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Press review EX - 14 February

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


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Google to expand misinformation ‘prebunking’ in Europe | New cybercrime group DarkBit attacks Israeli university | Beijing to support key firms in building ChatGPT-like AI models


  • After seeing promising results in Eastern Europe, Google will initiate a new campaign in Germany that aims to make people more resilient to the corrosive effects of online misinformation. Associated Press

  • A previously unknown cybercrime group attacked an Israeli technical university over the weekend, demanding $1.7 million in bitcoin as payment for what the attackers claim are the Israeli government’s “lies and crimes” ranging from occupation to war crimes to tech layoffs. CyberScoop

  • China's capital Beijing will support leading enterprises in building large artificial intelligence models that can challenge ChatGPT, the city's economy and information technology bureau said on Monday. Reuters


Extrema Ratio

Marinati nella pace e nell'opulenza, noi occidentali abbiamo trascurato la verità che gli esseri umani sono predisposti per la guerra.

Winston Churchill una volta osservò che "Incontrarsi faccia a faccia è meglio della guerra". Allo stesso tempo, ha ben compreso che "la storia della razza umana è la guerra"



ASPI

Australian spy chief says no evidence of surveillance balloons over Oz ABC Bec Shrimpton, Director at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, discusses a fourth floating object shot down in the skies over North America. The first is a suspected Chinese spy balloon, but it's unclear where the other three have come from, or what they are.

Endo agony, Chinese spyware, and the young people making regional Australia better Triple J Hack Samantha Hoffman, expert in tech-enhanced authoritarianism at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, discusses the government rushing to rip out surveillance equipment from Commonwealth buildings due to fears it could contain Chinese spyware.

Australia

Facebook takes the ad money from COVID conspiracist Australian Financial Review Mark Di Stefano One of the faces of Australia’s anti-lockdown movement - who recently spent time in jail for inciting an illegal gathering - has been able to buy advertising from Facebook to whip up anger towards a retiring scientist and Victorian premier Dan Andrews.

China

Beijing to support key firms in building ChatGPT-like AI models Reuters Ella Cao and Liz Lee China's capital Beijing will support leading enterprises in building large artificial intelligence models that can challenge ChatGPT, the city's economy and information technology bureau said on Monday.

Made in China Journal

  • Speculative Landscapes, Promethean Mirages, and Eco-Poiesis

China Heritage

  • Other People’s Thoughts, XXXIII

  • Praise for the Orange Tree, Remembering the Plum

  • On the Third Anniversary of the Passing of Dr. Li Wenliang

Nikkei Asia

  • U.S. cannot count on South Korea's Yoon to line up against China

  • 'Made in China' infrastructure is often a glorified money pit

  • CEOs should prepare for U.S. congressional grilling on China

  • Balloon highlights risk of unintentional U.S.-China clash

  • Hong Kong has to rebuild confidence in its policymaking

South China Morning Post

  • Mideast visit heralds better times for Hong Kong’s economy and people

  • Hello Hong Kong? We need to remind tourists why we’re simply the best

China Story

  • The Chinese Economy: Bursting bubbles, Terminal Troubles?

USA

Ford will build a U.S. battery factory with technology from China The New York Times Neal E. Boudette and Keith Bradsher Ford Motor said on Monday that it planned to build a $3.5 billion electric-vehicle battery factory in Michigan using technology licensed from a Chinese company that has become one of the most important players in the auto industry.

As ChatGPT's popularity explodes, U.S. lawmakers take an interest Reuters Diane Bartz ChatGPT, a fast-growing artificial intelligence program, has drawn praise for its ability to write answers quickly to a wide range of queries, and attracted U.S. lawmakers' attention with questions about its impact on national security and education.

Americas

Cuba's internet slows to crawl as more island residents connect Reuters Anett Rios and Nelson Acosta Cubans suffering long lines for food, fuel and medicine now have a new problem: painfully slow internet. Internet service, never speedy in a country that first authorized cellular data only five years ago, has slowed to a crawl in recent months, leading to an outcry from many island residents, who say it is hitting both work and pleasure.

