Amnesty International spearphished with government spyware — Naked Security

Pegasus spyware is supposed to be used solely by governments, to enable them to invisibly track criminals and terrorists

via Amnesty International spearphished with government spyware — Naked Security

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PNW Explored – San Juan Whale watching — Streets of Nuremberg

Our trip to the Pacific Northwest began with a memorable whale watching trip out of Anacortes. Check out the Orca encounters in the post.

via PNW Explored – San Juan Whale watching — Streets of Nuremberg

Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

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August 01, 2018

After an eight-year-long absence from the most populated country in the world, Google search is going to dramatically make a comeback in China.

Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that is going to blacklist certain websites and search terms to comply with Chinese government’s attempts to censor the Internet, a whistleblower revealed.

According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, CEO Sundar Pichai met with a Chinese government official in December 2017 to re-enter the world’s largest market for internet users.

Project Dragonfly — Censored Google Search Engine

Since spring last year Google engineers have been secretly working on a project, dubbed “Dragonfly,” which currently includes two Android mobile apps named—Maotai and Longfei—one of which will get launched by the end of this year after Chinese officials approve it.

The censored version of Google search engine in the form of a mobile app reportedly aims to “blacklist sensitive queries” and filter out all websites (news, human rights, democracy, religion) blocked by the Chinese government, including Wikipedia, BBC News, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Besides this, Google will also blacklist words like human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protests in Chinese of its search engine app.

“Documents seen by The Intercept, marked ‘Google confidential,’ say that Google’s Chinese search app will automatically identify and filter websites blocked by the Great Firewall,” Intercept’s journalist Ryan Gallagher said.

The censorship will also be embedded in Google’s image search, spell check, and suggested search features, which eventually means the search engine will not display Chinese users potentially “sensitive” terms or images banned by their government.

Some 200 Google employees are working on the Dragonfly project, one of them spoke to the publication because he/she was “against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people.”

 

“The source said that they had moral and ethical concerns about Google’s role in the censorship, which is being planned by a handful of top executives and managers at the company with no public scrutiny,” Ryan said.

The whistleblower also expressed concern that “what is done in China will become a template for many other nations,” as well and it will be “a big disaster for the information age.”

The news about Google’s new move comes less than a month after Apple’s Chinese data center partner transferred iCloud data, belonging to 130 million Chinese users, to a cloud storage service managed by a state-owned mobile telecom provider.

To comply with Chinese law and work in the mainland China, Apple moved the encryption keys and data of its Chinese iCloud users from its US servers to local servers on Chinese soil earlier this year, despite concerns from human rights activists.

To Mother Orca — Grieving Out Loud

I first heard about the grieving orca on Day 2. Her calf had died within a half an hour of being born, and the mother – J35, or Tahlequah as she is known – began carrying her baby, pushing him through the water, refusing to let it go.

via To Mother Orca — Grieving Out Loud

Does Your Radio Comply With The New IMO Regulations?

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By

Regulations set down by IMO came into action at the beginning of this month. These regulations involved firefighters radios used aboard vessels. As suppliers of these radios, it is important for us to inform our customers of this regulation and also to assure you that all equipment being supplied to you actually comply with these standards.

The Regulation

SOLAS regulation II-2/10.10.4 requires that: “For ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014, a minimum of two two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire-fighter’s communication shall be carried on board. Those two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 shall comply with the requirements of this paragraph not later than the first safety equipment survey after 1 July 2018.”

We are pleased to advise you that ALL radio’s sold on AMI Marines NEW website comply with the imposed IMO regulations.

We can meet your fire-fighters requirements for SOLAS amendments.

Our radios include:

  • ATEX Approved IIC – The HT900 range of ATEX certified portables meet IIC T4.
  • ATEX Approved IIA – The HT800 range of ATEX certified portables meet IIA T4.
  • IECEx Approved – The HT500 range of two way intrinsically safe certified portable radios meet IECEx certification – suitable for those users who do not need to comply with the European ATEX standard.

Press Release: www.amimarine.com

‘Grieving’ Killer Whale Mother Carries Calf’s Body a Week After It Died

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By Associated Press

July 30, 2018

SEATTLE — An endangered orca that spends time in Pacific Northwest waters is still carrying the corpse of her calf one week after it died.

Experts with the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the 20-year-old whale, known as J35, since her calf died shortly after birth Tuesday. For days now, the whale has been balancing the dead calf on her forehead or pushing it to the surface of the water.

Jenny Atkinson, the museum’s executive director, says the orca was still carrying her dead calf Monday afternoon.

Atkinson says the orca and her pod are going through “a deep grieving process.”

