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This is how a bloody U.S.-China war could start

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of Chapter 14 of the book If the U.S.and China Go to War《假如中美开战》 by the author and analyst Chen Pokong. The current volume was published in Chinese in 2013 and was later translated to Japanese. The chapter sketches the hypothetical beginnings of a conflict scenario between the United States and China. In it, the U.S. responds to provocative Chinese cyberattacks by launching one of its own, tearing down the Great Firewall. In response, Chinese authorities clamp down Internet access completely, which America quickly responds…

Tech giants vow to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists. Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on…

What’s driving Silicon Valley to become ‘radicalized’

Like many Silicon Valley start-ups, Larry Gadea’s company collects heaps of sensitive data from his customers. Recently, he decided to do something with that data trove that was long considered unthinkable: He is getting rid of it. The reason? Gadea fears that one day the FBI might do to him what it did to Apple in their recent legal battle: demand that he give the agency access to his encrypted data. Rather than make what he considers a Faustian bargain, he’s building a system that he hopes will avoid the situation entirely. Full…

Why I met with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

This election season has made many Americans even more cynical about our democratic system of government. There is clearly political upheaval underway in America and around the world. This massive disturbance of the status quo has been fueled in large part by more people getting better, faster information from many sources on the internet. Previously, news on political debates was controlled by a few powerful newspapers or broadcast television. The New York Times, which used to set the daily agenda for national media coverage, had the motto “all the news that’s…

Tyrannizing personal freedom with the Great Firewall of China

Stomping over personal liberties and ruling by fear and forcefulness, the Communist Party of China has never been much about freedom of information. Using the media as a mere tool for furthering state agenda, it has always controlled and censored journalism in whichever way it saw fit. First it was newspapers, then the electronic media. But when the internet came along, everyone seemed to think that the Communist Party of China had finally met its greatest nemesis in terms of free distribution of information and opinion. After all, given the…

Who will control access to Internet news?

Google has entered the fray to do battle with Facebook and others as the place where online content lives. If these efforts are successful, people will increasingly stop visiting websites as we know them. They will get all their news from Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and a few other large providers. We will see the gradual diminution of brands until online journalism is purely about which story grabs us. If you think that’s a good thing, think again: WhoWhatWhy has already exposed how Google can actually sway an election. As we…

Congress revives debate over national security, limits of ‘incidental’ snooping

Privacy and national security analysts sparred Tuesday over suggestions to further limit law enforcement access to Americans’ phone calls and emails that are swept up as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of foreigners’ communications. The FBI and other agencies should obtain a warrant to search data gathered “incidentally” on Americans through spying programs authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, said Elizabeth Goitein, a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center. Ms. Goitein and other analysts testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary…

Behind the Great Firewall, China is winning its war against internet freedom

When Google announced in 2010 that it would cease self-censorship of search results in China in response to a Chinese hacking attempt against itself and 20 other US tech companies, plenty thought it was a bluff. So big as to be synonymous with the internet itself, the world watched to see how China would respond – Beijing, in true stubborn fashion, called it. Six years later and Google services are still blocked in China, along with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and some of the world’s biggest news organisations, including the New…