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International press review Extrema Ratio May 23, 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.

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?


Breaking Defence

“So with small numbers of aircraft and with, you know, not a full suite of more modern capabilities, it’s hard to overcome those [air defense] systems,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters.

Breaking Defence

Lithuanian defense minister Arvydas Anušauskas spoke with Breaking Defense during a recent visit to Washington.


The project was created in 2017 to take data, imagery and full-motion video from uncrewed systems, process it and use it to detect targets of interest.

Angry Kitten’s name is a brew of inside joke and design goals, and is a departure from the typical terrifying military moniker, like Hellfire or Stryker.


Poland is in advanced negotiations with Sweden to acquire the Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the country's armed forces.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, made the disclosure on 22 May, saying he expects a contract to be finalised in the short term.

“I wanted to say publicly for the first time that we are very advanced in obtaining early warning aircraft from Sweden. We are already conducting detailed negotiations. I hope they will be successful in a short time,” Błaszczak said during a meeting of Northern Group NATO members. “In this way, we strengthen the resilience of Poland, but also of the entire eastern flank of the [NATO] alliance,” he added.

Poland does not currently field an AEW&C capability, relying instead on the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF), and the Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft of the E-3A Component.


Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) delivered the ninth IA-63 Pampa III to the Argentine Air Force, and showcased a new modernised cabin for the IA-58 Pucará Fénix on 18 May.

Janes The value of defence production – or the sum of defence companies' annual turnover – reached a record high of INR1 trillion (nearly USD13 billion) in FY 2022–23. (Indian MoD) The value of defence production in India reached a record high of INR1.07 trillion (USD12.91 billion) in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi has announced. The new record is a 12% increase over the value of defence production in FY 2021–22, when it reached INR948.5 billion. The MoD said on 19 May that the value represents the sum of reported annual turnover by the country's state-owned and private sector defence industry. It added that the figure for FY 2022–23 is likely to increase further once full-year financial data has been received from some private sector firms. According to the MoD, the increase in production value is attributable to a series of industry reforms introduced in recent years. These include measures to integrate private sector firms into supply chains and to simplify the licensing procedures for these companies. Swede Ship contracted for Sweden's new amphibious fire support craft Janes

Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has awarded Swede Ship Marine AB a contract to deliver a new class of amphibious artillery platform (artilleriplattformar) for use by the navy's Amphibious Battalion.


The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been covertly converting commercial ships into launch platforms for missiles, drones, and commando raids, Israel disclosed on May 22. Displaying pictures of six such “floating terror bases,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Herzliya Conference that their aim was to spread Iran’s ability to inflict clandestine maritime mayhem beyond the Gulf, where it has been behind several attacks on Israeli-linked ships since 2021.

National Maritime Day, today, May 22, has come and gone over the years with little fanfare. The critical importance of our national maritime capability — both military and domestic — often is not fully appreciated, as it is easy to take for granted the seamless movement of goods and our military strength. Yet this National Maritime Day occurs in the face of increasing international tensions and should remind every American that our status as a maritime nation is a major source of our economic prosperity, security, and resilience.

The Defence Post

The 38-nation Combined Maritime Force (CMF) has established a new group to enhance maritime security training in the Middle East.

Combined Task Force 154 (CTF 154) is the fifth CMF segment after CTF 153 was inducted for Red Sea maritime security in April 2022.

The Defence Post

The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded contracts totaling 320 million pounds ($398 million) to extend maintenance support for the Royal Navy’s River-class offshore patrol vessels.

Defence One

Lawmakers and Army officials have discussed cuts through decade's end, including to Green Berets, psyops, and enablers.

Defence One

Service engineers are "living in the same design space" as the two companies doing NGAD development, Frank Kendall said.


The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) since FY1998, and a total of 38 have been procured through FY2023. Since FY2011, Virginia-class boats have been procured at a rate of two per year. Virginia-class boats procured in FY2019-FY2023 were procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract. The Navy wants the next Virginia-class MYP contract to begin not in FY2024, but in FY2025.

