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Technology 5 July 2021

The Week in Internet News: U.K. Government says ‘No Encryption for Kids’

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Less protection for kids: The U.K.’s Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport has recommended that children’s accounts on social media platforms and messaging services should not use end-to-end encryption, TechCrunch reports. In the effort to protect kids against online predators, cyber bullying and other bad stuff, the agency says children shouldn’t be protected against cybercrime, apparently.

Moving forward: The city of Knoxville, Tennessee, inspired by municipal broadband in Chattanooga, is planning to offer broadband through its utilities board, KnoxNews reports. The 1 gigabit service would be available to more than 200,000 households, with the first service available to some areas in 2022. The Knoxville Utilities Board plans to increase monthly electrical bills, eventually $10 a month more, to pay for the broadband network and other improvements, while it expects broadband customers to save $11 to $46 a month.

Dropbox hacking: Chinese hackers are targeting the emails of Afghan security officials with malware, and the hackers are using Dropbox folders to communicate between their systems and the infected computer, CyberScoop says. Because the traffic appeared as coming from Dropbox, it didn’t set off security alerts.

Russians get in on the action: Meanwhile, Russian hackers are misusing VPNs to hack hundreds of organizations worldwide, U.S. and U.K. officials say, as Reuters reports. The U.S. and U.K. accuse Unit 26165, the arm of Russia’s military spy agency also tied to hacks during the 2016 U.S. election, have been using VPNs and to conduct “widespread, distributed, and anonymized brute force access attempts against hundreds of government and private sector targets.”

Spendy gaming habit: A 7-year-old kid in the U.K. ran a bill of about US$1,775 in an hour playing a game on an iPhone, India Today says. The child’s father was forced to sell a family car to pay the bill, although he plans to dispute the charges in court. The game allowed multiple in-app purchases of up to US$135 at a time.

Blocking democracy: Authorities in the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), have ordered ISPs to shut down service to counter pro-democracy protests, IT News Africa says. The government has also ordered curfews and ordered businesses to close at 3:30 p.m.

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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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