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International press review Extrema Ratio May 22, 2023

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


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Extema Ratio

The rise of the People's Republic of China represents the most significant foreign policy challenge of the 21st century. In all spheres, from the economy, to technology, to security and the environment, engaging with an increasingly dominant China is both necessary and inevitable.

Chilling report released on the origins of COVID-19: 'Beijing hid the truth' The CCP has not only staged a big-scale cover-up but has also used the pandemic as a geopolitical weapon. 7 million dead without a perpetrator prosecuted.

"The report presents a mountain of circumstantial evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic came from a lab accident in Wuhan, China".

In un momento di crescenti tensioni geopolitiche e frammentazione della catena di approvvigionamento, la politica industriale è quasi inevitabile.



For the first time in US history, a powerful totalitarian and genocidal regime is able to threaten American survival and with it the international order: Xi Jinping's China. What would you do as a European?

Military

Janes

The United States is to allow the transfer of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced on 19 May.

The announcement, which reversed the president's earlier stated position that Ukraine did not need such jets, was made at the Group of Seven (G7) summit of world leaders in Hiroshima, Japan.

“In my private meeting with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky I told him the United States, together with our allies and partners, is going to begin training Ukrainian pilots in fourth-generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s, to strengthen Ukraine's air force as part of a long-term commitment to Ukraine's ability to defence itself,” Biden said, adding that he had received an assurance from Zelensky that these aircraft would not be used against targets inside Russia.

The Defence Post

Austal USA has received a $113.9 million contract to design the US Navy Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship.

The Defence Post

Estonia and Latvia have started negotiations in Riga to jointly procure the Iris-T surface-launched missile (SLM) from German weapons provider Diehl Defence.

The plan builds on a letter of intent to acquire a common medium-range air defense system in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine during a NATO summit last year in Madrid.

MBDA showcased three different models of missiles at the FEINDEF defense conference in Spain: the Meteor, the Brimstone and the Mistral.

C4IRSNET

C4IRSNET

Defence One

Air Force officials still won't say why one of the stealthy bombers was forced to land in December.

Expect the congressionally mandated strategy by year's end, DOD CISO says.

HuffPost UK

Russia is creating an “elite” attack aviation group after previous air strikes “severely underperformed” in Ukraine, according to …

ARKA

Azerbaijani armed forces shelled the line of contact in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Artsakh Ministry of Defense reported.

On the night of 22 May 2023, the Russian occupiers attacked the military and infrastructure facilities of Ukraine’s eastern outpost, Dnipro.

The Betoota Advocate

The small island nation of New Zealand has offered the people of Ukraine the use of their entire Air Force fleet after Kiwi Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said it could be put to better use elsewhere.

Asia Times

Tokyo issues contracts to develop a Mogami-class successor, a design that can’t come fast enough to counter China and North Korea’s threats.

Asia Times

In December 2022, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom signed an agreement to partner in the development of a sixth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. The goal of the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP) is to produce aircraft ready for export and deployment by 2035. This represents a new frontier for Japanese weaponry co-development and is a […]

PLA Eastern Theater Command replaces legacy aircraft with more J-16 fighter jets

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command recently replaced a batch of legacy aircraft with additional J-16 heavy fighter jets, a type of advanced warplane frequently spotted in routine drills and patrols around the island of Taiwan.


G7 & Quad

  • The Group of Seven (G7) nations outlined their shared approach to China on Saturday, seeking to “de-risk, not decouple” economic engagement. The G7 noted that cooperation with China was necessary given its role in the international community and the size of its economy, and areas of common interest such as climate and conservation efforts. However, they said they would take steps to protect sensitive technology that could threaten national security. Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason report for Reuters.

