Categories
Breaking New

EU seeks anti-China alliance on tech with Biden – POLITICO



Europe on Monday proposed teaming up with incoming U.S. President Joe Biden to squeeze China out of the global technology trade. 

Exhausted by four years of trade tensions on two fronts, fighting against both U.S. President Donald Trump on one flank and Beijing on the other, Europe is trying to seize an early initiative ahead of Biden’s inauguration on January 20 by rolling out geostrategic plans for closer transatlantic cooperation.

At a closed-door meeting to discuss Europe’s strategy, Sabine Weyand, Brussels’ top trade bureaucrat, told lawmakers from the European Parliament that the European Commission would propose a “Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council” to set joint standards on new technologies, according to two people in the room.

This would target one of the big objectives of both the Europeans and Americans: Preventing China from establishing economic dominance across a number of high-value sectors by developing its own widely used technological and industrial standards.

A Commission paper to EU countries mapping out a strategy for a transatlantic alliance against Beijing also mentioned that proposal.

“The EU is proposing to establish a new EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC),” the paper read.

“The aim will be to … strengthen our technological and industrial leadership and expand bilateral trade and investment. It will focus on reducing trade barriers, developing compatible standards and regulatory approaches for new technologies … As part of this, there should be … closer cooperation on … investment screening, Intellectual Property rights, forced transfers of technology and export controls.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU’s super-commissioner for economy and trade, first floated the plan at a meeting with EU trade ministers this month, where he said the EU and U.S. should “cooperate on new technologies and digital services and be aligned on regulation and standards.”

EU officials said the plan was to resuscitate those parts of the failed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations that focused on regulatory cooperation on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, where both Washington and Brussels fear that China stands to become the global standard setter.

One senior Commission official described the tech alliance as a “low-hanging fruit,” since the EU and U.S. had already planned to establish a joint committee that would coordinate regulations on future technologies as part of their frozen negotiations on their earlier TTIP mega deal. “It’s very hard to align rules on products that already exist, but it is fairly easy to do it on emerging technologies,” the official said.

Both Weyand and the other senior official argued a resumption of TTIP negotiations was not back on the cards, both because of fierce public opposition to the deal and because negotiations had become stuck over things like EU protections for agriculture and U.S. public procurement discrimination with the Buy America Act, which Biden has said he wants to ramp up rather than dismantle.

But the thinking in Brussels now is that disagreements on chemical rinses for chicken and public infrastructure contracts should not hinder the EU and U.S. from working on joint rules for technologies like next-generation wireless networks.

As part of that new “positive agenda,” Brussels would also seek to set common rules on industrial subsidies and investment screening, while working with Washington to reform the World Trade Organization, the senior Commission official said.

Much will depend, however, on the overarching political atmosphere between Brussels and Washington, which could well sour over what the U.S. sees as unfair regulatory action against its biggest digital champions, both in terms of competition cases and tax.

Diplomats from EU countries will on Tuesday discuss the Commission plan along with proposals to work more closely on coronavirus vaccine distribution, climate change, and foreign policy, including a proposed “Summit of Democracies” that the EU wants to organize with the U.S. next year, according to one of the diplomats.

Jacopo Barigazzi and Barbara Moens contributed reporting.





Source link

Categories
Lifestyle

Loosen Your Waistband—and Other Surprising Solutions to Physical and Emotional Tech Stress


Step one, be aware that when we feel it, it’s almost too late. When we work at the computer, our shoulders go up a little bit, but we don’t realize that they’re up, and only by the end of the day do we feel the fatigue. So the key is to assume that you’re unaware.

Step two, interrupt the pattern by changing your body-movement habits. I recommend getting up and wiggling and moving every twenty minutes or so. Install a stretch break program. There’s a free program called Stretch Break. Feel the difference right now. Just get up for a moment, stand up, and stretch and skip in place and bring your arms up to the ceiling. Look at the ceiling; dance in place. If you do this for even a moment, even if people think you’re silly, your energy will go up. We have demonstrated that many times in many studies. [Editor’s note: Here are some other apps you might want to try out.]

Three, start learning to breathe slowly and deeply into the belly. When you do that and breathe about six times a minute, your heart rate will tend to slow down.

