The trial against Ola Bini, Swedish software developer and digital rights activist, is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 19, and continue for three days. The long-awaited trial comes after multiple delays, recusal of judges, documented harassment and surveillance of Bini, and constant shifting of charges from the prosecution leading to serious allegations of political interference in the case. In the meanwhile, digital rights advocacy groups and progressive media outlets are pushing for the Ecuadorian authorities to ensure a fair trial, that is not only free from political interference, but also made in “accordance with the law and expert technical criteria.” A group of observers, representing Regional Foundation for Human Rights Advisory (INREDH) and Observatory of Rights and Justice (ODJ), along with a coalition of rights groups and journalists from independent media outlets, will be attending the trial, to make sure that Bini is guaranteed his right to a fair trial.
For over two years EFF has been following the case of Swedish computer security expert Ola Bini, who was arrested in April, 2019, in Ecuador, following Julian Assange's ejection from that country’s London Embassy. Bini’s pre-trial hearing, which was suspended and rescheduled at least five times during 2020, was concluded on June 29, 2021. Despite the cloud that has hung over the case—political ramifications have seemed to drive the allegations, and Bini has been subjected to numerous due process and human rights violations—we are hopeful that the security expert will be afforded a transparent and fair trial and that due process will prevail. Ola Bini is known globally as a computer security expert; he is someone who builds secure tools and contributes to free software projects.
The Great Firewall in China is a hot button subject that unites the most hawkish and militarist forces of the state with the so-called U.S. left. China’s legal exclusion of Google, Facebook, and other American corporate media from acceptable consumption is often viewed as the most obvious example of “authoritarianism.” Few in the U.S., even on the left, analyze censorship as a political question. Many instead debate the issue from the lens of American exceptionalism. Censorship is “bad” because it violates the right to “free speech”—which is supposedly a laudable feature of U.S. society. Yet the United States has its own firewall that, while criticized for its overreach, has yet to be characterized on equal terms with China’s firewall. This article sets out to demystify the two firewalls and the broader class struggle that undergirds their existence.
By Joe Uchill for The Hill - LAS VEGAS — One of the nation’s largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be. “It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,” said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia. The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a "Voting Machine Village," where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities. The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked. Though voting machines are technologically simple, they are difficult for researchers to obtain for independent research. The machine that Richards learned how to hack used beneath-the-surface software, known as firmware, designed in 2007. But a number of well-known vulnerabilities in that firmware have developed over the past decade. “I didn’t come in knowing what to expect, but I was surprised by what I found,” he said. He went on to list a number of actions he hoped states would take to help secure machines, including increasing testing opportunities for outside hackers and transparency in voting machine design.
By Giacomo Tognini for Bloomberg - Three out of four oil and natural gas companies fell victim to at least one cyber attack last year as hacking efforts against the industry become more frequent and sophisticated. That’s the finding from a report released Monday by industry consultant Deloitte LLP. Technology advances, such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s recent control of operations in Argentina from an operating center in Canada, offer new openings for hackers, the authors wrote. At the same time, older equipment retrofitted for cybersecurity, including the pumps known as nodding donkeys, make it tougher to defend against sophisticated attacks. A day after the report was released, Rosneft PJSC said its servers were hacked, forcing Russia’s largest crude producer to switch to a backup system. Less than half of drillers use any monitoring tools on their upstream operations networks, the report found. Of those, only 14 percent have fully operational security monitoring centers. When the authors visited the oil fields it “was like walking into the 1980s, with shared passwords and passwords written down on paper,” said Paul Zonneveld, a senior partner at Deloitte in Calgary, by phone. A 2011 cyber attack dubbed "Night Dragon" stole exploration and bidding data from oil majors including Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc.
By Jillian C. York for EI - The last year has seen an uptick in digital threats faced by individuals and organizations around the world, and those working on the question of Palestine are no exception. Over the past few months, there have been attacks on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement websites, threatening emails to activists and new information emerging on Israel’s surveillance capabilities. “The latest cyber-attacks against BDS seem to be part of a full-fledged Israeli war on the movement that includes McCarthyite legal repression, use of intelligence services and yet more funding for ‘brand Israel’ propaganda,”
By Evan Greer for Fighting For Our Future - WASHINGTON - A group of 19 civil liberties organizations from across the political spectrum this morning issued a letter to the White House and Congress urging lawmakers to oppose the final “conferenced” version of a dangerous cyber bill that experts say will dramatically expand government surveillance while failing to make us safer from cyber attacks. “The final version of this bill is an insult to the public and puts all of us in greater danger of cyber attacks and government surveillance,” said Evan Greer...
By Rob Price for Business Insider - Dozens of the America's biggest tech companies are criticising a proposed US cybersecurity bill that they fear does not offer privacy adequate protections to their users. As The Washington Post reports, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) has bipartisan backing and is due to be voted on next week — but is prompting significant opposition from the tech industry. Apple and Dropbox are the latest to challenge the proposed legislation, and join a chorus of voices including Google, Twitter, Yelp, Reddit, Wikipedia, and HP.
By Staff for Fight For The Future - Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. “The delay is good news, but Internet users are outraged that Congress is even considering this dangerous and unpopular legislation, and even more outraged at the Web companies who stand to benefit financially from CISA’s sweeping legal immunity who have remained silent, putting all of their users’ privacy at risk,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director.
By Open The Government - As the U.S. Senate prepares to take up the Cybersecurity Information Sharing (“CISA”) Act, S. 754, open government organizations, privacy and civil liberties defenders, security experts, and tech companies are mobilizing to voice opposition to the bill. OpenTheGovernment.org is particularly concerned with the harm the bill would do to the Freedom of Information Act and transparency more generally. Open government organizations sent letters to Congress in June, and in March of this year, calling on the Senate to oppose the bill. CISA would add a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act for the first time since 1967. Section 10 of the bill provides that any and all “information shared with or provided to the Federal Government pursuant to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015” is exempt from disclosure under FOIA—even if it is private information unrelated to a cybersecurity threat.