Millitary Times

The Air Force is focused on avoiding the mistakes that plagued past programs like the F-35, as the service officially kicks off its effort to build a sixth-generation fighter, Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said he wants to avoid the "acquisition malpractice" that plagued the F-35's development, as the service develops a sixth-generation fighter known as Next Generation Air Dominance. (Staff Sgt. James A. Richardson Jr./Air Force)

China Military

he opening ceremony of the 16th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, LIMA 2023, was held on May 22. The guided-missile destroyer Zhanjiang (Hull 165) attached to the Chinese PLA Navy anchored in the waters near Langkawi, Malaysia, completing the assembly with participating ships of other countries.


  • China hits back at G7 nations, accuses them of ‘smears’ and ‘slander’. Beijing summoned the Japanese ambassador to register an official protest and warned the UK must stop ‘slandering’ the country to avoid further damage to bilateral relations. Helen Davidson. The Guardian

  • China and Saudi Arabia boycott G20 meeting held by India in Kashmir. A tourism working group attended by about 60 delegates from G20 countries is taking place this week. India, as president of the G20, has staged the meeting in Kashmir. China has said it will not attend, citing its firm opposition to ‘holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory.’ Patrick Wintour. The Guardian


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is visiting China, where he will meet President Xi Jinping and attend a business forum.

The Straits Times

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin arrived in China for a visit in which he will meet with President Xi Jinping and ink a series of deals on infrastructure and trade.

  • China tells parents to report children using encrypted messaging apps to the police. Authorities in China have issued a warning over the use of apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp; fueled by fears that they may facilitate the ‘destruction of criminal evidence’ in the organisation of protests. Sophia Yan.The Telegraph

  • The Consultant Crackdown. A deep-dive into the raid on Shanghai-based consultancy, Capvision. Grady McGregor and Katrina Northrop. The Wire China

  • China’s $23 trillion local debt mess is about to get worse. What happened in cash-strapped Hegang points to a long economic struggle for the rest of the country. Bloomberg

  • China Offers Tough Reply to Biden’s Suggestion of Thaw With U.S. Despite Biden seeing an imminent ‘thaw’ in US-China relations, frictions persist.Austin Ramzy.The Wall Street Journal

  • Chinese billionaire and founder of home appliances company Midea creates US$428 million science fund. He Xiangjian, founder and largest shareholder of Midea Group has unveiled a RMB 3 billion science fund to boost artificial intelligence and climate research in China. Ben Jiang. South China Morning Post

  • Beijing metro installs palm scanners, launched by WeChat. WeChat users who register their palm prints can pay for rides on Beijing’s airport express line at designated turnstiles. The technology relies on recognition of both surface-level palm prints and the hand’s veins, according to WeChat-owner Tencent. It is set to be rolled out across offices, campuses, retail outlets and restaurants. Iris Deng. South China Morning Post

Photo: Xinhua


'Deepfake' scam in China fans worries over AI-driven fraud Reuters Ella Cao and Eduardo Baptista A fraud in northern China that used sophisticated "deepfake" technology to convince a man to transfer money to a supposed friend has sparked concern about the potential of artificial intelligence techniques to aid financial crimes. China has been tightening scrutiny of such technology and apps amid a rise in AI-driven fraud, mainly involving the manipulation of voice and facial data, and adopted new rules in January to legally protect victims.

China’s war chest: how the fight for semiconductors reveals the outlines of a future conflict The Guardian Amy Hawkins Signs of the burgeoning conflict between the US and China can be spotted in many different places, from balloons in the sky to videos on TikTok. But nowhere is it more apparent than on the microscopic wafers of silicon, otherwise known as semiconductors. It’s therefore a source of concern to many that over 90% of the world’s semiconductors are made in the place many US officials think could be the site of the next global conflict: Taiwan.

China shows the sword to US chipmaker Micron with ban, opening the door to local players to fill the gap South China Morning Post Che Pan and Ann Cao China’s de facto ban on the sale of Micron Technology products in the country will likely push clients towards alternative suppliers, including Korean and local players, analysts say. In China’s strongest retaliation yet in the face of mounting US tech sanctions, authorities ruled that products from Micron, the US memory chip giant based in Boise, Idaho, endanger China’s national security and ordered operators of key information infrastructure to cease buying them. The move was described by some Chinese commentators as Beijing “showing the sword” to Micron.