Four, we have a choice as to what we focus our brain on. I can focus on hopeless, helpless, powerless options or on more-positive options. When you are in a collapsed position, which most of us are when we are sitting on the couch and watching television, we become like the letter C. That is a body posture of defense or powerlessness. That allows us to have much quicker access to our hopeless thoughts. If on the other hand, you arch up and look up, you have easier access to positive memories.

We have studied this, and it’s fun to see for yourself. Sit slouched, think only of hopeless, helpless memories for about thirty seconds, then evoke only empowering memories. Then shift to an upright position, looking up. Repeat thinking only hopeless thoughts, and then empowering ones. When you’re in the slouched position it’s much easier to access hopeless thoughts. In our neurological studies, we have demonstrated that when you’re slouched, your brain has to work harder to access positive thoughts.

We did a study with the posture guru Esther Gokhale, monitoring the body position she teaches. It turns out that sitting correctly, in a way that minimizes disc compression—without slouching or overarching—requires little work by the back muscles [Editor’s note: You can read more about Gokhale in this goop article.]



Source link

Categories
Breaking New

China tech giants lost more than $280 billion in market value amid potential regulations


Jack Ma, CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, speaks during his visit at the Vivatech startups and innovation fair, in Paris on May 16, 2019.

Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Shares of China’s top technology giants were battered on Wednesday as regulatory concerns continue to mount.

By the Wednesday market close in Hong Kong shares of Alibaba listed in the city plunged 9.8% while Tencent dropped 7.39%. Smartphone maker Xiaomi also declined 8.18% and China’s biggest on-demand delivery services firm Meituan Dianping fell 9.67%. E-commerce giant JD.com also saw its stocks plummet 9.2%.

The broader Hang Seng Tech index was also hammered and fell 6.23% on the day to 7,465.44.

The combined losses of the five tech heavyweights since their Monday’s close has contributed to more than $280 billion being wiped off in terms of market cap at the close of the trading day in Hong Kong, based on CNBC’s calculations.

Chinese regulator — the State Administration for Market Regulation — on Tuesday announced a set of draft rules aimed at curbing monopolistic behavior on internet platforms.

The moves were possibly further exacerbated by a global rotation out of tech stocks seen globally in recent days. A positive development on the coronavirus vaccine front has spurred hopes of recovery in areas such as travel, and investors are selling down tech and switching to stocks in energy and industrial sectors instead.

Regulatory concerns

Andrew Collier, managing director at Orient Capital Research, told CNBC that the sudden decision to suspend Ant’s public listing was a “disaster.”

“You don’t yank a $35 billion IPO two days before it’s going to be launched internationally, it makes the regulatory system look completely arbitrary and also confused,” Collier told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday. Ant Group was looking to raise just under $34.5 billion in what would have been the world’s biggest IPO.

“It suggests deep politics within China … that’s bubbled to the surface and they couldn’t resolve (it) ahead of time,” Collier said. “Regulation can be positive but this particular move was a disaster.”

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.



Source link

Categories
Politics

Retired Model And #WalkAway Democrat Silenced By Big Tech


The Gateway Pundit has reported over the years about the censorship from the big tech media.

This week an Instagram influencer shared her story about tech censorship.

Big Tech nuked her  accounts for exposing the truth and for being a Trump supporter.

This is her story:

TRENDING: HISTORIC PRESIDENT! The Number of Democrats at President Trump’s Last Several Rallies Ought to Scare the Hell Out of the American Left!

My name is Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale. I’m a former die-hard liberal progressive Democrat and “Leftist”. I’m also an Instagram influencer and recently retired model (@heycheri) who walked away from the Left after discovering the lies I’d been fed by the mainstream liberal media. These were lies that convinced me I should hate the President, believe all Republicans are racists, and that all Trump supporters are white supremacists. Now, after using my influence to speak up about the fake news diet we’ve all been steadily fed, Big Tech has banned and silenced me.

When I created @politicheri on Twitter, I was simply looking for an outlet where I could connect with other patriots and learn more about the Right. As a recently awakened and new conservative, all I knew was what the Left allowed me to know, and I was eager to break out of my echo chamber. I created a #WalkAway video that quickly went viral. It was shared over 10k+ times, had over 25k+ likes, and over 100k+ comments. My account grew to 25k+ followers seemingly overnight.