  • G7 issues ‘strongest condemnation of China’. Member countries step up response to China, criticising everything from its militarisation of the South China Sea to its use of ‘economic coercion’, the G7 urged Beijing to push Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Financial Times

  • How ‘Decoupling’ From China Became ‘De-risking’. New terminology reflects an evolution in the discussion over how to deal with a rising, assertive China. Damien Cave. New York Times

  • Don’t call it a Quint, but South Korea does have a future with the Quad. South Korea, Cynkin argues, is in the wrong place at the right time when it comes to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Thomas Cynkin. Atlantic Council

The Japan Times

Heading into the Group of Seven summit, the U.S. and its allies knew they needed to do more to win over global swing nations also courted by China and Russia. The weekend meeting in Japan showed they face a long road ahead.

The leaders of the Group of Seven nations vowed over the weekend to crack down on parties evading the price cap system put in place on Russian oil, with the US following the UK in introducing further sanctions, many aimed at Russian-linked shipping entities.

G7 leaders call for ‘guardrails’ on development of artificial intelligence Financial Times Henry Foy and Jim Pickard G7 leaders have called for the formulation of “guardrails” around the development of artificial intelligence, at a summit of the grouping that is tackling the emerging technology for the first time.

Quad to discuss joint investments in chips, critical minerals Nikkei Asia Yukihiro Sakaguchi The U.S., Japan, India and Australia are close to an agreement on setting up a public-private body to discuss joint investment in strategic goods like cutting-edge semiconductors and critical minerals, Nikkei has learned. The countries make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, whose leaders will meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies summit here.


Photo: BLOOMBERG


China

  • China wants to subordinate west, US politician claims on UK visit. Mike Gallagher, Republican chair of a newly created China committee in Congress, led a delegation of US politicians on a two-day trip to the UK. The delegation met with defence secretary Ben Wallace. Dan Sabbagh and Amy Hawkins. The Guardian

  • ‘War is not an option’: Tsai Ing-wen vows to maintain status quo. On the seventh anniversary of her presidency, Tsai said that Taiwan would not provoke and would not bow to mainland Chinese pressure. South China Morning Post

  • Wagner-linked group buys helmets from China despite sanctions. A Wagner-connected, Russia-based company called Broker Expert bought 20,000 polymer-based helmets from a small Chinese company called Hangzhou Shinerain Import And Export Co in November and December last year, according to customs declarations. Miles Johnson and Max Seddon. Financial Times

  • China doubles down on controversial African oil pipeline. US$5 billion project has been abandoned by Western lenders after strong opposition from environmental and human rights groups. The Export-Import Bank of China and several other Chinese banks are set to finance the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, according to Uganda’s energy ministry. Jevans Nyabiage. South China Morning Post

  • Hong Kong student arrested over comments on social media while studying abroad. A Hong Kong student studying at a Japanese university was arrested upon returning home last month for violating the national security law. The student had voiced support for Hong Kong independence in a Facebook post two years ago. Karin Kaneko. Japan Times

  • Beijing bans Micron products citing national security concerns. The Cyberspace Administration of China has announced that Micron has failed its national security review. Micron, which is the biggest US maker of memory chips, reportedly poses ‘serious network security risks’. As a result, the regulator has banned operators of key infrastructure from buying them. Eleanor Olcott and Demetri Sevastopulo. Financial Times

  • Global investment banks’ profits drop in China. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and HSBC reported losses in their China-based units in 2022 and Morgan Stanley’s profits fell. The lenders cited US-China tensions, Covid-19 restrictions, China’s property crisis, reduced onshore stock trading, restructuring costs and fierce competition for the meagre returns. Kaye Wiggins, Cheng Leng and Thomas Hale. Financial Times

  • To invest or cut loose: western carmaker’s China conundrum. VW and Ford lay out rival approaches to the world’s largest auto market. Peter Campbell.Financial Times

Micron Technology announces US$3.6 billion investment in Japan. The Japanese government is ambitiously pushing semiconductor industry amid the rising tension between U.S. and China. Kate Park. TechCrunch

The Japan Times

Saturday’s “What the Folkstival” outdoor concert was meant to kick off in the early afternoon in a Beijing suburb near the airport, with 10 live acts, including foreign performers, playing “acoustic music to soothe your soul.”

Asia Times

News of the market milestone comes just as G7 leaders gathered in Hiroshima talk and strategize about ‘de-risking’ from China.

