Hillicon Valley – US wants to boost Iranian internet

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The Biden administration eased some sanctions against Iran in an effort to improve internet access for the Iranian people during protests.

Meanwhile, a new report finds that the largest online forum of the ‘incel’ movement has seen an increase in calls to violence.

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Easing restrictions

The finance ministry on Friday announced exceptions to Iran’s sanctions to allow companies to provide more online services in the country after the Iranian government cut internet access for most of the country amid protests.

The guidance authorized tech companies to provide Iranian people with more options for secure, remote platforms and services, the department said in an announcement.

The update aims to modernize existing sanctions exemptions for businesses to provide internet access by adding exceptions for social media platforms, video conferencing services and cloud-based services.

  • “With these changes, we will help the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s attempts to control and censor them,” Deputy Finance Minister Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
  • The department will continue to provide guidance in the coming weeks to support the free flow of information in Iran, Adeyemo added.
  • The Biden administration’s update comes after the Iranian government has shut down the internet to most of its citizens following its violent crackdown on peaceful protests in the country. The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, in custody.
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‘Incel’ movement incites calls for violence

The largest online forum of the ‘incel’ movement has seen an increase in calls for violence, according to a report released Friday.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate found a 59 percent increase in the use of terms and codewords related to mass violence on the “incel” forum, after analyzing more than 1 million posts between January 2021 and July 2022.

  • The term “incel” was created as an abbreviation for “involuntary celibacy”, but has come to refer to a predominantly male movement that promotes hatred and violence against women and other groups.
  • The “incel” movement has been linked to dozens of deaths, including a 2014 massacre in Isla Vista, California, which left six dead and 14 injured, the report said.

“Hateful” and “dehumanizing” language is at the heart of the movement, with 21 percent of all posts on the “incel” forum studied for Friday’s report containing misogynistic, racist and homophobic language.

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AN ‘EXTREME RISK’

Former Twitter employee Anika Navaroli said the company’s tolerance of former President Trump led her to take the “extreme risk” of testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, according to an interview with The Washington Post.

“I realize that by being who I am and doing what I do, I am exposing myself and my family to extreme risks,” Navaroli told the Post. “It’s terrifying. This has been one of the most isolating times of my life.”

The Jan. 6 commission revealed in July testimony from the previously unidentified whistleblower, who told the commission that for months she had “begged and anticipated and tried to bring out the reality that…if we didn’t intervene in what I saw happening, people would die.”

“On January 5, I realized there was going to be no intervention and … and we were at the mercy of the whims, at the mercy of a violent mob that was locked and charged,” Navaroli testified.

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An opinion piece to chew on: How the CHIPS and Science Act could revolutionize US technology diversity

Notable links from all over the web:

The Most Dominant Toxic Election Stories Online (The New York Times/Cecilia Kang)

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External audit says Facebook restricted Palestinian posts during Gaza war (The Washington Post/Elizabeth Dwoskin)

US vs. China: the race to launch the next-generation space telescope (The Wall Street Journal)

🎵 Lighter Click: Friendly Reminder

One more thing: Assess crypto threats

The US military innovation agency is launching an effort to assess cryptocurrency threats to national security and law enforcement, as well as helping authorities prevent illegal use of digital assets.

“The program underway here involves mapping out the cryptocurrency universe in great detail,” DARPA program manager Mark Flood told The Washington Post.

He continued: “We simply need to recognize that the financial sector can be a part of modern warfare in the future, and anything we can do to strengthen and protect the U.S. financial sector and the financial sectors of our allies is beneficial. ”

Read more here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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