Myanmar university students rally near Chinese embassy, protest SEAFOOD

Myanmar military protest
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YANGON, Myanmar – University students in Yangon rallied near the Chinese embassy Feb. 27 and called for the Chinese government not to cooperate with the Myanmar military.

Protesters in Myanmar suspect that China is transporting hardware devices to build a firewall for controlling the internet in Myanmar. When the protesters asked the question, the embassy told them that China was sending SEAFOOD to Myanmar. “SEAFOOD” is defines as Software Engineering Approaches for Offshore and Outsourced Development.

There are three main telecommunication companies in Myanmar: MPT, Ooredo and Telenor have provided faster internet connections since 2014.

At present, there is an internet blackout between 1am to 9am daily throughout Myanmar, and when it is available, internet connections are slower than before the military grabbed power from the democratically-elected government.

By Htay Win
Featured image credit: Sit Htet Aung

Brazilian Supreme Court rules there is no right to be forgotten in media

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SAO PAULO – Despite a 2018 decision that allows the right to de-indexation of certain information from search engines, a majority of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) has voted that there is no right to prevent media from disclosing truthful old information obtained legally, citing the Freedom of Expression Clause of the Brazilian Constitution and noting that such right does not degrade over time. The ruling sets precedent to guide jurisprudence over similar cases that come before the courts.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Chinese Brand Enters Top 10 Most Valuable, Along With 9 American Brands

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Who is Tencent? It’s the largely unknown (maybe because it’s pretty media shy) parent company of China’s ubiquitous WeChat social media app.

Their market cap is $330b, more than JPMorgan Chase.

500m people in China (of 650m total) use WeChat for communicating, finding goods and services, getting directions, and paying for things.

Who else is on the top 10 list?

Google is still #1, for the last 11 years. It’s market cap is around 600b.

After that, there’s Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, AT&T, Visa, Tencent at #8, IBM, and McDonald’s.

A Global Anti-Hoax Mechanism?

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This was the idea advocated by a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson at this years SPIEF economic forum. She was speaking at the “Hoax vs. Truth: challenges of the modern information world” session.

“We are trying to somehow spur a discussion regarding the creation of a certain global mechanism, an instrument that would counteract the spread of false information,” she said. She gave some details about the projects, saying it would involve the collaboration of journalists and news organizations with outreach in various parts of the world.

She said that Russia also advocated working on some kind of framework for snuffing out fake information when it attended the UN’s information committee 2 months ago, but that the U.S. had opposed it.

However, Russia is not known for reliable information coming from its state-run and state-dominated media, and the chief of Germany’s DPA news agency commented that such a program might lead to further censorship and a new “Ministry of Truth.”

Russian Gov Wants Control of Big Data

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Big Data is the “new oil” of the digital economy, according to speakers at Russia’s 2017 SPIEF economic forum.

In order to prevent uncontrolled sales of this valuable and important info, the government should streamline and oversee it, according to the participants.

The chips haven’t yet settled in the global understanding of how we should treat Big Data. Is it private information or public domain? is one of the most pressing questions around which laws and regulations will be made.

“Right now we are undergoing a major revolutionary upheaval in the society,” noted residential aide Igor Shchegolev, “not only a technological revolution, but a revolution of moral standards as well.” He said that sometimes ordinary citizens don’t understand what they’re doing, and inadvertently give away too easily things like personal information.

“Maybe some of the users will do what Native Americans did, when they traded their land for glass beads, unaware of its true value,” he added.

“Today, a vast amount of Internet companies offer software for free, but collect Big Data on users in return,” commented Alexander Zharov, the head of Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. “Currently, the Russian legislation and international laws do not mention the notion of Big Data. We need to codify approaches toward the processing of Big Data, terms of its storage, transfer and secondary use.”

“My forecast is that a law on the issue will inevitably appear,” maybe in 2018 or 2019, he told reporters on the sidelines of the forum.

BC Trials to Take Place in Digital Small Claims Court Now

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In an attempt to increase citizens’ access to justice and make small claims faster, cheaper and easier, the province has launched its online Civil Resolution Tribunal.

The new online tribunal is the first in Canada where these types of disputes (contracts, debts, personal injury, personal property and consumer issues for values under $5000) can be filed, negotiated, and resolved almost all online, with simple explainers of options and procedures.

