The Democratic National Committee Friday filed a lawsuit against a broad slate of people and entities allegedly responsible for the 2016 hack of its email, phone calls, and more.While a rough outline of the DNC hack that rocked the 2016 election had previously been established, the 66-page lawsuit, first reported by The Washington Post gives exact dates for the first time.“In the run-up to the 2016 election, Russia mounted a brazen attack on American Democracy.”The details of when and how that attack occurred, though, are more clear than ever—and may indicate that Russia’s plan to interfere in the US election predated its DNC intrusion.According to the DNC lawsuit, Russian intelligence group Cozy Bear—the GRU-affiliated hacker group, also known as APT29—infiltrated the DNC network as far back as July 27, 2015, nearly a year before the leaks of the pilfered material began.The suit says that a second Russian group—Fancy Bear, the outfit that has recently tormented the International Olympic Committee as well—hacked the DNC’s systems on April 18, 2016.
The Democratic National Committee is going after Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks over cyberattacks during the 2016 US presidential election.The 2016 race to the White House was riddled with controversies, including emails leaked after Russian hackers infiltrated the DNC's network.In a lawsuit filed on Friday, the DNC alleges that the Russian government worked with the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to help the former reality star win the election.The defendants listed in the lawsuit include Guccifer 2.0, the hacker behind the dumped emails, Donald J. Trump Jr., the president's son, and Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder."In the run-up to the 2016 election, Russia mounted a brazen attack on American Democracy," the lawsuit alleges."The opening salvo was a cyberattack on the DNC, ccarried out on American soil."
As Mark Zuckerberg faced questions from US Senators last week about the alleged misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, the issues of potential subversion of democracy, privacy, and data protection are more likely to be at the forefront of the general public’s thoughts rather than the mobile industry.But among the many revelations that resulted from the scandal was that Facebook had been collecting call records and SMS data from Android devices for some time.For most people, this was images, likes and posts, but others noticed that years’ worth of phone call data, along with names, numbers and duration.Facebook responded with a blog post that said users had to consciously give their permission for such data to be collected and that this can be switched off at any time, with all previous data deleted.Your information is securely stored and we do not sell this information to third parties.A good example is chat applications like WhatsApp, which allow users to circumvent SMS, MMS and international call charges.
With nearly 1 million votes tallied in its Twitter poll, Heinz has declared the victor to be “Pass the Heinz Mayochup.”500,000 votes for ‘yes’ and we’ll release it to you saucy Americans.” While clearly it was the total pro-mashup vote count that mattered rather than the percentage, Team Mayochup still secured a 55 percent majority over the 45 percent who chose the sensible “Nah, I’ll make my own.”500,000 votes for “yes” and we’ll release it to you saucy Americans.— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) April 11, 2018So now that the people have spoken and Democracy has risen from its own charred-hot-dog ashes, the brand is moving forward with plans to roll out to U.S. consumers a combined ketchup and mayonnaise—a product it already offers in some overseas markets—by the end of this year.Unwilling to let our fragmented nation move on after the Great Mayochup Schism of 2018, Heinz has already foisted yet another divisive decision onto the masses: What should it be called?
What do you do if Russia decides that your encrypted messaging app is a danger to its, um, democracy and blocks it?Scream to the high heavens, perhaps?Or merely rip off your clothes and stare menacingly?Telegram CEO Pavel Durov seems to have decided on the political artistry of the latter.He took his shirt off to reveal a singular buffness, and displayed it for all to see on Instagram.The story about 300 Spartans fighting to protect the freedom of their compatriots will inspire people thousands of years from now."
Called “Hard Questions,” the series of blog posts are intended to illuminate users about where the social network stands on some of the thornier issues facing the social network.But how hard can a question really be when you get to both hand-select it and take as much time as you’d like to formulate a response?At face value, some of the Hard Questions posed by Facebook over the last several months do appear to tackle some contentious subjects.Facebook’s first post of the series—“How We Counter Terrorism”—first outlined the ways in which the social network uses artificial intelligence to fight terrorism on the platform.A few Hard Questions include: “More on Russian Ads,” “Russian Ads Delivered to Congress,” “Social Media and Democracy,” and “Update on Cambridge Analytica,” to name just a few.What most of these blog posts boil down to are carefully worded press releases.
Pentagon technology chief Mike Griffin last week announced US military plans to form an office dedicated to procuring and deploying artificial intelligence technology.Meanwhile, the White House still doesn’t have a science adviser.The US military appears to embrace AI at every strategic level, and the creation of a new office to manage the burgeoning technology is further evidence that machine learning is the future of warfare.According to Federal News Radio’s Eric White, Under Secretary Griffin and fellow top brass are “alarmed at recent advances” in the field of artificial intelligence and seek to form the office as a matter of national security.US House members are also concerned about such developments, having recently introduced a bill that would allocate millions of dollars toward researching artificial intelligence with the intent of providing a study for the president to review next year.The White House, for its part, has been peculiarly silent on the subject of AI, leaving some to speculate the idea of operating a democracy without a qualified science adviser is a bad one.
