top of page

Press review EX - 2 March

Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law, national security.

Have feedback?

Follow us on Twitter, on LinkedIn - LinkedIn and on Facebook

China plans to "steadily and reasonably" expand its military defense budget | China spends billions on pro-Russia disinformation, US special envoy says | Russian internet speeds drop on hardware shortage | Belgium’s cyber security agency links China to attack on MP

  • China plans to "steadily and reasonably" expand its military defense budget. Extrema Ratio

  • The west has been slow to respond to China spending billions globally to spread poisonous disinformation, including messaging that is completely aligned with Russia on Ukraine, a US special envoy has claimed. The Guardian

  • Russian mobile internet speeds dropped in regions outside Moscow in February, research from news and analysis firm Telecom Daily showed on Wednesday, as the departure of foreign equipment makers limited operators' access to hardware. Reuters

  • Belgium’s cyber security agency has linked China-sponsored hackers to an attack on a prominent politician, as European governments become increasingly willing to challenge Beijing over alleged cyber offences. Financial Times


Extrema Ratio

G Iuvinale

It is likely that China will "steadily and reasonably increase its military expenditure in 2023", according to predictions made by experts and analysts the Global Times has reached, as they cited China's national defense modernization and the security tensions China is being confronted with among the reasons that incentivize the growth. A defense budget draft for the year 2023 is scheduled to be released at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Sunday.

China spends billions on pro-Russia disinformation, US special envoy says The Guardian Patrick Wintour The west has been slow to respond to China spending billions globally to spread poisonous disinformation, including messaging that is completely aligned with Russia on Ukraine, a US special envoy has claimed.

China eases data security deadline pressure for multinational companies Reuters Josh Ye Chinese regulators have eased some deadline pressure on multinational companies struggling to comply with new rules requiring them to seek approval to export user data, according to lawyers advising clients on the matter.

China says EU TikTok ban will harm business confidence Associated Press China says a ban on the use of TikTok by official European Union institutions will harm business confidence in Europe.

China hits out at US over TikTok ban on federal devices BBC Matt Murphy China has accused the US of overreacting after federal employees were ordered to remove the video app TikTok from government-issued phones.

  • Lukashenko backs Xi’s peace plan as he appeals for Chinese investment in Belarus. China has pledged to beef up trade ties with Belarus despite deepening Western sanctions against Russia’s close ally, whose autocratic ruler Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Beijing for a state visit and said he backed China’s plan for peace in Ukraine. The two countries took their ties to a higher level with wide-ranging declaration on trade, technology and defence. Politico, 2 March

  • 'Beijing' impersonated foreign journalists to spy on Chinese activists. The Chinese state is suspected of impersonating two senior foreign journalists in order to spy on activists involved in organising rare anti-lockdown protests last year. They sought information about people linked to protests last November against China’s draconian ‘zero-Covid’ policy. The Telegraph, 1 March

  • China holds up Arm’s exit from troubled joint venture. China is holding up Arm’s plan to offload its troubled joint venture in the country, months after the UK chip designer agreed to transfer the unit to its owner SoftBank as a prelude to a blockbuster stock market listing. FT sources say Chinese officials have declined to process the paperwork confirming Arm China’s transfer to a new Vision Fund entity. FT, 2 March

  • China plans to inject $1.9 billion into top memory chipmaker Yangtze.Bloomberg, 2 March

  • Shareholders demand vote on spinning off HSBC Asia. Hong Kong-based minority investors in HSBC are demanding a vote at the bank’s annual meeting in May on whether it should devise a formal plan to boost returns by spinning off its lucrative Asia business. HSBC has been under pressure from the China-based institutional investor Ping An, which has urged HSBC to spin off its Asia business. The Times, 2 March

  • Chinese brokerages pressured to end overseas investing services. Chinese brokerages offering overseas investing services to mainland clients have come under pressure from a regulatory push that seeks to seal off one of the few remaining loopholes in the country’s strict capital controls. FT, 2 March

