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TikTok Admits Staff in China Can Access Europeans’ Data

Open internet proponents Last month, we were relieved when an American candidate won the election to lead the International Telecommunications Union. It is an international standards organization that oversees cross-border communication. Meanwhile, though, we took a look at the fragility of the world’s internet infrastructure and the vulnerability of crucial undersea cables.

Researchers see evidence that the US’s new legal climate for abortion access is promoting a culture of community surveillance, a hallmark of authoritarian states in which neighbors and friends are encouraged to report possible wrongdoing. Surveillance is also increasing in soccer stadiums all over the globe. For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in Qatar, eight stadiums will feature more than 15,000 cameras that monitor and perform biometric scanning.

The more secure, “memory safe” programming language Rust is making inroads across the tech industry, offering hope that a massive swath of common vulnerabilities could eventually be preempted and eliminated. In the meantime, we’ve got a roundup of the most important vulnerabilities that you can—and should!—patch right now.

And there’s more. Each week, we highlight the news we didn’t cover in-depth ourselves. To read more, click on the headlines. Stay safe.

There’s no longer a question about whether TikTok staff in China can access Europeans’ data. This week, the company announced it will update its privacy policies to list China in the list of countries that workers have access to data. Users can also request location data. TikTok’s policy update comes amid a yearlong investigation by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is looking into its data-transfer policies under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The inquiry is part of Western governments’ increased scrutiny of the video-sharing platform, which some US officials have characterized as a national security threat due to frequently close relationships between Chinese companies and the government in Beijing. TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, says in its announcement that its privacy policy update is meant to “include greater transparency into how we share user information outside of Europe and how we collect user location information.” The new policy goes into effect on December 2.

Liz Truss has been having some difficulties. After a brief but historic stint as UK Prime Minister she is now in a difficult spot. Sunday Mail It was reported that Russia-affiliated agents had compromised her phone as foreign minister. These Russian agents allegedly had access to her personal cell phone, allowing them to intercept communications between Truss (and officials from other countries), including those about Ukraine. These Russian operatives were allegedly able to intercept messages between Truss and officials in other countries, including those about Ukraine. Mail Reports further claim that Simon Case and Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, suppressed information about the breach. While the breach remains unconfirmed, Labor Party officials are calling for an “urgent investigation” into their Conservative opponents. “An attack such as this from a hostile nation will raise enormous national security concerns which will be taken very seriously by our intelligence agencies and security agents,” Labor Party shadow secretary Yvette Cooper stated last weekend. There are serious security concerns about how and why this information was leaked, or published right now. These must be investigated immediately.

Another of Jack Dorsey’s corporate creations is facing new heat this week. A report by a Forbes According to investigation, the Cash App was fueling sex traficking in the US. Based on police records, “hundreds of court filings,” and claims by former Cash App employees, the investigation found rampant use of the Cash App in sex trafficking and other crimes. The company, which is owned by Dorsey-led Block Inc., maintains that it “does not tolerate illegal activity on Cash App” and has staff dedicated to working with law enforcement. According to the National Center for Missing and Exposed Children, PayPal and rival payment services like PayPal offer the facility with information about child abuse that may be facilitated through their platforms. Forbes writes, “Block hasn’t provided any tips, ever.”

The US Treasury Department this week said US financial institutions facilitated ransomware payments totaling nearly $1.2 billion in 2021—a 200 percent increase since 2020. The report landed amid an international White House summit aiming to combat the rise of ransomware, a type of malware that allows attackers to encrypt a target’s files and hold them for ransom until the victim pays. Himamauli Das, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said in a statement that “ransomware—including attacks perpetrated by Russian-linked actors—remain a serious threat to our national and economic security. Even though $1.2 Billion in ransomware payments are already very painful, this number doesn’t include any financial implications that may be incurred by the attackers.

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