in her country and beyond.

Ms. Assirou runs a business development and digital services firm, ICTINA, founded in 2015. An activist for the empowerment of women in the digital economy, last year she was named by UNESCO as one of the most remarkable women in technology.


OECD launch AI Policy Observatory /

« Today, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) launched the “AI Policy Observatory”, an online portal serving as a resource for anyone working in AI governance.  Per the OECD, the project “aims to help countries encourage, nurture and monitor the responsible development of trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) systems for the benefit of society….” 

US Department of Defense Adopts Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence /

“The U.S. Department of Defense officially adopted a series of ethical principles for the use of Artificial Intelligence today following recommendations provided to Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper by the Defense Innovation Board last October….”  

Canada: Commissioners launch joint investigation into Clearview AI amid growing concerns over use of facial recognition technology /

“The privacy protection authorities for Canada, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta announced today they will jointly investigate Clearview AI and its use of facial recognition technology.

The investigation will be undertaken by:…”

Moscow deploys facial recognition technology for coronavirus quarantine /

“Moscow is using facial recognition technology to ensure people ordered to remain at home or at their hotels under coronavirus quarantine do so, the mayor of the Russian capital said on Friday….”

Leaked Reports Show EU Police Are Planning a Pan-European Network of Facial Recognition Databases /

“According to leaked internal European Union documents, the EU could soon be creating a network of national police facial recognition databases. A report drawn up by the national police forces of 10 EU member states, led by Austria, calls for the introduction of EU legislation to introduce and interconnect such databases in every member state….”


Scotland: Online child sexual abuse ‘not given police priority’ /

“Police Scotland does not give enough priority to tackling online child abuse, government inspectors say.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) said the force’s work was under-resourced and lacked an “overarching strategic response”.

An official report said there were also “real challenges” in capturing the true nature and extent of abuse….”

Children gain opportunities but face risks in age of social media /

« A Children’s Fund (Unicef) report on the use of social media by children and adolescents in East Asia says that although access to such sites provides children with big opportunities, it also exposes them to the growing risks that accompany the platforms….”


Facebook, Google and Twitter Rebel Against Pakistan’s Censorship Rules /

“When Pakistan’s government unveiled some of the world’s most sweeping rules on internet censorship this month, global internet companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter were expected to comply or face severe penalties — including the potential shutdown of their services….”

Facebook to publicly track political sponsored content after Bloomberg’s paid mêmes /

“Facebook Inc (FB.O) will provide a way for people to track political sponsored content on Facebook and Instagram ahead of the U.S. presidential election, it said on Thursday….”

Facebook confirms ban on misleading coronavirus ads /

“Facebook is banning ads that promise to cure, prevent, or otherwise incite panic around COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the company has confirmed in a statement first given to Business Insider. The company added that it has similar policies for its Marketplace platform where Facebook users can buy and sell items….”

Internet giants fight spread of coronavirus untruths /

“As the new coronavirus spreads globally, the online battle to keep misinformation about the disease is also stepping up.

Google, Facebook and other platforms are struggling to keep ahead of scammers, trolls, and others with ill intent who routinely use major tragedies or disasters as opportunities to swindle or manipulate people….”

First Amendment doesn’t apply on YouTube; judges reject PragerU lawsuit /

“YouTube is a private forum and therefore not subject to free-speech requirements under the First Amendment, a US appeals court ruled today. “Despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment,” the court said.

PragerU, a conservative media company, sued YouTube in October 2017, claiming the Google-owned video site “unlawfully censor[ed] its educational videos and discriminat[ed] against its right to freedom of speech….”

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