16 Sep 2022

Signals from Mainstream Information Outlets on Digital Self-Sovereignty, Digital Rights and Digital Identity

We continue our research on  Digital Self-Sovereignty, Digital Rights, and Digital Identity, which is an area of research concerned with the security of personal data, transactional or otherwise, and the individual’s right to ownership of their personal data. In the last few months, a signal-to-noise ratio has emerged on this topic, where previously there was none (short of a few thought leaders and think tanks dedicated to the topic).  What are some of the faulty assumptions, interesting insights, and irrational exuberance which have taken hold in the “framing and naming” of this nascent topic?

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16 Sep 2022

A Proactive National Technology Strategy in the Great Power Competition with China

The co-authors of a recent article in Foreign Affairs, America Could Lose the Tech Contest With China, Eric Schmidt and Yll Bajraktari, are Chair and CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), respectively. The SCSP “builds on the work of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), which ended its congressionally-mandated work in October 2021.  NSCAI made recommendations to the President and Congress to “advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.”

The author’s diagnosis of the root cause of the problem is aligned with the drivers behind the recent launch of America’s Frontier Fund and the Quad Investor Network (with which Eric Schmidt is also affiliated) and maps to many of the recent “Deep Tech” and “Valley of Death” discussions here at OODA Loop.

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15 Sep 2022

The Stanford Internet Observatory and Covert Influence Operations

With the technological infrastructure that physicists and astronomers have brought to bear for decades as its foundational metaphor, the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) was launched two years ago to create an equally as powerful social sciences-based “Observatory” for internet researchers.

We analyze the SIO’s latest offering, in partnership with Graphika:  the August 24th release of a joint investigation into “an interconnected web of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and five other social media platforms that used deceptive tactics to promote pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia. The platforms’ datasets appear to cover a series of covert campaigns over a period of almost five years rather than one homogeneous operation”…which the SIO authors believe is “the most extensive case of covert pro-Western influence operations on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date.”

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14 Sep 2022

Opportunities for Advantage: Reshoring Manufacturing and Shortening Supply Chains

Future Typhoons.  Future Covid-19 Lockdowns.  Future Pandemics. Future Climate Crises Impacts.  Future Wars.  All of it adds up to a clear incentive structure for American businesses to reshore manufacturing and shorten supply chains. 

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13 Sep 2022

Global Crypto and Digital Currency Initiatives: Pakistan

We continue with our survey of crypto and digital currency initiatives from around the globe, all of which are officially sanctioned to enhance national competitive advantage (in the event crypto overtakes the US dollar as the global reserve currency).  It is the cumulative adoption rate of state-sanctioned crypto and digital currency legalization and regulation that will propel this innovative system for value exchange as a global currency standard.

The next country, Pakistan, ranks #3 in the primary research report on which we have based our list of countries to survey: the 2021 Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index.  The fate of cryptocurrency and digital currency in Pakistan is playing out right now in a battle royale between the State Bank of Pakistan, which has called for banning crypto entirely, and industry leaders, who advocate for regulation as sophisticated as those applied to other financial markets in the country.

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13 Sep 2022

Chinese Cyber Espionage Against Russia Is About Keeping Tabs and Learning

Chinese state-sponsored cyber espionage is nothing notable as Beijing has been long engaged in the most expansive cyber-enabled data theft operation for the past decade.  However, its recent activities targeting Russia’s military industries is rather novel and not widespread.  What’s more, this is not the first Chinese APT actor that has brazenly targeted its close ally.  In May 2022, just a couple of months after Russia invaded Ukraine, another Chinese state-sponsored group dubbed Twisted Panda targeted Russian research institutes belonging to the Russian state-owned defense organization Rostec Corporation.  Earlier in April 2022, another group known as Mustang Panda conducted a cyber espionage campaign against Russian officials using European Union documents about the possibility of sanctioning Belarus to entice recipients to click on weaponized attachments.

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09 Sep 2022

Autonomous Everything: The Workforce and The Future of Automated Port Terminals

In a series of posts entitled Autonomous Everything, we are exploring automation in all its technological forms, including legacy working assumptions about the term itself.  We began the series in June at the bleeding edge of autonomous vehicles, with a description of the first autonomous ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. But autonomy is not just for the future of the car and personal mobility but includes a broad autonomous future in areas such as Security Automation, Automation and the Workforce, Automation – or Augmentation – of the workforce, and Automation of AI/Machine Learning Training Models and Industry Standardization. 

We now tack to the familiar, heavy industrial history of automation and global shipping port terminal operations, which have been the frontline in the tensions between labor, industry, and automation in the U.S. for decades.  Port automation is also prescient in the context of the recent pandemic-induced supply chain bottlenecks, which strained port operations globally.

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08 Sep 2022

The Future of Food Security: The Precision Farming Project and NASA Harvest

Following are case studies of current, state-of-the-art advanced computational platforms – specifically computer graphics, multi-player networking, and high-resolution,  satellite-based earth imaging – currently deployed to impact the future of agriculture and food security.

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07 Sep 2022

Global Crypto and Digital Currency Initiatives: Vietnam

We continue with our survey of crypto and digital currency initiatives from around the globe, all of which are officially sanctioned to enhance national competitive advantage (in the event crypto overtakes the US dollar as the global reserve currency).  It is the cumulative adoption rate of state-sanctioned crypto and digital currency legalization and regulation that will propel this innovative system for value exchange as a global currency standard. The next country, Vietnam, ranks #1 in the primary research report on which we have based our list of countries to survey: the 2nd iteration in October 2021 of Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index.  Vietnam is also the home to the blockchain-gaming site Axie Infinity, which was part of the  $600 Ronin Network Crypto Heist attributed to North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group. 

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06 Sep 2022

Cyber Matters Draw Israel and Saudi Arabia Closer Together

Recent reporting indicates that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been investing substantially in Israeli cyber companies that produce offensive cyber tools and weapons.  Per these findings, its presumed that the use of such technology with help Saudi Arabia identify, track, and surveil dissidents and opponents of the government. A website called Saudi Leaksdedicated to exposing Saudi-related scandals cited inside confidential sources that Saudi officials signed contracts with several Israeli firms in order to obtain highly advanced technologies to support cyber spying.  These initiatives are believed to coincide with the Kingdom’s CyberIC plan, a strategy designed to protect the country’s cybersecurity sector. This plan is integral to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a strategic implantation that has digital transformation as one of its pillars.

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