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. 

  • [BloombergThe 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…