Executive Order On Chinese Telecom, Twitter Banned In Nigeria, Top Court Rules On Anti-hacking Law

Biden signs order banning investments in 59 Chinese companies, Nigeria bans Twitter, top court rules on hacking.

Executive Order On Chinese Telecom, Twitter Banned In Nigeria, Top Court Rules On Anti-hacking Law
Photo of Justice Amy Coney Barret after former President Donald Trump announced her nomination to the Supreme Court in September, 2020, used with permission.

June 7, 2021—A new executive order issued by President Joe Biden last Thursday bans investments in 59 Chinese companies, including several well-known telecom companies.

The executive order aims at eliminating US involvement in the Chinese surveillance technology industry that allegedly “facilitate[s] repression of serious human rights abuse,” according to the report. The rise of Chinese surveillance, which technology is employed both inside and out of the country, “constitute unusual and extraordinary threats,” the report said.

Several Chinese telecom firms have been linked to the surveillance industry in China, such as China Mobile, China Telecommunications, China Unicom, and Huawei, which are all banned under the executive order. Beginning August 2, US investors will be given one year to pull their investments from the banned companies. The list is only an initial one, and more firms will be added to it in the coming months, the White House said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin says that the executive order harms “the legal rights and interest of the Chinese companies and also the interest of global investors, including American ones.”

Many US companies have been unhappy with Trump-era economic policies toward China, and lawsuits filed by over 3,500 US companies targeting the policies that have remained in place under the Biden administration are scheduled to begin later this summer.

Twitter banned in Nigeria

The Nigerian government said last Friday that Twitter will be permanently banned in the country after the platform removed a threatening tweet by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari movement for violating its “abusive behavior” policy, NPR reports.

The Nigerian government has ordered the arrest and prosecution of users that attempt to circumvent the ban and access the app, CNN reported. Many citizens have attempted to use virtual private networks to access the platform, but the office of Nigeria’s attorney general and ministry of justice said it would arrest and prosecute anyone who attempts to get around the block.

Twitter’s public policy team commented on the matter Saturday, saying, “We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world.”

This is not the first time in recent history that Twitter has gotten into legal trouble with foreign governments. Last month, Twitter refused Russian orders to remove content from their websites following anti-Putin protests the government deemed illegal. They were fined as a result.

The Supreme Court rules on anti-hacking law

In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act should not apply to people misusing systems that they’ve legally been granted access to, the Verge reported on Saturday.

The CFAA is federal anti-hacking legislation that makes it illegal to intentionally access a computer without authorization. The law also bans the use of “exceeding authorized access,” meaning those who misuse software to act outside of their authorized scope of practice can also face criminal charges.

The case, Van Buren v. United States, involved a former Georgia police officer who misused a police database to look up a woman’s license plate. Because his actions violated department rules, prosecutors said the officer had “exceeded” his access to the system. But his lawyers argued that since he had been granted access to the system, he should not be held liable under anti-hacking laws.

The Supreme Court sided with the officer, arguing in the majority opinion authored by Justice Amy Coney Barrett that the law was too broad and should not cover the “exceeding authorized access” of systems because it would criminalize a “breathtaking amount” of commonplace computer use.

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