The F.T.C. ordered Facebook to create new layers of oversight for the collection and handling of users’ personal data. It was also fined $5B, a small fraction of its $56B annual revenue.
Despite Huawei being placed on the U.S. export blacklist, the U.S. will allow some U.S. firms to sell to Huawei where there is not a threat to national security. It is not clear which parts will be allowed to be sold.
The battle to win the Pentagon’s “war cloud” contract is heating up among tech companies. The computing system is estimated to be worth $10B and would store vast amounts of classified data, using artificial intelligence to better improve U.S. defense and its war fighting capabilities.
Huawei staffers have been exposed for working with the Chinese military on several research projects, according to a Bloomberg News investigation. It’s one of the few times that the company, which has been accused by the U.S. of working with Chinese intelligence, has been proven to have collaborated with China’s armed forces.
Several U.S. tech companies have found a way around President Trump’s ban on selling products to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and have successfully sold millions of dollars worth of products to the company. The Commerce Department put a ban into effect in May, which effectively restricts the U.S. from exporting necessary tech parts to Huawei and its subsidiaries. Since then, American companies including Intel and Micron have been able to sell products to Huawei by capitalizing on their offices overseas that make the products, thus not selling items that are technically American-made.
The National Security Agency has once again collected records about U.S. calls and text messages that it wasn’t authorized to obtain. In a second such incident, the NSA wrongly collected the numbers and time stamps of calls and text messages in October of last year—though it reportedly didn’t obtain the content of the conversations.
Multiple federal agencies kept up an outdated security system over the past decade that left Americans’ personal information vulnerable to theft, according to a damning new Senate report out Tuesday. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found the failures came from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Education, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and the Social Security Administration.
Lifelike renderings of presidents, along with thousands of similar deepfakes posted on the internet in the past two years, have alarmed many observers, who believe the technology could be used to disgrace politicians and even swing elections. Democracies are gravely threatened by the speed at which disinfo can be created and shared, before the tiresome work of verification is performed. Before it was debunked, a digitally altered video showing Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing to slur drunkenly through a speech was widely shared on Facebook and YouTube last month—and retweeted by President Trump, who has not deleted it. The director of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, Eileen Donahoe, wants political leaders and candidates of all stripes to pledge not to use deepfakes against their opponents and to disavow any deepfakes put out on their behalf.
“Ransomware attacks on municipalities are on the rise. Last year, it was Atlanta, which spent $2.6 million to recover rather than pay the demanded $51,000. Before that, it was suburbs of Dallas and of Birmingham, Ala., and localities in North Carolina and New Mexico. Last month, hackers crippled Baltimore, which is still working to restore its systems without paying the $100,000 or so the hackers demand. And then there are places that decide to pay, such as the Florida town that decided to fork over a whopping $600,000 to the bad guys last week, desperate to de-paralyze its computer systems and restore essential services to its residents.”
“The problem is, Mark Zuckerberg can’t be deposed by anybody, not even his board. I’m worried that the future involves being forced to use Facebook in order to make everyday transactions, and that the privacy promises will evaporate. Our banking system isn’t perfect – hello, 2008 – but it’s a lot better regulated than Facebook ever has been. Libra doesn’t sound like freedom.”
Facebook has unveiled plans for its digital currency project, saying it plans to launch Libra as early as next year. According to a statement from Facebook, as of next year you will be able to buy Libra and store it in a digital wallet which the company is calling Calibra.
“Deepfakes may just be the most technologically advanced manifestation of a much bigger problem. Trust is eroding, social media is accelerating the disintegration by allowing lies to spread at unseen speeds, and the leader of this country is joining our enemies in taking advantage of it. Government should invest in developing technology to detect deepfakes, and it should push platforms to do the same, as well as to label content that impersonates people in a manner invisible to the human eye.”
AI researchers are working tirelessly to defuse the most challenging political weapon to date—technologically falsified videos that could undermine candidates and mislead voters during the 2020 presidential campaign. House Intel Chair Adam Schiff says, “I don’t think we’re well prepared at all. And I don’t think the public is aware of what’s coming.” There also are fears that deepfakes could lead to people denying legitimate videos. “As a consequence of this, even truth will not be believed,” says Nasir Memon, a computer science professor at NYU.
The United Kingdom has signed an extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces charges in the US under the Espionage Act. US prosecutors initially charged Assange with a single count of computer intrusion, but last month added 17 new counts, including controversial charges under the Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving and publishing national defense information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
A doctored video of Mark Zuckerberg delivering a foreboding speech has been posted to Instagram, in a stunt that put Facebook’s content moderation policies to the test. The video comes after Facebook declined to remove a manipulated video of Nancy Pelosi even after it was viewed millions of times.
Shao Yang, Huawei’s chief strategist, suggested that the company would have become the number one smart phone producer in the world this year if it was not for “unexpected” circumstances. It is believed that Yang is referring to U.S. action taken against Huawei, including the placement of Huawei on the U.S. exports blacklist and banning its sale in the very lucrative, U.S. market.
Microsoft is planning on investing $100M in Africa as it moves to create its Africa Development Center. The center will have hubs in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya.
Foxconn, an electronics industry company, is making it clear that should the trade war between the U.S. and China worsen, forcing Apple to move its supply chain out of China, Foxconn is large enough to fill in and help Apple.