Beijing bans Micron as supplier to big Chinese firms, citing national security The Wall Street Journal Lingling Wei China is banning major Chinese firms from buying from Micron Technology saying its products pose a major national-security risk. The move caps an investigation that underscores strained relations between Beijing and Washington. The Cyberspace Administration of China said Sunday its review of Micron products found “significant security risks” that would affect national security and warned operators of key Chinese information infrastructure—such as telecommunications firms and state-owned banks—against purchasing the company’s goods.

China seeks to counter Musk’s Starlink with own satellite network The Wall Street Journal Clarence Leong and Micah Maidenberg China is ramping up efforts to develop a satellite-powered internet network that can compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which has quickly expanded around the world and whose military applications have been on display in Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

China’s tech giants signal the first steps in a bumpy recovery The New York Times Chang Che Eight months ago, the future of China’s largest internet companies looked grim. Covid-era lockdowns crushed sales, and Beijing’s harsh tech regulations had spooked even audacious China investors. Shares of Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent dropped to some of their lowest levels in several years.

Beijing enlists Chinese Big Tech firms Alibaba, Baidu to boost AI models, computing power South China Morning Post Lilian Zhang The Beijing government has enlisted major Chinese tech firms, including Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding, to accelerate the development of artificial general intelligence, as the nation pours resources into the sector amid growing technological rivalry with the US.

How a CCP propaganda campaign targeted the Dalai Lama The Diplomat Magnus Fiskesjö On April 8, 2023, a new global smear campaign against the Dalai Lama was unleashed on social media. The trick succeeded beyond belief, with millions of people in the United States, Europe, and beyond – due to prior prejudice coupled with the self-righteous tendency to jump to conclusions, combined with widespread ignorance about Tibet.

Belt and Road

USA

  • President Biden expects imminent ‘thaw’ in US-China relations. The Biden Administration is considering lifting sanctions against Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu, said the President in a news conference at the end of G7 summit. Demetri Sevastopulo.Financial Times

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China claims U.S. chipmaker Micron poses a national security risk, as operators of “critical information infrastructure” were instructed by the Chinese government to stop buying Micron Technology’s products yesterday. In a statement to the media yesterday evening, a U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson said China’s claim had “no basis in fact.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.

  • US and Taiwan sign first phase of trade initiative. So far, the deal streamlines customs procedures for imports, establishes support for small to medium-sized businesses, and seeks to raise trade-linked transparency. The initiative lays the foundation for negotiations of a free-trade agreement between Washington and Taipei, according to the island’s premier. Ralph Jennings. South China Morning Post

  • US TikTok users file lawsuit to block Montana ban, cite violation of First Amendment rights. Governor Greg Gianforte has signed legislation making it unlawful for app stores to offer the video-sharing app within the state. TikTok users argue the state seeks to ‘exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech Montana may not suppress’. South China Morning Post

  • Microsoft says China has approved plan to acquire video game-maker Activision Blizzard. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has cleared the merger without conditions. The US$69 billion takeover was approved by the EU last week. South China Morning Post

  • China faces ‘big’ debt risks in drive to narrow urban-rural gap. Addressing the Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum, officials and academics warned China’s campaign to push rural funding and infrastructure could give rise to big financial risks. Mandy Zuo. South China Morning Post

  • The U.S. Needs Minerals for Electric Cars. Everyone Else Wants Them Too. The US is entering into an array of international agreements to secure the critical minerals necessary for the energy transition. Ana Swanson. New York Times

  • The FBI improperly searched intelligence gathered through a foreign spying law for information on people suspected of participating in the Jan. 6 attack and the George Floyd protests, a court opinion released on Friday showed. The heavily redacted opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the violations were significant and often due to analysts not understanding existing search rules. Senior national security officials said all the incidents described occurred before the FBI completed a series of internal reforms. Dustin Volz and Byron Tau report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • About 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used as a fertilizer and to make explosives, went missing on a rail shipment in April and has yet to be found, officials said. Dyno Nobel, an explosive manufacturing company, notified the federal government of the loss and said, “The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the rail car may have developed in transit.” The rail carrier, Union Pacific, said it does not suspect any criminal or malicious activity was involved in the disappearance of the cargo. Amanda Holpuch and Joshua Needelman report for the New York Times.