Then, Twitter banned me for “suspicious activity” and refused to restore my account after multiple appeals. This happened on August 20, 2020. I have not had access to my Twitter account for MONTHS. The last thing I tweeted was about 1984 and Animal Farm, and the eerie similarities between classic Orwellian novels and the modern Democrat Media Complex.

Angered by censorship I’d never experienced before, I created @redpillfairy on Instagram, and started a right wing podcast called “Red Pill Report” (anchor.fm/redpillfairy) to share everything I’d discovered, and offer my perspective as a former Leftist turned Right-Wing Conservative. @redpillfairy quickly grew to ~11K followers in only two months. I used my account to create shareable memes promoting the positive things the Trump Administration has done. I was careful to avoid anything related to “Q” as I prefer to base my content on constitutional law, history, and policy — verifiable information about the Right and the current administration.

Examples of the sort of memes I shared:

I also used my Instagram account to promote “The Binder” (my own version of Kayleigh McEnany’s binder she uses while speaking to the media at White House press briefings to smack down their inane questions). The Binder was an easily-searchable, tagged, and organized digital resource of living links, articles, and multimedia content all collected to help patriots like me more easily “red pill” their friends and wake them up from the same Leftist indoctrination that I once fell for. Here is just a small example of the folders in The Binder (these folders go on seemingly forever):

The Binder was effective. My memes and videos were effective. They were being shared everywhere. Thus, the insane growth in such a short amount of time. On my Instagram, I kept a highlight of all the patriots who’d reached out to thank me for helping them “red pill” their friends. I kept screenshots of all the times patriots credited my page as a resource for fighting the media narrative and stored these in my story highlights. All of my content was designed to help others start conversations with their leftist friends, and it WORKED.

Then, Instagram disabled my account (@redpillfairy). How dare I, after all, promote Trump? Speak out against communism by publicly dissecting the Communist Manifesto in my stories? Dare to discuss the Federalist Papers, Saul Alinsky, and Karl Marx? How dare I ask questions about BLM and Antifa? How dare I question Big Brother AT ALL?

In response to this next level censorship, I’ve moved to Parler (@redpillfairy) and created a form where anyone who has as LITTLE political power as I do can fill out their information. This way, we can keep track of who has been censored. I hope to arm congress or potential legal representation with the data for future recourse. SOMEONE has to do something. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to swoop in and save us. WE have to take action.

You can find this form here: https://forms.gle/9r1qNbC9hRjWvSKp8

It’s strange … My modeling account with just about 300k followers (@heycheri) has NEVER received threat of censorship, despite me posting practically NAKED photos of myself on it in the past which garnered millions of Likes (these posts are archived; I retired from modeling after discovering progressivism has brainwashed me to believe sexuality validates my existence). Although, I’m sure after this article comes out, Instagram will retaliate and ban my influencer account as well.

If you’re a liberal Democrat reading this and don’t believe the censorship is real, I have news for you: this sort of censorship has been used throughout history to silence political ideologies, and it’s still happening today. This is the tyranny America was founded to escape. And the scary part isn’t that they’re coming for people like me. When people like YOU allow the suppression of free speech, these tyrants will eventually come for YOU. Stake your claim on freedom NOW.

WAKE UP.





Source link

Categories
Breaking New

Why high earners in finance and tech left New York City


Brenan Hefner, co-founder and chief operating officer of Analyst Hub, and his family outside of their former home in Pelham, NY.

Source: Brian Hefner

Like many before him, Brenan Hefner arrived in New York 20 years ago in search of a career on Wall Street.

His journey will sound familiar to those drawn to the nation’s financial capital. Hefner got a job at an asset management firm in Manhattan, found love and career success, and eventually moved to Pelham, an upscale town in Westchester, to start a family.

He would still be there if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic. When Hefner, co-founder of a research platform called Analyst Hub, sold his house this summer to a couple from London, he wondered if it made sense to look beyond the surrounding neighborhoods for a new home. He ended up moving his family to Dallas last month.

Hefner is one of thousands of high earners who’ve left New York this year, an exodus that is deepening concerns over a projected $9 billion budget shortfall. While the city is no longer the national virus hotspot it was earlier this year, those leaving cite anxiety over the region’s economy and quality of life and a conviction that higher taxes are coming. Last month, business leaders publicly upbraided Mayor Bill De Blasio for “deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”

By forcing the mass adoption of remote work and crimping many of the advantages of urban life, the pandemic has turbocharged migration from high cost, high-density places to lower-cost states including Texas, Florida and Nevada. Nearly half of New Yorkers earning more than $100,000 a year said they considered leaving the city recently, with cost of living being the top factor, according to a Manhattan Institute survey.

