Further Reading, Other Developments, and Coming Events (13 October)

Further Reading

  •  “False Rumors Often Start at the Top” By Shira Ovide — The New York Times. This piece traces how misinformation can arise from poorly phrased or ambiguous statements and utterances from authorities or famous people. Throw in a very liberal dose of people misinterpreting, and it’s a miracle there’s any clear communication online.
  • With election day looming, Twitter imposes new limits on U.S. politicians — and ordinary users, too” By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg — The Washington Post. The social media platform will police misinformation and lies spread by American politicians with more than 100,000 followers, especially with respect to the outcome of elections that have not yet been decided. This change is part of a suite of measures to blunt the viral nature of incorrect or maliciously intended Tweets. An interesting change is one designed to add friction to retweeting by asking the user if they want to add their thoughts to a Tweet they are trying to retweet. Perhaps, such modifications point the way to blunting how quickly bad or wrong information goes viral.
  • Why Facebook Can’t Fix Itself” By Andrew Marantz — New Yorker. This article lays bare the central tension in the social media platform: its income is driven by content that outrages or hooks people and any serious effort to remove lies, misinformation, hate speech, and extremist material would remove the content it needs to outrage and hook people.
  • Feds may target Google’s Chrome browser for breakup” By Leah Nylen — Politico. It appears there may be two antitrust suits against Google targeting three of the company’s businesses: online advertising, the online search market, and its Google Chrome browser. The United States Department of Justice and state attorneys general may ask courts to break up the company. Of course, the resolution of such a massive undertaking could take years to play out.
  • Cyber Command has sought to disrupt the world’s largest botnet, hoping to reduce its potential impact on the election” By Ellen Nakashima — The Washington Post and “Microsoft seeks to disrupt Russian criminal botnet it fears could seek to sow confusion in the presidential election” By Jay Greene and Ellen Nakashima — The Washington Post. United States (U.S.) Cyber Command and Microsoft went at the same botnet from different directions ahead of the U.S. election in an attempt to batter and disorganize the Russian organization enough to foil any possible ransomware attacks on election systems.

