All Surveillance stories

Facebook says government internet shutdowns are on the rise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook says that its services were interrupted 84 times in 19 countries in the second half of last year, compared to 52 disruptions in eight countries that took place during the first half of the year. That's a symptom of a growing trend among countries to restrict access to social media and the open internet.

Why it matters: Government censorship, whether through complete blackouts or laws limiting certain types of content, is a growing threat to the notion of the internet as an open global network.

Biden plans to nominate Stacey Dixon as No. 2 intelligence official

Joe Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden nominated Stacey Dixon on Wednesday to become the principal deputy director of National Intelligence, the nation's second highest intelligence post, per a White House press release.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the Senate, Dixon would be the first Black woman to hold the position, according to the New York Times.

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.

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.