“The cost of living down here is significantly less,” Hefner said by phone from his new home. “There’s no state income tax. I’m not riding mass transit during the middle of a global pandemic to get to a subway to live in a WeWork or something.”

For Brenan, the pandemic showed that for those in financial services, the gravitational pull of New York still exists, but is far weaker. He says he is about as effective operating his business over Slack and Zoom, and plans on flying to New York monthly for client meetings. His company, founded in 2018, helps star Wall Street analysts leave big banks to form independent research shops.

“I’m just not sure it’s a requirement to be in the city anymore,” Hefner said. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t love the city, I do. It’s an amazing place, but as far as a family of five, I’m not sure if it’s the right place for us at this time.”

‘Everybody’s leaving’

Even within his 19-person start-up, Brenan has company. Caroline Goodson, his director of corporate access and sales, left Manhattan after a homeless encampment popped up outside her apartment building. She also moved to Dallas.

His co-founder Michael Kronenberg, who owns a downtown Manhattan apartment, has spent most of the pandemic outside of New York, renting a succession of houses in places including Scottsdale, Arizona; Vail, Colorado and Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. For senior finance professionals not chained to a trading floor, moving to lower-tax states has never been more appealing, he said.

“Everybody I know is leaving,” Kronenberg said. “It’s not just New Yorkers. My partners, long-time clients and investors of mine that live in Connecticut or New Jersey, they are used to commuting in to the city. They’re never going to commute in five days a week ever again.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the worst global economic crisis in living memory and taken 230,000 American lives so far, with New York City claiming one-tenth that grim figure. Downtown and midtown business districts are still a shadow of their former selves, depriving local businesses and the city of much needed revenue. A record daily case count in the U.S. and surges in Europe have New Yorkers bracing for a tough winter.

But since moving trucks began clogging city streets this summer, New Yorkers have been incensed by the idea that the place De Blasio refers to as the “greatest city in the world” is on the cusp of a multi-year decline. An ex-hedge fund manager’s LinkedIn post that declared “NYC is Dead Forever” prompted a withering response from Jerry Seinfeld.

Many of those who remain say the city is more livable than before, with streets closed off to car traffic and restaurants taking up more outdoor space. Of course, the city has bounced back from every calamity in its history, from the 1918 Spanish flu to the suburban flight of the 1970s, the terror attacks of 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis.

Falling rents

But it’s hard to deny the signs of pain ahead. Data from the U.S. Postal Service, national moving companies and tech start-ups tracking smartphones all show an elevated outflow from New York City this year. More than 246,000 New Yorkers filed a change-of-address request to zip codes outside the city since March, almost double the year-earlier period, for instance.

That’s reduced demand for Manhattan apartments, where median monthly rents fell 7.8% to $2,990 in the third quarter, part of a city-wide decline not seen since 2010, according to StreetEasy.

To be sure, the New York area’s suburbs have been the primary beneficiary of the exodus: Home sales in Westchester jumped 112% in July, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. Sales in Greenwich, Connecticut just had the strongest quarter in more than a decade.

For those in finance, the simple math of lower tax regimes is hard to ignore. New York state levies 8.8% on wages for high earners, and New York City takes another 3.9%, or nearly 13% combined. Meanwhile, states including Florida, Texas and Nevada don’t tax wages. The more people make, the greater the incentive there is to leave, and the difference could easily mean hundreds of thousands more dollars in after-tax pay.

That’s a trade that some Wall Street titans have already made. Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer is moving the headquarters of Elliott Management to Florida from midtown Manhattan, Bloomberg reported this month. His move follows that of another billionaire, famed corporate raider Carl Icahn, who made the switch last year to avoid New York taxes.

Busiest in 40 years

“My concern isn’t that they’re leaving, it’s that they’re taking their businesses with them,” said Mark Klein, a New York-based tax attorney and chairman of Hodgson Russ. The flight of business owners is worrying for those remaining in the city, he said.

