Offshore illegal GOP campaign megadonors receive record FEC fines after The Intercept reveals their crimes

Back in 2016, The Intercept ran a blockbuster series revealing how foreign businesspeople were illegally laundering massive campaign contributions to Jeb Bush and other GOP presidential hopefuls. Read the rest

Leaked Chinese database of 1.8 million women includes a field indicating whether they are "BreedReady"

Security researcher Victor Gevers has discovered an insecure Chinese database of 1.8 million women, aged 15-39, along with phone numbers, GPS coordinates, photo URLs, ID card numbers, marital status, political affiliations, educational attainment, and whether the women are "BreedReady." 89% of the records are for women in Beijing. Another field, "HasVideo," may indicate whether they are under video surveillance, or whether a video of them is accessible. After Gevers tweeted redacted screenshots from the database, it was taken offline. (via Bleeping Computer) Read the rest

Leaked memo suggests that Google has not really canceled its censored, spying Chinese search tool

Last December, human rights advocates and Google employees cheered when they learned that internal dissent at Google had killed the company's secret plan to launch a search tool in China that would censor results to the specifications set out by state censors, and collect detailed histories of search activity that could be turned over to authorities hunting for dissidents. Read the rest

China is rushing facial and voice recognition tech for pigs. Here's why.

In China, technology firms are working with the government to push voice and facial recognition to help pigs, many of which have been dying from a swine disease that's sweeping the country. Read the rest

Bunnie Huang's tour-de-force explanation of how hardware implants and supply chain hacks work

Last October, Bloomberg published a blockbuster story claiming that some of the largest tech companies in the world, as well as sensitive US government and military systems, had been attacked through minute hardware implants that had been inserted at a subcontractor facility during the manufacture of servers from the world's leading server company, Supermicro. Read the rest

China uses DNA tech to spy on people. Yale geneticist and a U.S. biotech helped.

“The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control.”

This is a heck of a story about how genetic surveillance, powered by American know-how, is being used to oppress the Muslim minority Uighur population and others in China, from the New York Times. Read the rest

Huawei president Ren Zhengfei: We won't spy on US even if Chinese law requires us to, what backdoors?

In his first U.S. TV interview, Ren Zhengfei describes Huawei as “a tomato” crushed between two superpowers.

Alibaba developed Chinese Communist Party propaganda app that became China Apple Store hit: Report

The smash hit Chinese government propaganda app Xuexi Qiangguo, which translates to 'Study to make China strong', was developed by the technology firm Alibaba, reports Reuters today. Read the rest

Signs that China's real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

China's real-estate bubble is the largest in human history, and despite years of warning signs, it has grown and grown, spilling over into the rest of the world. Read the rest

Fascinating 9-minute documentary of Shenzhen, the "Silicon Valley of China"

Just 40 years ago, Shenzhen was a fishing village next to Hong Kong. Today it's a high tech city of 13 million people and known as both the "factory to the world," and the "Silicon Valley of China." After watching this Bloomberg video, I think it's the other way around -- Silicon Valley is the Shenzhen of the United States.

[via Dooby Brain] Read the rest

The most censored Wechat topics: US-China trade war, Canadian arrest of Huawei CFO, ZTE sanctions, more

Wechatscope is a research project from the University of Hong Kong; they ingest every public status update on Wechat, the Chinese social network used by more than a billion people, then record which messages are later made unavailable, and infer from that the most censored topics on the network. Read the rest

China legalizes eating a pufferfish bred to be nonpoisonous

Chinese fish farms have successfully bred seven generations of Takifugu rubripes and ten generations of Takifugu obscurus that lack the gene that causes normal specimens of these pufferfish species to produce a deadly toxin that means near-instant death for anyone who eats a fish whose poison has not been completely removed during preparation. Read the rest

After more than a year of inaction,one of those privacy-leaking kids' smart watches has been recalled in Europe

It's been a year and a half since the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a security audit of kids' "smart watches" that revealed that anyone on the internet could track the wearers, talk to them through their watches, and listen in on them; a year later, Pen Test Partners revealed that the watches were still leaking sensitive information, a situation that hadn't changed as of last week. Read the rest

Another Apple engineer accused of stealing autonomous vehicle secrets for China

For the second time in 6 months, the FBI is accusing a Chinese national engineer who worked for Apple of stealing Apple trade secrets related to self-driving cars, to help a China-based competitor. Read the rest

Microsoft confirms 'Bing is currently inaccessible in China'

Bada bing, bada banned. China has blocked Bing, Microsoft's search engine, tonight. Read the rest

Chinese scientist who edited babies' genes has been fired and may face criminal charges

An investigation by the health ministry in Guangdong, China determined that scientist He Jiankui broke national laws when he used the CRISPR gene-editing technique to engineer human embryos with resistance to HIV and then implanted the embryos into women who then birthed the babies. Based on the probe, the Southern University of Science and Technology has fired He from his position as a researcher and teacher there. According to an article in the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, police may also explore charges against He and his colleagues. From Nature:

The Xinhua article confirms many details of the case for the first time: starting in June 2016, it says, He put together a team that, from March 2017, recruited eight couples consisting of an HIV-positive father and an HIV-negative mother. He’s team edited the genes of embryos from at least two couples. (The Xinhua article does not specify what type of gene editing was done, although He claims that the embryos were edited to remove a gene that enables HIV to enter cells.) In addition to the woman who already gave birth, one other woman involved in the experiment is currently pregnant with a gene-edited embryo. Five other couples are not pregnant, the article reports, and one couple dropped out of the experiment.

The article says that He’s gene-editing activities were “clearly prohibited by the state”, but it doesn’t mention which specific laws or regulations the researcher broke.

Read the rest

China is blurring men's earrings on TV

Chinese TV is blurring out the ears of men wearing earrings. From CNN:

It's unclear if Chinese regulators have issued a specific directive barring men from being shown wearing earrings, or whether TV stations are reacting to a shift in what is considered culturally appropriate. Last year, China's media regulator banned TV stations from featuring actors with tattoos. Depictions of "hip hop culture, sub-culture and immoral culture," were also banned according to Chinese state media...

When it comes to television, the country's regulations previously barred programs from airing content that expresses "overt admiration for Western lifestyles," jokes about Chinese traditions or defiles "classic materials..."

The country's censors have also been quick to black out content on LGBT issues. Guidelines released in China in 2016 characterized homosexuality as an "abnormal sexual behavior" unfit for Chinese television, alongside incest, sexual abuse and "perversion."

Read the rest

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