Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February 15, 2019

Possible leak of Xinjiang surveillance database

AXIOS CHINA Bill Bishop

Dutch security researcher Victor Gevers says he discovered what appears to be a facial recognition database of more than 2.5 million users in the Xinjinag region, exposed online in one of SenseNets' MongoDB databases before it was placed behind a firewall.He documented his find on Twitter and also talked to ZDNet:Gevers told ZDNet that the database contained information on 2,565,724 users, along with a stream of GPS coordinates that came in at a rapid pace.The user data wasn't just benign usernames, but highly detailed and highly sensitive information that someone would usually find on an ID card, Gevers said...The database also contained a list of "trackers" and associated GPS coordinates. Based on the company's website, these trackers appear to be the locations of public cameras from where video had been captured and was being analyzed.Some of the descriptive names associated with the "trackers" contained terms such as "mos…

Pentagon's siren song on artificial intelligence

AXIOS CHINA Bill Bishop
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosFrom Kaveh Waddell in the Axios Future newsletter ... On the heels of a sweeping new U.S. plan to retain dominance in artificial intelligence, the Pentagon has cast Chinese development of intelligent weapons as an existential threat to the international order.A day after the release of an executive order by Trump that omits naming China, the Defense Department, in a new AI strategy document, speaks in stark terms of a "destabilizing" Chinese threat. It states..."Failure to adopt AI will result in legacy systems irrelevant to the defense of our people, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living, and growing challenges to societies that have been built upon individual freedoms."Details: The new document, a public summary of a classified strategy developed last year, calls for the Pentagon to realign itself drast…

CHINA: Manufacturing creativity and maintaining control

Paper cut made by students at a school for migrant children on the outskirts of Chengdu, Sichuan province. Photo: Didi K. TatlowDate published14/02/2019

China’s schools struggle to balance innovation and safeguard conformityLecture-style teaching and rote learning have been a feature of the Chinese education system. It is intended that this will change: creativity is needed to foster innovation and thus economic growth. That transition being attempted within the school curriculum and educational approaches across the country. The push is making inroads: according to the United Nations’ Global Innovation Index, China inaugurally entered the top 20 most innovative world economies in 2018. But where will a manufacturing of creativity that is engineered for economic innovation lead to and can it yield tangible results? Didi Kirsten Tatlow, long-time China correspondent of the New York Times and a former MERICS Visiting Fellow, has looked at this and other questions in a unique qualitative …

Eurasian Economic Union agrees new free trade deals

February 12, 2019Posted bySilk Road BriefingOp/Ed By Chris Devonshire-EllisChina and Russia’s dreams of shaping the destiny of the entire Eurasian landmass, ultimately including Europe and Africa are taking shape as the Russian supported Eurasian Economic Union agrees new free trade deals.The EAEU, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kygryzstan and Russia covers the bulk of the Eurasian land mass and is geographically placed between the European Union and China. The EAEU has a population of some 183 million and a GDP of some US$5 Trillion. Intra-EAEU trade has been significantly increasing and rose 38% last year. Vietnam signed off a FTA with the EAEU two years ago, while China signed off a non-preferential FTA with the EAEU last year.The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), often described as Russia’s equivalent to the EU, is poised to sign off Free Trade Agreements with Egypt, Iran, India and Singapore. Announcing the EAEU Free Trade talks progress, Russia’s First Deputy Minist…

Countries’ perceptions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A big data analysis

Drawing on a global database of media articles, the authors quantitatively assess perceptions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in different countries and regions. They also identify the topics that are most frequently associated with the BRI.BY: ALICIA GARCÍA-HERRERO AND JIANWEI XUDATE: FEBRUARY 6, 2019TOPIC: GLOBAL ECONOMICS & GOVERNANCE   Download PDFDrawing on a global database of media articles, we quantitatively assess perceptions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in different countries and regions. We find that the BRI is generally positively received. All regions as a whole, except South Asia, have a positive perception of the BRI, but there are marked differences at the country level, with some countries in all regions having very negative views. Interestingly, there is no significant difference in perceptions of the BRI between countries that officially participate in the BRI and those that do not.We also use our dataset of media articles to identify the …

Can ports as Piraeus, Koper and Trieste win the hinterland volumes?

Published on 11-02-2019 at 08:00A tip of balance from northern to southern European ports in terms of intermodal traffic is not among the concerns of the port of Hamburg. The hinterland connections from the northern ports still prevail. This was concluded by Axel Mattern, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing at the presentation of the Report on Combined Transport in Europe 2018, issued by UIC and BSL Transportation Consultants.Southern European ports as Piraeus, Koper, Trieste and Barcelona have been growing significantly. In some cases, this can be explained by the investments made by the Chinese governments was part of its Belt and Road initiative. Due to such investments, these ports could become strong alternative gateways into Europe.Natural EU hubBut according to Mattern, the port of Hamburg does not consider the southern ports as a threat to their dominant position. The reason for this is that hinterland transportation from north to south is much better than in the other direction,…

Australia, BRI backlash should be a warning on loans

By 2020, $130 million of direct aid programs to PNG and Solomon Islands will be used for a new broadband network (Markus Spiske/ Unsplash)BYTim Watkin12 February 2019 11:30Australia created a $500 million loan scheme for Indonesia to support reconstruction following the 2005 Boxing Day tsunami. Australia lent a hand, forging stronger links in the process. But the loan scheme had its flaws.As Australian ministers and officials currently tour the Pacific with a flagship policy to rapidly expand the use of Australian loans for development, it would be wise to heed the lessons from the Indonesian scheme and refocus our efforts on long-lasting, poverty-reduction, and sustainable development. Australia should not let geopolitical optics blur the focus on the wellbeing of neighbours.Despite notable successes, a report by the Australian National Audit Office concluded that the 2005 loan scheme for Indonesia presented “substantial administrative challenges”; the identification of risks had “no…

Oman’s Duqm, a new port city for the Middle East?

The desert boomtown seeks to be an alternative shipping hub for the Gulf, bypassing the flashpoint Strait of HormuzA crane operator working in the Port of Duqm, Oman (MEE/Sebastian Castelier)By Sebastian CastelierQuentin Müller in Duqm, OmanPublished date: 10 February 2019 09:14 UTC|Last update: 4 days 1 hour ago    287A detached observer might describe it as a bleak scene, but Salah Hamood al-Hasni is bullish as he contemplates the arid steppes that border the headquarters of the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD).“Duqm is the largest economic project in the Middle East region and one of the largest in the world,” the site’s general manager told Middle East Eye.Taken together, the economic projects underway here represent an investment of several billion dollars. Chinese firms aim to eventually invest up to $10.7bn.A group of foreign workers on duty in the Port of Duqm, Oman (MEE/Sebastian Castelier)Once a sleepy fishing village in Oman’s central eastern seaboard, the por…