Caribbean phone networks + more

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Revealed: China suspected of spying on Americans via Caribbean phone networks | US news | The Guardian – China is alleged to have used Caribbean phone networks to conduct its surveillance. I’d imagine that they aren’t the only people to do this – At the heart of the allegations are claims that China, using a state-controlled mobile phone operator, is directing signalling messages to US subscribers, usually while they are travelling abroad. Signalling messages are commands that are sent by a telecoms operators across the global network, unbeknownst to a mobile phone user. They allow operators to locate mobile phones, connect mobile phone users to one another, and assess roaming charges. But some signalling messages can be used for illegitimate purposes, such as tracking, monitoring, or intercepting communications.– always use a VPN when roaming whether it’s Caribbean phone networks or elsewhere. We don’t know which Caribbean phone networks are vulnerable, could it be Digicel? More security related posts here.

Robinhood faces legal action over ‘gamification’ of investing | FT – not terribly surprised by this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were adopting B.J. Fogg’s dark principles in his work Persuasive Technology

LS Keynote Shanghai 2020: The Digital Transformation of International Brands in Chinastudies by Boston Consulting Group for the luxury sector showed that 93 per cent of purchases in China are influenced by digital touchpoints – which is significantly higher compared to the 60 per cent observed in the global market. This makes developing digital offerings in China more significant for luxury brands. On top of its external transformation, it is also crucial for brands to establish an effective organisational structure and infrastructure internally. When it comes to creating omnichannel experiences, the development of online channels should be done so in tandem with offline touchpoints, opined Liang. Any projects that straddle online and offline must be supported by frontline staff – something he sees as a key challenge for luxury brands today – interesting stuff from Luxury Society

Facebook says French and Russian disinformation trolls spar in Africa | Financial Times – this is fascinating. It is interesting that western agencies are trying to beat Russia at its own game

To the moon and back, Chinese R&D is leaving the US behind | Financial TimesOnce upon a time, the US government invested heavily in research. US federal R&D spending surged after the Soviets launched Sputnik, peaking in 1965 at 11.7 per cent of federal spending and at 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product. Frontier discoveries from that time led to the internet and GPS, the global navigation system. But in the decades since putting a person on the moon, US government investment in ideas has waned. In constant dollars, Nasa spending had fallen by more than half by the early 1970s; it has been flat ever since. By 2019, total federal R&D spend constituted just 2.8 per cent of all federal spending and just 0.6 per cent of GDP — the lowest since the start of the cold war.

What to do when the UN human rights office may have violated human rights? | South China Morning Post – UN shopped human rights activists to China, exposing them to retribution

US orders emergency action after huge cyber security breach | Financial TimesHundreds of thousands of organisations around the world use SolarWinds’ Orion platform. The US department of Homeland Security’s cyber security arm ordered all federal agencies to disconnect from the platform, which is used by IT departments to monitor and manage their networks and systems. FireEye, a leading cyber security company that said it had fallen victim to the hack last week, said it had already found “numerous” other victims including “government, consulting, technology, telecom and extractive entities in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East”.

‘This Feels Uncomfortable’: Nike Tackles Racism In Japanobservers criticised Nike for misunderstanding or disrespecting its host country — as if racial prejudice were somehow a component of Japanese culture that should not be challenged. The issue is more complex than both the content and the censure suggest, but the reaction was a reminder that Japan is still less accustomed to ‘purpose-driven’ brand work than many economically advanced markets. It also underscored that extreme right-wing views exist in Japanese society, even if people rarely give voice to them in an offline environment. For some ordinarily bold brands, it is likely to prompt a round of second-guessing before adopting a sensitive social topic as part of their marketing efforts. “People think discrimination isn’t part of Japanese life, but it is,” said one Japanese in-house communications head at a multinational consumer-facing company, who wanted to remain anonymous. She added that she did not see the work as offensive but as helping to raise awareness of unconscious bias. At the same time, she said she would weigh the risks with extra care before embarking on any diversity-oriented campaign

Finnish Data Theft and Extortion – Schneier on Security – when the ransomware hustle didn’t work on a Finnish mental health clinic, the hackers looked to extort employees and patients

China pulls back from the world: rethinking Xi’s ‘project of the century’ | Financial Timestwo Chinese banks lent $462bn, just short of the $467bn extended by the World Bank, according to the Boston University data. In some years, lending by the Chinese policy banks was almost equivalent to that by all six of the world’s multilateral financial institutions — which along with the World Bank include the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the African Development Bank — put together. In global development finance, such a sharp scaling back of lending by the Chinese banks amounts to an earthquake. If it persists, it will exacerbate an infrastructure funding gap that in Asia alone already amounts to $907bn a year, according to Asian Development Bank estimates. In Africa and Latin America — where Chinese credit has also formed a big part of infrastructure financing — the gap between what is required and what is available is also expected to yawn wider. China’s retreat from overseas development finance derives from structural policy shifts, according to Chinese analysts. “China is consolidating, absorbing and digesting the investments made in the past,” says Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China’s state council and president of the Center for China and Globalisation, a think-tank. – there are limits to what even China can do to defy economic laws. Overall the infrastructure costs of the British empire were much higher than is generally realised