Still, it has kept him busy. Klein says he has ten times more clients now than pre-pandemic, helping advise people who make more than $800,000 a year move to low-tax states, often bringing their businesses along. Besides hedge funds, Klein said that a spectrum of professional services operators are leaving, including public relations and accounting firms.

“I’ve never been as inundated with people leaving New York and Connecticut, any of these high-tax states, in my 40 years of doing this,” he said. “Once Covid hit, with the recognition that people can work from any location, the floodgates opened.”

The stakes are higher in an election year, with many in finance convinced that higher taxes are coming if Joe Biden wins and Democrats take the Senate. Within Goldman Sachs, multiple traders have told me they are voting for Biden “against their own financial interests” because of his stated plan to raise taxes on those earning more than $400,000 – an easy threshold to exceed on Wall Street.

And to a person, high-earners I spoke with said that the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions from President Trump’s 2018 overhaul hurt them personally and believe that local governments are going to seek more money from them in coming years.

Leavers aren’t limited to hedge fund traders and portfolio managers; New York is also home to a growing ecosystem of fintech firms.

Paraag Sarva, CEO of fintech firm Rhino.

Source: Paraag Sarva

When fintech CEO Paraag Sarva bought a weekend home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last year, he figured he’d probably rent it out most of the time. But months into the pandemic, after it became clear that full-time, in-person schooling in New York was unlikely for his small children, he made it his permanent residence.

His new neighborhood, studded with horse farms and multi-acre estates, is vastly different from his old home by the expressway in Brooklyn. Two other families from New York have moved in recently, he said, and they have brought their businesses.

His start-up, Rhino, which replaces renters’ security deposits with a small recurring fee, is still based in Manhattan. But Sarva rarely returns; he has managed the firm’s explosive growth from afar. During the summer, the company doubled its employee count to 90 and raised $14 million in additional capital.

While schooling and quality of life were the main drivers of his move, the lifelong New Yorker wasn’t going to “leave money on the table.” His taxes are 10% lower in Pennsylvania, he figures.

“Once we made the decision, we did consult our tax and legal advisors on what exactly that would mean,” Sarva said. “I am officially a Pennsylvania resident. I voted here, registered my car here, have a Pennsylvania driver’s license. I’ve moved out of my former home and have no intention of returning.”

‘Less boring’

In some finance circles, even people who may not have permanently uprooted their families like Hefner or Sarva are pushing for a tax break. They are typically city dwellers who moved full time to their second homes once the pandemic struck.

“There are a bunch of people I know trying to get out of the NYC tax, they’re living in the Hamptons, Westchester, Connecticut or New Jersey,” said a managing director at a major global investment bank. Another colleague who worked mostly in New York moved her residence to Delaware, he said. He declined to be identified speaking frankly about taxes.

The executive owns condos in Manhattan and houses in Sag Harbor, but has spent most of the pandemic in New Jersey. After a three-hour meeting with his tax consultant, he plans on filing taxes as a Jersey resident to avoid New York’s 3.9% city tax. He and his friends are risking an audit, which can happen three years after he files his 2020 taxes.

In the meantime, he’s worried that his expensive Manhattan properties will lose as much as 40% in value in the coming years.

“Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for me,” he said. “The good news is, maybe the city will get less boring.”



Source link

Categories
Breaking New

China’s Leaders Vow Tech ‘Self-Reliance,’ Military Power and Economic Recovery


As China has grown increasingly commercial, the plans have grown less important to some parts of the economy. Still, they help set priorities, especially in areas like energy policy and big infrastructure projects where the state dominates investments.

Mr. Xi has shown how important these plans are to him by taking over the drafting process, a job traditionally left to the premier. Earlier this month, the party released rules that tighten Mr. Xi’s power to set the policy agenda. The rules appeared designed to prevent dissension over issues like the direction of the economy, said Holly Snape, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Glasgow who studies Chinese politics.

“This goes right to the heart of how the next five years will pan out,” she said by email.

The Central Committee meeting also discussed China’s goals for modernization by 2035. Some analysts have interpreted that date as a sign of how long Mr. Xi intends to remain in power, having removed the limits on his terms as top leader.

Ms. Snape noted, however, that such long-term goals are not unprecedented: party officials approved a long-term plan in 1995, when Jiang Zemin was in charge, setting goals up to 2010. Mr. Jiang stepped down from his last formal post in 2004.