The United States and Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) signed a new bilateral defense cooperation agreement and a maritime security agreement today. The new defense cooperation is expected to expand U.S. access to military and other facilities in P.N.G., bolstering Washington’s security ties in the South Pacific. Simone McCarthy reports for CNN.

FBI misused controversial surveillance tool to investigate Jan. 6 protesters The Record by Recorded Future Martin Matishak The FBI improperly searched the personal communications of Americans who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the 2020 protests over police violence, newly declassified documents show.

TikTok users file lawsuit to block Montana ban Reuters David Shepardson Five TikTok users in Montana who create content posted on the short-video app filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the state's new ban on the Chinese-owned platform.

Supreme Court ruling in Twitter, Google cases puts Congress in bind The Washington Post Cristiano Lima The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to take up questions about the tech industry’s liability protections in two high-profile cases, effectively putting the ball back in Congress’s court to hash out whether or how to revamp the law known as Section 230.

The government can’t seize your data — but it can buy it TechCrunch Adam Kovacevich When the Biden administration proposed new protections earlier this month to prevent law enforcement from demanding reproductive healthcare data from companies, they took a critical first step in protecting our personal data. But there remains a different, serious gap in data privacy that Congress needs to address. While the Constitution prevents the government from compelling companies to turn over your sensitive data without due process, there are no laws or regulations stopping them from just buying it.

Start-ups bring Silicon Valley ethos to a lumbering military-industrial complex The New York Times Small, fast-moving U.S. tech firms are using the war in Ukraine to demonstrate a new generation of military systems but face the challenge of selling them to a risk-averse Defense Department.

IRS deploys cyber attachés to fight cybercrime abroad The Hill Ines Kagubare The IRS Criminal Investigation announced Thursday that it will launch a pilot program in June in which cyber attachés will be sent across four continents to combat cyber crime.

University of Chicago gets quantum tech funding from IBM, Google Bloomberg Alicia Diaz The University of Chicago will partner with International Business Machines Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google in deals totaling as much as $150 million aimed toward the development of quantum computing.

Americas

Bank of Canada says cyber attack could threaten overall financial stability Reuters The Bank of Canada on Thursday said it was worried that a major cyber attack on one part of the financial system could quickly spread and threaten overall financial stability.

North Asia

  • Upcoming Presidential Election Will Clarify Taiwan's China Policy. The Kuomintang confirmed New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih as its presidential candidate on May 17. He has said he neither supports Taiwan's independence nor Beijing's ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula. Derek Grossman. RAND

The Japan Times

A team of South Korean experts arrived in Japan on Sunday for an unprecedented six-day visit that will include a trip on Tuesday to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where the government is planning to release treated water into the ocean as part of a decadeslong decommissioning process.

Chip companies pour $14bn into Japan, seeking stable supply chain Nikkei Asia Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's meeting Thursday with global chip company executives highlighted a flurry of activity in the country that has brought more than 2 trillion yen ($14 billion) in announced investment plans since 2021.

North Korea prepares to launch new spy satellite, state media reports Radio Free Asia Jung Min Noh and Jaewoo Park North Korea is preparing to launch a spy satellite that it claims will bolster its defensive capabilities, state media reported, boasting that its launch would be “a clear stride forward” in military science and technological development.

Southeast Asia

  • Singaporean comedian Uncle Roger has social media accounts suspended in China, as Chinese authorities crackdown on comedians. The comedian, real name Nigel Ng, posted a video making fun of the country’s authoritarian government. Chi Hui Lin and Helen Davidson. The Guardian

Asia's internet cable projects delayed by South China Sea tensions Nikkei Asia Tsubasa Suruga Asia's subsea cables, which carry much of the world's data, are becoming a focal point of geopolitical tensions involving China, as leading telecoms and technology companies face delays stringing lines along the floor of the South China Sea, one of the world's data superhighways.

