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Cake day: April 10th, 2023

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  • @tal

    This is true. A couple of years ago Tether (along with its sister company Bitfinex, a crypto currency exchange) settled allegations by the New York state in the U.S. by paying a fine (in the double-digit millions), admitting that claims that Tether was backed by fiat at all times was “a lie”.

    A major issue with this coin is that it is not subject to regulation by any authority (it’s owned by iFinex based in the British Virgin Islands), so they may claim whatever they want.

    I don’t know what exactly made them choose Tether, but one reason might indeed be that they don’t have much choice (alternative crypto coins are arguably far too volatile to serve as a means of payment for companies with higher bills). Maybe because the company has an office in Hong Kong as far ad I know (at least they had one not long ago). Maybe also because there is a higher volume, maybe because there is also a Tether variant pegged to the Chinese yuan (it hss the same shortcomings as the USDT, but a much lower volume). I don’t know.

    But let’s not forget that it can be tracked as it’s on a blockchain. If they seek to circumvent sanctions and hide their money trail, that’s not a good idea.

    In a nutshell: anyone who says that the sanctions don’t work should read stories like that and they might change their mind.




  • Criminals have already been using alternative ways to exchange data for a lo.g time, especially those who are exchanging images and videos (such as CSAM) as everyday messengers are completely inapt for transmitting such large volumes of data. And these algorithms will yield a lot of false positives too.

    And it is the wrong signal to authoritarian countries as it makes people and companies extremely vulnerable. As Markus Hartmann, Chief Public Prosecutor in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said not long ago on chat control:

    “From the point of view of information security there is to assume an increased risk [of hacking]. There is no special expertise [demonstrated by politicians] in this area with regard to the signal effect for authoritarian states.”

    [Original link in German, translation my own.]


  • Chinese orgs love signing MOUs

    The CCP - or, better, the China Scholarship Council (CSC) under the rule of the CCP - forces Chinese students and researchers to sign ‘loyalty pleadges’ before giong abroad saying they “shall consciously safeguard the honor of the motherland, (and) obey the guidance and management of embassies (consulates) abroad.” The restrictive scholarship contract requires them to report back to the Chinese embassy on a regular basis, and anyone who violates these conditions is subject to disciplinary action.

    In one investigation,

    Mareike Ohlberg, a senior fellow working on China at the German Marshall Fund, sees the CSC contract as a demonstration of the Chinese Communist Party’s “mania for control.”

    “People are actively encouraged to intervene if anything happens that might not be in the country’s interest,” Ohlberg said.

    Harming China’s interests is in fact considered the worst possible breach of the contract.

    “It’s even listed ahead of possible involvement in crimes, so effectively even ahead of murder,” she noted. “China is making its priorities very clear here.”

    […] Kai Gehring, the chair of German parliament’s Committee for Education and Research, says the CSC contracts are “not compatible” with Germany’s Basic Law, which guarantees academic freedom.

    In Sweden, for example, universities have already cancelled the collaboration with the CSC over this practice.

    There is ample evidence that China uses scientific collaboration with private companies as well as universities and research organizations for spying. You’ll find many independent reports on that as well as of the CCP’s intimidation practices of Chinese students who don’t comply with the party line, e.g., in Australia and elsewhere. It’s easy to find reliable sources on the (Western) web.