Morning Consult Tech: Justice Department Charges Six Russian Military Officers Over Global Cyberattacks



Top Stories

  • The Justice Department charged six Russian military officers in a global hacking scheme that targeted France’s elections, the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea and several countries, including Ukraine, Georgia and the United States, in an effort to help the Russian government undermine computer networks worldwide. The officers were charged with seven counts, including conspiracy to conduct computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. (CNN)
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee moved its plans to consider subpoenas for the CEOs of Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. from Tuesday to Thursday, the same day the panel will consider Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, after some Republican members expressed concerns about the issue, according to one Senate GOP aide. (Politico)
  • Days after Facebook contractor Accenture ordered human content moderators to come back into the physical office, one worker has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal email sent to the contractors at its Austin, Texas, facility. The contractor who tested positive was last in the office on Oct. 13, a day after the moderators were required to come back. (The Intercept)
  • Intel Corp. said it has struck a deal to sell a remaining memory chip unit, as well as the company’s most important factory in China, to South Korea-based company SK Hynix for $9 billion — a move that allows Intel to focus on its more profitable microprocessor business, though the company will continue to make chips at its Dailan factory until the expected closing of the deal in March 2025. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

10/20/2020
WSJ Tech Live – virtual
Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival
EmTech 2020 – virtual
Tech Policy Institute’s annual conference – virtual
CyberScoop’s CyberTalks 2020 – virtual
Filecoin Liftoff Week – virtual
6G Symposium – virtual
Extra Crunch Live with Unusual Ventures’ Sarah Leary and John Vrionis – virtual 11:00 am
CNAS’s virtual fireside chat with Director of the Defense Digital Service Brett Goldstein 1:00 pm
CDT’s virtual report release event for “Challenging the Use of AI in Public Benefits Determinations” 1:00 pm
Forbes’ 2020 MORE EQUITY Pitch Competition – virtual 1:00 pm
10/21/2020
WSJ Tech Live – virtual
Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival
EmTech 2020 – virtual
Tech Policy Institute’s annual conference – virtual
CyberScoop’s CyberTalks 2020 – virtual
6G Symposium – virtual
Filecoin Liftoff Week – virtual
Aspen Tech Policy Hub COVID Challenge Grant Demo Day: Informing COVID Response & Communication through Tech 9:00 am
Cyberspace Solarium Commission Digital Event #11: Securing the U.S. High-Tech Supply Chain 12:00 pm
The Information’s live virtual conversation about SPACs and IPOs 12:00 pm
NTIA’s monthly BroadbandUSA webinar 2:00 pm
10/22/2020
CyberScoop’s CyberTalks 2020 – virtual
Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival
EmTech 2020 – virtual
Tech Policy Institute’s annual conference – virtual
6G Symposium – virtual
Filecoin Liftoff Week – virtual
FedScoop’s Trusted Internet Connections virtual program 9:00 am
FP Virtual Dialogue: Bridging the Digital Divide 11:00 am
The Information’s virtual event on the future of audio in social media 11:00 am
NTIA virtual meeting for the multistakeholder process on promoting software component transparency 12:00 pm
2020 Forbes CMO Summit Virtual Series – Episode 2 1:00 pm
The Information’s virtual roundtable discussion on scaling engineering teams 1:00 pm
10/23/2020
CyberScoop’s CyberTalks 2020 – virtual
Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival
Tech Policy Institute’s annual conference – virtual
Filecoin Liftoff Week – virtual
View full calendar


Webinar – Morning Consult & The Dialogue Project: Preparing for Nov. 4 in the Workplace

After Election Day, more than 100 million Americans will physically or virtually report to their jobs, one of the few remaining spaces where citizens routinely engage with others who come from diverse backgrounds and hold different viewpoints.

Join Morning Consult and The Dialogue Project on Friday, October 23 at 12 PM ET for a webinar featuring research, insights and recommendations on how both leaders and their teams can engage in productive discourse and navigate post-election challenges in the workplace.

General

Repealing Section 230 could have unintended consequences for Trump and conservatives
Dean DeChiaro, Roll Call

Actions taken by Facebook and Twitter to limit the spread of the New York Post’s dubious Hunter Biden story last week led to President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers intensifying calls to punish social media companies over long-standing accusations of anti-conservative bias. 