The Jakarta Post

Yosea Iskandar

While data breaches can occur in both private and public sectors, when a bank is hit by a cyberattack, it can send shockwaves rippling through the industry. Consumers might feel vulnerable as they question the security of their financial information and the banking industry's capacity to protect their data.

Australia

  • Coalition says Anthony Albanese should not go to China until trade sanctions are lifted. Australia’s shadow minister for foreign affairs, Simon Birmingham, said that China is acting in breach of its commitments under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The country therefore deserves ‘absolute clarity’ that sanctions will be lifted before the prime minister entertains a formal state visit to Beijing. Amy Remeiki and Daniel Hurst. The Guardian

Secret service: How Australia's intelligence community can stay ahead of the game Canberra Times Justin Bassi and Chris Taylor The intelligence community, expert at acquiring and understanding secrets (expressed so well by Australian Signals Directorate's motto of "reveal their secrets, protect our own"), needs to continue to adapt to the new realities of open-source intelligence, known as OSINT. Democracies have, on the whole, slipped behind authoritarian countries in exploiting the rapid expansion of publicly available information. Second, and equally important, we cannot make the mistake of thinking OSINT can solve all problems and let our covert intelligence capabilities take a back seat or even wither.

Quad launches investor group with Andy Penn, Joe Hockey on board Australian Financial Review Over the weekend the Quad announced the formation of the Quad Investors Network, which is made up of public and private stakeholders from the group’s four nations of India, the United States, Japan and Australia. The other Australian-based leaders on the board are Ashok Jacob, executive chairman at Ellerston Capital, former Liberal politician and ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos, and Bec Shrimpton, defence strategy and national security director at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

An influencer in Indonesia could go to jail for trying pork on TikTok Rest of World Aisyah Llewellyn Indonesia, despite being officially secular, has a large Muslim majority. Its blasphemy laws have been criticized by human rights groups, concerned that the country’s increasingly conservative Islamist groups are weaponizing the law to crack down on minorities. With those laws extending into the digital space, experts told Rest of World the threshold for online defamation is even less clear than before. According to Gatra Priyandita, a cyber policy analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, there is “public confusion” on the laws, and the “red line” on issues such as blasphemy, racism and defamation can be blurry. “At the same time, this [lack of definition] gives accusers a lot of room to make accusations,” he told Rest of World.

“Operation Honey Badger" revealed (Part 2): The government-business cooperation mechanism for operating China's information warfare (Chinese) Radio Free Asia Dong Zhe ASPI collected accounts that disseminate articles about "one of the diseases of American hegemony" and finds that these accounts are connected to the Yancheng Public Security Bureau. Some of these accounts have pictures of police officers or police stations. The network of contacts also points to Chinese public security agencies as one of the possible key actors in the Chinese propaganda system's Spamouflage campaign on US and Chinese social media platforms.

AI given priority on government’s critical technologies agenda The Australian Joseph Lam The federal government has made artificial intelligence along with robotics, quantum technologies and clean energy generation priorities in its national critical technologies list.

Schools chiefs warn of ‘dystopian’ rise of artificial intelligence The Australian Natasha Bita and Noah Yim Australia’s school curriculum chief has warned of a “dystopian future’’ for children struggling to separate fact from fiction, as artificial intelligence transforms knowledge.

Census online exposed to government the risk of being data-driven The Mandarin Melissa Coade Six years ago, the ABS decided it was time to get the Census — a fundamentally confidential data-collecting undertaking — online. The agency was acutely aware that trust was a major principle in successfully delivering an online Census experience and it assumed everything was in place for a hopefully seamless digital launch.

Voice debate spurs rise in cyber abuse, threats and harassment Sydney Morning Herald Amber Schultz The debate around the Voice has spurred a rise in abuse, threats and harassment of Indigenous Australians online. A spokesperson for eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said there had been a more than 10 per cent increase in the proportion of complaints, “and this will likely intensify as we approach the referendum date, especially targeting First Nations people”.

