NBC News: Countries pledge $8 billion for coronavirus vaccine, but U.S. absent

NBC News: Countries pledge $8 billion for coronavirus vaccine, but U.S. absent. “An international campaign to find a vaccine for the coronavirus raised $8 billion from governments and organizations on Monday, but the United States was notably absent from the effort. The European Commission co-led a virtual conference in response to the World Health Organization’s appeal for global collaboration in the response to the pandemic, which saw support from leaders across Europe, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Canada. China, where the virus originated, was only represented by its ambassador to the European Union.”

The New York Times: While Shuttered at Home, China Exploits Social Media Abroad

The New York Times: While Shuttered at Home, China Exploits Social Media Abroad. “China says its diplomats and government officials will fully exploit foreign social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that are blocked off to its own citizens.”

Wired: Iran Tensions Increase Social Media Surveillance at the US Border

Wired: Iran Tensions Increase Social Media Surveillance at the US Border. “Just days after the United States assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, US Customs and Border Protection reportedly detained more than 60 Iranian Americans and Iranians, including children, at the US–Canada border. Multiple sources present claim that while some of those detained were held, in certain cases for up to 10 hours, CBP confiscated some of their phones, ordered them to hand over their social media passwords, and questioned them about their political views and social media activity.”

Neowin: France tells the U.S. it will retaliate over any action against its digital tax

Neowin: France tells the U.S. it will retaliate over any action against its digital tax. “France has announced it will retaliate against any action taken by the United States against its digital services tax. The announcement by France’s economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, comes as a bit of a surprise because the two sides seemed to have come to an agreement over the issue back in August during the G7 event.”

The Africa Report: China’s new Twitter diplomacy in Africa used to challenge US critics

The Africa Report: China’s new Twitter diplomacy in Africa used to challenge US critics. “After many years of silence, Chinese envoys are now finding their voice… on Twitter. The Chinese government’s rapid adoption of Twitter over the past several months now appears to be entering a new phase as envoys across the continent are using the social media platform to launch much more pointed attacks against the United States and other critics.”

BBC: Pro-Indian ‘fake websites targeted decision makers in Europe’

BBC: Pro-Indian ‘fake websites targeted decision makers in Europe’. “A global network of pro-Indian fake websites and think-tanks is aimed at influencing decision-making in Europe, researchers say. The co-ordinated network of 265 sites operates across 65 countries, according to a report by Brussels-based NGO, EU Disinfo Lab.”

Cornell University: Einaudi program promotes nuclear freeze movement’s legacy

Cornell University: Einaudi program promotes nuclear freeze movement’s legacy. “Forty years ago this month, disarmament advocate and researcher Randall Caroline Watson Forsberg told peace activists assembled for Mobilization for Survival’s annual meeting that a bilateral nuclear arms freeze ‘could change the world.’ Forsberg’s vision launched a powerful local- and state-level grassroots lobby for a U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms freeze in the 1980s.”

Daniel Miessler: It Appears China is Building a Massive Espionage Database on America

Daniel Miessler: It Appears China is Building a Massive Espionage Database on America. “I’ve mentioned this in numerous places for the last few years, so I decided it was time to finally put it into a formal piece. It seems obvious at this point that China is building a massive database of information on American individuals and companies, which they can then use for various purposes—including espionage, intellectual property theft, extortion, and other types of coercion.”

The National Interest: Why Cyberattacks on America’s Elections and Infrastructure Are Here to Stay

The National Interest: Why Cyberattacks on America’s Elections and Infrastructure Are Here to Stay. “Nations have been in the business of interfering in other nations’ elections since the beginning of recorded history. Since cyber-meddling in other countries’ electoral processes is also now well established, and there appear to be a variety of means and incentives to engage in cyber-meddling, what, if anything, can be done to discourage it? Imposing sanctions on Russia has not proven to be particularly effective, illustrating the relative powerlessness countries have to keep other countries from engaging in cyber-election meddling. Doing so could be rendered somewhat less effective by seeking to reduce or counter its influence on electoral debates by swiftly exposing and/or ignoring them. That is largely what occurred during the 2017 French election.”

Tehran Times: Iran, Hungary libraries sign MOU

Tehran Times: Iran, Hungary libraries sign MOU . “The MOU [Memorandum Of Understanding] was inked by Istvan Monok, the director general of the Hungarian library, and INLA deputy director Fariborz Khosravi, the INLA announced on Tuesday. Based on the MOU, the two sides agreed to begin joint cooperation to establish an online database to introduce the cultural heritage of the two countries, and also to exchange experts.”

The Atlantic: Social Media Is Revolutionizing Warfare

The Atlantic: Social Media Is Revolutionizing Warfare. “‘The exponential explosion of publicly available information is changing the global intelligence system … It’s changing how we tool, how we organize, how we institutionalize—everything we do.’ This is what a former high-level intelligence official told us back in the summer of 2016, explaining how the people who collect secrets—professional spies—were adjusting to a world increasingly without secrets. We were asking him about one of the most important changes in technology and politics today: the rising power of social media. “

North Korea: Operatives exploited Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media sites to get money and dodge sanctions (Boing Boing)

Boing Boing: North Korea: Operatives exploited Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media sites to get money and dodge sanctions. “An investigation by reporters at the Wall Street Journal uncovered North Korean online military operatives who used fake personas on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites to generate income and evade U.S. sanctions.”

Central Asia: Database tracks authoritarians’ long arm (Eurasianet)

Not new, but new-to-me. Eurasianet: Central Asia: Database tracks authoritarians’ long arm. “The database, now in its second edition, draws on publicly available information, such as media reports and archives. It currently includes 255 individuals, among them former regime insiders, secular opposition figures, banned clerics, alleged religious extremists, journalists, civil society activists and relatives of exiled individuals who have been persecuted for the actions of family members.”

FBI: The FBI Launches a Combating Foreign Influence Webpage

FBI: The FBI Launches a Combating Foreign Influence Webpage. “Today the FBI is launching a webpage on combating foreign influence. This information is provided to educate the public about the threats faced from disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and the overall impact of foreign influence on society. The FBI is the lead federal agency responsible for investigating foreign influence operations.”

BuzzFeed News: No Big Deal, Just A US President Telling A Former Russian President He Needs To Eat More

BuzzFeed News: No Big Deal, Just A US President Telling A Former Russian President He Needs To Eat More. “As the US–Russia relationship continues to twist and turn, documents declassified on Thursday show just how much the position of the two countries has — and hasn’t — changed. Ties between the two countries have been among the issues dominating Donald Trump’s first term, with everything from accusations of election meddling to tussling over Ukraine and Syria. No one knows exactly what the relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is really like — when the two met in Helsinki in July there was no one else, except for translators, in the room. Things weren’t always so informal. Previous presidents kept meticulous records, and on Thursday a host of those files, from the presidency of Bill Clinton, were released.”