[AxisOfEasy] Australian Government Passes Mandatory Encryption Back-Doors

Weekly Axis Of Easy #78

This week’s quote:  “Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything.” …by ????

Last Week’s Quote was  “The most important product of science is knowledge. However, the most important product of knowledge is ignorance” …by David Gross, won once again by Gus, who is on his way to footing his easyDNS expenses entirely by winning the quote contest.

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted in the comments below:

The Prize: First person to post, gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.

In this issue:
  • Australian government passes mandatory encryption back-doors
  • Breach-of-the-week: 1800Flowers 4-year 0wnage
  • Facebook bans all sexual content, across the board, period
  • Uber plans new, non-lethal variant of self-driving cars
  • Thieves using fob-relay attacks to steal cars
  • Chinese gene edited baby story keeps getting weirder
  • Hungry? Have some of this 3-D printed meat 
  • US Military: Google is cosier with China than with DoD
  • Does Huawei pose a threat to global security? 

Australian government passes mandatory encryption back-doors

Aussie authorities, who would undoubtedly not win this week’s quote contest, have passed a controversial law forcing tech companies to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies with access to encrypted communications. Not really sure how this is supposed to work, do they expect non-Aussie tech companies to comply with this? Or is the premise that Australian terrorists and criminals will only use domestic tech products and services?

Apparently this is “Australia leading the charge in giving security services access to encrypted data” in that other governments are expected to follow.

Uber plans new, non-lethal variant of self-driving cars

Uber is planning a return of their self-driving car after their initial program had a setback in that a test vehicle killed a pedestrian (anyone remember that boardroom scene in the first Robocop? “I’m sure it’s just a glitch boss”) How they skated on this is beyond me. They also filed a “keep-up-with Lyft” S1 to IPO in early 2019, which, should it even happen I will be instantly shorting. The markets are rolling over so badly now I can see this being punted out at least a year. (That’s not investment advice, so don’t listen to me).

Breach-of-the-week: 1800Flowers 4-year 0wnage

The Canadian retail division of 1800flowers.ca disclosed last week that attackers had breached their network and have been exfiltrating data for 4 years. In this case the data obtained included credit card and payment data. This actually may explain how one of my cards got burned a couple years ago,

Facebook bans all sexual content, across the board, period

Facebook already has a ban on pornography in place, now they’ve gone a step further by adding prohibitions against any kind of sexually explicit language as part of a new “Sexual Solicitation” policy. This purportedly includes “partners who share sexual interests, art featuring people posed ‘provocatively’, ‘sexualized slang’, and any ‘hints’ or mentions of sexual ‘positions or fetish scenarios’” or as EFF noted “even expressing an interest in sex”.

It will be easy to just automate enforcement of this, because what constitutes “provocative”, “interest” or a “hint” can easily be distilled down to a few lines of python and there will be absolutely no ambiguity.

Read: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/12/facebooks-sexual-solicitation-policy-honeypot-trolls

Thieves using fob-relay attacks to steal cars

Car thefts here in Toronto have been on the rise, and this security expert thinks it’s because thieves are using a method called “key fob relaying” to hijack the signal from your own key fob inside your house and relaying it to an accomplice near your car. Apparently your fob is constantly broadcasting, which is why your car door can just magically unlock as you approach it. As soon as I finished this article I went and bought a Faraday pouch to store our key fobs inside the house.

Chinese gene edited baby story keeps getting weirder

He Jiankui, the so-called “Chinese Frankenstein” who has created the world’s first gene edited babies is now missing. The University he worked at was distancing themselves from him, and he had been ordered by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology to cease his research. The Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTC) denied reports that Jiankui was under house arrest after delivering a talk at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong.

Maybe he has gone fishing with Meng Hongwei, the Chinese president of Interpol who went missing in October (he is apparently facing nebulous charges of corruption back in China).

Read the Meng Hongwei update: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2175792/ex-interpol-chief-facing-corruption-charges-expelled-chinese

Hungry? Have some of this 3-D printed meat

An Israeli start-up called “Jet Eat” has purportedly solved the age old quest of serving up the perfect vegan steak.   The company has ‘developed its own proprietary technology to try and create a 3D-printed vegan “meat” product capable of fooling even the most bloodthirsty of carnivores. The company’s efforts reportedly match the structural components of meat (the muscle, the fat, myoglobin, and connective tissue), but also promise to nail the flavor.’

US Military: Google is cozier with China than with DoD

The US military’s top general finds it puzzling how Google reversed course in the face of an open rebellion and near-mutiny from within its own ranks over contracts with the Department of Defense, while seemingly being ok with having deep involvement with the Chinese state, which is Orwellian, authoritarian and anti-freedom.

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford in remarks this month puzzled “We are the good guys and it’s inexplicable to me that we would make compromises in order to advance our business interests in China where we know that freedoms are restrained, where we know that China will take intellectual property from companies” and adding I’m not sure that people at Google will enjoy a world order that is informed by the norms and standards of Russia or China,”

You know when he puts it like that…

Read: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-alphabet/top-u-s-general-urges-google-to-work-with-military-idUSKBN1O52N1

Does Huawei pose a threat to global security?

With the arrest of Huawei CFO here in Canada before the weekend, on behest of the US authorities for flaunting trade sanctions against Iran, most of the fallout and speculation is concerned with how that will affect the on-again / off-again trade war between the US and China (let’s admit it: is it bullish or bearish? That’s all that matters.) This MIT article looks at the technological threat Huawei could possibly pose to Western infrastructure in the form of global, near-ubiquitous Trojan horse that could be employed by the Chinese state for infowar purposes.

Read: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612556/the-6-reasons-why-huawei-gives-the-us-and-its-allies-security-nightmares/

That’s it for this week. Publishing over the remainder of the month will be hit-or-miss as things wind down for the holidays. If I don’t email before then, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us to all of you.

— mark

P.S Our little mastodon community is growing nicely, why not set up a free account  where you can openly admit to liking the song “Baby it’s cold outside” without fear of recrimination or doxxing.

Also If you haven’t updated your security profile to the new Enhanced Security Mode, please take a moment to log into your account and check it out under “security”. 

5 thoughts on “[AxisOfEasy] Australian Government Passes Mandatory Encryption Back-Doors

  1. Yup, I jumped in because I recognize this one. It was a favorite expression of one of my teachers: Napoleon Bonaparte. Too late, but hey at least Mark knows we’re reading and paying attention 😉

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