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As serious as the methane escaping from ruptured pipelines on the floor of the Baltic Sea may be, there are alarming incidents of massive methane releases happening around the world constantly. Climate scientists have found that methane from the oil and gas industry is far worse than what companies are reporting, despite claims by some major firms that they’ve reduced their emissions. That matters because natural gas, a fossil fuel widely used to heat homes and provide electricity, is made up of methane, a potent climate warming gas.

Police say the hacker who stole the personal data of almost 10 million people in one of Australia’s worst privacy breaches concealed their identity, actions and whereabouts. They say the investigation into the cyberattack will be “long and complex.” The government blames lax cybersecurity at the Optus telecommunications company, which maintains it was the target of a sophisticated cyberattack that penetrated several layers of security. While details of 9.8 million Optus customers were stolen, authorities are most concerned for more than 10,000 customers whose records were dumped on the dark web. The hacker later withdrew a $1 million ransom demand and apologized, though experts are skeptical.

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Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the United States has been elected to head the U.N.’s telecommunications agency. She won a U.S.-Russia face-off for the leadership of a global agency that sets guideposts for radio, internet, satellite and television communications. The result on Thursday ended a race that has been overshadowed by geopolitics in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Envoys from the 193 member states of the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union voted 139-25 to select Bogdan-Martin over lone rival Rashid Ismailov of Russia.  When she takes over on Jan. 1, she will be the first woman to serve as ITU secretary-general and the first American to hold the post since the 1960s.

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Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says Australia could have tough new data protection laws in place this year in an urgent response to a cyberattack that stole from a telecommunications company the personal data of 9.8 million customers. Dreyfus said Thursday the government will make “urgent reforms” to the Privacy Act following the unprecedented hack last week on Optus, Australia’s second-largest wireless carrier. Dreyfus says "it’s possible” for the law to be changed in the four remaining weeks that Parliament is scheduled to sit this year. Dreyfus says penalties for failing to protect data have to be increased and companies should have to justify the “absolutely huge amounts” of customer data they hold.

Australia’s federal and state governments have called for Optus to pay for replacing passports and driver’s licenses after 9.8 million of the telecommunications company’s customers had personal data stolen by computer hackers. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at Optus for last week's unprecedented breach of the personal information of current and former customers. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls for the government to waive the costs of replacing compromised Optus customers’ passports. Albanese told Parliament that Optus should pay, not taxpayers. Optus did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Different states have had varying responses to customer's requests for ID replacements.

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday awarded an $82.45 million grant for what she said will be a “transformative” project to expand broadband service in the state. Ivey said the grant will be used by Fiber Utility Network, a corporation formed by eight rural electric cooperatives to fund a “middle-mile” broadband network to help close gaps in service. The Fiber Utility Network will create a middle-mile network that will connect almost 3,000 miles of existing and new fiber infrastructure within a three-year period,

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Australia's second-largest wireless carrier says police are investigating the release by a purported hacker of stolen personal data from its customers and demanding a $1 million ransom in cryptocurrency. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at Optus for the breach, which affected 9.8 million people. A Sydney-based cybersecurity writer says the purported hacker released 10,000 Optus customer records on the dark web and threatened to release more unless Optus pays the ransom. Later Tuesday, the writer said the purported hacker had deleted his post along with three samples of the stolen data. He apparently withdrew the ransom demand, claimed the stolen data had been deleted and apologized to Optus customers. There was no indication why he changed his mind.

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The Australian government says it's considering tougher cybersecurity rules for telecommunications companies and blamed the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, Optus, for an unprecedented breach of personal data from 9.8 million customers. Optus says it became aware of the cyberattack last Wednesday. It has since offered its “most affected” customers a free credit monitoring and identify protection service. Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neil told Parliament on Monday that a substantial reform task would "emerge from a breach of this scale and size.” She noted that other countries allowed for large fines to be levied over such breaches but Australia had no such law.

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Apple Inc. has announced it will make its iPhone 14 in India. Manufacturers have been shifting production from China amid geopolitical tensions and pandemic restrictions that have disrupted supply chains for many industries. Apple unveiled its newest line-up of iPhones earlier this month. They will have improved cameras, faster processors and longer lasting batteries at the same prices as last year’s models. The announcement from the Cupertino, California-based company dovetails with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for local manufacturing. India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China but iPhone sales have struggled to capture a large share of the market due to their high price tags.

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Samsung Electronics says it’s shifting away from fossil fuels and aiming to entirely power its global operations with clean electricity by 2050. That's a challenging goal that experts say could be hampered by South Korea’s own modest climate change commitments. South Korea-based Samsung is a top producer of computer memory chips and smartphones and, by some estimates, the biggest energy consumer among hundreds of global companies that have joined the “RE100” campaign to get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. Samsung’s plan drew praise from investors but some also expressed concern that the company's announcement Thursday came at a time when South Korea is dialing back on its climate targets.

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Apple revealed its next line-up of iPhones will boast better cameras, faster processors, and a longer lasting battery at the same prices as last year’s model, despite the mounting pressures of inflation that has driven up the cost of other everyday items. The decision to hold the line of iPhone prices came as a mild surprise, as most analysts had predicted Apple would likely ask its devout fans to pay as much as 15% more to help offset the rising costs for many components. The four new models, with starting prices ranging from $799 to $1,099, will be in stores beginning Sept. 16.

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One of the strictest internet privacy laws in the country has withstood a legal challenge, as a group of telecommunication providers has dropped its bid to overturn it. Maine created one of the toughest standards in the nation for internet service providers in 2020 when it began enforcing an “opt-in” web privacy standard. Industry associations swiftly sued with a claim that the new law violated their First Amendment rights. A federal judge rejected that challenge. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said the groups, which include the country’s biggest telecommunications providers, filed to dismiss the lawsuit on Sept. 2.

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