Russia now knows who hacked Medibank, but it’s doing nothing about it The Age Nick McKenzie and Amelia Balinger Russian authorities are stonewalling the Australian Federal Police after its investigators provided detailed intelligence about the identity and location of the criminals responsible for hacking the Medibank Private data of millions of Australians.

There is a reason why the AFP won’t call out China Sydney Morning Herald Nick McKenzie Two things clearly emerge from a series of interviews conducted with the members of the most powerful police clique in the world – the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group. Intelligence identifies China as the state actor posing the gravest threat to Australia by engaging in foreign interference, espionage, cybercrime and diaspora harassment.

  • ‘Illegal, malign’: China’s state-sponsored crime stretches across Pacific The Sydney Morning Herald Nick McKenzie and Amelia Ballinger FBI deputy director Paul Abbate accused Beijing of involvement in the “sweeping theft of intellectual property, research and development from each of our Five Eye countries” along with industrial-scale cyber hacking and the “transnational repression” of CCP critics abroad, including “physical threats”.

Ukraine - Russia

  • President Biden and Group of Seven leaders rallied around Ukraine yesterday with resolute support and promises of further weapons shipments. Biden announced another $375 million in artillery, ammunition, and other arms for Ukraine. Peter Baker, Motoko Rich, and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times.

  • The United States will support a joint international effort to train Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16 fighter jets, U.S. President Biden announced on Friday. It remains uncertain whether the United States will send F-16s to Ukraine, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said yesterday. Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.

  • The transfer of F-16 jets to Ukraine would raise the question of NATO’s role in the conflict, senior Russian diplomats warned today. Reuters reports.

  • Russian forces captured Bakhmut yesterday. While Kyiv disputes Russia’s claim of controlling all of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s top commander in the region, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskiy, has acknowledged that his forces retain a presence only in an “insignificant” part of the city. Yaroslav Trofimov and Matthew Luxmoore report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Ukrainian forces have made gains on the Russian flanks around Bakhmut, encircling the city, according to Ukrainian officials and military personnel in the field. Adam Taylor and Anastacia Galouchka report for the Washington Post.

  • Russian forces have undertaken a significant build-up of trenches and other fortifications in southern Ukraine, as revealed by examining hundreds of satellite images. The build-up is a response to the looming Ukrainian counter-offensive. Daniele Palumbo and Erwan Rivault report for BBC News.

  • The Kremlin has opened a criminal case against a prosecutor and several judges on the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The move is an apparent act of retribution for the I.C.C. issuing an arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin. The Russian Investigative Committee said that British prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan, together with judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala, and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, had “issued unlawful decisions.” Leila Sackur reports for NBC News.

Ukraine’s cyber chief on the ever-changing digital war with Russia The Record by Recorded Future Daryna Antoniuk Russian hackers have been attacking Ukraine for over a decade, but until the war began, cyberattacks still seemed like something out of a science fiction movie for ordinary Ukrainians. Many had to learn how to safeguard their hardware and their data. The agency responsible for raising awareness for cybersecurity in society, private businesses, and the government is called Derzhspetszvyazok, or the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine. Its chief, Yurii Shchyhol, faced the difficult task of explaining Russia’s digital threat to Ukrainians and the rest of the world.

WhatsApp faces first fine in Russia for failure to delete 'banned' content Reuters Messenger service WhatsApp faces a maximum fine of 4 million roubles ($51,500) after Russia accused it of failing to delete banned content, state-owned news agency RIA reported on Friday, citing a Moscow court.

Europe

German Digital Minister against Big Tech taking on network costs Bloomberg Aggi Cantrill Germany’s Minister for Transport and Digital Affairs Volker Wissing pushed back on calls for Big Tech companies to contribute to the costs of Europe’s network expansion.

EU's Breton: TikTok still a long way from EU rules compliance Reuters Benoit Van Overstraeten EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Friday he had recently spoken with TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew and told him there was still a lot to do for the Chinese-owned social network in order to comply with EU rules.

