U.S. Takes Steps Against Russian and Chinese Cyberattacks

Blaming Russia for attacks that interfered in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, President Biden imposed new sanctions on 32 entities and individuals in that country. Although sanctions will make it more difficult to partake in the global economy, the White House did not immediately limit Russia’s ability to borrow money on the global market. Biden noted he “chose to be proportionate” and “is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.” The FBI has also recently taken strong steps to stop Chinese hacking. Continue reading U.S. Takes Steps Against Russian and Chinese Cyberattacks

China Targets 34 Internet Platforms for Antitrust Compliance

Since China fined Alibaba $2.8 billion for violating antimonopoly regulations, 34 Chinese companies have publicly pledged to comply with those laws. The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the country’s antitrust watchdog, published 12 statements, including those from TikTok owner ByteDance, Baidu search engine, and e-commerce platforms JD.com and Pinduoduo. The companies all vowed to build a fair and competitive market in specific areas. SAMR said it planned to publish more such avowals. Continue reading China Targets 34 Internet Platforms for Antitrust Compliance

EU Legislation to Ban AI for Surveillance and Social Ranking

In upcoming legislation from the European Commission, the European Union plans to ban artificial intelligence used for mass surveillance or ranking social behavior, with the rules applying equally to “companies based in the EU or abroad.” The measure could be unveiled as early as next week. Under the law, EU member states would be required to create “assessment bodies” to test, certify and inspect AI systems. In Germany, Hamburg authorities are seeking to stop Facebook from collecting user data from WhatsApp. Continue reading EU Legislation to Ban AI for Surveillance and Social Ranking

China Signals Tighter Big Tech Regulation with Alibaba Fine

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) fined e-commerce giant Alibaba $2.8 billion for antitrust violations, a rebuke to its founder, high-profile tycoon Jack Ma. Investigation into whether Alibaba prevented sellers from offering their goods on other e-commerce platforms began in December. The official Communist Party newspaper called monopolies “the great enemy of the market economy” and said regulation was “a kind of love and care.” In 2015, China fined Qualcomm $975 million, also for antitrust violations. Continue reading China Signals Tighter Big Tech Regulation with Alibaba Fine

China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

China has begun issuing a digital currency from by its central bank, a move that will give that country’s government new ways to monitor its economy and people. The digital yuan will be aimed at international uses and not linked to the global financial system. At the People’s Bank of China, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute Mu Changchun noted that, “in order to protect our currency sovereignty and legal currency status, we have to plan ahead.” China is the first to issue a national digital currency. Continue reading China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity

President Joe Biden is working on a draft executive order to require companies doing business with the federal government to report hacks within a few days. Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated the order would also require the companies to use data encryption and two-factor authentication and would combat ransomware and improve protection for industrial control systems, transportation and election security. The SolarWinds hack has prompted the government to pay closer attention to cybersecurity. Continue reading Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity

Huawei Feels Pinch of U.S. Sanctions, Ericsson Contests Ban

Huawei Technologies’ revenue in 2020 Q4 dropped 11.2 percent to 220.1 billion yuan (about $33.6 billion) from a year earlier. For 2020, revenue grew 3.8 percent to a record-breaking 891.4 billion yuan, but the Q4 drop represents how U.S. sanctions inked in September have made it difficult for Huawei to source advanced chips. Huawei revealed it was one of its slowest years ever for revenue growth. Swedish company Ericsson has been the biggest beneficiary, now surpassing Huawei’s cellular equipment sales. However, the company is defending Huawei, citing the importance of free trade. Continue reading Huawei Feels Pinch of U.S. Sanctions, Ericsson Contests Ban

Forecast: Global E-Commerce to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2025

Euromonitor International conducted a study in October on the rise of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that 74 percent of worldwide retail and consumer brand experts believe the trend will become permanent. The study projected that between 2020 and 2025 half of the absolute value growth for the global retail sector will be digital, equating to $1.4 trillion. Of that, the United States and China will be responsible for 55 percent of the value growth. Latin America also experienced significant e-commerce growth in 2020. Continue reading Forecast: Global E-Commerce to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2025

Countries Plan to Invest in New Chip Manufacturing Facilities

Due to a global semiconductor shortage, the United States, European Union countries and Japan are planning to spend billions of dollars to build chip fabrication plants (“fabs”). These countries also face the fact that more than two-thirds of the world’s chips are made in Taiwan. China is offering subsidies to its domestic chip industry, as industry-leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics plan to build U.S.-based fabs, potentially aided by significant U.S. government subsidies. Continue reading Countries Plan to Invest in New Chip Manufacturing Facilities

Intel to Spend $20B on New Chipmaking Factories in Arizona

Intel’s new chief executive Patrick Gelsinger committed $20 billion to build two new semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona. Over the years, Intel has failed to keep up with the miniaturization of transistors, giving Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics the lead. These two companies now make chips for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Amazon, Apple, and Nvidia but Gelsinger — who hopes for federal incentives — vowed to regain enough ground with the new factories to rival them. Continue reading Intel to Spend $20B on New Chipmaking Factories in Arizona

New Report Finds TikTok Does Not Pose a U.S. Security Risk

University of Toronto’s cybersecurity group The Citizen Lab just released a report with the finding that TikTok’s underlying code does not pose a threat to U.S. national security. Former president Donald Trump and leaders in other countries accused ByteDance’s TikTok of spying for China but The Citizen Lab, which reports on censorship and surveillance by Chinese social media apps, found no evidence of “overtly malicious behavior.” However, they added that there could be undiscovered security issues. Continue reading New Report Finds TikTok Does Not Pose a U.S. Security Risk

New TikTok Personalized Ad Policy Ends Choice to Opt Out

Beginning April 15, TikTok’s policy on personalized ads is changing. According to notices that TikTok users are seeing on their feeds, personalized ads will be mandatory — and users will no longer have the ability to opt out of such ads based on their actions — although the users will still be able to opt out of ads based on data TikTok gets from its advertising partners. Not included in this policy change are users in the European Union who are protected from personalized ads by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires user consent for such ads. Continue reading New TikTok Personalized Ad Policy Ends Choice to Opt Out

Cybersecurity: White House Pursues Public-Private Alliances

Russia and China recently ran sophisticated hacks from servers inside the United States, going undetected by the National Security Agency, which is prohibited from conducting surveillance in the U.S., as well as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Private computer security firms were the first to raise the alarm on these foreign attacks, and Microsoft reported that its patches are being reverse-engineered by criminal groups to launch ransomware attacks on corporations. The White House is paying attention. Continue reading Cybersecurity: White House Pursues Public-Private Alliances

South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

Seoul-based startup Coupang is South Korea’s version of Amazon and the country’s biggest e-commerce retailer. Its IPO last week raised $4.6 billion and valued the company at about $85 billion, while its share offering price of $35 rose 41 percent to close the day at $49.25. Although Coupang plans to expand, it will soon face competition from South Korean family-owned conglomerates, called chaebol, which are building their own delivery networks. Another looming problem for Coupang are accusations of poor labor practices. Continue reading South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

As part of a $2 trillion recovery package, the European Union is investing $150+ billion in “Digital Compass” to boost advanced technologies and narrow the gap with the U.S. and Asia. One goal is to produce at least 20 percent of the world’s semiconductors by 2030. In 2020, said the European Commission, the EU produced 10 percent. In 2019, the EU debuted a public-private cloud-computing project, Gaia-X to increase self-reliance and, in 2017, the European Battery Alliance to develop electricity-storage technologies. Continue reading European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

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