Twitter Labels Selectively-Edited Video of Joe Biden "Manipulated Content”
Twitter tagged a selectively-edited video of Joe Biden as “manipulated content” on Sunday, marking the first time the platform has used the tag since it implemented its new policy for synthetic and manipulated media last week. The deceptive clip featured part of a sentence from one of the Democratic presidential contender’s recent speeches so that Biden appears to be endorsing President Donald Trump. Twitter has been criticized for taking over eighteen hours to label the video after it was shared by White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino. During that time, the video received over five million views. Facebook was also criticized because its fact-checkers did not rate the video “partially false” until Monday.
Cyberspace Solarium Commission Releases Long-Awaited Report
On Wednesday, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a bipartisan commission established by Congress in 2019, released its long-anticipated final report [PDF] laying out over 80 recommendations for U.S. cyber policy.The recommendations include enforcing paper trails on all voting machines, reinstating a White House cyber coordinator, and creating a new State Department bureau focused on cyber issues. The Commission, acknowledging that the United States has been unable to deter all but the most serious cyber threats, also outlined a three-tiered strategy of “layered cyber deterrence.” The strategy includes better shaping international norms in cyberspace, denying benefits to adversaries who conduct cyberattacks against the United States, and imposing greater costs on those who do.
Governments Push Tech Companies to Take Down Coronavirus Misinformation
As COVID-19 continues to spread, policymakers in the United States and Europe are expanding their efforts to combat pandemic-related disinformation and misinformation. On Wednesday, the White House held a conference call with representatives of the tech companies, calling on them to coordinate their efforts and augment the government’s work to track the outbreak, spread accurate information, and assist those who are out of work or school. In the UK, a cross-government unit was established to work with social media companies and rebut false and inaccurate claims about the virus. In addition, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) announced a similar initiative to work with Twitter and other social media companies to suspend accounts posing as hospitals and remove content promoting false treatments. In Brussels, the European Commission revived a self-reporting system established in cooperation with U.S. tech companies last year to ensure that that tech companies are keeping the Commission informed of the measures they’re taking to remove false coronavirus content.
Russian Cyberattack on Armenian Government Websites Exposed
On Thursday, researchers announced the discovery of a campaign by the Russian-speaking threat actor Turla. This campaign, which began as early as January 2019, turned several Armenian government websites into “watering holes”—normally benign sites that an attacker injects malicious code into to compromise visitors to the site. The attack lured the targets, most likely government officials and politicians, to download a malicious fake update of Adobe Flash, thus installing a backdoor. Turla, which is thought to be part of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), has used watering-hole techniques since at least 2017.
Some Five Eyes Members Consider Their Relationship With Huawei
Lawmakers in the United States, UK, and Canada continued to debate competing commercial and security interests associated with Huawei this week. Conservative lawmakers in the UK forced a vote that would have eliminated Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks by 2022 due to concerns that the Chinese government could spy on their networks through the company. The United States government shares these concerns. This week President Trump signed the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act into law, which mandates telecoms to remove "suspect foreign network equipment” from companies like Huawei and ZTE from their networks. Representatives of the United States also continued to press Canada to remove Huawei from its 5G plans.