Away For DEFCON: Your Hatemail News Roundup
~~ We’re attending the annual hacker conference, but still reading the news! ~~
Greetings from Las Vegas and Beyond!
This week, members of the LaBac team are attending DEFCON, the annual hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even though we’re running amok on the convention floor, we still put together some important headlines. Cheers!
Facebook Cracks Down on NYU Researchers
[Yahoo!] Facebook Inc. has disabled the personal accounts of NYU researchers Laura Edelson, Damon McCoy. Facebook claims that the researchers were scraping site data in a manner that violated the platform’s terms of service.
[Knight First Amendment Institute] Edelson and McCoy were studying political ads on the platform as part of research associated with NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy project and the NYU Ad Observatory. Edelson and McCoy said that they had been in months-long negotiations with Facebook before the profiles were shut down. You can read their statements here.
[Twitter] We also recommend taking a look at these comments by Ethan Zuckerman, founder of the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, about why the decision raises some alarming questions.
Major Moves in Cyber Policy Across the World
[U.S. White House] [Nextgov] Last week, the Biden administration released a memorandum from the White House on improving cybersecurity for critical infrastructure. The statement, which outlines the need for baseline performance goals and various security initiatives, follows the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that occurred back in May. The White House is also weighing the creation of a Bureau of Cyber Statistics.
[Haaretz] In our last issue of hatemail, we covered the Israeli cyber firm NSO Group and the worldwide reporting project that uncovered its misuse of its spyware product known as Pegasus. Haaretz reports that an emergency meeting was convened in the wake of the scandal.
[Bloomberg] The Chinese Communist Party’s regulation crackdown on cryptocurrency has many cryptocurrency miners leaving the country. Meanwhile, others are looking to lesser-known tokens and other strategies to evade government interference.
On Our Radar…
[arsTechnica] Zoom is to pay $85 million in a class-action lawsuit settlement over claims that the company lied about using end-to-end encryption. Instead of end-to-end encryption, Zoom gave user data to Facebook and Google without users’ consent, according to the settlement.
[Logically] Logically and the Global Network on Extremism and Technology released an assessment of QAnon activity on the popular messaging app Telegram and estimated 135,000+ active QAnon members.
[MIT Technology Review] So much this: “While women, and particularly women of color, are often the first people tech companies go to when they need to showcase their diversity... these women struggle to have their expertise taken seriously at the highest levels of management and are too rarely in a position to set the agenda for technological development.”
[Vice] [Kotaku] [Axios] [Verge] [PC Gamer] Game company Activision Blizzard is facing litigation related to workplace sexual assault and sex-based discrimination allegations. The many stories that are now coming to light about the predatory and hostile work culture at Blizzard are, frankly, unnerving and infuriating - though perhaps they are not surprising to those who have interacted with offending Bizzard employees. To be honest, our editors are just so sick of this shit they don’t really want to finish writing this blurb. Turns out the work culture at Blizzard is some unholy mix of revenge porn, the gender pay gap, “Wolf of Wall Street” fantasy LARPing, #Gamergate, and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s rapey entitlement.
Hate speech website: Telegram
Who hosts: Apple, Google (mobile apps)
Today’s site is Telegram. As we’ve written about for months, Telegram hosts the bulk of mainstream QAnon content and provides it in an accessible medium. With little to no content moderation, users can post and proliferate disinformation, non-consensual sexually explicit material, and fraud.
We believe it is time that Apple and Google enforce their own policies and warn Telegram that the content they allow to be posted can cause serious harm to users.
The world's best hacker conference is back, online and IRL - See you there!