At a glance.
- Effects of US riots on the Crypto Wars.
- US Government considers how, and whether, to regulate disinformation.
- Polish anti-censorship legislation.
- Update to list of Chinese companies sanctioned by the US for connections to the PLA.
Crypto wars dispatch: mandated access gaining momentum?
The Washington Post says the flood of US President Trump fans onto encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal in the wake of Parler’s closure could breathe new life into the crypto wars. Encryption proponents maintain that recent violence at the Capital was coordinated in the open, so any related revival of decryption arguments would represent strategic scaremongering, recalling that (violent-turning) summer protests also made use of the apps. Solorigate might present another reason to think twice about developing additional avenues for enemies to exploit. As an alternative to decryption, platforms could build in checks and balances by restricting group sizes and bolstering reporting channels. The Biden Administration’s position in the debate is not yet public.
Outlawing disinformation...misinformation to follow?
CyberScoop says the incoming Biden Administration, the next Congress, intelligence agencies, and tech companies all have a role to play in mitigating dis- and misinformation in a country (that would be the US) where by some estimates sixty percent of people don’t trust the news. Proposed solutions include a Federal “coronavirus misinformation role,” “an intelligence community lead” on disinformation, legislation establishing an anti-disinformation “coordinating body,” proactive deplatforming of “extremists,” and “media literacy” additions to public school curricula—which are some ways of looking at what will encourage trust in authorities.
Poland moves to block social media from censoring lawful speech.
The Guardian reports that Warsaw is moving to safeguard accounts that don’t violate national laws in the wake of Big Tech’s actions in the US. State officials condemned US President Trump’s deplatforming as “hypocritical” and “politically motivated.” The Prime Minister challenged the EU to develop comparable rules, commenting that “corporate giants should not decide which views are right” and drawing parallels to Poland’s experience under the Soviet Union. The proposed law would allow users to appeal content removal decisions and require platforms operating in Warsaw to abide by courts’ findings. An NGO observer said state laws are a preferable digital content regulator to private opinions, while critics claim the ruling party is just interested in protecting right-wing speech. (Past altercations between Facebook and politicians have led to cries that the company was controlled by “fascists and Bolsheviks.” We note that, historically, Fascists and Bolsheviks didn't consider themselves allies, which may suggest that Menlo Park is displeasing people in various places on the political spectrum. On the other hand Europe has a lot more direct experience of both fascism and bolshevism than does American, and a fortiori California.)
Update on US sanctions list of companies associated with the PLA.
A Reuters scoop says Chinese airplane manufacturer Comac and phone manufacturer Xiaomi are among the nine companies added to the Defense Department's investment sanctions list this week.