• Israel Tries to Limit Fallout from the Pegasus Spyware Scandal

    Israel has been trying to limit the damage the Pegasus spyware scandal is threatening to do to France-Israel relations. The Moroccan intelligence service used the software, made by an Israeli company with close ties to Israel’s defense and intelligence establishments, to spy on dozens of French officials, including fourteen current and former cabinet ministers, among them President Emmanuel Macron and former prime minister Edouard Phillipe. It would not be unreasonable for the French intelligence services to assume that there was a measure of Israeli spying on France involved here, with or without the knowledge of the Moroccans. Macron, in a phone conversation with Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett, pointedly asked for an explanation.

  • China Used Vaccines, Trade to Get Ukraine to Drop Support for Xinjiang Scrutiny

    On 22 June, Ukraine signed a UN-sponsored document, along with more than 40 other countries, calling for China to allow independent observers immediate access to Xinjiang, where Beijing is operating a camp system that UN officials estimate has interned more than 1 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities. Two days later, Ukraine withdrew its signature after China threatened to limit trade with Ukraine and withhold Ukrainian access to COVID-19 vaccines.

  • U.S. Leads Coalition Accusing China of Hacking

    On 19 July, the United States joined other countries in condemning the hacking by Chinee government hackers of Microsoft Exchange email server software. Despite the condemnations, there have not been any sanctions against China for its role in the breach, leading critics to charge that the Biden’s response was weak and “not proportionate to the severity of the breach.” Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde write that “Part of the problem is that escalatory retaliation carries special risks to a highly digitized society like the United States. Accordingly, some commentators assess that Biden’s response is properly calibrated to the risks.”

  • U.K. COVID “Pingdemic” Sparks Labor Shortage

    More than 600,000 people have been pinged by the U.K.’s coronavirus warning app and told to self-isolate. Business leaders warn that the lack of available workers is putting the economic recovery at risk.

  • U.S. “Undeterred” over China Sanctions

    Earlier Friday, China sanctioned former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and several other Americans who have been involved in U.S. China trade policies and human rights issues, following Washington’s sanctions against seven deputy directors and the director of Beijing’s Hong Kong liaison office. The White House said Friday that it is “undeterred” by the latest Chinese sanctions.

  • High-Tide Flood Risk Is Accelerating, Putting Coastal Economies at Risk

    The frequency of high-tide flooding along the U.S. coasts has doubled since 2000, and it’s expected to increase five to 15 times more in the next 30 years. Already, areas at risk from sea level rise have seen decreases in property values, particularly where cities and homeowners haven’t taken steps to increase flood resilience. Insurance premiums are beginning to increase to reflect actual risk, and bond ratings are increasingly being tied to the resilience efforts of communities.

  • France Accuses China of “Vast” Cyberattacks Campaign against French Organizations, Companies

    The director-general of ANSSI, France’s cyber defense agency, said France has been under a sustained and sever cyberattacks by Chinese government hackers since the beginning of the year. France has so far abstained from publicly attributing cyberattacks on its infrastructure or on French companies.

  • Pegasus Project Shows the Need for Real Device Security, Accountability and Redress for those Facing State-Sponsored Malware

    It is no surprise that people around the world are angry to learn that surveillance software sold by NSO Group to governments has been found on cellphones worldwide. People all around the world deserve the right to have a private conversation. Communication privacy is a human right, a civil liberty, and one of the centerpieces of a free society. And while we all deserve basic communications privacy, the journalists, NGO workers, and human rights and democracy activists among us are especially at risk, since they are often at odds with powerful governments.

  • Spyware: Why the Booming Surveillance Tech Industry Is Vulnerable to Corruption and Abuse

    The latest revelations about NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware are the latest indication that the spyware industry is out of control, with licensed customers free to spy on political and civilian targets as well as suspected criminals. We may be heading to a world in which no phone is safe from such attacks.

  • Growing Unease in Israel over Pegasus Case

    Israel is worried that the Pegasus spyware revelations may turn a PR black eye into a diplomatic crisis. Israel never exhibited any qualms about dealing with and selling arms to pretty unsavory regimes, but such deals were typically kept secret. The fact that the Israeli Ministry of Defense authorized the NSO Group to sell the Pegasus spyware to regimes which then used it to spy on opposition figures, civil society activists, and journalists – and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, to track Jamal Khashoggi and kill him — has raised questions about what did the government know and when did it know it.

  • Macron’s Secure Mobile Phone Compromised by Pegasus Spyware

    The secure smartphone of French president Emmanuel Macron was compromised by the Pegasus surveillance malware. It was surreptitiously installed by Moroccan intelligence operatives, who introduced the virus into the phones of former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and fourteen other current and former French cabinet ministers.

  • Citizenship and Bank Access for Immigrants Would Add “Enormous Amount of Money” to U.S. Economy

    Immigrants living in the U.S. illegally have been an “unrecognized driver of the economy for decades,” writes an immigration researcher. By limiting immigrants’ economic options, the U.S. is missing out on additional growth in its own economy — especially with an aging American population, he argues.

  • Journalists, Activists among 50,000 Targets of Israeli Spyware: Reports

    Israeli cyber firm NSO Group claims that its Pegasus surveillance malware is sold to governments so they can better track terrorists and criminals, but many of the 45 governments deploying the surveillance software use it to track journalists, opposition politicians, and civil society activists. Some of these governments are authoritarian (for example, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, UAE, Saudi Arabia). Other are democracies (for example, India, Mexico, South Africa). The only EU member country to deploy the surveillance malware is Hungary, which places it in violation of the EU’s strict privacy and surveillance regulations.

  • China Spy Agency Using Contract Hackers to Extort, Destabilize Western Companies

    The United States and its allies in Europe and Asia have charged that China’s Ministry of State Security is employing criminal contract hackers to conduct cyber operations globally, from which the hackers personally profit. The activities include ransomware operations against private companies which are forced to pay millions in ransom demands to regain access to their data.

  • Chinese Company’s Global Genetic Data Collection Poses Economic, Security Threats: Experts

    A Chinese gene company is collecting genetic data through prenatal tests from women in more than 50 countries— including Germany, Spain and Denmark, as well as in Britain, Canada, Australia, Thailand, India and Pakistan. Collecting the biggest and most diverse set of human genomes could propel China to dominate global pharmaceuticals, and also potentially lead to genetically enhanced soldiers, or engineered pathogens to target the U.S. population or food supply, biosecurity experts told Reuters.