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Technology 12 April 2021

The Week in Internet News: Encryption Faces Serious Threats

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Encryption in danger: Encryption is essential, but a number of countries are trying to weaken its protections, Wired.com says. Recent attempts to weaken encryption have happened in Germany, Brazil, India, and other countries. “Technical as encryption can be, it is really about something at the very core of how we live our lives today: Should people be able to have a private conversation when they are not together in person?”

Spurring community broadband: Vermont lawmakers are trying to encourage the growth of municipal broadband services in the state, Seven Days reports. Legislation there would pump up volunteer-run communications districts that offer broadband services. A bill in the legislature there would redirect federal broadband aid to these communications districts.

School-based broadband: A school district in Illinois has built a private LTE-based wireless network to provide students with connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, KMOV reports. The Collinsville School District, using federal funding, built a cell tower at an elementary school and installed micro cells in several other places. The district also provided the equipment for 500 students for Internet access at home.

Super blacklist: The U.S. government has added seven Chinese supercomputing organizations to a trade blacklist over their alleged connections to the Chinese military, the South China Morning Post says. The U.S. has targeted four of China’s seven national supercomputer centers, and it has raised concerns about the use of supercomputers in weapons programs.

Dialing Zuck: The cell phone number of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was leaked as part of a massive breach of the personal data of Facebook users, Business Insider says. The personal data of more than 500 million Facebook users was breached in the hack. The posting of the entire dataset on the hacking forum for free could now make it widely available to anyone with rudimentary data skills.

Brain pong: Neuralink, Elon Musk’s computer-to-brain interface company, has released a video claiming to show a monkey playing the video game Pong with its mind, the BBC reports. The macaque monkey, named Pager, was originally taught to play the video game with a joystick and was rewarded with a fruit smoothie.

Protect encryption, protect our data, and protect each other.

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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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