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Sony Builds IoT Chip With a 60-Mile Range

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 05:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Sony is quietly launching a chip that could change how e-bikes, cars, street lamps and all kinds of other connected devices can relay information. The module, when installed on any IoT object, will allow it send data to Sony's proprietary low-power wide area (LPWA) ELTRES network launching this fall. It can transmit up to about 60 miles and work in noisy urban environments on objects moving at high speeds, opening up a lot of new applications in security, monitoring, tracking and more. Sony's ELTRES LPWA network harnesses low-power wireless technology to transfer low-bit data across a wide area, with lower power consumption, making it feasible to connect a wide range of devices. The CXM1501GR chip transmits signals in the 920MHz band to Sony's ELTRES network, and is also equipped with GPS/GNSS sensors to obtain time and position data. Sony said it'll work in a "broad range of IoT devices, aiming to develop various services making the most of stable wireless communications over long distances and while moving at high speeds, thereby creating a new market." In a use case document, Sony said the tech could be used to "help friends find each other at a ski hill," track wildlife, geolocate ships, follow yacht races, monitor bike rentals, while tracking numerous things like drones, rental cars and trains. The chip is limited to Japan for now, but Sony has launched an application program for interested companies and the company does have plans to build out the network.

Samsung's New Chips Support 100W USB-C Fast Charging

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 17:25
Samsung on Tuesday announced the launch of two new chips that it says will support secure, fast-charging USB-C power delivery controllers. "One of them, the SE8A, is what the company calls the industry's first solution that combines a power delivery controller and Secure Element in a single chip, offering new protections like security key storage," reports BGR. "Another result of the development of these new power delivery controllers is that Samsung's power chargers will now be able to support up to a 100W capacity: A 10x improvement over the 10W of a general smartphone charger." From the report: Samsung said the MM101 supports a symmetric encryption algorithm called the Advanced Encryption Standard that enables product authentication and includes moisture sensing capabilities to ensure safer charging conditions. The SE8A supports USB Type-C Authentication, the certificate-based authentication program for USB-C chargers and devices. "With enhanced security," Samsung explained in the announcement, "the SE8A opens possibilities for new kinds of content and services that may be exclusive to a certain brand, location or event." Today's announcement is also significant because Samsung says the new power delivery controllers meet the most recent USB specs for fast-charging which addresses things like compatibility and efficiency challenges across mobile devices and other electronics. Those challenges can have effects like causing a device to, for example, charge slower than usual in addition to compromising the battery's life cycle.

Chinese Military To Replace Windows OS Amid Fears of US Hacking

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 08:40
Amidst an escalating trade war and political tensions with the US, Beijing officials have decided to develop a custom operating system that will replace the Windows OS on computers used by the Chinese military. From a report: The decision, while not made official through the government's normal press channels, was reported earlier this month by Canada-based military magazine Kanwa Asian Defence. Per the magazine, Chinese military officials won't be jumping ship from Windows to Linux but will develop a custom OS. Thanks to the Snowden, Shadow Brokers, and Vault7 leaks, Beijing officials are well aware of the US' hefty arsenal of hacking tools, available for anything from smart TVs to Linux servers, and from routers to common desktop operating systems, such as Windows and Mac. Since these leaks have revealed that the US can hack into almost anything, the Chinese government's plan is to adopt a "security by obscurity" approach and run a custom operating system that will make it harder for foreign threat actors -- mainly the US -- to spy on Chinese military operations.

Huawei's Android Replacement OS Will Launch in June, Company Exec Says

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 07:25
Huawei's home-grown operating system -- codenamed HongMeng -- that's set to replace Android once the Huawei ban from Google comes into full effect, will be commercially rolled out next month, a Middle East head for the firm revealed exclusively to TechRadar Middle East. From a report: On May 20, Google announced that it would partially cut off Huawei devices from its Android operating system but was given an extension till August 19 by the US White House. "Huawei knew this was coming and was preparing. The OS was ready in January 2018 and this was our 'Plan B'," said Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East. "We did not want to bring the OS to the market as we had a strong relationship with Google and others and did not want to ruin the relationship. Now, we are rolling it out next month."

