UAE denies Washington Post’s claim it hacked Qatari sites

The UAE’s ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba has denied a report by the Washington Post. (File photo: AP)
Updated 17 July 2017
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UAE denies Washington Post’s claim it hacked Qatari sites

DUBAI: The UAE’s Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba has denied a report by The Washington Post that claims some US officials believe the country “orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir” in late May.
The UAE’s embassy in Washington responded to the article in a series of tweets posted early Monday morning, saying that “the @washingtonpost story is false. UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article” in comments attributed to the ambassador.

The Washington Post report, published on Sunday, alleges that US “officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by US intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. The officials said it remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done.”
However, the UAE’s embassy has denied the report, with Al-Otaiba instead stating that “What is true is #Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas & Qaddafi... Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization and undermining the stability of its neighbors.”

 


Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, told Arab News: “These allegations are just that: Allegations. Moreover, The Washington Post article is thinly sourced with no credible solid evidence presented to back up the accusation. Meanwhile, the Western media seems to have conveniently forgotten about the deliberate hacking that targeted the ambassador as part of an effort clearly itended to benefit the Qatari government.”
Qatar, meanwhile, said: "The information published in The Washington Post ... revealed the involvement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and senior Emirati officials in the hacking of Qatar News Agency."
In a statement on Monday, the Qatari government communication office said the report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place."
Despite The Washington Post’s article, it was recently reported that Russian hackers were thought to be behind the purported breach of Qatar’s state news agency.
CNN reported in June that “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies.”
Qatar claims that a report released by a state-run news agency in May, in which Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was said to have made incendiary comments regarding the GCC, was the result of a hack.
The report sparked a diplomatic row in the region, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading a host of nations in cutting ties with Qatar.


Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

Updated 26 April 2018
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Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

LONDON: Facebook will introduce new measures to boost transparency around adverts in Britain by June this year and require political ads to be clearly labelled, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer told a British parliamentary committee.
In a written submission to the UK parliament’s media committee, Mike Schroepfer said those wanting to run political adverts would have to complete an authorization process and the messages would also have to display who paid for them.
Facebook has said that the personal information of about 87 million users might have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.
Lawmakers have also raised concern over the use of social media in Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union in 2016.
“I want to start by echoing our CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: what happened with Cambridge Analytica represents a breach of trust, and we are deeply sorry. We made mistakes and we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Schroepfer wrote.
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg apologized to US senators for issues that have beset Facebook, including shortcomings over data protection.
But the 33-year-old Internet mogul managed to deflect any specific promises to support any congressional regulation of the world’s largest social media network and other US Internet companies.
Schroepfer, who was appearing before the British media committee on Thursday, said it was clear Facebook had not done enough to ensure its tools from “potentially being used for harm” or take a broad enough view of its responsibility.
“That was a mistake,” he wrote.