New research from the Center for Democracy and Technology aims to help security researchers decide what level of risk is acceptable for them and their work.“The intent is to provide some guidance as to activities that are lower-risk or that may need more careful design to mitigate risk,” the CDT explains.“Although we mention other risks, such as reputational harm, we are primarily concerned with risk of liability under United States law.”This so-called “risk basis” gives researchers a guide to understanding which techniques might put them more at risk.Using found login credentials to access an account, for example, is considered highly risky, while engaging in automated network scanning that collects minimal data and allows network administrators to opt out is considered low risk.Security researchers have faced prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), both of which leave key phrases open to interpretation.
Few Facebook critics are as credible as Roger McNamee, the managing partner at Elevation Partners.As an early investor in Facebook, McNamee was only only a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg but also introduce him to Sheryl Sandberg.So it’s hard to underestimate the significance of McNamee’s increasingly public criticism of Facebook over the last couple of years, particularly in the light of the growing Cambridge Analytica storm.According to McNamee, Facebook pioneered the building of a tech company on “human emotions”.Given that the social network knows all of our “emotional hot buttons”, McNamee believes, there is “something systemic” about the way that third parties can “destabilize” our democracies and economies.McNamee saw this in 2016 with both the Brexit referendum in the UK and the American Presidential election and concluded that Facebook does, indeed, give “asymmetric advantage” to negative messages.
Several weeks ago, he launched a tweet-driven crusade against Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, accusing the company of ripping off the US Postal Service and harming Americans by not collecting more sales tax.His Thursday order for a review of the Post Office’s finances is a clear attempt to undermine one of its largest customers, Amazon.The president’s aggressive—and factually debatable—attacks have triggered concern about the fragility of our democracy and the potential for the powers of the state to be used to quash private companies.Sheila Bair, former chair of the FDIC, suggested that Trump is undermining the Bill of Rights by assailing a company based on personal pique at negative coverage in the Bezos-owned Washington Post.He is by no means the first to let his personal animus dictate his approach, nor the only to contemplate using the considerable powers of the presidency to harm or hobble a company or CEO that he dislikes.While the past is at best prologue, compared with presidents of yore, Trump hardly stands out as remarkable in his willingness to engage in personal and public feuds with large corporations that piss him off.
Researchers studying Facebook's data are taking several key security measures to prevent the next Cambridge Analytica scandal from happening.Facebook is allowing select academics to examine its data as part of a new election research commission.It's an unprecedented level of access, as Facebook opens up its secrets to researchers looking to find out how social media affects democracy.But the relationship brings up a serious question: How will these researchers protect those secrets -- our data -- especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal?Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based voter profiling firm, as well as other analytics companies, obtained data on 87 million Facebook users after a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created an app to harvest data and passed it along to the firms.The stolen data was so widespread that it even swept up information on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In 2014 I was attacked by four men who forced their way into our family home in Wimbledon one evening.Thankfully I was saved by the bravery of officers from my local police station, who arrived within eight minutes of my eldest daughter dialling 999, and rescued me from what could otherwise have quite possibly been a murderous assault, that left me with extensive injuries and permanent double vision.Last year the Mayor of London confirmed his decision to close the Wimbledon police station, along with at least 36 others in the capital, after a cursory and inadequate public consultation described as the “worst... of 2017” by the independent Consultation Institute who said it read “like a sales pitch for a pre-determined strategy”.I, like many of my neighbours, was extremely concerned that our local police station could be taken away without proper consultation and knew from friends across London that many communities felt the same.I consequently contacted the leading public law solicitors Leigh Day who had previous experience of working with CrowdJustice and agreed to take on the case, at a heavily discounted rate.They, in turn, instructed David Woolfe QC of Matrix Chambers, who made a similarly generous offer regarding his fees.
