At a glance.
- Chinese threat group deploys new Android spyware.
- Big Tech stands by objections to proposed EU law on terrorist content.
- State Department condemns Russian sentencing of US citizen for espionage.
Chinese threat group deploys new Android spyware.
Trend Micro is tracking a new campaign by Earth Empusa (also known as Poison Carp, a group believed to be linked to the Chinese government) against Uyghurs in Tibet. The campaign uses a new strain of Android spyware, ActionSpy, Modularized and typically distributed in watering hole attacks, ActionSpy has also been used against a travel agency in Taiwan and political and media organizations in Turkey. The Muslim Uyghur minority in China has long been a target of domestic surveillance.
EU law on terrorist content "unworkable," says Big Tech.
According to the Telegraph, Microsoft and Google are standing by their earlier statements to the European Union that the EU's proposed Terrorist Content Regulation would be "unworkable." The Regulation, which seems likely to pass, would require online platforms to remove terrorist content within one hour of it's identification as such. The one-hour deadline is too short, say both Redmond and Mountain View. It would not only prove effectively impossible to implement in practice, they contend, but it would also drive companies toward greater surveillance and more censorship of online content. In this some European civil liberties agree, seeing the Regulation as a threat to freedom of speech.
Snapchat is an outlier in the tech sector, saying that it's now of the opinion that the Regulation might be workable. Penalties would be heavy: companies found to be out of compliance could be fined up to four percent of annual revenues.
US objects to 16-year espionage sentence for former Marine.
Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who holds US, British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, has been sentenced to sixteen years for espionage by Moscow City Court. The US Department of State has protested the trial as violating the rights of due process Russia is obliged to accord defendants under international agreements. Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty has a review of the case. US Secretary of State Pompeo has officially demanded Mr. Whelan's immediate release, saying:
"The United States is outraged by the decision of a Russian court today to convict U.S. citizen Paul Whelan after a secret trial, with secret evidence, and without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses. We have serious concerns that Mr. Whelan was deprived of the fair trial guarantees that Russia is required to provide him in accordance with its international human rights obligations.
"The treatment of Paul Whelan at the hands of Russian authorities has been appalling. Russia failed to provide Mr. Whelan with a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal; and during his detention has put his life at risk by ignoring his long-standing medical condition; and unconscionably kept him isolated from family and friends."