Below the Radar (Issues being eclipsed by coronavirus)

There are several important issues and events happening concurrently with the current crisis, that are getting buried by our understandable focus on coronavirus. This thread is an attempt to keep them from falling through the cracks, by consolidating them in one place.

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Signal sends smoke, er, signal: If Congress cripples anonymous speech with EARN IT Act, we’ll shut US ops

Context:

Don’t be fooled, experts warn, America’s anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground


Backed by senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the proposed law intends to make technology companies “earn” their exemption from liability allowed under Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act by requiring internet companies to follow a set of best practices to keep CSAM off their networks.

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I can’t remember who’s twitter thread I saw it in, but someone raised the very good point that perhaps legislators should be concerned about the effect on all of those political operatives and intelligence agency folks running around DC who use signal (and they do), when they are forced to have their encryption downgraded.

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You can’t convince the wilfully stupid with logical, fact-based arguments.
We’ve been trough this umpteen times since at least the early 1990ies, call it 30 years. Every now and then someone crawls out of the woodwork and wants a magical backdoor, or good-guys-only “hard” encryption, or export bans, or whatnot. And quite often it’s the same persons.
I suppose usually the miltec/hightec companies and the financial sector have that sort of nonsense canned eventually; because those guys need safe comms and have both experts who understand the issues and sound financial arguments.
The worrying bit is that the citizen’s rights and protections are undermined in the process.

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I’ve been following it for 30+ years. Yes, every time it comes around, the same old arguments. That doesn’t negate requiring some of the same reminders, and in this case, actually pointing out to legislators who live in a bubble, how much more reliant they now are on the exact same technologies.

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Rough translation:

In the middle of COVID pandemic, deforestation was the only think that hasn’t stopped in Brazil.

(preliminar) Satellite data shows an increase of 30 % of deforestation of the Amazon forest in March compared to the data from the same month last year, from 251,42 km² to 326,51 km².

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Thornberry wants Pentagon to launch $6 billion initiative to deter Chinese influence in the Pacific

Air Force nixes regular bomber rotations on Guam for less predictable global deployments

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Yeah. To the surprise of absolutely nobody who was paying attention they now want to expand the powers of the most draconian law in any western democracy. The investigatory powers act sailed through parliament with nary a dissenting voice and now they want to slip this under the door while attention is diverted by a global crisis. I think this ties neatly into that comic @milliefink recently posted a link to because the tracing app will rely on a level of trust that this gov has completely squandered by rolling out these illegal laws.

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