“Oracle and the Handpulled Noodle would seem to have little in common. One is a multibillion-dollar software company in Silicon Valley with tens of thousands of employees all over the world. The other is a small Harlem spot that serves Chinese comfort food and is known for its tasty dumplings. But they both say Google is unfairly hurting their businesses, and they have a new audience in Washington eager to hear about it.”
Raytheon and United Technologies are merging to create Raytheon Technologies. Combined, the two companies are believed to have over $74 billion in sales per year, trailing only Boeing’s $101 billion.
“So far, this technology doesn’t seem to have been used in American politics, though it may have played some role in a political crisis in Gabon earlier this year. But it’s clear that current arguments about fake news are only a taste of what will happen when sounds and images, not just words, are open to manipulation by anyone with a decent computer.”
Huawei smartphones and devices will no longer come with Facebook apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp pre-installed. Users will be able to download the apps themselves, but this move by Facebook is the latest move by Silicon Valley to move away from Huawei.
Despite his own previous statements and the statements of his administration stating otherwise, President Trump says that NASA should not be focused on going to the moon. Trump suggests instead that NASA focus solely on going to Mars.
Turab Lookman, a theoretical physicist and former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, was arrested on charges related to lying about his contacts with the Thousand Talents Plan, a Chinese government program. The National Laboratory is a main target for infiltration for hostile foreign nations.
Google executives reportedly told government officials that they risk compromising U.S. national security if they push ahead with strict export restrictions on Huawei, and have asked to be exempted from restrictions on trade with the company. Google fears it would not be allowed to update its Android operating system on Huawei smartphones under the ban, meaning the Chinese company would develop its own version of the software which could be more susceptible to hacking.
Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on a U.S. warrant in Vancouver, will fight extradition to the U.S. in an extradition hearing set for January 2020. She was arrested on charges relating to Huawei’s work with Iran.
China successfully launched a rocket into space from a mobile platform. The rocket contained several satellites. China now joins the U.S. and Russia as the only countries to achieve rocket launches from mobile platforms.
“If a monopolistic tech company decided to fully embrace its capacity to spy on its users and leverage that data to a personal or political end, the consequences for democracy could be catastrophic. Americans got a taste of what an influence attack looks like during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. So long as big tech remains largely unregulated, future influence attacks on American elections will become only more potent.”
A study from the Atmosphere group out of San Francisco reveals how much consumer confidence Boeing has lost following the 737-MAX crashes. In a study of 2,000 people who flew within the last month, only 14% who fly on the 737-MAX within 6 months of its return to service and only 20% would fly on the 737-MAX within its first year back in service.
House lawmakers plan a sweeping review of Facebook, Google and other technology giants to determine if they’ve become so large and powerful that they stifle competition and harm consumers, marking a new, unprecedented antitrust threat for an industry that’s increasingly under siege by Congress.
China’s surveillance state has found an odd ally, U.S. tech firms and universities. Without even realizing it, Americans collaborating with China on research projects on anything from artificial intelligence to DNA research, are helping China spy on its citizens.
“This is the moment the U.S. technology superpowers surely knew was coming: The U.S. government is preparing to crawl all over Google to figure out whether it is an abusive monopolist. Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and the other tech giants should be quaking in their fleece vests.”
The probe, which the department’s antitrust division has reportedly been preparing for weeks, is expected to examine Google’s practices “related to search and other businesses,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Google was previously under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission but that antitrust investigation was closed in 2013.
Speaking after a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday, Pompeo warned that the U.S. might have to withhold data on citizens or on national security if it didn’t have confidence in the networks Germany was using. “They will take their own sovereign decisions, (but we) will speak to them openly about the risks … and in the case of Huawei the concern is it is not possible to mitigate those anywhere inside of a 5G network,” he said.
Electronic poll books, also known as e-poll books, move the voting check-in process from a big book of names that a poll worker must flip through to a tablet or laptop computer. It’s certainly a lot faster. But unlike with equipment used to cast and count ballots, there are no federal regulations or even voluntary guidelines for how e-poll books need to work or how secure they need to be. And that’s a problem.
It might sound kind of paranoid, but it’s reality. The Department of Homeland Security is warning that drones manufactured by Chinese companies could pose serious risks, including that the data they gather could be stolen. Since drones are now commonly used by electric utilities, oil companies, and even the Interior Department, the security of the nation’s power grid is a chief concern.
Deadly chemical weapons stored since the 1940’s in central Kentucky will be destroyed. The destruction of these banned weapons in the U.S. show the commitment of the U.S. to ending chemical warfare.
Huawei is not taking its ban in the U.S. and its placement on the U.S. exports “blacklist” very well, and is taking the issue to court. Huawei says that the U.S. is assuming its guilt and not its innocence and intends to say that U.S. efforts to block Huawei are unconstitutional.
Huawei has told the Trump administration to “halt illegal action” against the Chinese company as it pressed ahead with a legal challenge against the U.S. law banning federal agencies from buying its products.
High-tech companies have long promoted the idea that they are egalitarian, idyllic workplaces. And Google, perhaps more than any other, has represented that image, with a reputation for enviable salaries and benefits and lavish perks. But the company’s increasing reliance on temps and contractors has some Google employees worried.