Child hackers: How are kids becoming sophisticated cyber criminals? Euronews In this new series of hacker : HUNTER, we speak to families and cybersecurity experts to find out how children and teenagers are finding themselves caught up in the shadowy world of cybercrime.

UK

  • PM Rishi Sunak: ‘Authoritarian China poses the biggest challenge of our age’. Sunak has stopped short of designating China a ‘threat’, joining calls for ‘derisking, not decoupling’ with China. The UK’s response, he said, is completely aligned with allies at G7 summit. Daniel Martin. The Telegraph

  • Chinese embassy asks for London to stop slandering China to avoid further damage to China-UK relations. The statement was issued on Sunday following Sunak’s remarks at the G7 summit. Reuters

Japanese companies have committed to invest more than $22bn in the UK, including funding for offshore wind, low-carbon hydrogen and other clean energy projects.

New £1 billion strategy for UK's semiconductor sector UK Government A new 20-year plan to secure the world-leading strengths of the UK’s semiconductor industry has today (Friday 19 May) been unveiled by the government.

  • Critics say £1bn for UK chip industry not enough BBC Chris Vallance Critics have branded the UK government's delayed £1bn package of support for the semiconductor industry as "insignificant". Semiconductors, or chips, are inside everything from phones to cars and the government has just unveiled a new 10-year strategy. But it is facing allegations it is not enough - the US and EU have announced support closer to $50bn (£40bn).

UK court tosses class-action style health data misuse claim against Google DeepMind TechCrunch Natasha Lomas Google has prevailed against another U.K. class-action style privacy lawsuit after a London court dismissed a lawsuit filed last year against the tech giant and its AI division, DeepMind, which had sought compensation for misuse of NHS patients’ medical records.

Elections in UK and US at risk from AI-driven disinformation, say experts The Guardian Dan Milmo and Alex Hern Next year’s elections in Britain and the US could be marked by a wave of AI-powered disinformation, experts have warned, as generated images, text and deepfake videos go viral at the behest of swarms of AI-powered propaganda bots.

Middle East

  • Can US rail plan woo Middle East states away from China’s belt and road? The ambitious proposal to connect Gulf and Arab countries with India via network of ports and railways labelled ‘hare-brained’ by a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Kawala Xie. South China Morning Post

  • Tens of thousands joined protests across Israel on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contested judicial overhaul. The protests are entering their 20th week. Reuters reports.

Iraq rebuilding efforts get high-tech boost Voice of America Arash Arabasadi It’s been more than a decade since the end of the Iraq War. Much of the country still bears the scars of the U.S.-led invasion. But Iraqis today are working to clean up their country, and some have turned to technology for help.

Africa

  • The Russian paramilitary organization Wagner group is believed to have been involved in the extrajudicial killing of more than 500 people, according to a human rights fact-finding mission report conducted over several months by U.N. staff in Mali. Jason Burke reports for the Guardian.

  • Sudan’s warring factions have agreed to a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire. The new ceasefire will be enforced by a “ceasefire monitoring mechanism,” according to a U.S.-Saudi statement. Sam Hancock reports for BBC News.

  • Two kidnapped U.S. embassy staff have been rescued unharmed in Nigeria days after seven other people traveling in the same convoy were killed. It is not clear who the kidnappers were. No U.S. citizen was among the victims, and there are “no indications at this time that it was targeted against [the U.S.] mission,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Chiagozie Nwonwu, Chris Ewokor, and Natasha Booty report for BBC News.

Big Tech

Instagram might be working on a Twitter killer Mashable Christianna Silva Twitter sucks, and it looks like Instagram is coming for its users. Lia Haberman first reported in her ICYMI Substack that Instagram is building a social media platform that resembles an amalgamation of the two social media giants. In the screenshot Haberman shared, the app was called "Instagram’s new text-based app for conversations" but she reported that internally, it's being called P92, Project 92, or Barcelona.

