Editor's note

Encrypted messaging apps have become an essential tool for organising protests – like the ones in Hong Kong this past week. Protesters use the apps to organise anonymously, without the threat of surveillance. But spying isn’t the only way the efforts of protesters can be disrupted. As Stanley Shanapinda writes, Telegram was targeted in a cyber attack that flooded its servers during the height of the Hong Kong protests. This slowed down the ability of protesters to communicate, and created a chilling effect on their right to protest.

Technology is a huge part of most of our lives. Even if you don’t use Facebook or YouTube, chances are you’re aware of the storm of issues surrounding the digital giants recently. Data sharing, live-streamed terror, algorithms and fake news: we’re surely coming to the point where better regulation must take place.

Over the next 12 months, our Science and Technology team wants to bring you the latest on the dominance of digital platforms, as well as analysis on Australia’s activities in space and how Homo sapiens emerged from Africa to colonise the world.

At The Conversation, we work with the right experts to tell these stories – but we need your support. Please make a tax deductible donation today.

Sarah Keenihan

Section Editor: Science + Technology

Top story

Telegram was targeted in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack during the protests. Jerome Favre/AAP

How a cyber attack hampered Hong Kong protesters

Stanley Shanapinda, La Trobe University

Telegram enabled protesters in Hong Kong to evade surveillance, but a DDoS attack and the arrest of a group administrator undermined the ability of protesters to organise and communicate.

A Small Tree Finch from the Galápagos Islands with an enlarged nostril caused by a parasite. Katharina J Peters

A parasite attack on Darwin’s finches means they’re losing their lovesong

Katharina J. Peters, Flinders University; Sonia Kleindorfer, Flinders University

An infestation as a chick leads to enlarged nostrils in the beak of Darwin finches, and that affects their mating call.

A fossil of the giant new trilobite species Redlichia rex. James Holmes

A giant species of trilobite inhabited Australian waters half a billion years ago

James D. Holmes, University of Adelaide; Diego C. García-Bellido, University of Adelaide; John Paterson, University of New England

There is evidence to show this monster of the ancient sea was a cannibal, feeding on its own kind.


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