Politics & Policy

The ransomeware conundrum

A lack of universal standards means that local governments apparently are trying to cope with an increasing flow of “ransomware” on their computer systems. That suggests that as insurers opt to pay these ransom demands, they effectively make local governments a more appealing target. [node:read-more:link]

Political parties’ apps sacrosanct?

Even as governments introduce legislation and regulations to restrict private-sector use of data gathered through mobile apps, they have exempted political parties from any restrictions, which raises questions about how the data they collect is analyzed, used and possibly shared. Some experts are wondering why there’s not more scrutiny of parties. [node:read-more:link]

North Korea rhetoric continues

Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting Oct. 8, North Korea issued a cryptic warning to Britain, France and Germany and the U.S. about discussing its recent missile tests. Germany proposed that the topic be brought up but North Korea’s ambassador to the UN says “we know well that the United States is behind impure moves of the UK, France and Germany” and any discussion “will further urge our desire to defend our sovereignty.” [node:read-more:link]

EU faces new U.S. tariffs

Some $7.5 billion on additional tariffs on imports from the European Union have been announced by the U.S. as part of an ongoing spat centered around Airbus and Boeing. The World Trade Organization cleared the way for the tariffs when it ruled that the EU had violated trade rules by supporting Airbus. [node:read-more:link]

China-Russia cooperation

Faced with external pressures on access to export markets, China and Russia are extending their economic, military and technological ties. The apparent appeal on the Chinese side is Russia’s military engineering and mathematical skills while in the other directiion it’s Chinese products, services and experience which could help Russia curb western imports. [node:read-more:link]

Social media urged to do better

Nine social media companies are being asked by a pair of U.S. senators to develop industry standards and internal policies which could address increasing threats posed by deepfakes and fabricated online media. Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner say in a letter that if the public cannot trust recorded events or images, it will have a corrosive impact on democracy. [node:read-more:link]

Immigrant Detainees’ DNA to be tested

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has confirmed an administration plan to collect detained immigrants’ genetic information in a national criminal database maintained by the FBI. DHS officials say the Department of justice is preparing regulations which would expand the database which hitherto has been used only for persons arrested, charged or convicted of serious crimes. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Somalia embassy reopens

The United States says it has reopened its embassy in Somalia nearly three decades after the country collapsed into civil war and the U.S. military airlifted the ambassador to safety. The decision what is described as progress in the Horn of Africa nation despite continued attacks in the region by extremists. [node:read-more:link]

Internet neutrality ruling

The U.S.Federal Communications Commission has been told that it cannot prevent states from implementing their own net neutrality laws. Neutrality means Internet service providers cannot discriminate or charge differently based on subscribers' content, website and other factors. Nor can they intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content. However, the D.C. District Court of Appeals also court upheld the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality laws. [node:read-more:link]

Telecom “cleansing” in U.S.

Congress is being urged by legislators from both political parties to purge the U.S. telecom infrastructure of equipment manufactured by any foreign company the government considers a threat to national security. The proposed $1 billion cost of compensating small and rural service providers for replacing alternate equipment would be covered through the newly-proposed Secure & Trusted Communications Networks Act. [node:read-more:link]

Bigger European fleet sought

Adm. James Foggo, the U.S. commander of Naval Forces Europe, says he needs more ships to provide presence, training and crisis response capability in his area of responsibility. He says there have been more Russian surface vessels, submarines and aircraft in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas even as political tensions increase. The U.S. 6th Fleet within NFE has four destroyers, two fast transports and a command ship. [node:read-more:link]

Scheer would cut foreign aid

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer isn’t worried that Canada might not get a seat on the UN Security Council because of a 25 per cent foreign aid cut he proposes. “It’s more important to me that I help Canadians get ahead than curry favour at the United Nations,” he said, explaining that the cuts would focus on funding for “middle- and upper-income countries” and “hostile regimes.” [node:read-more:link]

Israel threatened anew by Iran

Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, says his country’s goal of destroying Israel is “achievable.” Reiterating earlier threat by various Iranian leaders, he says “this sinister regime must be wiped off the map.” He also has broached “the global mobilization of Islam." [node:read-more:link]

Municipal gun control “wrong”

A Toronto emergency physician has rejected as impracticable the federal government’s proposal to empower municipalities to restrict handguns by working through the provincial governments and territories. Dr. Joel Lexchin said at a public event with Prime Minister Trudeau that it makes no sense for one city to impose a ban if others nearby do not.“The federal government needs to ... show leadership and do a national ban,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

One-China policy reasserted

President Xi Jinping celebrated the 70thanniversary of the People’s Republic of China by saying there is “no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation. He also highlighted ongoing riots in Hong Kong, saying China remains “committed to the strategy of peaceful reinforcement of one country two systems” with the eventual goal of “complete unification.”  [node:read-more:link]


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