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Technology 17 December 2018

The Week in Internet News: Fallout from Australia’s Anti-Encryption Law

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossGuest AuthorTechnology Reporter

A lack of support: Australia’s new law requiring technology companies to give law enforcement agencies access to customers’ encrypted communications isn’t so popular with the public, The Economist reports. The government there received 343 public comments leading up to the vote in favor of the law, and only one person expressed support.

See also – Encryption: Why we’re in choppy water for the future of digital security

Minor offenses: Meanwhile, critics of the Australian law say it may be used to target suspects of minor crimes, The Guardian says. The law is neither “appropriate or proportionate,” one lawyer says. One of Australia’s spy chiefs is defending the law, however, saying it will be used to target terrorists, pedophiles, and other criminals, not law-abiding citizens, ABC News Australia reports.

Getting tough: The Russian parliament is planning to vote on a package of bills intended to increase penalties for spreading fake news, Euronews reports. One of the bills would allow for fines and a short jail sentence for people “expressing obvious disrespect” for society and state officials. The Dutch government is taking a different approach to fake news, by planning an online campaign to make voters aware of disinformation and help them recognize it, NLTimes says.

China vs. trolls: The Chinese government has detained 30 members of a so-called group of trolls that were paid to delete negative online posts about clients, The Star reports. Public relations firms were apparently paying the group.

No surprise here: Cyberattacks skyrocketed in 2018, with a whopping 350 percent increase in ransomware attacks, IndustryWeek reports. The average cost of a data breach also rose, from U.S. $4.9 million in 2017 to $7.5 million in 2018.

China vs. Marriott: Chinese hackers may be behind a huge data breach at the Marriott hotel chain, Time reports. U.S. authorities suspect the hackers were working on behalf of the Chinese intelligence agency. The recent data breach affected up to 500 million guests of the hotel group.

AI fears and opportunities: Artificial Intelligence has created fears about a loss of human control, a loss of human jobs, and data abuse, but AI developers can help ease those fears by focusing on human needs and working toward global agreements on the role of the technology, says a new Pew Research Center study.

Read “Customer Data Isn’t Always an Asset: Lessons from the Marriott Data Breach.”

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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