By Maya Schmidt
Welcome to the fifteenth bi-weekly Tech News Digest, provided by the GISA Technology and Security Initiative. Our goal here is to give you an easy-to-read update on what has been happening lately in the world of technology and security. To do so, we pick the top news stories from the last two weeks and present a short summary. Should you be interested in knowing more, just follow the links below the respective paragraphs.
Oh, Yeah- Elon Musk Bought Twitter…
We didn’t cover it in last week’s Digest, but back on October 27th, Elon Musk bought Twitter. Theories have been flying about what this will mean for not only the company itself, but also many Twitter users. Not only did Musk immediately fire, push out, or let go several top executives. He also made several comments which seem to indicate that he intends to ease the standards of content moderation, while simultaneously arguing that “Twitter cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences”. At this time, it seems likely that the future of Twitter and the future of its role in international relations will come down to the whim of a billionaire. All of this raises the question: is this acceptable? Would it be any more or less so if Heads of State were to behave similarly, or any more or less inherently political?
Read more on The Washington Post.
The Right to Tinker vs. Patent Law
On May 30th, the US Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Impression Products v. Lexmark International which prevents manufacturers from using patents to restrain how consumers use their products. Until this point, it was illegal to install custom software onto most mobile phones, even when those phones were purchased and fully owned by the consumer. The change in law does not impact copyright law, which is largely the law that impacts software in most modern mobile phones. Thus, manufacturers of mobile phones can use it to force consumers to get their maintenance work through their services alone. To what extent should people be able to modify their own phones? What are the implications of these policies for issues of global waste, personal agency, and the power we place in the hands of smartphone manufacturers?
Read more about it on The Economist.
Volodymyr Zelensky Describes an “IT Army”
In an interview with WIRED magazine, Zelensky has described Ukraine’s battle in cyberspace as a feature of the future. He also shares his thoughts on the effectiveness of sanctions in Russia and the role of Starlink in the war.
Read more about this on WIRED.
Secondary School Receives Cyber Attack
Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School in Hereford, England, was the victim of a Cyber Attack on the 9th of October. In the process, students’ information was published online. The case raises important questions about the role of cyber attacks in modern educational institutions, particularly those which are less likely to have the resources to defend their data.Read more on BBC.