B.C. has already been letting condo owners settle strata disputes online since last year.

The Ministry of Justice also raised the jurisdiction of B.C. small claims to $35,000, up from $25,000.

Microsoft Obtains Patent to Use for Detecting Pirated Content

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The company was granted a patent for technology that scans items users have stored on the cloud when they are shared.

Microsoft envisions using software based on the patent for services like Google Drive, Dropbox and other storage services, social networks, and pirate sites.

A summary of how the patent is understood: “When objects are shared by one user with another user, prohibited content, if identified as such, can be blocked from being shared, while the remainder of the shared objects can be accessed by the other user.”

Microsoft intends that people who share copyrighted content can be banned.

It is illegal to share copyrighted content, although not illegal to store it on the cloud.

FCC Vote, ‘One Step Closer to a Closed Internet’ Says Mozilla

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This week the FCC voted to move forward with repealing and replacing net neutrality protections enacted in 2015.

The issue is public access to an open, equal internet. The laws from 2015 placed providers (the companies that pipe internet into your house or phone) in a special category of communications. The laws made it so that internet providers couldn’t increase or decrease internet speeds for whatever content, apps, or services they wanted to prioritize. Citizens feared this would lead to service providers throttling content and apps they didn’t profit from while boosting stuff they could profit from.

While recent polling suggests the majority of Americans want net neutrality, the argument was given voice by Mozilla (who makes the Firefox browser). Mozilla summarized:

“Today’s FCC vote to repeal and replace net neutrality protections brings us one step closer to a closed internet. Although it is sometimes hard to describe the ‘real’ impacts of these decisions, this one is easy: this decision leads to an internet that benefits Internet Service Providers (ISPs), not users, and erodes free speech, competition, innovation and user choice.”

Mozilla blog

Microsoft Blaming NSA for WannaCry Malware Pandemic

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Microsoft President Brad Smith complained that various governments “stockpile vulnerabilities.”

In other words, governments and agencies find weaknesses in technology and then keep that information to themselves in case they want to use it.

Smith said the current WannaCry malware event was a very rare one, combining a piece of very sophisticated software (to do the exploit) with a simpler piece (to do the ransom), conducted by a criminal organization.

To accusations Microsoft didn’t do enough to alert people about the danger, Smith said, “Microsoft has the first responsibility.” He called it a “wake-up call for us,” and that “we should all learn from this.”

In response to questions about whether the NSA told Microsoft they had a tool that exploited the vulnerability, Smith said, “I don’t want to go into the specifics about how we learned this particular problem, or by whom or when. It is a public record that we provided a patch in March. There wasn’t a public statement until April.

“But what I think is also important: We need the global community to come together.”

China Making It’s Own Wikipedia, but Public Can’t Edit It

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The government, which enforces strict censorship of media, has decided it needs its own online encyclopedia. Wikipedia, like many other popular free information sources on the internet, is blocked in China.

China’s encyclopedia will not be like Wikipedia, though. It will not allow public edits, and its editors will be hand-picked by the government.

The want to put together 300,000 entries. Analysts have said they do not expect to see subjects China does not like to talk about, such as “Tiananmen Square 1989” and “Falun Gong spiritual group” to be included.

Leaked Doc Reveals UK Plans for Wider Internet Surveillance

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No more end-to-end encryption is one of the consequences of a new law proposed in a draft in the UK.

The authors of the draft want to force internet providers to monitor all communications in near realtime, as well as install backdoor equipment to break encryption, so providers can be required to turn over communications to authorities “in an intelligible form” (non-encrypted) within one working day.

In the UK, law already requires internet providers to store all browsing data for 1 year.

It isn’t yet known how the requirement for a backdoor will work, since many messaging and other apps use end-to-end encryption for security, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Wire, and iMessage, and these apps are based outside of the UK.

Huge Malware Attack Affects 70 Countries

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Most prominent among the victims: The UK’s National Health Service. Dozens of hospitals and medical centers had to be closed. Treatment was postponed, ambulances diverted. Appointments couldn’t be made because it was too dangerous. Medical workers had no access to important information.

However, some security firms reported that most of the affected computers were in Russia.

It has been reported that the hackers may have used a tool that was a NSA secret before it was leaked to the public earlier this year.