Other Developments

  • The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) sent its “its 2020 Interim Report and Third Quarter Recommendations” to Congress and the Trump Administration ahead of the March 2021 due date for its final report. Notably, the NSCAI is calling for Congress and the White House to figure out which entity in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) should lead and coordinate the United States’ (U.S.) artificial intelligence (AI) efforts. Again, the NSCAI framed AI as being a key part of the “great power” struggle between the U.S. and rivals like the People’s Republic of China; although it is often unsaid that the U.S. is also theoretically competing with ostensible allies like the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) in leading AI development and reaping the national security and economic gains projected to accompany being the preeminent nation on this field. However, as with many of these commissions, Congress and the Administration must navigate the jurisdictions of current government stakeholders who are almost always reluctant to relinquish their claims to a policy field and will often work to preserve their role even at the cost of frustrating larger efforts. It is very likely Congress folds recommendations into a future National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), quite possibly the bill for FY 2022 since the final report will be delivered in the midst of the drafting and consideration of the annual bill to set national security policy.
    • Nonetheless, the NSCAI stated “[t]his report represents our third quarterly memo as well as our second interim report mandated by Congress….[and] we present 66 recommendations flowing from several key ideas:
      • First, we must defend democracies from AI-enabled disinformation and other malign uses of AI by our adversaries.
      • Second, the government should expand and democratize basic AI research—the wellspring of our technological advantages.
      • Third, the government must build a digital ecosystem within national security departments and agencies for AI R&D.
      • Fourth, connecting technologists and operators will be the key to leveraging AI in all national security missions.
      • Fifth, we must close the tech talent deficit by strengthening STEM education, recruiting the best minds from around the world, and training the national security workforce.
      • Sixth, we must build a resilient domestic microelectronics industrial base.
      • Seventh, we will need interconnected strategies for technologies associated with AI including biotechnology and quantum computing.
      • Eighth, we cannot only focus on domestic initiatives in a global competition.
    • The NSCAI declared “[w]e must lead the development of AI technical standards and norms in international forums, and strengthen AI partnerships with allies and partners to build a digital future reflecting our values and protecting our interests.”
    • The NSCAI asserted:
      • The totality of the recommendations illustrates a key point: Laying out a vision is not enough. A winning strategy demands major muscle movements in and across departments and agencies, and significant executive and legislative action. It requires overcoming the technical, bureaucratic, and human obstacles to change, and driving very specific policies.
      • We believe the United States needs a new White House-led technology council to elevate AI- driven technology developments to the center of national decision-making, and a technology advisor to lead a new technology competitiveness strategy that integrates the complex interplay between technology, national security, and economic policies.
  • Key Republican stakeholders introduced the “Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020” that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction off a prized piece of mid-band spectrum to speed the roll out of 5G in the United States (U.S.) The bill was introduced by Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS), Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee Chair John Thune (R-SD), House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Representative Bob Latta (R-OH).
    • In their press release, they claimed:
      • The Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020 would empower the FCC to open more critical mid-band spectrum for non-federal, commercial wireless use by requiring the FCC to begin an auction of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by December 2021.
      • In February 2018, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) identified the 3.45-3.55 GHz band as a candidate for potential repurposing. Earlier this year, NTIA released a technical report indicating that spectrum sharing opportunities were possible in this band.
      • In August 2020, the White House announced that it would make 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for non-federal, commercial wireless use. In September 2020, the FCC took a first step to start transitioning existing services to make this band available for 5G use.
      • These actions by the Trump Administration are crucial to growing our economy and enhancing our national security. This legislation is the final step to making sure there are no delays and this auction stays on track.
    • In early August, the White House and the Department of Defense (DOD) announced it would make available 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 3450-3550 MHz band. (See here for more detail.)
  • In a press release, the Department of Defense (DOD) detailed its “$600 million in awards for 5G experimentation and testing at five U.S. military test sites, representing the largest full-scale 5G tests for dual-use applications in the world.” These awards were made largely to prominent private sector technology and telecommunications companies vying to play prominent roles in 5G. However, of course, no awards were made to companies from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Nonetheless, this announcement may provoke further claims from Members of Congress and stakeholders that the DOD’s effort is the camel’s nose under the tent of a nationalized 5G system.
    • This announcement is part of the DOD’s 5G Strategy that “provides the DOD approach to implementing the National Strategy to Secure 5G and aligns with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), Section 254…[that] is also consistent with National Defense Strategy guidance to lead in key areas of great power competition and lethality to ensure 5G’s ‘impact on the battle network of the future.’”
    • In a related DOD release, it was explained:
      • The effort — Tranche 1 of the department’s larger 5G initiative — will accelerate adoption of 5G technology, enhance the effectiveness and lethality of U.S. combat forces, and further the development and use of common 5G standards to ensure interoperability with military partners and allies.
    • The DOD added:
      • Each installation will partner military Services, industry leaders, and academic experts to advance the Department’s 5G capabilities. Projects will include piloting 5G-enabled augmented/virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing 5G-enabled Smart Warehouses, and evaluating 5G technologies to enhance distributed command and control.
    • The DOD provided details on the 5G experimentation for these Tranche 1 sites:
      • Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington – Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Training 
        • The objective of this project is to rapidly field a scalable, resilient, and secure 5G network to provide a test bed for experimentation with a 5G-enabled Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) capability for mission planning, distributed training, and operational use.  Industry partners at this site include:
        • GBL System Corp. (GBL): GBL’s Samsung-based 5G testbed will utilize mid-band spectrum to provide high capacity, low latency coverage at JBLM (Approximately 3 sq. mi.) and Yakima Training Center (Approximately 15 sq. mi.).