The self-proclaimed “space kingdom” of Asgardia is currently limited to a glitchy website and a satellite orbiting the Earth about the size of a loaf of bread.But Asgardia wants to be much more than just another micronation: It aims to join the United Nations and eventually send its citizens to lower Earth orbit where they will live on habitable platforms and defend the planet from “space threats” like asteroids and solar flares.However, it turns out that it’s not so easy to fashion a parliament out of an often-quarrelsome group of idealists from almost every single country on Earth, especially when Asgardia’s eccentric founder stands accused by some of his fellow Asgardians of harbouring an authoritarian streak.Asgardia’s first elections have been plagued by issues ranging from a buggy website to poor vetting procedures, and the messy process even culminated in a conspiracy theory that some obscure candidates were handpicked by Asgardia’s ruler to win so they could secretly do his bidding when parliament officially begins.As described on its “concept” page, Asgardia’s utopian mission is threefold: legal, philosophical, and scientific.And finally, Asgardia wants to be a hub of non-military scientific progress, sharing its knowledge with anyone who wants it.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress today in a marathon five-hour session about the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.In addition to discussing that situation, and how as many as 87 million users had their information misused by the data mining firm, the conversation also touched on Facebook’s role and responsibility in the world as a news source and a massively influential tool for democracy and communication.While there were few bombshell revelations, Zuckerberg did answer a far-reaching and diverse set of questions ranging from whether Facebook is a monopoly to whether the company would ever consider an ad-free paid version.As part of his appearance on Capitol Hill today, Zuckerberg brought along a thick binder of notes to help him answer questions, stay on his talking points, and come up with quick and relatively innocuous responses to hot-button issues.AP photographer Andrew Harnik snapped perhaps the best photos of Zuckerberg’s notes, and you can see them clearly here:AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
Today at Mark Zuckerberg’s first of two hearings with Congress, the meme maker formerly known as the Monopoly Man made a surprise cameo in troll form to troll the Facebook founder.Amanda Werner, made their first splash as a mascot of corporate greed during a Senate hearing with Equifax’s CEO Richard Smith.Werner, dressed as Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags, sat just behind Smith for the entirety of his testimony, fiddling with a monocle and mopping their brow with oversize one hundred dollar bills.“Since Zuckerberg allowed millions of Russian trolls to undermine our democracy, I assume he won’t mind if one Russian troll undermines his credibility,” Werner said in a statement on the stunt.The gags are over the top, but they’re meant to draw attention to meaningful consumer causes.Werner’s Equifax appearance, an undertaking by an organization called Public Citizen, was focused on highlighting consumer-hostile forced arbitration clauses.
In the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has come under increasing scrutiny for the ways its platform can be misused.That scrutiny intensified greatly last month amid reports that a London-based data mining firm named Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained user data from as many as 87 million people — and that Facebook had failed to confirm that the company deleted the data as promised.The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating, and Congress is holding hearings.Meanwhile, Facebook faces at least three related crises: the data privacy scandal; the collapse of trust in the News Feed caused by revelations that Russian agents had flooded it with divisive content; and the broader reckoning over social media and whether it is good for us and democracy.Check back here for the latest developments on this story.
Lower costs of getting online, paired with near-ubiquitous cheap smartphones, has meant that more people are connected to the information superhighway than ever.Rather than being an anarchic wilderness where anyone can make their mark, the Internet is rapidly consolidating into the hands of a few key players.And that’s before we even get into the rapid spread of misinformation online, and the rapidly disappearing notion of digital privacy.Suffice to say, Mozilla is deeply concerned about the entrenched and dominating nature of a handful of companies (namely Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as a handful of Chinese giants: Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba).These companies, Mozilla says, have “become intertwined not only with our daily lives, but with the global economy, civic discourse, and democracy itself.” The non-profit best known for its Firefox web browser worries that the “monopolistic business practices” of these massive firms undermines privacy, opennness, and competition in the web.Mozilla is also worried about the spread of fake news, which has the capacity to misinform and even shape elections, with disastrous consequences for democracy.
In recent years, the notion of true artificial intelligence (AI) has undoubtedly surpassed merely a scientific abstraction.A number of weeks ago, the European Commission announced plans to investigate the ethics of AI via the launch of a new group.Tasked with assessing the benefits of the technology and its potential impact on the future of work, the group’s ultimate goal will be to make informed policy recommendations to facilitate the right kind of deployment.By the close of 2018, the expectations are that the group will have drafted a thorough set of guidelines for ethical advancements in the field across Europe.Specifically, its work will focus on fairness, transparency, the role of AI in the workplace, democracy, and whether or not the technology infringes upon the Charter of Fundamental Rights.At this moment in time, tech firms globally are pulling away from regulators in the race to shape the future of AI as it becomes more deeply embedded in our daily lives.
After finally agreeing to testify before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heads to Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday to answer for his company's recent troubles.Expect him to address Facebook's privacy policies, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco that ensnared the data of 87 million users, and Russia's repeated, ongoing efforts to use the platform to disrupt US democracy.Zuckberg's testimony will take place in two chunks.Tuesday, he'll sit before before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees, scheduled to start at 2:15 pm EDT.If you're a few minutes late tuning in, no worries; the House committee already released his prepared testimony.It hits a lot of the same notes as his recent call with reporters, with a healthy dose of contrition thrown in.