Channel News Asia — REUTERS: International Business Machines Corp has agreed to let China review some product source code in a secure room, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two people briefed on the practice. It was not clear which products IBM was allowing reviews of or how much time officials of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology can spend looking at the code, the WSJ said on Friday. (http://on.wsj.com/1PlKBoR)
ZDNet — Kakao, the company behind South Korea’s most popular instant messaging app, KakaoTalk, has said it will cooperate with government prosecutors when they request chat messages, ending a year-long standoff over privacy. The decision marks a 180-degree turn for the company and, to date, the most clear departure in corporate strategy from its former CEO Lee Seok-Woo with new CEO, 34-year-old Lim Ji-Hoon, who took the helm officially during a stakeholders meeting on September 30.
Digital News Asia — THe Singapore Government is using spyware that can copy files from your hard disk; record your Skype calls, e-mails, instant messages and passwords; and even turn on your webcam remotely – and if you’re Singaporean, you have no constitutional right to complain. Yes, that’s right – the Singapore Constitution does not include a right to privacy.
Despite a new telecoms law that empowers the Union government to pursue confidential user information under certain circumstances, a framework around its implementation has yet to be hammered out. Industry players have established stopgap measures that balance consumer rights and compliance. Section 75 of Myanmar’s 2013 telecoms law says the Union government may direct organisations to help it obtain information or telecommunications damaging to national security and the prevalence of law, so long as doing so does not impact fundamental rights of citizens.
This past December, watchdog organisation Freedom House bumped Myanmar’s “Freedom on the Net” ranking up from “not free” to “partly free”, highlighting heightened mobile access and legislative reform as key developments. Currently, only a few policies stand in place to regulate online behaviour in the country. This lack helps make Myanmar’s internet one of the Southeast Asian region’s freest, but could also leave users’ privacy unprotected. Meanwhile, legacy legislation could punish people for what they post, according to Mr Arnaudo.
Telcos and network providers on the main cable system connecting Australia and New Zealand to the United States provided interception capability to British and American spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Four global telcos and network providers operating on Southern Cross – BT, Vodafone, Level 3 and Global Crossing – are listed in the leaked documents under their codenames REMEDY, GERONTIC, LITTLE and PINNAGE respectively.
[Seoul] South Korea is trying to ease worries about online privacy after a domestic chat app lost customers to a foreign rival because of fears prosecutors in one the world’s most wired countries might get access to online conversations. Prosecutors last month launched a cyber investigation team after President Park Geun-hye spoke out against online rumours that she said “crossed the line” and were deepening divisions in society.
[Updated] Whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key of lying to the electorate about the existence of mass surveillance of citizens by the country’s main spy agency. Snowden today revealed in The Intercept that he “routinely came cross the communications of New Zealanders” while working with the US National Security Agency’s once secret XKEYSCORE mass surveillance tool, which it shares with the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). The NZ Government is actively concealing the full extent of internal surveillance, he claimed.
The world’s second-biggest mobile phone company Vodafone has revealed that government agencies in six unidentified countries use its network to listen to and record customers’ calls, showing the scale of telecom eavesdropping around the world. The United States and Britain both came in for global scrutiny and criticism after Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), disclosed their vast phone, email and internet surveillance operations.
Chinese state media has lashed out at Google, Apple and other U.S. technology companies, calling on the Beijing Government “to punish severely the pawns” of the U.S. government for monitoring China and stealing secrets. U.S. companies such as Yahoo, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Facebook threaten the cyber-security of China and its Internet users, said the People’s Daily on its microblog, in comments echoed on the front page of the English-language China Daily.
Singapore cyber surveillance startup KAI Square has raised S$4 million (US$3.18 million) in a Series B round. The investors are Ingrasys, a wholly-owned subsidiary of electronics manufacturer Foxconn, as well as Innov8, the venture capital arm of Singapore’s largest telco SingTel. The startup has developed technology which can identify a person by scanning his or her facial features through a camera. It also launched a Video-Analytics-as-a-Service for retailers, enabling them to track store visitors and their behavior. KAI Square developed the service in collaboration with SingTel. Merchants can use the service starting from S$200 a month.
Surveillance cameras have become ubiquitous in our cities. They’re silent sentinels that serve as persistent but dumb watchers of our living spaces. But thanks to a whole slew of technologies, these sentinels will no longer stay silent. SingTel, Singapore’s largest telco, has together with cyber surveillance startup KAI Square launched a new video analytics service for businesses that makes surveillance cameras smart. In fact, these devices will now speak to their owners, figuratively of course, via video analytics and data visualizations.
The NSA’s global spy operation may seem unstoppable, but there’s at least one target that has proven to be a formidable obstacle: the Chinese communications technology firm Huawei, whose growth could threaten the agency’s much-publicized digital spying powers. An unfamiliar name to American consumers, Huawei produces products that are swiftly being installed in the internet backbone in many regions of the world, displacing some of the western-built equipment that the NSA knows — and presumably knows how to exploit — so well.