        • AT&T: AT&T will develop a system to allow use of 5G connectivity with present training devices.
        • Oceus Networks: Oceus will develop and field a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) based 5G handheld called Tough Mobile Device-5G (TMD-5G) for the field training environment.
        • Booz-Allen Hamilton (BAH): BAH will deliver an Army-owned, multivendor prototype for combat-like training using AR/VR technology in 5G-enhanced training locations based on an Open Systems Architecture (OSA).
      • Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), California – 5G Smart Warehousing (Transshipment)
        • The objective of this project is to develop a 5G-enabled Smart Warehouse focused on transshipment between shore facilities and naval units, to increase the efficiency and fidelity of naval logistic operations, including identification, recording, organization, storage, retrieval, and transportation of materiel and supplies.  Additionally, the project will create a proving ground for testing, refining, and validating emerging 5G-enabled technologies.  Industry partners at this site include:
        • AT&T: AT&T will quickly deploy (within 9 months) a network based on commercially available equipment to support 4G and 5G utilizing cellular spectrum in both the sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave bands.
        • GE Research: GE Research 5G-enabled applications will support real-time asset tracking, warehouse modeling and predictive analytics.
        • Vectrus Mission Solutions Corporation (Vectrus): Vectrus applications will provide industry-leading capabilities for inventory management, network security, robotic material moving, & environmental sensing.
        • Deloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte): Deloitte will support a wide array of applications including Autonomous Mobile Robots, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with autonomous drones, biometrics, cameras, AR/VR, and digitally tracked inventory.
      • Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, Georgia – 5G Smart Warehousing (Vehicular)
        • This project will develop a 5G-enabled Smart Warehouse focused on vehicular storage and maintenance, to increase the efficiency and fidelity of MCLB Albany logistic operations, including identification, recording, organization, storage, retrieval, and inventory control of materiel and supplies.  Additionally, the project will create a proving ground for testing, refining, and validating emerging 5G-enabled technologies.  Industry partners at this site include:
        • Federated Wireless: Federated Wireless leverages open standards and an open solution to provide a testbed with both indoor and outdoor coverage, supporting a growing segment of the US 5G equipment market. 
        • GE Research: The GE approach will support real-time asset tracking, facility modeling and predictive analytics.
        • KPMG LLP: KPMG applications will create an integrated, automated, and digitized process for equipment and product movement throughout the warehouse.
        • Scientific Research Corporation (SRC): SRC’s 5G-enabled offering will demonstrate automated management and control of warehouse logistics, asset and inventory tracking, environmental management, and facility access control.
      • Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada – Distributed Command and Control
        • The objective of this effort is to develop a testbed for use of 5G technologies to aid in Air, Space, and Cyberspace lethality while enhancing command and control (C2) survivability.  Specifically, a 5G network will be employed to disaggregate and mobilize the existing C2 architectures in an agile combat employment scenario.
        • Industry partners at this site include:
        • AT&T: AT&T will provide an initially fixed then mobile 5G environment with high capacity and low latency to support the connectivity requirements associated with the mobile combined air operations centers.
      • Hill Air Force Base, Utah – Dynamic Spectrum Utilization
        • This project addresses the challenge of enabling Air Force radars to dynamically share spectrum with 5G cellular services.  The project will develop sharing/coexistence system prototypes and evaluate their effectiveness with real-world, at-scale networks in controlled environments.  The objective of this effort is to develop effective methodologies to allow the sharing or coexistence between airborne radar systems and 5G cellular telephony systems in the 3.1 – 3.45 GHz band.  Industry partners at this site include:
        • Nokia: The Nokia testbed includes traditional as well as open standards architectures including high-power massive multi-antenna systems.
        • General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc. (GDMS): GDMS will develop and field a novel coexistence application that includes independent tracking of radar signals to support the radio access network in mitigation actions.
        • Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH): BAH’s approach utilizes Artificial Intelligence to provide a complete coexistence system with rapid response to interference. 
        • Key Bridge Wireless LLC: Key Bridge will demonstrate an adaptation of an existing commercial spectrum sharing approach for the 3.1-3.45 GHz band as a low risk solution to the coexistence issues.
        • Shared Spectrum Company (SSC): SSC’s approach aims to maintain continuous 5G communications via early radar detections and 5G-enabled Dynamic Spectrum Access.
        • Ericsson: Ericsson’s novel approach employs the 5G infrastructure to provide the required sensing coupled with Machine Learning and 5G-enabled spectrum aggregation.
  • Facebook announced it is suing two companies for data scraping in a suit filed in California state court. In its complaint, Facebook asserted:
    • Beginning no later than September 2019 and continuing until at least September 2020, Defendants BrandTotal Ltd. (BrandTotal ́) and Unimania, Inc. (Unimania) developed and distributed internet browser extensions (malicious extensions) designed to improperly collect data from Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram. Defendants distributed the malicious extensions on the Google Chrome Store. Anyone who installed one of Defendants malicious extensions essentially self-compromised their browsers to run automated programs designed to collect data about its user from specific websites. As to Facebook and Instagram, when a user visited those sites with a self-compromised browser, Defendants used the malicious extensions to connect to Facebook computers and collect or scrape ́ user profile information (including name, user ID, gender, date of birth, relationship status, and location information), advertisements and advertising metrics (including name of the advertiser, image and text of the advertisement, and user interaction and reaction metrics), and user Ad Preferences (user advertisement interest information). Defendants used the data collected by the malicious extensions to sell marketing intelligence, and other services through the website brandtotal.com. Defendants’ conduct was not authorized by Facebook.
    • Facebook brings this action to stop Defendants’ violations of Facebook’s and Instagram’s Terms and Policies. Facebook also brings this action to obtain damages and disgorgement for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
    • Of course, it is a bit entertaining to see Facebook take issue with the data collection techniques of others given the myriad ways it tracks so many people across the internet especially when they are not even interacting with Facebook or logged into the social media platform. See here, here, and here for more on Facebook’s practices, some of which may even be illegal in a number of countries, and, of course, some of the most egregious practices led to the record $5 billion fine levied by the Federal Trade Commission.