  • China leads West in global competition for key emerging technology, study says. China has a "stunning lead" in 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies as Western democracies lose a global competition for research output, a security think tank said. Reuters, 2 March

  • China’s tech firms chase overseas talent to build ChatGPT rivals amid lack of experts at home. SCMP, 1 March

  • Xi Jinping set to overhaul China’s economic policy team at watershed congress. President expected to unveil sweeping changes to extend Communist party’s grip over finance and other sectors. FT, 2 March

  • Keeping up appearances? China’s support for Russia one year into the war. Mikko Huotari and Roderick Kefferpütz. MERICS, 1 March

  • How the EU-China relationship became a casualty of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Finbarr Bermingham. SCMP, 1 March

  • Why is the FBI endorsing the Covid lab leak theory now? Tom Whipple and Hugh Tomlinson.The Times, 1 March

China is relentlessly hacking its neighbours WIRED Matt Burgess In May 2022, Joe Biden was on a charm offensive. The US president invited the leaders of 10 Southeast Asian nations to the White House for the first time for talks about the region, which is home to more than 600 million people. High on the agenda was China—a key trading partner for all the countries, but also a potential threat to their stability. Biden promised $150 million in extra support for the nations to help improve their security, infrastructure, and ongoing pandemic response. However, in the weeks leading up to the meeting, according to a cybersecurity alert seen by WIRED, hackers working on behalf of China were stealing thousands of emails and sensitive details from the Southeast Asian nations.

China’s censorship reaches globally through WeChat Foreign Policy Seth Kaplan TikTok dances have captured the attention of countless U.S. teenagers—and TikTok has captured the regulatory attention of the U.S. government. But the deeper threat to U.S. freedom is from another Chinese-owned app—one with a much broader reach into the wallets and conversations of both Chinese and Chinese Americans. WeChat is China’s “app for everything,” but as some Chinese Americans have found out, “everything” does not include free cultural or political discourse.


Proposed bill would give Biden the power to ban TikTok TechCrunch Amanda Silberling The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor of a bill that could give President Joe Biden the ability to ban TikTok. This bill, known as the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act, was introduced Friday by Committee Chairman Michael McCaul then fast-tracked to a vote on Wednesday, which passed 24-16; all Democrats voted no.

White House faces deeply skeptical Congress as it advocates for controversial surveillance tool CyberScoop Tonya Riley As the Biden administration begins its campaign to urge Congress to renew a controversial surveillance provision that authorizes intelligence agencies to carry out warrantless data collection, it will face a skeptical Congress where distrust of government spying runs deep.

Treasury Department developing tech for digital dollar as Congress debates crypto rules The Hill Rebecca Klar The Biden administration is working to develop technology to help create a central bank digital currency as the policy debate as to how to do so continues, a Treasury official said Wednesday.

Solar sunrise after 25 years: Are we 25 years wiser? National Security Archive In February 1998, 25 years ago this month, the United States suffered a series of cyber intrusions known as ‘Solar Sunrise’ that then-Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre called “the most organized and systematic cyber attack the Pentagon has seen to date.”

What Washington gets wrong about China and technical standards Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Matt Sheehan and Jacob Feldgoise Organizations that set international technical standards face two potential challenges: one from China, which wants to deepen its participation in these groups, and the other from the United States, which might overreact to China’s activities and undermine the system.

  • US seeks allies' backing for possible China sanctions over Ukraine war. One official from a country consulted by Washington said that they had only seen scant intelligence backing up the claims about China considering possible military assistance to Russia. A US official, however, said they were providing detailed accounts of the intelligence to allies. Reuters, 1 March

  • US approves new US$619 million sale of missiles and military equipment to Taiwan. SCMP, 2 March


Canadian book giant says employee data was stolen during ransomware attack The Record by Recorded Future Jonathan Greig Canadian bookseller Indigo denied that any customer data was stolen last month during a ransomware attack that took down its website. Data from the multibillion-dollar company’s workers, however, didn’t fare as well.