  • Micron expects revenue impact following China ban Reuters Joyce Lee and Brenda Goh U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc on Monday forecast a hit to revenue in the low-single to high-single digit percentage after a ban by China on sale of its memory chips to key domestic industries marked the latest in the Sino-American trade dispute.

Voice of America

Just after the G7 Hiroshima Summit ended, China's Cyberspace Administration of China, or CAC, issued a statement requesting that "operators of critical information infrastructures in China should stop purchasing products made by …

The consultant crackdown The Wire China Grady McGregor and Katrina Northrop Beijing is making a spectacle of Capvision, whose shareholders and investors include a network of remarkably high profile and state-connected individuals and companies. Why?


Record unemployment among China’s young people stems partly from a mismatch between their majors and available jobs, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report Monday.


Chinese money is pouring into Japan-focused stock funds as the Nikkei hits 33-year highs, triggering repeated warnings from fund managers about market risks.


According to reports, China is now the world’s biggest exporter of cars. Credit tariffs, the war in Ukraine, and the changing automotive landscape that have positively affected the country’s car production.

Belt and Road


  • President Biden predicted a “thaw” in relations with China on Sunday. The prediction contrasts sharply with President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on national security and Beijing’s portrayal of the Group of Seven as a cabal seeking to isolate and weaken Chinese power. Peter Baker and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times.

  • Papua New Guinea will not be used as a base for “war to be launched,” Prime Minister James Marape said today, as the Pacific country signed a defense agreement with the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that the deal would expand the Pacific island nation’s capabilities and make it easier for the U.S. military to train with its forces. The Guardian reports.

  • US to sign new security pact with Papua New Guinea. The US continues to compete with China for influence in the Pacific. The State Department said the new agreement would provide a framework to help improve security cooperation, enhance the capacity of Papua New Guinea's defense force and increase regional stability. Nick Perry. The Independent

  • A U.S. diplomatic offensive to counter China’s growing clout in the Pacific Islands appears to be paying dividends, with three agreements sealed within 48 hours. The agreements with Papua New Guinea, Palau, and Micronesia underscore that, for now, “it is still a heavily U.S.-leaning region,” says Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. Dave Lawler reports for Axios.

  • China is ramping up efforts to develop a satellite-powered internet network that can compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink. Starlink’s military applications have been displayed in Ukraine’s defense against Russia. A U.S.Space Force division has also been working on a fleet of satellites to support U.S. military aims. The E.U. has set out to develop a low-Earth orbit network as part of a broader satellite-communications strategy, as has Taiwan. Clarence Leong and Micah Maidenberg report for the Wall Street Journal.


But Xie’s arrival suggests that Beijing might want to reduce that bilateral acrimony. And it follows a two-day meeting earlier this month in Vienna between national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, that the two sides …

An apparently AI-generated hoax of an explosion at the Pentagon went viral online — and markets briefly dipped Insider Rebecca Cohen A fake image of an explosion near the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., may have been created by artificial-intelligence tools. But that didn't stop it from being spread by dozens of accounts on social media — and the stock market briefly dipped as the fake news spread.

U.S. intelligence building system to track mass movement of people around the world VICE Matthew Gault The Pentagon’s intelligence branch is developing new tech to help it track the mass movement of people around the globe and flag “anomalies.” The project is called the Hidden Activity Signal and Trajectory Anomaly Characterization program and it “aims to establish ‘normal’ movement models across times, locations, and populations and determine what makes an activity atypical,” according to a press release from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Lawmakers, experts fear key cyber vacancy leaves US vulnerable to attacks The Hill Ines Kagubare Lawmakers and security experts are growing concerned over the Biden administration’s delay to nominate a permanent leader for a high-level cyber position amid a rise in cyberattacks. President Biden has yet to nominate a replacement for former National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, who resigned earlier this year. The expected departure of Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, has deepened fears among top cyber policymakers.

Cybersecurity firms' earnings set to benefit from growing threat of hacks Reuters Samrhitha A and Vansh Agarwal Top U.S. cybersecurity companies are expected to report another quarter of strong growth as high-profile hacks and a shift in client preference for bigger players with better integrated offerings help support their businesses in a turbulent economy.

