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Technology 15 June 2020

The Week in Internet News: Twitter Removes 170,000 Pro-China Accounts

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

No more tweets for you: Twitter has removed 170,000 accounts it says are tied to a coordinated pro-China campaign, BBC.com reports. A core network of nearly 24,000 accounts along with 150,000 “amplifier” accounts were among those removed, the company said. The accounts were pushing pro-communist messages while criticizing protestors in Hong Hong.

No more Zoom for you: Meanwhile, video conferencing giant Zoom has shut down the account of a pro-democracy activist on the request of the Chinese government, The Independent writes. The account was closed after Zhou Fengsuo and other activists held a digital event commemorating the 1989 Tienanmen Square Massacre. After criticism, Zoom reactivated the account.

Closing the gap: Sub-Saharan Africa is the Internet’s next frontier, writes Forbes contributor Miriam Tuerk. “Expanding network connectivity across sub-Saharan Africa will open up digital services that many of us now take for granted,” she says.  “Mobile Banking, WhatsApp chatting and video, e-health, e-education are key services only possible with reliable internet connectivity.”

Where’s the WiFi? The state of Michigan has launched a map of free WiFi hotspots in an effort to aid residents without Internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic, WKZO.com reports. “While public Wi-Fi hot spots are not a replacement for home connectivity, they are essential for those needing connectivity during a time when education, work, and healthcare are relying more and more on online platforms,” said Eric Frederick, executive director of Connected Nation Michigan.

Shutting down the production line: Vehicle maker Honda shut down a handful of production lines after being hit with a cyberattack, Ars Technica reports. Car factories in Ohio and Turkey and motorcycle plants in India and South America were reportedly shut down. The factories were allegedly hit with the Snake ransomware.

Counting your votes: The so-called holy grail of encryption could help move countries toward Internet voting, Builtin.com says. “Homomorphic encryption allows computation to be performed on encrypted data, including in cloud environments, and produce an encrypted result, which can then be decrypted, with the end result being the same as if you did math on unencrypted data.” In other words, voters could check if their votes were recorded. Still, many election security activists question the security of online voting.

Access to the Internet has never been more important. Learn about our work to help close the global digital divide.

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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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