from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: February 3, 2017

February 3, 2017

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

1. Second order effects of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. President Trump’s immigration order--which temporarily bars entry to nationals from seven predominantly muslim countries--will likely wreak havoc with internet governance meetings. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which establishes the technical protocols that allow the internet to work, has expressed concern that the order could limit some of their members’ ability to attend the organization’s upcoming meeting in Chicago. The IETF and other internet governance bodies such as ICANN have sought to diversify attendees to their events to reflect the increasing diversity of internet users and to deflect criticism of a pro-U.S. bias. The president’s order does not help.

2. Silicon Valley responds to the ban heard round the world. Tech giants are also speaking out against President Trump’s travel ban. The New York Times reported that hundreds of Google employees took to the quad at headquarters to demonstrate against the executive order, while Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft joined a lawsuit led by the state of Washington against the order. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he would be leaving President Trump’s economic advisory council after facing criticism for his relationship with the president in light of the controversial directive. Immigration is one of many points of contention between Washington and Silicon Valley. As I point out in a new report, the Trump administration will navigate a turbulent relationship with the tech industry over encryption, data localization, and attribution of state-sponsored cyberattacks.

3. Remember me not. Japanese citizens are fighting for their “right to be forgotten.” The Japan Times reports that the Supreme Court will soon release criteria for approving petitions for the deletion of personal data from search engines. Approved petitions would result in private information such as arrest records being erased from search results on engines such as Google and Yahoo Japan. District courts have been relatively divided on the issue, with at least one legal expert cautioning that Japan should be wary of making it too easy for certain data to disappear. Similar right to be forgotten policies exist in the European Union, Russia, Argentina, and South Korea.

4. Spooks can help me out, eh? Canada’s prime minister is asking the country’s new minister of democratic institutions to work with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE)--the NSA of the great white North--to identify cybersecurity threats to the country’s election system and political parties. Canadian political parties are more vulnerable to cyber threats than the actual voting system because Canada still uses paper ballots for federal elections. CSE is likely to give parties the same advice it gives everyone: whitelist applications, patch often, and train your people to detect phishing. Canada is the latest country to express concern about the security of its electoral system in the aftermath of the Russia-Democratic National Committee hack.

5. Wifi for everyone. The Indian government has launched a new initiative with the hopes of bringing Wifi hotspots in 1,050 Indian villages over the next six months. The initiative will provide rural villagers with internet access as part of the country’s Digital India initiative, a multiyear central government program to build India’s digital economy.