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen NSA Tool Wreaks Havoc

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 14:50
For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services. From a report: But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case. Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.'s own backyard. It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs. The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.

Japan To Limit Foreign Ownership of Firms in Its IT, Telecom Sectors

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 13:30
Japan's government said on Monday that high-tech industries will be added to a list of businesses for which foreign ownership of Japanese firms is restricted. From a report: The new rule, effective Aug. 1, comes amid heightening pressure from the United States in dealing with cyber-security risks and technological transfers involving China. The Japanese government made no mention of specific countries or companies that will be impacted by applying existing foreign ownership restrictions to the IT and telecoms industries. The announcement came on the same day visiting U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are holding talks in Tokyo on trade and other issues. The United States has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei Technologies could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.

CrossFit Storms Off Facebook and Instagram

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 17:34
"CrossFit, the branded workout regimen, deleted its Facebook and Instagram pages earlier this week and explained the reasoning through an impassioned press release," reports the Verge. TechSpot has more details: In a press release, CrossFit revealed the breaking point: the deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan user group, without warning or explanation. Banting is an alternative high-fat low-carb diet with no set meal times or processed foods, and its Facebook group had 1.65 million users, including 1 million from South Africa. The group mostly posts testimonials and discusses the merits of the diet or how it might be implemented. While the group has been reinstated (still without explanation), CrossFit is right to call into question why Facebook removed it in the first place. While Banting is probably inadvisable, groups advocating for it have a right to exist. Still, that's far from the only reason CrossFit abandoned the platforms... CrossFit sees itself as a community of 15,000 affiliates and millions of individuals against "an unholy alliance of academia, government, and multinational food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies," according to their press release -- so they may be feeling vulnerable. CrossFit, Inc. defends relentlessly the right of its affiliates, trainers, and athletes to practice CrossFit, build voluntary CrossFit associations and businesses, and speak openly and freely about the ideas and principles that animate our views of exercise, nutrition, and health... Facebook and its properties host and oversee a significant share of the marketplace of public thought... Facebook thus serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process. CrossFit, Inc., as a voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community. CrossFit says they're "suspending" all activity on the platforms while they investigate "the circumstances pertaining to Facebook's deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company," adding that CrossFit "will no longer support or use Facebook's services until further notice."

Strict 'Do Not Track' Law Proposed By US Senator

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 14:34
This week a Republican senator "unveiled a 'Do Not Track' bill with tough penalties for companies who break its protections," reports The Hill. Trailrunner7 shares more information from the security news site Decipher: Senator Hawley's bill makes the Federal Trade Commission the enforcement authority for the system and any person who violates the measure would be liable for penalties of $50 per user affected by a violation for every day that the violation is ongoing. "Big tech companies collect incredible amounts of deeply personal, private data from people without giving them the option to meaningfully consent. They have gotten incredibly rich by employing creepy surveillance tactics on their users, but too often the extent of this data extraction is only known after a tech company irresponsibly handles the data and leaks it all over the internet," Hawley said. "The American people didn't sign up for this, so I'm introducing this legislation to finally give them control over their personal information online.... [The bill] just says that a consumer can make a one time choice to not be tracked. I think we should make it compulsory and give it the force of law and give consumers real choice and force the companies to comply." DuckDuckGo's founder had proposed similar legislation, and the Hill reports that he's since been approached by "a few other" U.S. lawmakers. They also remind readers that a 2010 push for Do Not Track legislation "never panned out amid enormous pressure from industry representatives, who could not come to an agreement over what 'tracking' means in the first place... "Consumer advocates and tech industry critics say Hawley's bill could find better traction amid a larger backlash against tech behemoths including Google, Facebook and Amazon."