The U.S. needs minerals for electric cars. Everyone else wants them too. The New York Times Ana Swanson As the world shifts to cleaner sources of energy, control over the materials needed to power that transition is still up for grabs. China currently dominates global processing of the critical minerals that are now in high demand to make batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. In an attempt to gain more power over that supply chain, U.S. officials have begun negotiating a series of agreements with other countries to expand America’s access to important minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite.

Applied Materials to invest $4 bln in Silicon Valley chip research center Reuters Jane Lee and Stephen Nellis U.S. semiconductor toolmaker Applied Materials on Monday said it plans to spend up to $4 billion on a research center in the heart of Silicon Valley to speed up advances in semiconductor manufacturing.

The crackdown on risky chemicals that could derail the chip industry Financial Times Cheng Ting-Fang The chemicals so instrumental to chipmakers and to the development of the world’s data-led economy also have the potential for significant health and environmental effects. Policymakers are increasingly concerned over the risks of these “forever chemicals”, so called because they do not break down easily in the environment. The chemicals have been linked to fertility issues, reduced foetal growth, liver disease and increased risk of cancer in humans.

FBI warns about fake job ads from cyber traffickers The Record by Recorded Future James Reddick The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning people to be wary of fake job advertisements used to lure applicants into scamming operations in Southeast Asia. Such schemes, perpetrated primarily by Chinese organized crime groups, have exploded in size in recent years, with Cambodia as the epicenter of the industry and Myanmar increasingly becoming a hub. Workers are trafficked into scam compounds, where they carry out “pig butchering” operations, in which a cybercriminal forges a relationship with a targeted person from afar before stealing from them.

Chinese firms that threaten U.S. security can get investment from Federal employees Newsweek Valerie Bauman and Didi Kirsten Tatlow Millions of federal employees can invest in Chinese companies sanctioned by the U.S. government via its flagship retirement plan, even though these companies have been branded a danger to national security or are accused of profiting from forced labor or other human rights abuses, Newsweek has learned.

Start-ups bring Silicon Valley ethos to a lumbering military-industrial complex The New York Times Eric Lipton Capella Space, a San Francisco-based start-up, is building a fleet of small, inexpensive satellites that can track enemy troops as they move at night, or under cloud cover that traditional optical satellites cannot see through. Fortem Technologies, a small aerospace company in Utah, wants to supply the Pentagon with a new type of unmanned aircraft that can disable enemy drones. Each of these systems is getting real-world testing in the war in Ukraine, earning praise from top government officials there and validating investors who have been pouring money into the field.


  • Brazil has declared a six-month animal health emergency after several cases of avian flu were found in wild birds. The emergency declaration makes it easier for the government to implement measures to stop the highly infectious H5N1 virus from spreading. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat, with annual sales of nearly $10bn. James FitzGerald reports for BBC News.

  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro has suspended a ceasefire with a dissident Farc rebel group, making Petro’s hope of achieving “total peace” less likely. The suspension comes after the killing of four indigenous teenagers by the rebels. Two months ago, Petro put on hold a ceasefire with another of Colombia’s armed groups, the Gulf Clan. Vanessa Buschschlüter report for BBC News.

He was investigating Mexico’s military. Then the spying began. The New York Times Natalie Kitroeff and Ronen Bergman Alejandro Encinas, Mexico’s under secretary for human rights, was targeted with Pegasus, the world’s most notorious spyware, while investigating abuses by the nation’s military, according to four people who spoke with him about the hack and an independent forensic analysis that confirmed it.

North Asia

  • Taiwan again excluded from WHO annual assembly. The annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva decided not to extend Taiwan an invitation to the event, which runs from May 21-30. China and Pakistan urged members to reject Taiwan's inclusion. Helen Davidson. The Guardian

WHA press passes for Taiwan reporters abruptly cancelled. Two accredited reporters from Taiwan’s Central News Agency - Judy Tseng (曾婷瑄) and Tien Hsi-ju (田習如) - were told they would not be allowed to claim their press passes, in a move a UN staff member blamed on pressure from China. FocusTaiwan
  • Japan and China arranging defence ministers’ meeting in June. The two parties are set to meet on the sidelines of an international conference in Singapore next month. Reuters

