The big picture

The U.S. is now playing by China's internet rules

China believes in nationalist control over digital networks, and increasingly, so does the White House.

Aug 4, 2020 - Technology
The coronavirus is ushering in a new era of surveillance at work

The pandemic is normalizing increased surveillance and data collection at work.

Jul 7, 2020 - Economy & Business
Protest responses raise domestic surveillance concerns

Federal law enforcement agencies were deployed to police demonstrations throughout the U.S.

Jun 10, 2020 - Technology
Deep Dive: The end of anonymity

Data that might once have gone unnoticed can now be detected, analyzed and logged in real time.

Sep 7, 2019 - Technology
The steady erosion of privacy at home

IoT devices can pick up your voice, interests, habits, TV preferences, meals and all sorts of other sensitive data.

Jun 24, 2019 - Technology
AI is "awakening" surveillance cameras

New technology can constantly watch for "anomalies" in live feeds.

Jun 14, 2019 - Technology

All Surveillance stories

Facebook says Chinese hackers used platform to target Uyghurs abroad

Photo Illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday it has blocked a group of hackers in China who have used the platform to target Uyghur activists, journalists and dissidents living abroad with links to surveillance malware.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is actively committing genocide against the Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group, inside the country, while harassing those who have left, according to Amnesty International.

Bloomberg: Hackers breach 150,000 cameras tied to hospitals, prisons, schools

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An international hacking group gained access to around 150,000 live-feed security cameras developed by startup Verkada used inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools around the world, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The hackers were able to view and copy video from inside multiple health centers, schools, prisons and companies, including carmaker Tesla and software provider Cloudflare.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Mar 3, 2021 - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 13, 2021 - Technology

The coming conflict over facial recognition

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The arrests and charges in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection made clear the power of facial recognition, even as efforts to restrict the technology are growing.

Why it matters: With dozens of companies selling the ability to identify people from pictures of their faces — and no clear federal regulation governing the process — facial recognition is seeping into the U.S., raising major questions about ethics and effectiveness.

Pompeo says Russia is "pretty clearly" behind cyberattack on U.S.

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Friday evening interview that "we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians" behind a massive cyber attack that breached dozens of government agencies, think tanks and companies.

Driving the news: Pompeo's comments on "The Mark Levin Show" are the first from a Trump administration official publicly linking Russia to the hack. President Trump has yet to address the issue.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 12, 2020 - World

Cyber AI firm helps Vatican digitize its library archives

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A cybersecurity firm is working with the Vatican to defend its priceless collection of digitized writings from hacking efforts.

Why it matters: Digitizing library archives can provide an invaluable backup should the originals be lost or destroyed, but they're also vulnerable to cyberattacks. Without stout defenses, digital libraries can be looted or even vandalized.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Dec 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

Breaking down Microsoft's "Productivity Score" tool

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft has a new tool called "Productivity Score" that lets managers track how often their workforces are using Word and Excel, how many emails they're sending on Outlook, and how many video meetings they're attending on Teams or Skype.

The big picture: After fielding backlash over privacy concerns, Microsoft no longer allows companies to collect individual employee data with the tool. Firms can just look at aggregate numbers to track how they're using different products.

Report: Swiss government long in dark over CIA front company

Photo by: Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Image

The Swiss intelligence service has known since at least 1993 that Switzerland-based encryption device maker Crypto AG was actually a front for the CIA and its German counterpart, according to a new report released by the Swiss Parliament, but Swiss leaders were in the dark until last year.

Why it matters: Switzerland’s intra-governmental information gap is unlikely to be welcome news in Europe, which already looks warily upon the U.S.’ expansive surveillance practices. Still, Crypto AG provided information of incalculable value to U.S. policymakers over many decades.

Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

COVID is worsening global internet freedom, report finds

Singapore's TraceTogether contact-tracing app. Photo: Catherine Lai/AFP via Getty Images

Governments around the world have seized on the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to expand digital surveillance and harvest more data on their citizens, according to a report out Wednesday from Freedom House, a democracy and human rights research group.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates have warned since early in the pandemic that the tech behind efforts to conduct contact tracing and enforce quarantines and other public safety protocols could be abused and made permanent, particularly in authoritarian countries like China.

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