Southeast Asia

Cambodia’s leader shuts independent news outlet ahead of election The New York Times Seth Mydans Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia on Sunday ordered the shutdown of the Voice of Democracy, one of the country’s last independent news outlets, intensifying a long-running crackdown on the news media and political opposition as he consolidates his grip on power.

South & Central Asia

Cyber threats to Pakistan’s national power grid The Geopolitics Dr. Hammaad Salik, Rao Ibrahim Zahid & Babar Khan Akhunzada As Pakistan continues to experience an expansion of its cyber environment and engagement in the global IT market, the nation remains exposed to a plethora of cyber threats, including cybercrime, espionage, and cyber warfare. The targeting of the country’s vital infrastructure, including power and energy systems, military and government networks, and financial institutions, has resulted in a number of cyber-attacks that have led to power outages, financial losses, and disruptions to essential services.

Europe

Google to expand misinformation ‘prebunking’ in Europe Associated Press David Klepper After seeing promising results in Eastern Europe, Google will initiate a new campaign in Germany that aims to make people more resilient to the corrosive effects of online misinformation.

UK

Beware of Valentine’s Day romance fraud, UK online daters told The Guardian Diane Taylor People looking for love online have been warned to be on high alert for scammers this Valentine’s Day because romance fraud has risen by more than a third, according to data released by Victim Support.

Middle East

New cybercrime group calling itself DarkBit attacks Israeli university CyberScoop AJ Vicens A previously unknown cybercrime group attacked an Israeli technical university over the weekend, demanding $1.7 million in bitcoin as payment for what the attackers claim are the Israeli government’s “lies and crimes” ranging from occupation to war crimes to tech layoffs.

Big Tech

Amazon, Microsoft, Google pressured by Chinese cloud rivals in Southeast Asia The Wall Street Journal Raffaele Huang U.S. cloud-computing companies, dominant globally, are facing intensifying competition from upstart Chinese rivals in Southeast Asia, offering a head-to-head look at how the two geopolitical rivals’ corporate champions stack up in a key technology.

Google cautions against 'hallucinating' chatbots, report says Reuters Rachel More The boss of Google's search engine warned against the pitfalls of artificial intelligence in chatbots in a newspaper interview published on Saturday, as Google parent company Alphabet battles to compete with blockbuster app ChatGPT.

Twitter’s plan to charge for crucial tool prompts outcry Associated Press Barbara Ortutay In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, thousands of volunteer software developers have been using a crucial Twitter tool to comb the platform for calls for help — including from people trapped in collapsed buildings — and connect people with rescue organizations. They could soon lose access unless they pay Twitter a monthly fee of at least $100 — prohibitive for many volunteers and nonprofits on shoestring budgets.

Artificial Intelligence

AI porn is easy to make now. For women, that’s a nightmare. The Washington Post Tatum Hunter Until recently, making realistic AI porn took computer expertise. Now, thanks in part to new, easy-to-use AI tools, anyone with access to images of a victim’s face can create realistic-looking explicit content with an AI-generated body. Incidents of harassment and extortion are likely to rise, abuse experts say, as bad actors use AI models to humiliate targets ranging from celebrities to ex-girlfriends — even children.

Video game voice actors doxed and harassed in targeted AI voice attack VICE Joseph Cox Artificial intelligence-generated voices are already being used to harass ordinary people, with online trolls creating the voices and then having them read out victim’s home addresses and posting the results online, according to four victims Motherboard spoke to. All of the victims of this particular campaign are voice actors who have worked on video games in the past.

David Guetta says the future of music is in AI BBC Chart-topping DJ David Guetta has said "the future of music is in AI" after he used the technology to add a vocal in the style of Eminem to a recent song. The DJ used two artificial intelligence sites to create lyrics and a rap in the style of the US star for a live show.

Misc

Now for sale: Data on your mental health The Washington Post Drew Harwell For years, data brokers have operated in a controversial corner of the internet economy, collecting and reselling Americans’ personal information for government or commercial use, such as targeted ads. But the pandemic-era rise of telehealth and therapy apps has fueled an even more contentious product line: Americans’ mental health data. And the sale of it is perfectly legal in the United States, even without the person’s knowledge or consent.




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