  • South Korea could step in after China’s ban on Micron. Seoul has signalled it will not intervene to stop South Korean companies Samsung and SK Hynix from filling in gap in the Chinese market after Chinese regulator imposed a ban on US chipmaker Micron. Ryan McMorrow and Song Jung-a.Financial Times

South & Central Asia

  • How dependent is too dependent on China? Central Asia may soon find out. Central Asia’s outlook as China ramps up its persuasion campaign. Niva Yau.Atlantic Council

After arrest of official, DRDO directs scientists to ensure cyber discipline The Hindustan Times Rahul Singh The Defence Research and Development Organisation has asked the country’s military scientists and other officials to ensure strict cyber discipline, steer clear of avoidable interactions on social media and not entertain calls from unknown numbers, including those from outside the country, to safeguard critical information related to India’s security in a new advisory, government officials aware of the matter said on Sunday.


The New York Times

Deep in rural Western Australia, Pilbara Minerals’ vast processing plant looms above the red dirt, quivering as tons of a lithium ore slurry move through its pipes.

Australia’s US space tech treaty locked in InnovationAus Joseph Brookes Australia and the US have agreed in principle to a new space technology sharing agreement two years after negotiations began and just weeks after the Albanese government slashed $77 million from space programs. The US has also signalled an intent to establish a new Australia-based ground station supporting NASA’s upcoming Moon mission.

Data and digital strategy a good start but APS culture remains the stumbling block The Mandarin Alex Antic and Tania Churchill It was with relatively little fanfare that the federal government released the draft Data and Digital Government Strategy: The data and digital vision for a world-leading APS to 2030 alongside the Budget. The strategy deserves attention, however. It does not overstate the case when it says that data and digital technologies are increasingly critical to the Australian government’s activities.

Cyber security in the spotlight for future floats The Australian Bridget Carter Despite tough market conditions, a number of prospects are still being worked up for initial public offerings. Sources say Bank of America is on the ticket for a float prospect in the cyber security space.

Stan Grant stands up to racist abuse. Our research shows many diverse journalists have copped it too The Conversation Bronwyn Carlson, Faith Valencia-Forrester, Madi Day and Susan Forde Stan Grant, a well-known Aboriginal journalist and soon-to-be former host of Q+A, has made a stand against racist abuse, saying he is “stepping away” from the media industry. Grant said he’s paid a heavy price for being a journalist and has been a media target for racism. As authors of a recent Media Diversity Australia report investigating online abuse and safety of diverse journalists, we’re not surprised.

Dominello takes a seat in political musical chairs on Tech Council board Australian Financial Review Paul Smith Former NSW minister for digital government Victor Dominello’s post-political career is continuing to take shape as he has taken up a board seat at tech industry lobby group the Tech Council of Australia, replacing former federal assistant innovation minister Wyatt Roy.

Australian critical infrastructure operators urged to move off Chinese tech iTnews Ry Crozier A sweep of Chinese-made hardware and software from the federal government could be expanded to cover critical infrastructure operators as well, with the government already assessing its powers for “market intervention”. The comments, made by Home Affairs officials at senate estimates yesterday, come as the government increasingly suspends its use of Chinese-made technology over security concerns.

Ukraine - Russia

  • The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, claimed that Ukrainian military saboteurs launched an attack across the border yesterday, wounding eight people in a small town. Gladkov said a counterterrorist operation was underway and that authorities were imposing special controls, including personal document checks and stopping the work of companies that use “explosives, radioactive, chemically and biologically hazardous substances.” Kyiv officials denied any link with the group and blamed the fighting on a revolt by disgruntled Russians against the Kremlin. Susie Blann reports for AP News.

  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is pushing for a last-minute agreement to secure Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant ahead of a counteroffensive that could see Ukrainian forces drive directly through the potentially hazardous nuclear facility. Grossi plans to present a list of five principles for the U.N. Security Council to endorse later this month. Stephanie Liechtenstein and John Hudson report for the Washington Post.

