Twitter Starts Flagging Tweets From World Leaders That Break its Rules

· · Link

In a blog post today, Twitter said it would start labeling tweets from Donald Trump government officials that break its rules against bullying and abusive behavior.

A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable.With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules.

On the rare occasions when this happens, we’ll place a notice – a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet – to provide additional context and clarity. We’ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service.

Governments Are Terrible at Securing Data

· · Link

It absolutely infuriates me when agencies like the FBI, and governments like Australia, the U.S., Germany, and more want us to break encryption or circumvent it with a back door. As Mathew Gault writes, they are completely inept at securing data. Even the NSA, which likes to think it’s the “world leader in cryptology” got hacked.

Regular phone and internet users remain vulnerable, forced to take individual protective measures, like a poor wage-worker without health insurance who’s told to secure her nest egg by cutting out morning lattes.

It’s Not Just Apple: Antitrust Probe Aimed at Facebook, Google, More

· · Link

It’s not just Apple anymore. A new antitrust probe launched by the House of Representatives examines Facebook, Google, and other tech giants.

“Big Tech plays a huge role in our economy and our world,” said Ranking Member Collins (R-GA). “As tech has expanded its market share, more and more questions have arisen about whether the market remains competitive. Our bipartisan look at competition in the digital markets gives us the chance to answer these questions and, if necessary, to take action. I appreciate the partnership of Chairman Nadler, Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline and Subcommittee Ranking Member Sensenbrenner on these important issues.”

Good to see that it’s a bipartisan probe.

The Splinternet is Growing Bigger

· · Link

The splinternet, also known as cyberbalkanization, refers to how governments split the World Wide Web into national internets.

It’s not just authoritarian countries trying to bend the global web to national values. The same social media companies that gave rise to unrest in the Middle East have come under fire in the West for allowing their services to be used to promote hatred and terrorism. In response, England and Australia have recently passed laws demanding tech firms provide easier access to web users’ communications.

Sometimes I think that in the future there will be no internet. There won’t be a web browser, there will just be apps that are easier to censor and control.

U.S. Government Tracks Journalists in Database

· · Link

A startling investigation by NBC 7 journalists reveals how the U.S. government tracks journalists through use of a database.

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.

In fact, their own government had listed their names in a secret database of targets, where agents collected information on them. Some had alerts placed on their passports, keeping at least two photojournalists and an attorney from entering Mexico to work.

This is why private services like end-to-end encrypted messaging apps are so important. It’s bad enough if a foreign government is surveilling you. We don’t need our own government to do the same.

Huawei Suing U.S. Government Over Ban

· · Link

Huawei is suing the U.S. government because its products were banned from being used by federal agencies.

According to one of the people familiar with the matter, Huawei’s lawsuit is likely to argue that the provision is a “bill of attainder,” or a legislative act that singles out a person or group for punishment without trial. The Constitution forbids Congress from passing such bills.

Feds Share Terrorist Watch List With 1,400 Private Companies

· · Link

The federal government shares its terrorist watch list with over 1,400 private companies, including hospitals and universities. The government has insisted for years it doesn’t share it with private companies, only to have lied this whole time. Why would it be a big deal? It’s relatively easy for innocent people to end up on the list.

The government’s admission comes in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Alexandria by Muslims who say they regularly experience difficulties in travel, financial transactions and interactions with law enforcement because they have been wrongly added to the list. The Associated Press is the first to report on the disclosure after reviewing the case documents.

What Happens When U.S. Personnel Serve a Foreign Intelligence Agency?

· · Link

Remember that story about the iPhone hacking tool called Karma? Lawfare published a good piece detailing the consequences of U.S. spies working for a foreign intelligence agency.

Along the way, the Americans came to appreciate that their efforts at times did indeed include surveillance of political opponents of UAE authorities, and further that the UAE service at times targeted Americans despite assurances that this would not occur (or at least that the operations Project Raven in particular conducted or supported would not be directed at Americans).

That’s probably the biggest point of the story. Americans spying on Americans on behalf of another country.

Sorry, Facebook Messenger Decryption is Secret

· · Link

Yesterday a U.S. judge ruled that a secret government effort to compel Facebook to decrypt Messenger voice conversations won’t be revealed.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public’s right to know the state of the law on encryption outweighed any reason the U.S. Justice Department might have for protecting a criminal probe or law-enforcement method.

One word: PRISM.

Apple Doesn't Treat Roger Stone Any Differently

· · Link

During Robert Mueller’s investigation they discovered Paul Manafort had tampered with witnesses. How was this discovered? Unencrypted WhatsApp messages that were backed up to iCloud. Apple handed over Roger Stone’s iCloud data, and apparently some people are angry. Stephen Silver breaks the issue down and says there is no double standard.

The argument went that Apple had refused to create a backdoor for the iPhone in the case of the one of the San Bernardino shooters following the December 2015 shooting. Yet, they were perfectly willing to easily hand over Manafort’s iCloud data. Why protect the privacy of terrorists, when they won’t do it for everybody?

Chinese Hackers Threaten the Internet and Democracy

· · Link

Over the past decade Chinese hackers have been increasingly attacking the United States and other countries that threaten the hegemony of The Party.

Many thought the internet would bring democracy to China. Instead it empowered rampant government oppression, and now the censors are turning their attention to the rest of the world.

Chinese hacking groups fall under the category of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). The United States and China have this weird, sadomasochistic relationship, and while I don’t believe in trade wars, I think it’s important we send a message that the U.S. won’t tolerate such egregious behavior from our partners.