QAnon/8Chan Sites Briefly Knocked Offline
Brian Krebs, Krebs on Security

A phone call to an Internet provider in Oregon on Sunday evening was all it took to briefly sideline multiple websites related to 8chan/8kun — a controversial online image board linked to several mass shootings — and QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory which holds that a cabal of Satanic pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against President Donald Trump. Following a brief disruption, the sites have come back online with the help of an Internet company based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“Trumpcare” Does Not Exist. Nevertheless Facebook and Google Cash In on Misleading Ads for “Garbage” Health Insurance.
Jeremy B. Merrill and Marshall Allen, ProPublica

“Trumpcare” insurance will “finally fix healthcare,” said an advertisement on Facebook. A Google ad urged people to “Enroll in Trumpcare plans. Healthcare changes are coming.” The problem is, there’s no such thing as “Trumpcare.”

Foxconn’s Terry Gou Says Big Wisconsin Project Hinges on State Aid
The Wall Street Journal

Foxconn Technology Group founder Terry Gou said the company’s commitment to a multibillion-dollar factory investment in Wisconsin hinges on whether government officials deliver promised support for the project. In statement Monday U.S. time, Mr. Gou also acknowledged that the timing and scope of the project had changed since the project was unveiled to great fanfare three years ago.

The Fate of Gig Workers Is in the Hands of California Voters
Aarian Marshall, Wired

A ballot measure would create a new classification for people who have been contractors. Uber and Lyft threaten to leave the state if it fails.

US election: Facebook’s political balancing act
Hannah Murphy, Financial Times

Under pressure to act against a deluge of misinformation, the tech group faces the threat of antitrust measures. 

Republican Voters Take a Radical Conspiracy Theory Mainstream
Matthew Rosenberg, The New York Times

Sitting in the local Republican office most days is a lifelong conservative named Diane Putnam, who got her first taste of politics when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and she was a little girl telling people that she liked Ike. She still does.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

AT&T Chief Says Tech Giants Hold Too Much Power Over Streaming
Drew FitzGerald, The Wall Street Journal

HBO Max is attracting more viewers but is up against big tech companies with outsize market power, the chief of the streaming video service’s parent said Monday. AT&T Inc. Chief Executive John Stankey said the coronavirus pandemic showed that internet providers no longer act as gatekeepers for online content, with most cable and fiber networks performing well under the crush of Americans working and studying remotely this year.

News Publishers Gain Political Support in Fight With Google, Facebook
Christopher Stern, The Information

For more than a decade, the world’s largest news publishers, such as News Corp and Axel Springer, have attempted, mostly without success, to get Facebook and Google to pay the media companies for headlines and other news content that appears on the tech companies’ platforms. Now, the momentum is suddenly shifting in favor of the publishers.

Facebook Warned by U.K. Watchdog in Court Clash Over Giphy Deal
Jonathan Browning, Bloomberg

The U.K.’s merger watchdog warned Facebook Inc. that it could go beyond forcing the tech giant to unwind its purchase of image-hosting platform Giphy Inc. if the deal is deemed to be anti-competitive. As the two clashed in court over the review of the $400 million deal, the Competition and Markets Authority said that some of Facebook’s assets or services might need to be divested “given that Giphy is no longer fully self-standing.”

Apple Pushes Back Against Patent Trolls in Their Favorite Court
Joe Nocera, Bloomberg Businessweek

For decades, the preferred venue for patent holders and patent trolls—entities whose main asset is their large patent portfolio—to sue a big company was the Eastern District of Texas. With good reason. Apple Inc., for instance, was hit with a $439 million judgment in one case brought by VirnetX Holding Corp., and it’s appealing a $503 million verdict in a second case. So it was only natural, when Seven Networks LLC wanted to file a patent suit against Apple in 2019, that it went straight to the Eastern District.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

Verizon signs up Microsoft, Nokia to help clients build private 5G networks
Supantha Mukherjee and Kenneth Li, Reuters

Verizon said on Monday it has struck deals with Microsoft and Nokia to improve the telecoms giant’s ability to target business customers by offering clients the ability to automate factory floors, lower costs and speed up data traffic through private 5G networks. Private 5G networks remove the need for businesses to jostle for speed with others on a public network and help enable data-intensive applications that use computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning to increase productivity.

NASA is launching a 4G mobile network on the moon
Ryan Browne, CNBC

Just as 5G arrives on planet Earth, its predecessor is heading to the moon. NASA has selected Nokia to build the first-ever 4G mobile network on Earth’s natural satellite, the Finnish telecommunications firm announced Monday.

