At a glance.
- Russia doesn't much care for Starlink.
- Washington mulls Solorigate response and recovery.
- Facebook's showdown with Australian law.
Russia nixes SpaceX Starlink Internet service.
The Motley Fool says fast Internet for all, even those in the sticks, is a goal of SpaceX’s Starlink project, but Moscow isn’t having it. The 100 mbps service was first extended to Alaska and Canada, then the UK, and by the close of 2021, could span the globe. With an eye to domestic surveillance, national security, and its own satellite Internet venture (“Sphere”), Russia is weighing regulation that would fine residents and firms for using foreign-run services. Starlink will survive the slight, given the 3 billion other currently unconnected prospective clients worldwide.
Washington sets SolarWinds remediation expectations; onlookers clamor for action.
In a press briefing yesterday, according to CyberScoop, Solorigate czar Anne Neuberger warned that “we’re at the beginning stages of understanding” the breach, and remediation will likely take months. Efforts are complicated by the fact that attackers worked in private sector systems (into which intelligence services have limited sight), targeted identity protocols (“the hardest to clean up”), and staged the hack from within the States. Neuberger said her team will probably discover additional follow-on incursions, and possibly activity that would fall beyond the scope of espionage. “It’s fundamentally of concern for the ability of this to become disruptive,” she remarked.
While an executive order initiating an analysis of domestic supply chain concerns is anticipated shortly, an opinion piece in The Hill demands bolder action in the form of incentivized public-private info sharing and “collective defense,” clarified Federal roles, investments in state-of-the-art technology, and Government authority to surveil private networks.
A Lawfare essay explains the rationale behind the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s recommendation to grant the Secretary of Homeland Security the ability to declare a “cyber state of distress” and access a “cyber response and recovery fund.” Funds would facilitate technical support for events that jeopardize national interests and surpass routine capacities but not the Federal Emergency Management Agency threshold for disasters.
Morrison to Zuckerberg: slap leather.
As we’ve seen, the House of Zuckerberg is peeved with Canberra legislation that singles out Google and Facebook, requiring the tech giants to compensate media outlets, disclose information about how they collect and process user data, and notify outlets four weeks in advance of relevant algorithmic changes.
According to the Associated Press, one concern of Facebook’s was that news fees would be “entirely uncapped and unknowable,” but Australia recently amended the bill to clarify that payments would be “lump sum.” Still, Facebook contends “the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers,” with Facebook producing roughly AU$400 million for publishers last year, and the law “seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for.” (Critics maintain the platforms profit from news engagement, user data, and ads.)
While Google continues to strike backroom deals, SeekingAlpha reports Facebook has made good on its promise to cut off in-country access to foreign and domestic outlets and international access to Australian outlets. The Guardian has Prime Minister Morrison’s response: “Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing” and “confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech.” One publisher urged the Government to “stand firm and call Facebook’s bluff,” but the Treasurer indicated Australia may be open to negotiation.
Ex-PM Turnbull called the move “a very foreseeable” result of Canberra’s “holding a gun to the head of private businesses,” saying, “The government will get fantastic publicity…because every media outlet in Australia has a conflict of interest.”