Press review EX - 21 February
Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law, national security.
Follow us on Twitter, on LinkedIn - LinkedIn and on Facebook
The intersection of China’s nuclear modernization and cross-Strait tensions | US Supreme Court to hear case that targets a legal shield of tech giants | Japan’s central bank to pilot digital currency starting in April | AI is starting to pick who gets laid off
A recent report by Jacob Stokes, Senior Fellow Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, examines the intersection of China’s nuclear modernization and cross-Strait tensions, especially how they might play out during a crisis, contingency, or conflict involving China,Taiwan, and the United States. Beijing is rapidly modernizing its nuclear arsenal to make it larger and more sophisticated.
The suit takes aim at a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google’s YouTube from lawsuits over content posted by their users or their decisions to take content down. The case gives the Supreme Court’s justices the opportunity to narrow how that legal shield is applied or to gut it entirely, potentially opening up the companies to liability for what users post and to lawsuits over libel, discriminatory advertising and extremist propaganda. The New York Times
Japan is joining a growing list of countries exploring the possibility of adopting a digital currency, with country’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, announcing that it would launch a pilot to test a “digital yen” in April. TechCrunch
Human resources managers use machine learning software to analyze millions of employment related data points, churning out recommendations of who to interview, hire, promote or help retain. The Washington Post
Atomic Strait: How China’s Nuclear Buildup Shapes Security Dynamics with Taiwan and the United State
A recent report by Jacob Stokes, Senior Fellow Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, examines the intersection of China’s nuclear modernization and cross-Strait tensions, especially how they might play out during a crisis, contingency, or conflict involving China, Taiwan, and the United States. Beijing is rapidly modernizing its nuclear arsenal to make it larger and more sophisticated. Changes include an increase in warhead numbers from more than 400 today to potentially 700 by 2027 and more beyond, consolidating a nuclear triad, developing new delivery systems, and digging at least 300 new missile silos. Some factors still could constrain the growth of China’s arsenal or the policies that shape the way Chinese leaders employ it. They range from fissile material stocks to competing military spending priorities, considerations about China’s international reputation, and upholding Beijing’s claimed No First Use policy. But nearly all those constraining factors either already have weakened or could do so in the near future.
China’s militarisation of meteorological balloons The Strategist Tilla Hoja, Albert Zhang and Masaaki Yatsuzuka China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to claim that a spy balloon breaching US territorial airspace and flying close enough to military sites to monitor them was ‘a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes’ that had accidentally wandered off course. Pentagon officials and the US intelligence community dismissed that claim and linked the balloon to a ‘vast surveillance program’ run by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, partly operating out of Hainan province on China’s south coast.
Australia aligned with India’s thinking,’ says Dr Jaishankar at Raisina @ Sydney Dialogue SBS Phebyn Joseph Speaking at the inaugural Raisina @ Sydney Dialogue on 18 February, India’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said India’s G20 presidency this November is proof of the re-balance of global society.
Twitter Australia has no staff left to deal with child sexual abuse material Crikey Cam Wilson Elon Musk’s Twitter has no Australian staff who can respond to reports of child sexual abuse material, months after the tech company laid off the majority of its global workforce.
Don’t mess with our democracy, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil warns The Australian Simon Benson Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has issued a blunt warning to hostile foreign powers seeking to influence democratic processes in Australia that they would be met with swift action in the wake of revelations the Chinese Communist Party had engaged in a sophisticated strategy to undermine Canada’s election in 2021.
Social media ‘targets teens with booze ads’ The Australian Joanna Panagopoulos Facebook and Instagram have systematically targeted more than 90 per cent of Australian teens who use their platforms with ads for alcohol and junk food after secretly monitoring their online activity, a new study has found.
Catalysing a new era of an Australian tech policy InnovationAus Johanna Weaver If the Albanese Government is serious about shaping a better future for Australia, it must prioritise coordination when developing its tech-related nation-building policy initiatives.
Chinese security researchers claim to have identified ‘Against The West’ hackers The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin Researchers from the Chinese cybersecurity company Qi An Pangu Lab believe they have identified six members of the “Against The West” hacking group, according to a report published Sunday by state-controlled media.
China’s newest weapon to nab western technology—its courts The Wall Street Journal Stu Woo and Daniel Michaels China has striven for years to develop cutting-edge technologies, in part through heavy spending on research. Now, according to Western officials and executives, it also has mobilized its legal system to pry technology from other nations.
Disappearance of dealmaker Bao Fan casts chill across China’s tech sector Financial Times Thomas Hale, Ryan McMorrow, and Kai Waluszewski The fate of Bao and his company, which has for years been at the heart of financing Chinese tech, is a pivotal test of Beijing’s stance on the industry.