Sweden Bans Huawei, ZTE From New 5G Infrastructure
Niclas Rolander and Veronica Ek, Bloomberg

Sweden has banned Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from gaining access to its fifth-generation wireless network, adding to the increasing number of European governments forcing local telecom companies to shift away from Chinese suppliers. The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority said in a statement Tuesday that the “influence of China’s one-party state over the country’s private sector brings with it strong incentives for privately owned companies to act in accordance with state goals and the communist party’s national strategies.”

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Facebook suspends account of alleged Russian agent with ties to Giuliani
Oriana Gonzalez, Axios

Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani accused by the U.S. of being “an active Russian agent for over a decade,” for election interference activity. Why it matters: The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September for “alleged efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election,” including by releasing edited audio tapes and other unsubstantiated claims to denigrate Joe Biden and other officials.

Facebook Continues To Host Militant Groups And Ads Despite A Ban On Right-Wing Extremism
Salvador Hernandez and Ryan Mac, BuzzFeed News

Despite efforts by Facebook to ban right-wing militant organizations, a new report published Monday has found that some of those groups continue to organize and run pages on the social network. Facebook also continues to profit from ads placed by extremists despite an announcement earlier this year that said it would ban all ads that “praise, support or represent militarized social movements.”

QAnon accounts make a dent in voting discussion on Twitter
Ben Collins, NBC News

More than 1 in 50 tweets about voting in the 2020 elections in August and September were posted by QAnon accounts, according to research released Friday by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit. The research also found that 2 in every 25 tweets using the hashtag #voterfraud originated from QAnon accounts, a sign of how ubiquitous the conspiracy theory has become on Twitter, one of the last remaining major social media platforms to allow QAnon content.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Trump says ‘nobody gets hacked’ but forgot his hotel chain was hacked — twice
Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

According to President Trump speaking at a campaign event in Tucson, Arizona, on Monday, “nobody gets hacked.” You don’t need someone who covers security day in and day out to call bullshit on this one.

Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats
Maggie Miller, The Hill

U.S. citizens could be put at “serious risk” if the federal government is not able to come together and create a unified strategy to combat Chinese threats to critical technologies, a congressionally-created bipartisan commission concluded Monday. The Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) – a group established by Congress in 2018 and composed of lawmakers, federal officials and industry leaders – in a white paper published Monday highlighted the “China problem” faced by the security of the information and communications technologies (ICT) supply chain.

DHS Biometrics Proposal Represents ‘Unacceptable Escalation of Government Surveillance,’ Senators Say
Mila Jasper, Nextgov

A group of prominent progressive senators is urging the Homeland Security Department to withdraw its proposal to expand the biometric information collection practices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., sent a letter to DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf Friday urging the agency to abandon its biometrics proposal due to privacy concerns, calling biometric data collection “invasive.”

Mark Warner keeps his head down on way to the election — and a possible Intel gavel
Martin Matishak, Politico

Mark Warner is fine with flying below the radar. In his last reelection bid six years ago, the Virginia Democratic senator survived a near-upset by his Republican challenger in a year that flipped the upper chamber to the GOP.

Hackers Smell Blood as Schools Grapple With Virtual Instruction
David Uberti, The Wall Street Journal

Jeff Pelzel knew something was wrong when he arrived at his office on Sept. 14 and saw no new emails in his inbox. “That never happens,” said Mr. Pelzel, the superintendent of the Newhall School District in Southern California. Mr. Pelzel asked his information-technology specialist whether the district’s email system was down.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Senate GOP must act now to stop tomorrow’s Big Tech abuses
Josh Hawley, New York Post

Now they’ve done it. The Big Tech monopolists have finally gone too far. They’ve brazenly censored this newspaper’s reporting days before a presidential election, and now, after years of quiescence, the Republican establishment is up in arms.

Joe Biden Is Very Offline—and That’s OK
Kate Knibbs, Wired

If the former veep wins, it won’t be because he had an online meme army behind him. That’s a good sign for American politics.

What I Learned When QAnon Came for Me
Scott Wiener, The New York Times

Before I became the center of a QAnon conspiracy theory, I followed the news about this internet cult with alarm, but also from afar. I saw it as a scary thing happening to people I didn’t know. Then QAnon followers sent me over a thousand death threats.

Research Reports

Data Security: Recent K-12 Data Breaches Show That Students Are Vulnerable to Harm
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Schools and school districts collect and store a lot of personal information about their students. But are K-12 institutions adequately securing student data?

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