Coming Events

  • The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, Bodies and Agencies (CERT-EU) will hold the 4th annual IoT Security Conference series “to raise awareness on the security challenges facing the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem across the European Union:”
    • Artificial Intelligence – 14 October at 15:00 to 16:30 CET
    • Supply Chain for IoT – 21 October at 15:00 to 16:30 CET
  • The House Intelligence Committee will conduct a virtual hearing titled “Misinformation, Conspiracy Theories, and ‘Infodemics’: Stopping the Spread Online.”
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open commission meeting on 27 October, and the agency has released a tentative agenda:
    • Restoring Internet Freedom Order Remand – The Commission will consider an Order on Remand that would respond to the remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and conclude that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order promotes public safety, facilitates broadband infrastructure deployment, and allows the Commission to continue to provide Lifeline support for broadband Internet access service. (WC Docket Nos. 17-108, 17-287, 11- 42)
    • Establishing a 5G Fund for Rural America – The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would establish the 5G Fund for Rural America to ensure that all Americans have access to the next generation of wireless connectivity. (GN Docket No. 20-32)
    • Increasing Unlicensed Wireless Opportunities in TV White Spaces – The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would increase opportunities for unlicensed white space devices to operate on broadcast television channels 2-35 and expand wireless broadband connectivity in rural and underserved areas. (ET Docket No. 20-36)
    • Streamlining State and Local Approval of Certain Wireless Structure Modifications – The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would further accelerate the deployment of 5G by providing that modifications to existing towers involving limited ground excavation or deployment would be subject to streamlined state and local review pursuant to section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012. (WT Docket No. 19-250; RM-11849)
    • Revitalizing AM Radio Service with All-Digital Broadcast Option – The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would authorize AM stations to transition to an all-digital signal on a voluntary basis and would also adopt technical specifications for such stations. (MB Docket Nos. 13-249, 19-311)
    • Expanding Audio Description of Video Content to More TV Markets – The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would expand audio description requirements to 40 additional television markets over the next four years in order to increase the amount of video programming that is accessible to blind and visually impaired Americans. (MB Docket No. 11-43)
    • Modernizing Unbundling and Resale Requirements – The Commission will consider a Report and Order to modernize the Commission’s unbundling and resale regulations, eliminating requirements where they stifle broadband deployment and the transition to next- generation networks, but preserving them where they are still necessary to promote robust intermodal competition. (WC Docket No. 19-308)
    • Enforcement Bureau Action – The Commission will consider an enforcement action.
  • On October 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a seminar titled “Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC Rules of the Road for Business workshop” that “will bring together Ohio business owners and marketing executives with national and state legal experts to provide practical insights to business and legal professionals about how established consumer protection principles apply in today’s fast-paced marketplace.”
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will reportedly hold a hearing on 29 October regarding 47 U.S.C. 230 with testimony from:
    • Jack Dorsey, Chief Executive Officer of Twitter;
    • Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary, Google; and 
    • Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook.

© Michael Kans, Michael Kans Blog and michaelkans.blog, 2019-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael Kans, Michael Kans Blog, and michaelkans.blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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