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Technology 7 October 2019

The Week in Internet News: Governments Pressure Facebook to Halt Encryption Plans

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Anti-encryption demands: Government officials from the U.S., U.K., and Australia have asked Facebook to put a hold on its plans to expand encryption on services like Messenger, CNet reports. “We are writing to request that Facebook does not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services without ensuring that there is no reduction to user safety and without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens,” says a letter signed by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and other officials.

This law is not fake: A new fake news law in Singapore has taken effect, SPDP Radio says. The law includes penalties of up to US $60,000 and 10 years in prison for people found guilty of spreading what the government considers to be fake news. Web sites could face fines of more than $720,000 for not taking down so-called fake news after being ordered to do so. Free speech advocates have major problems with the law, as you might expect.

The lines are cut: Internet access in most of Iraq was shut down after violent protest in the country, CNet says. Some people were able to access messenging services through workarounds, however. Iraq also imposed curfews after violent anti-government protests, the Washington Post reports.

Net neutrality is out: A U.S. appeals court has largely upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal its net neutrality rules passed just in 2015, the Hollywood Reporter says. The FCC can’t, however, block states from passing their own rules that prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing traffic, the court said.

Naughty hack: Asics, a sportswear company, blamed a cyberattack for pornography running on its storefront video screens in a New Zealand location for about nine hours, Insurance Business NZ reports. The store manager was “100 percent” sure his staff wouldn’t do such a thing. An investigation is underway.

Learn about the day-to-day impact of encryption and how to make sure policies protect people, vulnerable communities, commerce, and national security. Attend Encryption Briefing: Understanding Its Technical and Human Elements.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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