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Technology 19 October 2020

The Week in Internet News: Seven Countries Repeat Calls for Encryption Backdoors

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Here we go again: Seven countries, including the U.S., U.K., Japan, and India, are again pushing tech companies to provide encryption backdoors for law enforcement, The Verge reports. The new international statement says encryption poses “significant challenges to public safety.” The U.S. and allies have long pushed for backdoors, even as security advocates have warned that criminals will find ways to exploit holes in encryption.

ISPs protest: ISPs in Dhaka, Bangladesh, are threatening to shut down service for three hours a day over a dispute on overhead wire replacement, Dhaka Tribune reports. The city is planning to move the wires underground, but ISPs are concerned about potential problems during the switch. Threatening a blackout to protest potential blackouts seems counterproductive.

Decency police: The government of Pakistan has banned short video app TikTok over “immoral and indecent” content, Al Jazeera says. It’s unclear what TikTok content the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority found offensive. A kickboxer in the country, hoping to market his training services on TikTok, challenged the ban, however, Reuters reports. “If TikTok can be banned even though it has millions of videos because of a few offensive ones, why can’t the whole internet be shut down?” the kickboxer’s lawyer said.

Hackers unleashed: Two government institutions in Iran have been targeted by hackers in recent days, the government says. It’s unclear which institutions were targeted, Reuters reports. However, they were “large scale” attacks, a government official said.

Social censorship: Republicans in the U.S. Senate are accusing Facebook and Twitter of censorship after the two social media outlets took down a New York Post story about presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, says the National Review on Yahoo News. Republicans want to subpoena the two companies’ CEOs over the story, which quotes unsubstantiated emails.

Social regulation: Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Communication Commission will move to regulate social media and limit lawsuit protections for user-generated content, The Verge says. Democrat Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel voiced opposition. “The FCC has no business being the president’s speech police.”

Read the statement from the Global Encryption Coalition: CDT, GPD, and Internet Society Reject Time-Worn Argument for Encryption Backdoors.

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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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