Xi on China's Economic Challenges and Policy Responses
Politburo Standing Committee: China's COVID Miracle
Brief #135: January Politburo Meeting, Asia Power Index
Reading the China Dream
Zheng Yongnian on the Balloon Incident
Zhang Tianqi on Hengshui High School
Liang Hong on Feminism
Made in China Journal
Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China A Conversation with Ghassan Moazzin
The Promethean Ant Forest
Geoengineering the Sublime
Situating the ‘Science’ Craze in China
Manipulating Water in China
Rise into Dust: Governing Land and Weather Systems in Contemporary China
Dizzy with Success — snatching victory from the jaws of Covid defeat
China Media Project
Co-Producing with the CCP
China’s Propaganda Machine is Calling
Assessing the Role of the PLA Southern Theater Command in a China-India Contingency
The Lion, the Wolf Warrior and the Crossroads: UK-China Relations at a Turning Point
In Search of Self-Reliance: Xi Overhauls China’s Innovation System
Full Circle: As Spy Balloon Fallout Mounts, Xi Reverts to Old Policy Playbook
Party Pushes National Defense Education for All
IN CHINA AND ASIA - HARD TONES BETWEEN WANG YI AND BLINKEN China and the United States are once again talking to each other at the highest diplomatic levels. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Wang Yi, director of the Communist Party of China's Central Commission on Foreign Affairs, met on Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Read more: Has China Retargeted the Financial Sector?; China: ChatGPT and "fake news" in the crosshairs of the police; Chinese advisory commission launches environmental committee; North Korea: new missile test and exchanges with China; Russian imports to India increased by 400%; Will Bangladesh become the top exporter of clothes to the EU?
TAIWAN FILES – GUESS WHO'S COMING TO TAIPEI The visit of the Pentagon and that of the first delegation from mainland China since the beginning of the pandemic. Taiwanese foreign minister in Washington. Weather balloons on the Matsu, submarine cables and much more. Lorenzo Lamperti's weekly review with news and analysis from Taipei (and surroundings).
Wall Street Journal
Did My 1967 Experiment Inspire China’s Spy Balloon?
Like It or Not, the U.S. Is in a Nuclear Arms Race With China
South China Morning Post
US handling of Chinese balloon row deflates Asian allies’ confidence
US-China ‘balloongate’ fallout should hasten review of near-space use
PSYOPS and Cyber War in Taiwan
Supreme Court to hear case that targets a legal shield of tech giants The New York Times David McCabe The suit takes aim at a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google’s YouTube from lawsuits over content posted by their users or their decisions to take content down. The case gives the Supreme Court’s justices the opportunity to narrow how that legal shield is applied or to gut it entirely, potentially opening up the companies to liability for what users post and to lawsuits over libel, discriminatory advertising and extremist propaganda.
FDA’s own reputation could be restraining its misinfo fight Associated Press Matthew Perone The government agency responsible for tracking down contaminated peanut butter and defective pacemakers is taking on a new health hazard: online misinformation. It’s an unlikely role for the Food and Drug Administration, a sprawling, century-old bureaucracy that for decades directed most its communications toward doctors and corporations.
CIA seeing ‘a lot of effort’ from Russia to close down US intelligence visibility The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin The head of the Central Intelligence Agency told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that Russia was putting a lot of work into disrupting the agency’s intelligence collection efforts — but without significant success.
Japan’s central bank to pilot digital currency starting in April TechCrunch Kate Park Japan is joining a growing list of countries exploring the possibility of adopting a digital currency, with country’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, announcing that it would launch a pilot to test a “digital yen” in April.
South Korea joins space race in tech drive as Russia’s isolation deepens over war in Ukraine Bloomberg Sam Kim South Korea is preparing a domestic rocket development program as part of an ambitious drive to carve out a larger slice of the global space economy following the implosion of its partnership with Russia.
Moldova, facing cyberattacks as part of alleged Russian coup plan, asks for Western support The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin Maia Sandu, the pro-European president of Moldova who last week warned of an active Russian plot to overthrow her country’s government, told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that she needed a range of support from other European nations to defend the integrity of her state.
Türkiye-Syria earthquake: How AI and emerging tech are helping relief efforts World Economic Forum Aytug Goksu and Busra Kamiloglu The devastating Kahramanmaras double earthquake that struck south-eastern Türkiye and northern and western Syria on 6 February offers an insight into how technology is increasingly supporting short-, medium- and longer-term relief efforts in disaster-stricken areas.
EU calls for fast-track crypto capital rules for banks Reuters Huw Jones Tough capital rules for banks holding cryptoassets must be fast-tracked in the European Union's pending banking law if Europe wants to avoid missing a globally-agreed deadline, the bloc's executive has said.
India, US, Saudi Arabia 'block' tax on tech giants in global talks, says France The Economic Times International talks aimed at taxing global tech giants that only declare profits in a few jurisdictions have hit a standstill due to opposition from countries, including the US and India, France's finance minister said on Monday.
Chips are down as Britain lags behind on tech patents The Times Katie Prescott The UK filed only 0.3 per cent of patents for semiconductors last year, fuelling anxiety in the technology sector that the country is lagging behind when it comes to microchips.
AI is starting to pick who gets laid off The Washington Post Pranshu Verma Days after mass layoffs trimmed 12,000 jobs at Google, hundreds of former employees flocked to an online chatroom to commiserate about the seemingly erratic way they had suddenly been made redundant. They swapped theories on how management had decided who got cut. Could a “mindless algorithm carefully designed not to violate any laws” have chosen who got the ax, one person wondered in a Discord post The Washington Post could not independently verify. Human resources managers use machine learning software to analyze millions of employment related data points, churning out recommendations of who to interview, hire, promote or help retain.
The debate over sentient machines Axios Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen ChatGPT, which ate the internet so it can spit out answers to human questions, isn't sentient it's not self-aware. But even the early, imperfect, restrained version of the tech shows how easy human-like conversations and ideas are to replicate — and abuse.
Software-defined defence: Algorithms at war International Institute for Strategic Studies Simona R. Soare, Pavneet Singh and Meia Nouwens Software and artificial intelligence are critical enablers of modern military operations, lead the evolution towards multi-domain operations, enhance interoperability among allied forces, and support the achievement of information superiority and decision-advantage against adversaries.