Meetings like the ones this week are not a time when leaders typically issue detailed pronouncements on international affairs. So it was no surprise that the leaders did not comment on the United States election or other topics beyond China’s borders.

Still, the plans depend on their assessment of the international outlook, which they summed up in opaque phrases. The latest emphasized the risks from rising uncertainty, echoing Mr. Xi’s recent warnings that “the world has entered a period of turbulence and transformation.”

“Currently the world is experiencing a major transformation of the kind not seen for a century,” the Central Committee said. “The balance of international forces is undergoing profound adjustment.”

It warned: “Instability and uncertainty have clearly increased.”

Amber Wang contributed research in Beijing.



Source link

Categories
Breaking New

Tech CEOs testify at Capitol Hill hearing: Live Updates & Video Highlights



The top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee issued an early warning to the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter at a congressional hearing Wednesday, saying that it’s time to end the industry’s “free pass” to “control, stifle and even censor content” from users however they see fit.

Delivering opening remarks at a highly-anticipated hearing on the tech industry’s prized legal liability protections, Senate Commerce Chair Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) railed against the tech companies over allegations they are biased against conservatives. And he raised the specter of weakening those protections, afforded under a 1996 law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That law shields online companies from lawsuits for hosting and policing user posts.

“This liability shield has been pivotal in protecting online platforms from endless and potentially ruinous lawsuits,” Wicker said. “But it has also given these internet platforms the ability to control, stifle, and even censor content in whatever manner meets their respective standards. The time has come for that free pass to end.”

Wicker, whose panel threatened to issue subpoenas to the CEOs if they did not testify before the committee, took particular issue with Facebook and Twitter for limiting the distribution of disputed New York Post articles alleging direct ties between Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business interests.

Read More »



Source link

Categories
Politics

U.S. Government and Tech Firms Push Back on Russia (and Trump)


Over the past two weeks, United States Cyber Command and a group of companies led by Microsoft have engaged in an aggressive campaign against a suspected Russian network that they feared could hold election systems hostage come November.

Then, on Monday, the Justice Department indicted members of the same elite Russian military unit that hacked the 2016 election for hacking the French elections, cutting power to Ukraine and sabotaging the opening ceremony at the 2018 Olympics. And in Silicon Valley, tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google have been sending out statements every few days advertising how many foreign influence operations they have blocked, all while banning forms of disinformation in ways they never imagined even a year ago.

It is all intended to send a clear message that whatever Russia is up to in the last weeks before Election Day, it is no hoax. The goal, both federal officials and corporate executives say, is to disrupt Russia’s well-honed information-warfare systems, whether they are poised to hack election systems, amplify America’s political fissures or get inside the minds of voters.

But behind the scenes is a careful dance by members of the Trump administration to counter the president’s own disinformation campaign, one that says the outcome on Nov. 3 will be “rigged” unless he wins.

So while President Trump continues to dismiss the idea of Russian intervention, a combination of administration and industry officials are pushing a different narrative: that U.S. intelligence agencies, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others are avoiding the mistakes of four years ago, when they all had their radars off.

But there is also no assurance it will work.

“We don’t like to admit it, but the Russians may not be deterrable,” said James A. Lewis, the director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “How far do we have to go? Is this far enough? We are still scoping that out.”

Keep up with Election 2020

No one will be able to assess the effectiveness of the counteroffensive until after Election Day, when Washington circulates the cyberequivalent of battle-damage reports. But even now there are reasons to question whether the efforts to take on Russia, some of which began in the 2018 midterm elections, have been too timid.

It is hardly a coincidence that the indictments announced on Monday against hackers with Russia’s G.R.U. were unsealed 15 days before the election. But it is unclear what deterrent effect indictments can have when the G.R.U.’s officers are unlikely to ever see the inside of an American courtroom.

One of the hackers named in the indictment was previously charged with hacking U.S. election administrators four years ago. That did not stop him from a brazen hack on the country of Georgia last year. Likewise, even after Russia was outed for hacking the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, that apparently did nothing to dissuade it from hacking the postponed 2020 Tokyo games, British officials revealed Monday.

John P. Carlin, the former assistant attorney general for national security who developed much of the Justice Department’s strategy for indicting foreign hackers, and later wrote about it in the book “Dawn of the Code War,” said Mr. Trump’s denial of what happened four years ago gave Russia lots of leeway.

