How blockchain might help prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Placeholder while article actions load

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in many ways has become one of the world’s first digital wars, with combatants from both sides fighting for advantage on social media, Western players embarking on attempts to raise cryptocurrency for Ukraine, and a Ukrainian minister taking to Twitter to persuade global companies to intervene digitally.

Now there’s a new frontier. To bolster the kind of war-crimes evidence that has not always proved easy to admit to international courts, a group is looking to the technology behind cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

The project, which comes out of the Starling Lab and is backed by Stanford University and the University of Southern California, is using decentralizing technologies to ensure that visual evidence that is being gathered and uploaded in Ukraine doesn’t fall victim to the evidence-collection missteps of war crimes past. The project — which boasts human rights experts and former government officials among its leaders — hopes to use blockchain technology as well as other tools to ensure that evidence isn’t lost, challenged or corrupted by those who want the alleged crimes of the Russian invasion force covered up.

“Technology offers us so many more tools to go after perpetrators than we’ve ever had before,” said Jonathan Dotan, a former lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, staffer at the Stanford School of Engineering and a writer on the streaming show “Silicon Valley” who co-founded the Starling Lab. “Unfortunately, the perpetrators have much better tools too. So we need to fight back as hard as we can.”

Joining Dotan is John Jaeger, a former State Department employee who founded Hala, a private company funded by the U.S. government that uses artificial intelligence to gather unencrypted intelligence in war zones; Graham Brookie, who runs the Atlantic Council’s tech-minded Digital Forensic Research Lab; and Stephen Smith, a British genocide scholar and the former executive director of USC’s Shoah Foundation, who has pioneered holographic testimony that he now oversees at a company called Storyfile.

Their hope is that some of the same technologies that power cryptocurrency will make it harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his aides to fog up prosecutions with misinformation on social media platforms, as they’ve tried to do with the images of Ukraine’s Bucha massacre that recently surfaced.

For many Americans, the blockchain is incomprehensible; for others it is simply a way to power an NFT bubble or a widespread cryptoscam. But war-crimes prosecution may provide an unequivocally positive use.

Together, Dotan, Smith, Brookie and Jaeger have spent the past five weeks building a team of engineers and legal experts in Ukraine and the United States in an effort to make the images and video uploaded to Telegram, TikTok and other platforms more airtight against war-criminal defenses.

“Social media images as they currently exist are just not going to slow down or prevent or ultimately indict war criminals. They’re just too suspect to manipulation,” Smith said. “If we’re going to do justice

Read More

Explainer: The new U.S. export rules intended to freeze Russian tech

Feb 24 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday limited exports to Russia of a broad established of U.S.-produced goods as nicely as foreign-created products crafted with U.S. engineering, subsequent the invasion of Ukraine. study extra

Below is how the policies are anticipated to have an impact on U.S. tech corporations, according to 6 professionals on U.S. trade legislation.

What know-how is freshly limited from export to Russia?

Register now for Totally free endless access to Reuters.com

Sign up

U.S. providers will have to now get licenses to sell desktops, sensors, lasers, navigation tools, and telecommunications, aerospace and maritime equipment. The United States will deny pretty much all requests.

“We expected some thing sweeping, and this was definitely sweeping,” explained Ama Adams, companion at legislation firm Ropes & Gray.

The new principles also drive corporations making tech products overseas with U.S. resources to seek out a U.S. license before shipping and delivery to Russia.

A very similar restriction was initially applied in recent decades to corporations shipping and delivery to Chinese know-how large Huawei, to terrific result.

Which U.S. companies will be most impacted?

Many organizations could choose to suspend all gross sales to Russia out of warning, legal professionals explained. Dan Goren, husband or wife at legislation company Wiggin and Dana, reported a consumer that can make electronic equipment had presently held shipments to a Russian distributor on Thursday.

