Weekly Roundup 24 May, 2022

By Cat Ramsey | May 24, 2022

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The UN Security Council (UNSC) convened a technology and security briefing on Monday this week. The briefing  particularly focused on technology’s application to maintaining international peace and security. Of late, the UNSC has expressed increased interest in addressing cybersecurity and information technology concerns.

In remarks to the Council, U.S. ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield emphasized that cybersecurity technologies will make the world a more safer and equitable place. She specifically cited how social media can facilitate life-saving information prior to conflict. Greenfield also touched on the rise of targeted cyber-harassment campaigns against female politicians and activists.

 

Gender and Inclusion

  • Google has announced a new feature of Android 13 that supports accessibility in Braille. Google has added some new shortcuts and made the functionality available without downloading the app Talkback, which had previously been necessary to access Androids in Braille.

 

Global Tech Policy

  • The U.S. Justice Department has announced a new policy under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in which good-faith hackers and researchers will not be prosecuted for breaking the law. The change has been made in response to a long history of criticism by security researchers for the unclear and undefined language in the act prohibiting accessing a computer “without authorization.” 

 

Cybersecurity

  • The U.S. government is supporting cybersecurity and internet access in Ukraine through direct FBI support for cybersecurity law enforcement agencies, USAID funding for technical experts, USAID-provided emergency communications devices, interagency support for Ukraine’s electrical grid, information exchanges between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Ukrainian government. 
  • Rodrigo Chaves, president of Costa Rica,  has announced that the country is at war with cybercriminals from the Conti ransomware cartel, who have infiltrated 27 government systems and are demanding 20 million dollars.

 

Disinformation

  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board has been suspended and the head of the board, Nina Jankowicz, has resigned after a disastrous rollout in which confusion over the role of the board was used by the far right to accuse the Biden administration of policing free speech. Jankowicz was targeted by aggressive online harassment, abuse, and threats. 
  • A new civil society organization aiming to tackle misinformation in Spanish-speaking communities, called Factchequeado, has launched. The organization was formed in collaboration between the fact checking organizations Chequeado in Argentina and Maldita.es in Spain.

 

Data Protection and Privacy

  • A study by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has determined that the average European's data is shared 376 times a day in advertising sales, while the data of those based in the US is shared on average 747 times a day. 

 

Blockchain

  • Stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency created to protect investors from the usual ups and downs of cryptocurrency, a very volatile investment, are based on the value of the US dollar. Recently, however, it has come to light that many are not fully backed by dollars in the bank. The nominally stable currency is now crashing.

 

Games for Good

  • Twitter has created Data Dash to teach users about the platform’s policies through a game. The intervention was designed to increase digital literacy and protect against disinformation. Some users say it has a long way to go, pointing out that the game isn’t particularly fun and does not clearly represent the message about disinformation it was created to demonstrate.

 

Other Tech News

  • Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) have allegedly been deployed in the Russian war in Ukraine. More autonomous than drones, currently no international regulations have been developed for LAWS.  Countries at the forefront of developing this technology are fighting to keep it that way.

 

Projects

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