“The details in the indictment are stunning and reveal Russian operatives at the direction of the state attacking the whole world,” he said, adding that “the conspicuous absence of leadership from President Trump” on the issue was all the more striking given the efforts “to expose and disrupt this activity.”

“These attacks on countries and civilian behavior won’t stop until the commander-in-chief calls it out and works with the rest of the victimized world to deter future indiscriminate attacks,” Mr. Carlin said.

If the indictments are the public face of the offensive against the Russians, the effort to dismantle Trickbot — a vast network of infected computers used by ransomware groups — is the more covert element.

Late last month, the military’s Cyber Command started neutralizing Trickbot with a series of attacks. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit secured federal court orders to shut down Trickbot’s infrastructure around the world.

On Tuesday, Microsoft said the operation had been largely successful. It has taken down over 90 percent of Trickbot’s command-and-control servers. The idea is to keep the Russians on the run, so distracted that they are unable to use those systems for ransomware attacks that could hold the election hostage.

“These guys are really good and really move fast, and we knew they would react to rebuild their systems,” said Tom Burt, the Microsoft executive who is running the team. “We were prepared to follow them, and tear down whatever they build up.”

But as Cyber Command and Microsoft were taking aim at Trickbot, a new hacking threat emerged.

Over the past two months, a different group of Russian hackers — known as “Energetic Bear” or “Dragonfly,” and believed to be operating within the country’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B. — has been targeting American state and local networks, according to government and private security researchers.

Their goal is still unclear, but the timing — so close to the election — and the actor, which was previously caught hacking American nuclear, water, and electric plants, has sent alarm bells ringing at Cyber Command and at security firms like FireEye. CyberScoop earlier published details of a leaked FireEye report on the campaign on Tuesday.

Officials worry that even if those hacks do not amount to much, the Russians’ very presence inside U.S. state and local systems could be used to support the president’s baseless allegations that the election is “rigged.”

That was part of the motivation behind an unusual nine-minute video posted online this month — titled “Safeguarding Your Vote”— featuring senior American law enforcement, intelligence and cybersecurity officials.

“We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, assured voters.

Mr. Wray and his counterparts have been contradicted at every turn by the president, who continues to assail mail-in voting as an avenue for fraud, for which there is no evidence. Mr. Trump’s claims are often amplified by the Russians, whose main interest is to cast doubt about the credibility of free elections.

“Trump has been a godsend to Russia,” Mr. Lewis said.

In Silicon Valley, executives believe a “perception hack” may pose the greatest threat to the election and have been mounting their own counternarrative.

Facebook, Twitter and Google have all talked up coordination with one another and the government. The companies were credited, with Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity unit, as having played a role in the indictments of the six G.R.U. officers announced on Monday.

Twitter has talked up its takedown of state-backed influence campaigns from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Cuba and Iran, and has slapped more overt warning messages on tweets that violate its policies, including those from the president.

Facebook has advertised its takedowns of foreign influence campaigns from China and the Philippines and 300 Russian assets. It has also lowered its tolerance for disinformation.

After years of allowing Holocaust deniers a place on its platform, Facebook started censoring that content this month and stepping up its crackdown of QAnon, which promotes a conspiracy that the world is run by Satan-worshiping pedophiles plotting against Mr. Trump.

The question is whether these efforts, so late in the election cycle, will have the intended effect, since the president has already primed his supporters, and others, to distrust the “fake news,” the “deep state” and now, the election.



Source link

Categories
Breaking New

Dow jumps 150 points on tech bounce, but still headed for 4-week losing streak


The Fearless Girl statue is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 11, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stocks rose on Friday as tech shares recovered some of their declines for the month. However, Wall Street was still headed for its fourth consecutive week of losses. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 151 points higher, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite popped 1.4%.

Shares of Amazon rose 1.3% and Facebook gained 0.9%. Apple advanced 2.4% and Microsoft climbed 1.8%. Netflix traded 0.8%. The S&P 500 tech sector jumped 1.4%.

Cruise operators also contributed to Friday’s gains. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean were up 8.7%, 11.2% and 7.4%, respectively, after an upgrade from a Barclays analyst. 

