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China starts blocking HTTPS connections with encrypted SNI: Report

TLS 1.3 introduced Encrypted SNI (ESNI) that encrypts the SNI so that intermediaries cannot view it, said the report.

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San Francisco, Aug 9 : In an update to its national censorship tool, known as the Great Firewall, China has reportedly started blocking HTTPS connections with Encrypted Server Name Indication.

The ban has been in place for over a week now, three organisations tracking Chinese censorship — iYouPort, the University of Maryland, and the Great Firewall Report – said this week in a joint report.

“We confirm that the Great Firewall (GFW) of China has recently begun blocking ESNI – one of the foundational features of TLS 1.3 and HTTPS,” said the report.

TLS is the foundation of secure communication on the web (HTTPS). It provides authenticated encryption so that users can know whom they are communicating with. It also ensures that an intermediary does not read or tamper with your information.

But even though TLS hides the content of a user’s communication, it does not always conceal with whom the user is communicating.

The TLS handshake (a process that kicks off a communication session) optionally contains a Server Name Indication (SNI) field that allows the user’s client to inform the server which website it wishes to communicate with.

Nation-state censors have used the SNI field to block users from being able to communicate with certain destinations, said that report, adding that China has long been censoring HTTPS in this manner.

TLS 1.3 introduced Encrypted SNI (ESNI) that encrypts the SNI so that intermediaries cannot view it, said the report.

The Great Firewall of China blocks ESNI connections by dropping packets from client to server, it added.

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China’s 5G development to empower more industries in 2021

China will build more than 600,000 5G base stations in 2021, while promoting the 5G network coverage in a wider range and at more levels, Zhao said.

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Beijing, Jan 27 : China will boost the 5G industry in 2021 by improving the capability of network coverage, application innovation and industrial base.

With the continuously increasing investment, China’s 5G commercial development took solid steps last year, said Zhao Zhiguo, director of the cybersecurity management bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at a press conference.

By 2020, all cities above the prefecture-level had full coverage of 5G networks, with more than 200 million 5G terminal connections and over 1,100 5G plus industrial internet projects, he added.

China will build more than 600,000 5G base stations in 2021, while promoting the 5G network coverage in a wider range and at more levels, Zhao said.

The country will foster emerging consumption models such as 5G plus VR/AR and immersive gaming and promote the integration of 5G technology into life services including health, elderly care and housekeeping, Xinhua news agency reported.

Continuous efforts will also be made to organise 5G millimeter wave tests, speed up the research and development of key technologies, shore up the weak links and ensure the safety of the industrial and supply chains, said Zhao.

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Mobile internet services suspended in some parts of Delhi-NCR

In view of the prevailing situation in Delhi, internet temporarily suspended at Tikri, Singhu, Ghazipur borders and its adjoining areas.

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New Delhi: Mobile internet services suspended in some parts of Delhi-NCR after farmers clashed with police in national capital.

In view of the prevailing situation in Delhi, internet temporarily suspended at Tikri, Singhu, Ghazipur borders and its adjoining areas.

Entry/exit gates of Jama Masjid metro station on violet line closed. On red line, Dilshad Garden, Jhilmil and Mansarovar Park metro stations have been closed.

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Twitter acts on inactive accounts, new verification soon

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Micro-blogging platform Twitter has started removing blue verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts and will begin the new verification process for its users in few weeks.

Twitter, which paused its public verification process or that elusive Blue Badge three years ago, in November announced to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

“Last call! As part of our new verification policy, we’ll remove verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts,” Twitter Safety said in a tweet.

The company is reading out directly to users who have issues with their accounts.

“We’ve reached out directly to those who need to take action to stay verified,” it added.

Twitter had said it would relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

Verified accounts on Twitter will have a blue check next to the display name throughout the app.

“When we relaunch the public application process in early 2021, there will be a link to the application in the Twitter apps and on twitter.com”.

Over three years ago, the platform paused the public verification programme after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.

A year later, the company deprioritised this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election.

The company has identified six types of accounts in its draft policy as Notable Accounts — government; companies, brands and non-profit organisations; news; entertainment; sports and activists/organisers and other influential individuals.

According to the proposed policy, “the blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.”

Twitter had admitted that there are many verified accounts on its platform that should not be there.

The new verification policy is a starting point, and “we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year”.

The draft verification policy is available in English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

“We are also working with local non-governmental organisations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible,” Twitter said.

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