  • Opposition parties in Canada call for inquiry into alleged Chinese election interference. Recent media reports have alleged ongoing Chinese interference in Canada’s elections, with prime minister Justin Trudeau this week denying one article saying his office was told by Canada’s spy agency to drop a Chinese Canadian candidate in 2019 because of his ties to Beijing. Two-in-three Canadians believe Beijing attempted election interference. The Guardian, 2 March

Ukraine - Russia

Russian internet speeds drop on hardware shortage, research finds Reuters Alexander Marrow Russian mobile internet speeds dropped in regions outside Moscow in February, research from news and analysis firm Telecom Daily showed on Wednesday, as the departure of foreign equipment makers limited operators' access to hardware.

The tech workers exiled from Europe’s last dictatorship Rest of World Clément Girardot Out of an IT industry workforce of 60,000 to 100,000 people in 2020, about 20,000 had left by June 2022, according to Belarusian tech website They moved to other former Soviet countries and throughout Europe — from Portugal to Uzbekistan. The exodus is ongoing, exacerbated by Belarus facilitating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Belgium’s cyber security agency links China to attack on MP Financial Times Yuan Yang Belgium’s cyber security agency has linked China-sponsored hackers to an attack on a prominent politician, as European governments become increasingly willing to challenge Beijing over alleged cyber offences.

Turkey fines TikTok 1.75 mln lira for weak data protection measures Reuters Ezgi Erkoyun Turkish authorities have fined TikTok 1.75 million lira ($93,000) for not taking sufficient measures to protect users from unlawful processing of their data, the Personal Data Protection Board said on Wednesday.

Poland says Russian hackers attacked tax website Reuters Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk A Polish government official said on Wednesday that Russia was behind a hacking attack that blocked users' access to the online tax filing system, amid persistent high tensions between Warsaw and Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

EU privacy body raises concerns about possible U.S. data transfer pact Reuters Foo Yun Chee The European Union data protection watchdog on Tuesday expressed concerns about a European Commission draft decision that could pave the way for a new data transfer pact with the United States, saying more should be done to protect Europeans' privacy rights.


YouTube child data gathering faces UK scrutiny after complaint Reuters Farouq Suleiman Britain's information regulator said on Wednesday it would look into an official complaint accusing Alphabet’s YouTube of illegally collecting data from millions of children.

  • UK closing in on major Pacific trade deal. The UK is on the verge of reaching an agreement in principle to accede to the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the coming days, three people familiar with the negotiations told Politico. Members include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Vietnam and Malaysia, and the latest round of talks is being held on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc this week. Politico, 1 March

  • British RAF chief calls it 'unacceptable' for China to recruit western military pilots. Britain's air force chief Mike Wigston says it was "unacceptable" its former pilots were being recruited to train Chinese military, and intelligence agencies in Australia and Britain had shared information to warn pilots against working for Beijing. Reuters, 2 March

  • Public must recognise ‘collective responsibility’ for keeping UK safe, says Foreign Affairs Committee chair. In a wide-ranging speech at Policy Exchange, Alicia Kearns, also chair of the CRG, argued that Britain had been “naïve” about the threat from autocracies such as Russia and China and stressed the need to build resilience across society. Evening Standard, 1 March

  • UK politicians press for Hong Kong ex-lawmaker’s release to visit ill husband. SCMP, 1 March

Big Tech

Twitter’s new ‘violent speech’ policy similar to past rules Associated Press Barbara Ortutay Twitter on Wednesday unveiled a new policy prohibiting “violent speech” on its platform, though the rules appear very similar to guidelines against violent threats that the company had on its books before Elon Musk took it over.

TikTok expanding time limits on app Axios Hope King TikTok will try to help younger people limit their time on the app to one hour of daily activity, the company announced today.

TikTok to develop parental control tool to block certain videos Reuters Sheila Dang TikTok said on Wednesday it is developing a tool that will allow parents to prevent their teens from viewing content containing certain words or hashtags on the short-form video app, as the embattled company looks to shore up its public image.

