[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.