The calf was the first in three years to be born to the dwindling population of endangered southern resident killer whales. There are only 75.

Zimbabwe is signing up for China’s surveillance state, but its citizens will pay the price.

china.jpgBy Amy Hawkins

Daily life in China is gated by security technology, from the body scanners and X-ray machines at every urban metro station to the demand for ID numbers on social media platforms so that dangerous speech can be traced and punished. Technologies once seen as potentially empowering the public have become tools for an increasingly dictatorial government—tools that Beijing is now determined to sell to the developing world.

In 2015, the Chinese government launched its Made in China 2025 plan to dominate cutting-edge technological industries. This was followed up last year for plans for the country to be a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence by 2030 and to build a $150 billion industry. The developing world is a big part of these ambitions. But China doesn’t just want to dominate these markets. It wants to use developing countries as a laboratory to improve its own surveillance technologies.

Many parts of Africa are now essentially reliant on Chinese companies for their telecoms and digital services. Transsion Holdings, a Shenzhen-based company, was the No. 1 smartphone company in Africa in 2017. ZTE, a Chinese telecoms giant, provides the infrastructure for the Ethiopian government to monitor its citizens’ communications. Hikvision, the world’s leading surveillance camera manufacturer, has just opened an office in Johannesburg.

The latest is CloudWalk Technology, a Guangzhou-based start-up that has signed a deal with the Zimbabwean government to provide a mass facial recognition program. The agreement is currently on hold until Zimbabwe’s elections on July 30. But if it goes through, it will enable Zimbabwe, a country with a bleak record on human rights, to replicate parts of the surveillance infrastructure that have made freedoms so limited in China. And by gaining access to a population with a racial mix far different from China’s, CloudWalk will be better able to train racial biases out of its facial recognition systems—a problem that has beleaguered facial recognition companies around the world and which could give China a vital edge.

The CloudWalk deal is built on the back of a long-standing relationship between former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s regime, seen by China as an ideological ally, and Beijing. Current President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn into office in November 2017 after a military coup forced Mugabe to resign after 37 years of increasingly repressive rule. But activists fear that Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former consigliere, will continue the patterns of his predecessor, especially if his regime is backed up with new security technology.

The deal between CloudWalk and the Zimbabwean government will not cover just CCTV cameras. According to a report in the Chinese state newspaper Science and Technology Daily, smart financial systems, airport, railway, and bus station security, and a national facial database will all be part of the project. The deal—along with dozens of other cooperation agreements between Harare and Chinese technology and biotech firms—was signed in April. Like every other foreign deal done by a Chinese firm of late, it has been wrapped into China’s increasingly all-encompassing Belt and Road Initiative.

Like every other foreign deal done by a Chinese firm of late, it has been wrapped into China’s increasingly all-encompassing Belt and Road Initiative.

Like every other foreign deal done by a Chinese firm of late, it has been wrapped into China’s increasingly all-encompassing Belt and Road Initiative.

The CloudWalk deal is the first Chinese AI project in Africa. Google is opening its first Africa AI research center in Ghana this year, but Eric Olander, founder of the China Africa Project—a podcast and online resource that examines the relationship between China and Africa—noted that many Western companies “aren’t willing to make that step that the Chinese are willing to do. … [The Chinese] are willing to make an investment in a market as volatile as Zimbabwe, where companies from other countries are not.”

Indeed, with massive state and private backing for AI projects—according to a CB Insights report, nearly half of global investment in AI went to Chinese start-ups last year, surpassing the United States for the first time—Chinese companies can afford to take risks. CloudWalk itself was the recipient of a $301 million grant from the Guangzhou municipal government.

“We are concerned about the deal, given how CloudWalk provides facial recognition technologies to the Chinese police,” said Maya Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We have previously documented [the Chinese] Ministry of Public Security’s use of AI-enabled technologies for mass surveillance that targets particular social groups, such as ethnic minorities and those who pose political threats to the government.”

Some Zimbabweans are concerned about how their data will fare in China. Andy, who asked that only his first name be used, is studying for a Ph.D. at Beijing Normal University. For him, “the question is what the Chinese company will do with our identities. … It sounds like a spy game.” He also says that he “know[s] for a fact” that “the Zimbabwe government will use this tech to try and control people’s freedom.”

In Zimbabwe, freedom of expression has long been curtailed or monitored by various means. In 2015, Mugabe accepted a gift of cyber surveillance software from the Iranian government, including IMSI catchers, which are used to eavesdrop on telephone conversations. In 2016, he cited China as an example of social media regulation that he hoped Zimbabwe could emulate.