from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: June 1, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on the release of the 2017 international religious freedom report. State Department

This week: the State Department releases long awaited cyber strategies, Apple gets sucked into the Russia-Telegram fight, and Papua New Guinea bans Facebook. 

May 31, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on the release of the 2017 international religious freedom report. State Department
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Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

1. It's here! It's finally here! The State Department released public versions of two documents the White House requested under a cybersecurity executive order issued in May 2017. The first document outlines five U.S. foreign policy objectives as they relate to cyberspace, and corresponding actions to meet them. The objectives are consistent with those the Obama administration pursued, such as promoting stability in cyberspace, attributing and deterring malicious activity, and promoting internet freedom and multistakeholder governance. The second document sets out U.S. deterrence objectives in cyberspace and options the United States could pursue to those ends. Although previous U.S. government documents have used the concept of deterrence extensively, this one actually lays out what the United States seeks to deter: "cyberattacks that constitute a use of force against the United States, its partners, and allies" and "destructive, disruptive, or otherwise destabilizing malicious cyber activities directed against U.S. interests that fall below" the use of force threshold. 

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2. Apple pulled into Russia-Telegram fight. Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor has requested that Apple pull Telegram from its App Store to enforce a court order that bans the messaging app from the country. Telegram, which has over 10 million users in Russia, was found in non-compliance with a Russian law that requires messaging services to give law enforcement the ability to decrypt communications. The request to remove it from the Apple App Store comes after Roskomnadzor ordered Russian internet providers to block access to over 15 million IP addresses Telegram was using at different times to skirt the ban. Separately, Pavel Durov, Telegram's creator, accused Apple of preventing him from pushing software updates to existing Telegram users worldwide for over a month. Although Apple has not commented on either story, it has removed apps deemed to be illegal consistent with local law in other jurisdictions, as it did last year when it removed VPN apps from the Chinese version of the App Store. The Russian regulator has given Apple thirty days to comply with its request.

3. #deleteFacebook for an entire country. The government of Papua New Guinea has decided to temporarily ban Facebook according to local reports. Communications Minister Sam Basil has said the ban was necessary to give the government time to "identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, [and] users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed." Many countries have struggled to grapple with misinformation on the Facebook and the effect on their societies. Facebook has been used to fuel ethnic or political tensions in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India, Mexico, and others through the spread of rumors. But few have resorted to banning the platform entirely. Writing for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Danielle Cave fears that the ban may not be temporary and that Papua New Guinea could be joining the company of China, Iran, and North Korea, which have also banned Facebook. 

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