  • Everything we know about Instagram’s Twitter clone, due this summer TechCrunch Amanda Silberling While the future remains uncertain for Twitter, Meta is throwing its hat into the ring to build the next major microblogging platform. This new Meta app is expected to launch this summer, according to an email shared with a select group of creators, and viewed by TechCrunch.

Apple restricts employee use of ChatGPT, joining other companies wary of leaks The Wall Street Journal Aaron Tilley and Miles Kruppa Apple has restricted the use of ChatGPT and other external artificial intelligence tools for some employees as it develops its own similar technology, according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter.

Twitter no longer ‘high risk’ after new chief hired, says top ad group Financial Times Hannah Murphy and Daniel Thomas WPP-owned GroupM, one of the world’s top media agencies, has told clients it no longer considers Twitter “high risk”, just days after Elon Musk appointed advertising stalwart Linda Yaccarino as the social media platform’s new chief.

Twitter accuses Microsoft of misusing its data, foreshadowing a possible fight over AI Associated Press David Hamilton A lawyer for Twitter owner Elon Musk accused Microsoft of misusing the service’s data and demanded an audit from the software giant. The letter primarily addresses a seemingly narrow set of alleged infractions by Microsoft in drawing information from Twitter’s database of tweets. But the move could foreshadow more serious developments. Musk has previously accused Microsoft and its partner OpenAI in a tweet of “illegally” using Twitter data to develop sophisticated AI systems such as ChatGPT.

Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision is over. Can Apple save it? The Guardian Alex Hern Zuckerberg was on the defensive. The metaverse, the vision of a globe-spanning virtual reality that he had literally bet his multibillion-dollar empire on creating, had been usurped as the new hot thing by the growing hype around artificial intelligence. Critics had even noticed Meta itself changing its tune, highlighting the difference between a November statement from Zuckerberg, in which he described the project as a “high-priority growth area” and a March note that instead focused on how “advancing AI” was the company’s “single largest investment”.

Artificial Intelligence

A.I.-generated content discovered on news sites, content farms and product reviews The New York Times Stuart A. Thompson Dozens of fringe news websites, content farms and fake reviewers are using artificial intelligence to create inauthentic content online, according to two reports released on Friday.

Procedural justice can address generative AI’s trust/legitimacy problem TechCrunch Tracey Meares, Sudhir Venkatesh and Matt Katsaros The much-touted arrival of generative AI has reignited a familiar debate about trust and safety: Can tech executives be trusted to keep society’s best interests at heart Because its training data is created by humans, AI is inherently prone to bias and therefore subject to our own imperfect, emotionally-driven ways of seeing the world. We know too well the risks, from reinforcing discrimination and racial inequities to promoting polarization.

Misc

‘Attackers only have to get it right once’: how cyber security burst into the boardroom Financial Times Andrew Hill Three days after being appointed to run US software group SolarWinds, Sudhakar Ramakrishna received a call any chief executive would dread. The company’s general counsel had rung to warn him malware had been detected in updates sent out to thousands of clients in the private and public sectors.

The need to create a strong cyber response framework IT Brief Ilan Rubin With headlines full of cyberattacks, it's never been more important for businesses to have a cyber response framework in place. Today's cybersecurity landscape continues to accelerate at rapid speed, with hacktivism, nation-state-backed cyberattacks, ransomware, and other attack tactics becoming more dangerous, sophisticated, and expensive for organisations to defend against. That risk continues to grow as businesses undergo digital transformation while simultaneously expanding their attack surface, opening new doors for bad actors to walk through without detection.

Research

The Confidence Game: Shifting tactics fuel surge in business email compromise Microsoft Threat Intelligence Business email fraud continues to rise, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation reporting more than 21,000 complaints with adjusted losses over $2.7 billion. Microsoft has observed an increase in sophistication and tactics by threat actors specializing in business email compromise, including leveraging residential internet protocol addresses to make attack campaigns appear locally generated.


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

Gabriele and Nicola Iuvinale

ASE 2023

To download the book index, preface and introduction: https://www.extremarationews.com/reuters-news




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