U.S. exports to Russia have been minimal to about $6.4 billion very last 12 months, U.S. census facts exhibit, with machinery and autos amongst major categories in past yrs.

The most intense tech hits to Russia could appear from curbs on international goods.

For illustration, the Semiconductor Business Association (SIA), which signifies U.S. chipmakers, pointed out that “Russia is not a sizeable direct shopper of semiconductors” and that Russia’s communications and tech investing “totaled only about $25 billion out of the multi-trillion world wide marketplace” in 2019.

But many goods created in Asia and destined for Russia incorporate chips manufactured with U.S. tooling. Above two dozen users of the European Union, as properly as the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are imposing comparable export restrictions to restrict Russia’s alternatives.

How will Russia be impacted?

Emily Kilcrease, senior fellow at the Heart for a New American Security and previous deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative, said the limitations will freeze Russia’s technologies where by it is nowadays.

“You will not be in a position to get new tech into the place,” she claimed.

William Reinsch, a trade skilled at the Center for Strategic and Global Studies and a previous Commerce Department export official, expects a sluggish escalation of impact.

“Sooner or later they will be hurting, but possibly not for months,” he stated. “It’s not an speedy human body blow.”

The curbs and sanctions are not as comprehensive as U.S. trade steps on Iran and North Korea, but they could have even bigger effects globally due to the fact Russia is much more intertwined with the planet economic climate,

Read More

Russian hackers have likely penetrated crucial Ukraine laptop or computer networks, U.S. claims

The U.S. federal government has determined only that Russia could undertake disruptive cyber-activity, not that it will, said the official, who like quite a few other people spoke on the problem of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity. “We really don’t know that they have intention to do so,” the formal reported. “But we have been working with Ukraine to improve their cyberdefenses.”

A Kremlin spokesman did not answer to a ask for for remark.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government’s Center for Strategic Communications and Data Stability mentioned that PrivatBank, the nation’s major commercial bank, was hit with a denial-of-service assault that temporarily interfered with customers’ on the net banking transactions. Support was restored within hours, the governing administration stated.

The internet websites of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and armed forces were also disrupted, the company explained. It did not say who was at the rear of the attacks.

Should the conflict with Ukraine escalate, officers concern there could be broader cyberattacks in retaliation for Western sanctions or other moves to guidance Ukraine.

The problem is so good that on Friday the White House’s deputy national stability adviser for cyber, Anne Neuberger, ran a tabletop exercise to make certain that federal organizations have been prepared for Russian cyber-assaults that may well consider put in an escalating conflict with Moscow.

This sort of events could consist of a cyberattack from Ukraine, an attack versus a NATO member or ransomware. “We needed to prepare for every single circumstance,” the formal reported.

President Biden on Tuesday stated that “if Russia attacks the United States or our allies by way of … disruptive cyberattacks against our corporations or vital infrastructure, we are well prepared to answer.”

Hackers doing work for Russia’s Federal Safety Support, or FSB, and its navy spy agency, the GRU, have been noticed inside of Ukraine’s methods, in accordance to a 2nd U.S. formal and a further particular person familiar with the make any difference.

The U.S. govt also has been warning crucial industries in the United States to be certain their systems are as hardened as possible versus cyberattacks as Russia could find to disrupt electrical power, gasoline and other techniques. The Russians have in the previous infiltrated the manage systems of some American electrical utilities, while no disruptions resulted.

Comply with a battalion commander by way of the trenches of jap Ukraine as he prepares his troops for a probable Russian invasion. (Whitney Shefte, Whitney Leaming, Erin Patrick O’Connor/The Washington Post)

Moscow has grown progressively intense in cyberspace above the past decade, carrying out not only large compromises of unclassified U.S. federal government electronic mail units and interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election but also knocking out energy temporarily in areas of Ukraine in December 2015 and then all over again in December 2016 in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

Individuals attacks took place amid an escalating geopolitical confrontation amongst Ukraine — which was leaning toward the

Read More