A digital curtain descends across Europe
Much of this episode is devoted to the new digital curtain falling across Europe. With usual host Stewart Baker away from the microphone, Gus Horwitz and Mark-MacCarthy review the tech boycott that has seen companies like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Adobe pull their service from Russia. Nick Weaver describes how Russia has cracked down on independent Russian media outlets and blocked access to the websites of foreign media including the BBC and Facebook. Gus reports on an apparent Russian decision to require all servers and domains to transfer Russian zone, thereby disconnecting itself from the global internet.
Mark describes decisions by private companies in the U.S. to exclude Russian media from their systems, including how DirecTV’s decision to drop RT America led the Russian 24-hour news channel to shutter its operations. In contrast, the EU officially shut down all RT and Sputnik operations, including their apps and websites. Nick wonders if the enforcement mechanism is up to the task of taking down the websites. Gus, Dave and Mark discuss the mythmaking in social media about the Ukrainian war such as the Ghost of Kyiv, and wonder if fiction might do some good to keep up the morale of the besieged country.
Dave Aitel reminds us that despite the apparent lack of cyberattacks in the war, more might be going on under the surface. He also he gives us details about the internal attack that affected the Conti Ransomware gang when they voiced support for Russia. Nick opines that cryptocurrencies do not have the volume to serve as an effective way around the financial sanctions against Russia. Sultan Meghji agrees that the financial sanctions will accelerate the move away from the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and is skeptical that a principles-based constraint will do much good to halt that trend.
A few things happened other than the war in Ukraine, including President Biden’s first state of the union address. Gus notices that much of the speech was devoted to tech. He notes that the presence in the audience of F
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