Neal Stephenson Says Social Media Is Close To A 'Doomsday Machine'

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 11:34
PC Magazine interviewed Neal Stephenson about his new upcoming book Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell, as well as "the digital afterlife, and why social media is a doomsday machine." [Possible spoilers ahead]: The hybrid sci-fi/fantasy novel begins in the present day with Richard "Dodge" Forthrast, an eccentric multibillionaire who made his fortune in the video game industry. When a freak accident during a routine medical procedure leaves him brain-dead, his family is left to contend with his request to have his brain preserved until the technology exists to bring him back to life. The near-future world of Fall is full of familiar buzzwords and concepts. Augmented reality headsets, next-gen wireless networks, self-driving vehicles, facial recognition, quantum computing, blockchain and distributed cryptography all feature prominently. Stephenson also spends a lot of time examining how the internet and social media, which Dodge and other characters often refer to in Fall as the Miasma, is irrevocably changing society and altering the fabric of reality... Q: How would you describe the current state of the internet? Just in a general sense of its role in our daily lives, and where that concept of the Miasma came from for you. Neal Stephenson: I ended up having a pretty dark view of it, as you can kind of tell from the book. I saw someone recently describe social media in its current state as a doomsday machine, and I think that's not far off. We've turned over our perception of what's real to algorithmically driven systems that are designed not to have humans in the loop, because if humans are in the loop they're not scalable and if they're not scalable they can't make tons and tons of money. The result is the situation we see today where no one agrees on what factual reality is and everyone is driven in the direction of content that is "more engaging," which almost always means that it's more emotional, it's less factually based, it's less rational, and kind of destructive from a basic civics standpoint... I sort of was patting myself on the back for really being on top of things and predicting the future. And then I discovered that the future was way ahead of me. I've heard remarks in a similar vein from other science-fiction novelists: do we even have a role anymore? Stephenson answered questions from Slashdot's reader in 2004, and since then has "spent years as an advisor for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' private space company Blue Origin," the article points out. He's also currently the "chief futurist" for Magic Leap -- though he tells his interviewer that some ideas go back much further. Part of his new book builds on "a really old idea" from security researcher Matt Blaze, who in the mid-1990s talked about "Encyclopedia Disinformatica", which Stephenson describes as "a sort of fake Wikipedia containing plausible-sounding but deliberately false information as a way of sending the message to people that they shouldn't just believe everything that they see on the internet."

Google Shut Out Baltimore Officials Using Gmail After Ransomware Attack

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 16:40
The Baltimore city government is recovering from a devastating ransomware attack that has locked up its systems, but officials in the city faced a new problem today. As first reported by The Baltimore Sun, Google blocked city departments from using Gmail accounts created as a workaround. The Verge reports: On May 7th, a ransomware attack froze government systems, including email, and demanded the city hand over bitcoin to reverse the hack. Weeks later, the city is still recovering from the attack, which has also shut down systems for paying water bills and some other services. While officials deal with the problem, which could still take months to fix, some have reportedly signed up for free Gmail accounts to keep operating. Gmail distinguishes between individual users and users in businesses and other organizations, requiring the latter to pay for the service. According to the Sun, which cited the mayor's office, Google's systems deemed the city officials to be part of an organization, and shut down the temporary accounts. Emails to the city health department, city council aides, and the mayor's office bounced on Thursday, according to the report from the Sun. UPDATE: Google has since fixed the problem. "We have restored access to the Gmail accounts for the Baltimore city officials," the spokesperson said. "Our automated security systems disabled the accounts due to the bulk creation of multiple consumer Gmail accounts from the same network."