Meta joins porn sites in backing new tool to fight revenge porn The Washington Post Naomi Nix Facebook parent company Meta has funded a new platform designed to address these concerns, allowing young people to proactively scan a select group of websites for their images online and have them taken down. Run by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Take It Down assigns a “hash value” or digital fingerprint to images or videos, which tech companies use to identify copies of the media across the web and remove them. Participants include tech companies, like Instagram, Facebook and pornographic websites, including Onlyfans and Pornhub.


Five data breaches in six months hit millions of Australians The Sydney Morning Herald Nick Bonyhady Three data breaches in the second half of last year compromised the private information of millions of Australians in addition to the enormous Medibank and Optus cyberattacks that triggered public outrage.

NSW Police, eSafety Commissioner ink agreement to fight rising online criminal activity The Australian David Swan Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has signed a partnership with NSW Police in a bid to fight rising online criminal activity including the sharing of child sex abuse material and tech-facilitated violence.

Australia has not received advice to ban TikTok from govt devices -Treasurer Reuters Renju Jose Australia has not received advice from its security agencies to follow the example of the United States, the European Parliament and Canada to ban Chinese video-sharing app TikTok from government devices, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Wednesday.

Artificial Intelligence

Addressing criticism, OpenAI will no longer use customer data to train its models by default TechCrunch Kyle Wiggers Starting today, OpenAI says that it won’t use any data submitted through its API for “service improvements,” including AI model training, unless a customer or organization opts in. In addition, the company is implementing a 30-day data retention policy for API users with options for stricter retention “depending on user needs,” and simplifying its terms and data ownership to make it clear that users own the input and output of the models.

Replika users fell in love with their AI chatbot companions. Then they lost them ABC James Purtill Lucy, 30, fell in love with a chatbot shortly after her divorce. She named him Jose. Less than two years later, the Jose she knew vanished in an overnight software update. The company that made and hosted the chatbot abruptly changed the bots' personalities, so that their responses seemed hollow and scripted, and rejected any sexual overtures.

D-ID unveils new chat API to enable face-to-face conversations with an AI digital human TechCrunch Aisha Malik D-ID, the Israeli company leveraging artificial intelligence to create unique experiences like Deep Nostalgia, announced today that it’s launching a new chat API to enable face-to-face conversations with an AI digital human.


Why technology will define the future of geopolitics Foreign Affairs Eric Schmidt Ukraine’s success can be credited in part to the resolve of the Ukrainian people, the weakness of the Russian military, and the strength of Western support. But it also owes to the defining new force of international politics: innovation power.


CrowdStrike 2023 Global Threat Report: Resilient businesses fight relentless adversaries CrowdStrike George Kurtz The latest edition of the CrowdStrike Global Threat Report comes at a critical time for organizations around the world. Adversaries have become more sophisticated, relentless and destructive in their attacks, as evidenced by the emergence of several trends in 2022 that threaten enterprise productivity and global stability. It is imperative that businesses pay attention to these changes in the threat landscape and respond with a stronger, more proactive defense.

Examining Singapore’s AI progress Center for Security and Emerging Technology Kayla Goode, Heeu Millie Kim and Melissa Deng Despite being a small city-state, Singapore’s star continues to rise as an artificial intelligence hub presenting significant opportunities for international collaboration. Initiatives such as fast-tracking patent approval, incentivizing private investment, and addressing talent shortfalls are making the country a rapidly growing global AI hub. Such initiatives offer potential models for those seeking to leverage the technology and opportunities for collaboration in AI education and talent exchanges, research and development, and governance. The United States and Singapore share similar goals regarding the development and use of trusted and responsible AI and should continue to foster greater collaboration among public and private sector entities.

Thanks for reading. To get in touch, either reply to this email, or contact us on

Photo: La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico?

Autori: Gabriele e Nicola Iuvinale


Stango Editore

Amazon: 👇

Stango editore 👇

26 views0 comments


bottom of page