The “sell-off has stabilized a bit over the last few days, but there are still no real signs of strength,” said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors, in a note. “Thus, the trend remains bearish and not much to bet on a rebound.”

For the week, the Dow was down 2.6% while the S&P 500 has lost 1.5%. The two market benchmarks were headed for their first four-week losing streak since August 2019. The Nasdaq eked out a small week-to-date gain. 

The major averages have also had a tough month, with the S&P 500 falling more than 6% in September. The Dow has dropped 5.2% over that time period and the Nasdaq is down 8.2% month to date. 

“After a buoyant and hopeful summer, financial markets are cooling in the face of reality,” strategists at MRB Partners said in a note. “High-flying tech and tech-related stocks are in a full-blown correction, and weakness has recently spread to broader indexes, with a distinct smell of risk-off in the air. We had expected a gradual, albeit choppy, economic recovery, but it appears that some investors were not prepared for setbacks along the way.”

Much of September’s losses have been concentrated in mega-cap tech stocks, which carry a heavy weight in the indexes. Shares of Apple — the largest publicly traded company in the U.S. by market cap — have dropped more than 14% this month. Microsoft, Alphabet, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook are all down at least 8.5% over that time period. 

Russ Koesterich, managing director and portfolio manager at BlackRock, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Thursday that his team took profits in some high-flying tech stocks at the end of August and then were buying more cyclical stocks during the recent drop for the market. 

“What we’ve been trying to do in recent weeks is take the cyclical exposure up a little bit … it’s not that we think tech is going to roll over. We still like the themes. But on a shorter-term tactical basis, we’re comfortable with the economy, we think we’re going to continue to see improvement, and we’re looking for names that are levered to that improvement,” Koesterich said. 

The state of the economic recovery has become a hot topic in recent weeks on Wall Street, especially after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg led many strategists to downgrade the chances for another relief package before the election. On Thursday, Goldman Sachs cut its fourth-quarter projection for gross domestic product growth to 3% on an annualized basis, down from 6%. 

House Democrats are preparing a $2.4 trillion relief package that they could vote on as soon as next week, a source familiar with the plans told CNBC. The bill would include enhanced unemployment benefits and aid to airlines, but the overall price tag remains well above what Republican leaders have said they are willing to spend. 

—CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this story. 

CORRECTION: A previous headline for this report was updated to note that Dow futures were higher, rather than the Dow Jones Industrial Average itself.



Source link

Categories
Politics

U.S. Restricts Chinese Apparel and Tech Products, Citing Forced Labor


But that order was never announced. Officials from the Agriculture Department, the Treasury Department and the U.S. Trade Representative intervened to raise objections about the measure, saying it could threaten American cotton exports to China, or put the trade deal Mr. Trump signed with China in January at risk, people familiar with the matter said.

In their call on Monday, homeland security officials denied that any intervention prompted the delay, saying the legal review had been “driven by the unique nature” of the policy. “We want to make sure that once we proceed that it will stick,” Mr. Cuccinelli said.

Under a withhold release order, importers are still allowed to bring their products into the United States if they are able to provide proof to customs that the goods were not made with forced labor, for example through an extensive audit of the manufacturing facilities, said John Foote, a partner at Baker & McKenzie who specializes in international trade and forced labor issues. If the importer is not able to produce that proof, the product must be sent back, or it is subject to seizure by U.S. customs.

In August, labor and human rights groups including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Uyghur Human Rights Project filed a petition asking Customs and Border Protection to issue a withhold release order on all cotton goods from the Xinjiang region.

“The system of forced labor is so extensive that there is reason to believe that most cotton-based products linked to the Uyghur Region are a product wholly or in part of forced labor,” the petition read.

Customs has issued several withhold release orders in the past against individual companies with ties to Xinjiang, including clothing makers Hetian Taida Apparel Company and Hero Vast Group. Other entities and people in Xinjiang have been subject to sanctions, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and paramilitary group that plays an important role in Xinjiang’s development, and Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd., whose parent company, Esquel Group, said it has ties to Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Muji. Esquel Group denies that it uses forced labor in its supply chain and says it is appealing the listing.

In July, the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security issued an advisory jointly warning American companies to monitor their activities in China, particularly in Xinjiang, saying they could face “reputational, economic and legal risks associated with certain types of involvement with entities that engage in human rights abuses.”



Source link