First American Financial Corp. Leaked 885 Million Sensitive Title Insurance Records

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Krebs on Security: The Web site for Fortune 500 real estate title insurance giant First American Financial Corp. leaked hundreds of millions of documents related to mortgage deals going back to 2003, until notified this week by KrebsOnSecurity. The digitized records -- including bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and drivers license images -- were available without authentication to anyone with a Web browser. Santa Ana, Calif.-based First American is a leading provider of title insurance and settlement services to the real estate and mortgage industries. It employs some 18,000 people and brought in more than $5.7 billion in 2018. Earlier this week, KrebsOnSecurity was contacted by a real estate developer in Washington state who said he'd had little luck getting a response from the company about what he found, which was that a portion of its Web site (firstam.com) was leaking tens if not hundreds of millions of records. He said anyone who knew the URL for a valid document at the Web site could view other documents just by modifying a single digit in the link. And this would potentially include anyone who's ever been sent a document link via email by First American. KrebsOnSecurity confirmed the real estate developer's findings, which indicate that First American's Web site exposed approximately 885 million files, the earliest dating back more than 16 years. No authentication was required to read the documents. "As of the morning of May 24, firstam.com was returning documents up to the present day (885,000,000+), including many PDFs and post-dated forms for upcoming real estate closings," Krebs adds. "By 2 p.m. ET Friday, the company had disabled the site that served the records. It's not yet clear how long the site remained in its promiscuous state." A spokesperson for the company issued the following statement: "First American has learned of a design defect in an application that made possible unauthorized access to customer data. At First American, security, privacy and confidentiality are of the highest priority and we are committed to protecting our customers' information. The company took immediate action to address the situation and shut down external access to the application. We are currently evaluating what effect, if any, this had on the security of customer information. We will have no further comment until our internal review is completed."

Mobile Chrome, Safari and Firefox Failed To Show Phishing Warnings For More Than a Year

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:40
An anonymous reader writes: For more than a year, mobile browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari failed to show any phishing warnings to users, according to a research paper published this week. "We identified a gaping hole in the protection of top mobile web browsers," the research team said. "Shockingly, mobile Chrome, Safari, and Firefox failed to show any blacklist warnings between mid-2017 and late 2018 despite the presence of security settings that implied blacklist protection." The issue only impacted mobile browsers that sued the Google Safe Browsing link blacklisting technology. The research team -- consisting of academics from Arizona State University and PayPal staff -- notified Google of the problem, and the issue was fixed in late 2018. "Following our disclosure, we learned that the inconsistency in mobile GSB blacklisting was due to the transition to a new mobile API designed to optimize data usage, which ultimately did not function as intended," researchers said.

Julian Assange Charged in 18-Count Indictment For WikiLeaks Disclosures

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 12:19
Julian Assange was charged Thursday in an 18-count superseding indictment for his role in orchestrating the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures, described by the U.S. government as "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States." From a report: According to the Justice Department, the new charges from a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia allege that "Assange's actions risked serious harm to United States national security to the benefit of our adversaries." According to the DOJ announcement, Assange faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each charge with the exception of one charge related to conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange was previously indicted in April on a single-count conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge for his role in Chelsea Manning's disclosure of classified materials made public by WikiLeaks in 2010, which the government has called "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States."

Wikipedia To Fight Turkey Ban in European Human Rights Court

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 09:38
Wikmedia, the foundation that runs Wikipedia said Thursday it had filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights to lift Turkey's two-year block on the online encyclopedia. From a report: Wikipedia said the ban violates fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under the European Convention. The application, which was announced today during a press call, comes after Wikipedia's "continued and exhaustive" attempts to overturn the ban in Turkish courts failed to bear fruit. "Wikipedia is a global resource that everyone can be actively part of shaping," said Katherine Maher, Wikimedia executive director. "It is through this collective process of writing and rewriting and debate that Wikipedia becomes more useful, more comprehensive, and more representative. It is also through this process that we, a global society, establish a more comprehensive consensus on how we see the world." Turkey rolled out a blanket ban on Wikipedia citing national security concerns, in a move that has been widely condemned as a crackdown on free speech.

