from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: November 10, 2017

This week: President Trump in China, sending your nudes to Facebook, and a possible fight over encryption. 

November 10, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
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Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

1. Hold Steady. Amid pageantry and awkwardness, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump have reaffirmed the 2015 agreement in which both countries agreed to not conduct cyber espionage for commercial gain. The two leaders also discussed collaborating on cybersecurity measures to protect critical infrastructure. Cybersecurity remains a rare area of consensus amid a growing number of disagreements in the U.S.-China relationship. However, it might not all be flowers and unicorns: cybersecurity researchers have identified a growing number of Chinese hacking incidents against U.S. companies. Still, with the U.S. counting on Chinese cooperation on North Korea, it is unlikely President Trump will jeopardize his personal rapport with the Chinese leader over a few 400-pound men in their bedrooms.

2. Do you trust Facebook enough to send them intimate pictures? Facebook is launching a new pilot program to prevent the non-consensual spread of intimate images, also known as revenge porn, on its platform. Under the program, people would upload intimate images of themselves they are concerned could show up on the platform. Facebook would then digitally fingerprint the picture and automatically block other users from uploading and spreading it on the social network. Similar programs exist to limit the spread of child pornography. According to the Daily Beast, specially trained Facebook employees would need to review the pictures and store them as part of the fingerprinting process. That has led to skepticism that Facebook could be trusted with the images, particularly as people are being asked to upload them in anticipation that they might be spread in the future. However, as Berkeley's Nicholas Weaver points out, someone has to see the pictures in order for them to be flagged as intimate.

3. Are we going to have this fight again? According to Politico, the FBI has yet to unlock the iPhone of the shooter who killed upwards of twenty people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, leading some to believe that another Apple-FBI fight is right around the corner. The FBI and the Department of Justice have had a longstanding beef with tech companies, whom they believe are implementing encryption by default on their products to thwart legitimate law enforcement requests for access. After the shooting, Apple says it immediately reached out to the FBI offering assistance if necessary, but press reports indicate that the FBI has yet to take the company up on its offer. 

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