On the night of July 15, 2020, the Balkan nation of North Macedonia was anxiously awaiting the preliminary results of its parliamentary election. Soon after the polls closed, in what was first believed to be a minor technical glitch, the website of the State Election Commission went down.
The polling results were nowhere to be found on the website in the next several hours, as the commission resorted to manually announcing the latest updates on a makeshift YouTube channel. And things didn’t get any better in the late hours of the night.
That night, the country suffered the biggest cyberattack…
For years, London-based writer and artist Mary Morgan has used social media to raise awareness and engage in debate, particularly Twitter and Instagram. Until the hate speech became too much.
“Anyone who spends time on Twitter knows it can be an absolutely horrible place,” said Morgan, whose work focuses on body politics, or the practices and policies through which powers of society regulate the human body.
So she began exploring alternative apps, settling on Clubhouse, an audio-based social network where users can join rooms and listen to, participate or moderate discussions on any topic that might interest them.
Most Balkan countries have signed up to the US ‘Clean Network’ 5G security initiative. With Bulgaria signing on October 23, 2020, 27 out of 30 NATO members have joined the pact, and only Bosnia-Hercegovina and Montenegro in the Balkans have not.
According to the US State Department, the programme aims to safe guard data privacy, security and human rights from such “authoritarian malign actors” as the Chinese Communist Party.
The United States will look to expand its influence in the region in the struggle against “untrusted 5G vendors”. This will not go without a response from China; Beijing will look…
A year after being initially announced, North Macedonia’s digital identity solution project is starting to take shape. Being now deployed in production and ready for launch, it is expected to be done by the middle of May. The project is implemented by global payment giant Mastercard and Sofia-based company Evrotrust Technologies, an authorized electronic signature provider.
The new technology will enable North Macedonia’s citizens to use digital services such as obtaining documents from public institutions, remotely open a new bank account, getting a prepaid or postpaid mobile phone account, and many more other features.
Two years after a mass surveillance system with thousands of facial recognition security cameras was introduced to the streets of Serbian capital Belgrade, concern continues to grow about the impact of the technology.
The Huawei-based surveillance system sparked controversy when it was initially introduced in 2019. And now human and digital rights organizations in the country are pushing back and warning about the risks that facial recognition software can bring.
During the summer of 2020, the SHARE Foundation, a Belgrade-based digital rights organization that advocates for data privacy and digital security, launched a website called “Thousands of cameras”, as a…
As the early deployment of 5G infrastructure across Western Europe takes shape, inside Eastern Europe, most countries are at very different stages when it comes to their individual 5G rollouts. Due to the different technical, legal or even political contexts, these countries are making difficult choices about what to do next.
The Balkan region, where most countries aren’t EU members, is often seen as an arena where the international powers try to create their own spheres of influence. …
After the re-emergence of a Telegram group sharing explicit pictures and videos of women and girls, experts say authorities must act on several levels to confront the devastating scourge of online harassment.
Authorities in North Macedonia face an uphill battle to confront the dangers of online harassment, experts warn, following a public outcry over the reappearance of a group on the encrypted messaging app Telegram in which thousands of users were sharing explicit pictures and videos of women and girls, some of them minors.
The cyberattacks that targeted multiple US government agencies and companies in recent months have raised the alarm in developing Eastern European countries regarding their own cybersecurity capabilities.
During the past year, some of them, like North Macedonia, have already experienced breaches of their state IT systems: last summer, the country had its electoral process disrupted by massive DDoS attacks that happened on election night. Hackers targeted the website of the state electoral commission, which went down for a few days before the election results could finally be made available to the Macedonian public.
The Western Balkans, a region surrounded by EU member states, could pose a threat for the spread of the virus to neighboring countries if its citizens remain unvaccinated
While the Covid-19 vaccination process has been well underway in the UK and EU member countries during the last few weeks, countries in the Western Balkans region are still scrambling to secure the necessary vaccines doses for their populations.
The Western Balkans, a region practically surrounded by EU member states, has been mostly relying on the COVAX mechanism, a WHO-led global effort to provide vaccines for the poorer countries, to provide the…
To Matjaz Bericic, chief technology officer at Telekom Slovenije, 5G is “not the destination, it is the journey”.
If that’s the case, the countries of the Balkans are at very different stages of that journey, but
for all of them the potential benefits of the next cellular standard are vast, experts say.
“An early strategy on 5G deployment and frequency licencing could be a great opportunity for the region, as it can be seen as part of the advanced infrastructure that can attract investments from, for example, industrial production companies or multimedia production companies,” Petar Popovski, professor of wireless connectivity…
Freelance journalist based in Skopje, Macedonia. Contributor for @ZDNet and @ForeignPolicy