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Technology 27 September 2021

The Week in Internet News: China Outlaws Cryptocurrency

No bitcoin: The People’s Bank of China, which sets monetary policy and regulates financial institutions in the mainland, has banned all cryptocurrency transactions, the BBC reports. Using cryptocurrency “seriously endangers the safety of people’s assets,” the bank said. China sees cryptocurrency as a “volatile, speculative investment” and an easy way to launder money, the story notes. Trading cryptocurrency has officially been banned in China since 2019, but has continued online through foreign exchanges.

Censorship rises: The Internet globally has become less free over the past year, with government efforts to rein in the tech sector resulting more censorship and surveillance, according to a Freedom House report, detailed in the Washington Post. Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s hands-off approach to regulating the tech sector has enabled an increase in disinformation and conspiratorial content online, the report says. The Wire in India notes the India government’s regional shutdowns of Internet service and its attempts to censor websites, as detailed in the Freedom House report.

Clearing the roadblocks: Pro-Russian bloggers and content producers are working to find ways around social media sites that are trying to block disinformation, Financial Times reports. When sites like YouTube demonetize pro-Kremlin channels, the content producers get creative. “Researchers … found that the reader comment sections of western media outlets such as the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, Fox News and Der Spiegel are increasingly being manipulated by propagandists, who then point to pro-Kremlin comments as evidence of sympathy for the Russian government in the west.”

Teaming up: A group of five small towns in Maine are working together to launch municipal broadband service, Government Technology reports. The Waldo County group plans to build a broadband network for the cost of $7 million to $10 million, paid for through grants and revenue bonds. “In today’s world, high speed Internet for work, education, telehealth, recreation and communication is a necessity, not a luxury,” says Pete Milinazzo, a select board member for the town of Searsmont.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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