The underground history of Russia’s most ingenious hacker group WIRED Andy Greenberg Ask Western cybersecurity intelligence analysts who their "favorite" group of foreign state-sponsored hackers is—the adversary they can't help but grudgingly admire and obsessively study—and most won't name any of the multitudes of hacking groups working on behalf of China or North Korea. Not China's APT41, with its brazen sprees of supply chain attacks, nor the North Korean Lazarus hackers who pull off massive cryptocurrency heists. Most won't even point to Russia's notorious Sandworm hacker group, despite the military unit's unprecedented blackout cyberattacks against power grids or destructive self-replicating code.


  • Dutch foreign minister heads to China. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra to visit Beijing this week for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang. The Netherland’s recent decision to restrict exports of advanced chip equipment to China is likely to dominate discussions, though observers say this policy is unlikely to change. Kawala Xie. South China Morning Post

  • The E.U. has asked Greece to investigate footage of the country’s Coast Guard abandoning migrants in the Aegean Sea last month, a top official said yesterday. The footage points to many Greek, E.U., and international law violations. Greek voters appear to be largely unmoved by the alleged violations, putting Greece’s conservative prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on track for a decisive victory. Matina Stevis-Gridneff reports for the New York Times.

  • Europe is increasingly wary of China, despite robust trade between the E.U. and the ‘world’s factory,’ recent Group of Seven (G7) developments suggest. “We are no longer this naive continent that thinks, ‘Wow, the wonderful China market, look at these opportunities!’” said Philippe Le Corre, a French analyst with the Asia Society Policy Institute. Over the weekend, the G7 wrote their first joint statement of principles about how they would resist economic blackmail and dissuade China from threatening or invading Taiwan while trying to reassure Beijing that they were not seeking confrontation. Ishaan Tharoor reports for the Washington Post.

Europen Council

With cyberspace as a field for strategic competition, risks for EU security and defence increase at a time of growing geopolitical tensions and dependence on digital technologies.

EU hits Meta with record €1.2B privacy fine POLITICO Clothilde Goujard and Mark Scott U.S. tech giant Meta has been hit with a record €1.2 billion fine for not complying with the EU’s privacy rulebook. The Irish Data Protection Commission announced on Monday that Meta violated the General Data Protection Regulation when it shuttled troves of personal data of European Facebook users to the United States without sufficiently protecting them from Washington's data surveillance practices.

  • Facebook owner Meta fined €1.2bn for mishandling user information The Guardian Dan Milmo and Lisa O'Carroll Facebook’s owner, Meta, has been fined a record €1.2bn and ordered to suspend the transfer of user data from the EU to the US. The fine – equivalent to $1.3bn – imposed by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which regulates Meta across the EU, is a record for a breach of the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation. The suspension of Facebook data transfers is not immediate and Meta has been given five months to implement it.

  • EU, U.S. data transfer pact expected by summer, EU Commission says after Meta fine Reuters Foo Yun Chee and Bart Meijer The European Commission expects to finalise a data transfer pact with the United States by summer, a spokesman said on Monday after the Irish privacy regulator gave Meta Platforms five months to stop transferring users' data across the Atlantic.

Four accused of violating German law in Turkish spyware deal Bloomberg Ryan Gallagher A prosecutor in Germany has indicted former executives of surveillance technology company FinFisher GmbH, accusing them of unlawfully supplying the Turkish secret services with spyware that could be used to hack into phones and computers. In an announcement on Monday, a spokesperson for the Munich Public Prosecutor’s said that the office had carried out an “extensive and complex” investigation of the company following searches of 15 properties. Four of the company’s managing directors had violated foreign trade laws, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Italy watchdog to review other AI systems after ChatGPT brief ban Reuters Elvira Pollina and Supantha Mukherjee Italy's data protection authority Garante plans to review other artificial intelligence platforms and hire AI experts, a top official said, as it ramps up scrutiny of the powerful technology after temporarily banning ChatGPT in March. Garante is among the most proactive of the 31 national data protection authorities which oversee Europe's data privacy regime known as the General Data Protection Regulation.


