[news release] Governments around the world have used the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to expand online surveillance and data collection, censor critical speech, and build new technological systems of social control, according to Freedom on the Net 2020, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of internet freedom, released today by Freedom House.
Abstract: Disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19 is quickly and widely disseminated across the Internet, reaching and potentially influencing many people. This policy brief derives four key actions that governments and platforms can take to counter COVID-19 disinformation on platforms, namely: 1) supporting a multiplicity of independent fact-checking organisations; 2) ensuring human moderators are in place to complement technological solutions; 3) voluntarily issuing transparency reports about COVID-19 disinformation; and 4) improving users’ media, digital and health literacy skills.
Abstract: The global spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been accompanied by a wave of disinformation that is undermining policy responses and amplifying distrust and concern among citizens. Around the world, governments are leveraging public communication to counteract disinformation and support policy. The efficacy of these actions will depend on grounding them in open government principles, chiefly transparency, to build trust in public institutions. This policy brief provides an overview of this new wave of disinformation and notes some emerging examples of OECD member countries’ responses to it through public communication initiatives specifically. It also offers preliminary guidelines on engaging with citizens during the crisis to help address this challenge.
A study has popped up on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review that looks at the reliability of information hosted on ccTLD domain names regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic. In the abstract, authors Nathanael Tombs from Solarisbank AG, Germany and Eleonore Fournier-Tombs from the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, Canada say “there is no reliable mechanism to verify these websites’ authenticity, and the space is also shared by commercial entities selling related (or not) products and advertisements.”
“This loophole” they say “is an urgent information security and misinformation problem that can be resolved by registering websites under restricted second-level domains or adopting existing methods of domain registrant identification.”Continue reading Study Looks At COVID-19 Misinformation on ccTLD Domains
[news release] GoDaddy, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, today released the GoDaddy Global Entrepreneurship Survey which looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world’s smallest businesses. The research shows the pandemic has severely affected their businesses, with 75 percent reporting a fall-off in revenues. Yet, the findings also reveal a steely resolve by these entrepreneurs to not only survive the economic crisis but thrive.
As expected, ICANN have announced the ICANN69 Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was to be held in Hamburg, Germany, will not proceed as an in-person meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Instead, the Board has directed the ICANN org to coordinate with the ICANN community on the best way forward for ICANN69 to meet the expected outcomes of an ICANN AGM and support the community’s ongoing policy advice and development work, despite being unable to meet in person.
Viet Nam’s ccTLD has seen a surge in growth that saw it surge past the half million registrations mark in the first quarter of 2020 with total .vn domain names reaching 501,124 at the end of March, over half (289,556) of which were registered at the second level. There were also 171,106 .com.vn and 21,123 .edu.vn domains. This is an increase of 29,560 from the 471,564 from the end of March 2019 and an increase of 4,150 from the 496,974 at the end of December 2019.
This article is part of a series in which OECD experts and thought leaders – from around the world and all parts of society – address the COVID-19 crisis, discussing and developing solutions now and for the future. It aims to foster the fruitful exchange of expertise and perspectives across fields to help us rise to this critical challenge. Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the OECD.Continue reading Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles – and All of Us by Rana Foroohar
People are staying at home more now in many countries including the Netherlands, and as a result Dutch people and businesses have registered just over 85,000 .nl domain names since the restrictions came into force. According to the .nl registry, SIDN, that’s ten thousand up on the same period in 2019.Continue reading SIDN Sees Unexpected Jump In .NL Registrations Due To COVID-19
There have been 68,000 coronavirus-related domains registered since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak in January 2020 with an escalation in the number of coronavirus-related domains being registered since mid-February according to Check Point Research. In the past two weeks (since 2 April), there have been almost 17,000 new coronavirus-related domains had been registered (16,989 to be exact) with 2% found to be malicious and another 21% suspicious.
And with the pandemic now reaching almost every corner of the globe, many governments have announced economic stimulus packages, and as Check Point Research note on their recent glob post, “where there’s money, there will also be criminal activity. Hackers and threat actors want to cash in on the rush to get these vital payments and fill their own pockets at the expense of others. To do this, they are evolving the scam and phishing techniques that they have been using successfully since the start of the pandemic in January. Google recently reported that in just one week from 6 to 13 April, it saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams – and that’s in addition to the 240 million daily spam messages it sees related to coronavirus.”
To take advantage of these stimulus packages, Check Point Research found 4,305 domains relating to new stimulus/relief packages have been registered since January with a total of 2081 new domains registered (38 malicious; 583 suspicious) in March and 473 (18 malicious, 73 suspicious) in the first week of April.
Check Point Research also observed a major increase in the week starting 16 March “during which the American government proposed the stimulus package to taxpayers. The number of new domains registered that week was 3.5 times higher compared to the average of previous weeks.”
“These scam websites use the news of the coronavirus (Covid-19) financial incentives, and fears about Coronavirus to try and trick people into using the websites or clicking on links. Users that visit these malicious domains instead of the official Government websites risk having their personal information stolen and exposed, or payment theft and fraud.”
Check Point Research has also observed a rise in “scam websites that use the news of the coronavirus (Covid-19) financial incentives, and fears about Coronavirus to try and trick people into using the websites or clicking on links. Users that visit these malicious domains instead of the official Government websites risk having their personal information stolen and exposed, or payment theft and fraud.”
For more information, or to see the Check Point Research blog post in full, go to: https://blog.checkpoint.com/2020/04/20/coronavirus-update-as-economic-stimulus-payments-start-to-flow-cyber-attackers-want-to-get-their-share-too/