Senators Propose Bill Requiring Warrants To Search Devices at the Border

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 06:50
An anonymous reader shares a report: If you're taking a trip in to or out of the US, border agents currently have free rein to search through your digital devices. Unlike police, agents don't need a warrant to look through your phones, laptops and other electronics. Two US senators are hoping to change that with a bipartisan bill. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, on Wednesday introduced the Protecting Data at the Border Act, which would require agents to obtain a warrant before they can search Americans' devices at the border. The number of electronic searches at the border has spiked in the last four years. In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security conducted more than 33,000 searches on devices, compared with 4,764 searches in 2015. Customs and Border Protection declined to comment. "The border is quickly becoming a rights-free zone for Americans who travel. The government shouldn't be able to review your whole digital life simply because you went on vacation, or had to travel for work," Wyden said in a statement.

Phones Can Now Tell Who Is Carrying Them From Their Users' Gaits

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:30
PolygamousRanchKid shares an excerpt from a report via The Economist: Most online fraud involves identity theft, which is why businesses that operate on the web have a keen interest in distinguishing impersonators from genuine customers. Passwords help. But many can be guessed or are jotted down imprudently. Newer phones, tablets, and laptop and desktop computers often have beefed-up security with fingerprint and facial recognition. But these can be spoofed. To overcome these shortcomings the next level of security is likely to identify people using things which are harder to copy, such as the way they walk. Many online security services already use a system called device fingerprinting. This employs software to note things like the model type of a gadget employed by a particular user; its hardware configuration; its operating system; the apps which have been downloaded onto it; and other features, including sometimes the Wi-Fi networks it regularly connects through and devices like headsets it plugs into. LexisNexis Risk Solutions, an American analytics firm, has catalogued more than 4 billion phones, tablets and other computers in this way for banks and other clients. Roughly 7% of them have been used for shenanigans of some sort. But device fingerprinting is becoming less useful. Apple, Google and other makers of equipment and operating systems have been steadily restricting the range of attributes that can be observed remotely. That is why a new approach, behavioral biometrics, is gaining ground. It relies on the wealth of measurements made by today's devices. These include data from accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors, that reveal how people hold their phones when using them, how they carry them and even the way they walk. Touchscreens, keyboards and mice can be monitored to show the distinctive ways in which someone's fingers and hands move. Sensors can detect whether a phone has been set down on a hard surface such as a table or dropped lightly on a soft one such as a bed. If the hour is appropriate, this action could be used to assume when a user has retired for the night. These traits can then be used to determine whether someone attempting to make a transaction is likely to be the device's habitual user. If used wisely, the report says behavioral biometrics could be used to authenticate account-holders without badgering them for additional passwords or security questions; it could even be used for unlocking the doors of a vehicle once the gait of the driver, as measured by his phone, is recognized, for example. "Used unwisely, however, the system could become yet another electronic spy, permitting complete strangers to monitor your actions, from the moment you reach for your phone in the morning, to when you fling it on the floor at night," the report adds.

Millions of Golfers Land In Privacy Hazard After Cloud Misconfig

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 15:10
Millions of golfer records from the Game Golf app, including GPS details from courses played, usernames and passwords, and even Facebook login data, were all exposed for anyone with an internet browser to see -- a veritable hole-in-one for a cyberattacker looking to build profiles for potential victims, to be used in follow-on social-engineering attacks. Threatpost reports: Security Discovery researcher Bob Diachenko recently ran across an Elastic database that was not password-protected and thus visible in any browser. Further inspection showed that it belongs to Game Golf, which is a family of apps developed by San Francisco-based Game Your Game Inc. Game Golf comes as a free app, as a paid pro version with coaching tools and also bundled with a wearable. It's a straightforward analyzer for those that like to hit the links -- tracking courses played, GPS data for specific shots, various player stats and so on -- plus there's a messaging and community function, and an optional "caddy" feature. It's popular, too: It has 50,000+ installs on Google Play. Unfortunately, Game Golf landed its users in a sand trap of privacy concerns by not securing the database: Security Discovery senior security researcher Jeremiah Fowler said that the bucket included all of the aforementioned analyzer information, plus profile data like usernames and hashed passwords, emails, gender, and Facebook IDs and authorization tokens. In all, the exposure consisted of millions of records, including details on "134 million rounds of golf, 4.9 million user notifications and 19.2 million records in a folder called 'activity feed,'" Fowler said. The database also contained network information for the company: IP addresses, ports, pathways and storage info that "cybercriminals could exploit to access deeper into the network," according to Fowler, writing in a post on Tuesday. No word on whether malicious players took a swing at the data, as it were, but the sheer breadth of the information that the app gathers is concerning, Fowler noted.