  • UK businesses in China call for regulatory clarity. The British Chamber of Commerce in China has warned that Beijing needs to provide greater regulatory certainty on data security and other issues to restore investor confidence.Joe Leahy. The Financial Times

Why are UK police forces being overwhelmed by cybercrime? Tech Monitor Stephanie Stacey Fraud is now the nation’s most common offence, accounting for more than 40% of all crimes committed in England and Wales in 2022. According to UK Finance, more than £1.2 bn was stolen last year – about £2,300 every minute – with 78% of incidents originating online. Despite the immense scale of the problem, however, critics say the authorities have been too slow to take meaningful action to counter this kind of crime. ‘Fraud appears to have been everyone’s problem but no-one’s priority,’ declared the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee in its latest report, published in March.

Middle East

  • Iran yesterday removed its top national security official, Ali Shamkhani after he came under scrutiny over his close ties with a high-ranking British spy, Alireza Akbari. Akbari, a dual British citizen, was Shamkhani’s deputy at the Defense Ministry and then worked as an adviser to him on the Supreme National Council. Akbari, who was lured back to Iran by Shamkhani, was executed in January. Despite this, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, removed Shamkhani and replaced him with a senior naval commander of the Revolutionary Guards with little experience in civilian politics. Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times.

Israel aims to be 'AI superpower', advance autonomous warfare Reuters Dan Williams Israel aims to parlay its technological prowess to become an artificial intelligence "superpower", the Defence Ministry director-general said on Monday, predicting advances in autonomous warfare and streamlined combat decision-making. Steps to harness rapid AI evolutions include the formation of a dedicated organisation for military robotics in the ministry, and a record-high budget for related research and development this year, retired army general Eyal Zamir said.

Israel torpedoed Morocco spyware deal - and NSO competitor QuaDream shut down Haaretz Omer Benjakob and Jurre van Bergen QuaDream, a boutique Israeli spyware maker that once boasted clients in Saudi Arabia, was long considered the biggest local threat to NSO Group, the most famous, and infamous, of the country’s cyber weapons makers. QuaDream’s spyware was the only one that could compete with NSO’s flagship product, Pegasus, which has come under scrutiny over misuse by clients around the world turning the powerful spying weapon against activists and journalists. Pegasus allows the targeting of someone’s iPhone without any action on their part and maintaining continued access to the device, all without their knowledge.


  • Sudan’s one-week ceasefire is at risk as fighting between the warring factions threatens. Some residents reported relative calm early today, the first full day of the ceasefire that is being monitored by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and is meant to allow for the delivery of humanitarian relief. Mohamed Nureldin and Khalid Abdelaziz report for Reuters.

Big Tech

How governments are trying to keep young children off social media, from face scans to ID checks The Wall Street Journal Sam Schechner and Jeff Horwitz Governments across the U.S. and Europe are moving to tighten online age restrictions following evidence that companies aren’t effectively enforcing limits on what children see and do on social media.

The real risks in Google’s new .zip and .mov domains WIRED Lily Hay Newman At the beginning of May, Google released eight new top-level domains —the suffixes at the end of URLs, like “.com” or “.uk.” These little addendums were developed decades ago to expand and organize URLs, and over the years, the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has loosened restrictions on TLDs so organizations like Google can bid to sell access to more of them. But while Google's announcement included light-hearted offerings like “.dad” and “.nexus,” it also debuted a pair of TLDs that are uniquely poised to invite phishing and other types of online scamming: “.zip” and “.mov”.

Artificial Intelligence

Regulators dust off rule books to tackle generative AI like ChatGPT Reuters Martin Coulter and Supantha Mukherjee As the race to develop more powerful artificial intelligence services like ChatGPT accelerates, some regulators are relying on old laws to control a technology that could upend the way societies and businesses operate. The European Union is at the forefront of drafting new AI rules that could set the global benchmark to address privacy and safety concerns that have arisen with the rapid advances in the generative AI technology behind OpenAI's ChatGPT. But it will take several years for the legislation to be enforced.

In the rush to AI, we can’t afford to trust Big Tech Time Gary Marcus Fundamentally, these new systems are going to be destabilizing. They can and will create persuasive lies at at a scale humanity has never seen before. Outsiders will use them to affect our elections, insiders to manipulate our markets and our political systems. Democracy itself is threatened. Chatbots will also clandestinely shape our opinions, potentially exceeding what social media can do. Choices about datasets AI companies use will have enormous, unseen influence. Those who choose the data will make the rules, shaping society in subtle but powerful ways.

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:

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