Facial Recognition is Making Its Way To Cruise Ships

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:47
On May 14, San Francisco became the first US city to ban police and government agencies from using facial recognition. On May 22, Amazon shareholders will vote on whether to restrict the company's sale of its own facial recognition software. But at cruise operator Royal Caribbean, facial recognition still has plenty of potential. From a report: Like some airlines, Royal Caribbean has started to roll out facial recognition and other technologies to streamline its boarding process. The company's SVP of digital, Jay Schneider, tells Quartz that the typical wait time to board is 10 minutes with a mobile boarding pass; less if the passenger opts into facial recognition by uploading a "security selfie." Before those additions, he says the typical wait time was around 90 minutes. "We wanted it to be a welcoming experience, such that the agent knows who you are when you're getting there," Schneider says, adding that the company wants to turn facial recognition "not into a stop and frisk moment, but into a way to welcome you on vacation, answer any questions, and let me just get you on your way." As people churn through the line faster with mobile boarding passes and facial recognition, the rest of the line benefits as well -- that 90-minute wait will average more like 20 minutes for even those passengers boarding the old-fashioned way. Schneider says Royal Caribbean deletes security selfies at the end of each trip, to avoid storing data any longer than necessary. Royal Caribbean has also rolled out mobile boarding to board its crew members; Schneider says the technology saves the company 50,000 crew hours each year.

Indonesia Restricts WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram Usage Following Deadly Riots

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:08
Indonesia is the latest nation to hit the hammer on social media after the government restricted the use of WhatsApp and Instagram following deadly riots yesterday. From a report: Numerous Indonesia-based users are today reporting difficulties sending multimedia messages via WhatsApp, which is one of the country's most popular chat apps, and posting content to Facebook, while the hashtag #instagramdown is trending among the country's Twitter users due to problems accessing the Facebook-owned photo app. Wiranto, a coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, confirmed in a press conference that the government is limiting access to social media and "deactivating certain features" to maintain calm, according to a report from Coconuts. Rudiantara, the communications minister of Indonesia and a critic of Facebook, explained that users "will experience lag on Whatsapp if you upload videos and photos." Facebook -- which operates both WhatsApp and Instagram -- didn't explicitly confirm the blockages , but said it has been in communication with the Indonesian government.

Trump Administration Considers Banning Another Major Chinese Firm

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 05:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The U.S. administration is considering limits to Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision's ability to buy U.S. technology, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, in a move that deepens worries about trade frictions between the world's two top economies. The move would effectively place Hikvision on a U.S. blacklist and U.S. companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, the paper said. The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies from buying U.S. goods last week, effectively banning U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese firm, a major escalation in the trade war, saying Huawei was involved in activities contrary to national security. Hikvision and Dahua Technology which produce audio-visual equipment that can be used for surveillance were specifically cited in a letter to Trump's top advisers last month, signed by more than 40 lawmakers. The lawmakers said China's actions in its western region of Xinjiang "may constitute crimes against humanity" and urged tighter U.S. export controls to ensure that U.S. companies are not assisting the Chinese government's crackdown there. The issue stems around the facilities in China that "U.N. experts describe as mass detention centers holding more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims," reports CNBC. "Beijing has said its measures in Xinjiang, which are also reported to include widespread surveillance of the population, are aimed at stemming the threat of Islamist militancy. The facilities or camps that have opened are vocational training centers, the government has said."