Nvidia Offers Advanced Chip to Clear U.S. Export Control List

Nvidia becomes the first stateside chipmaker to launch a product in China that manages to clear strict U.S. export hurdles aimed at keeping high-end processors out of the territory. Computers with the new Nvidia chip, the A800, are already selling in China. Publicly traded Nvidia had been concerned the export limits could divert hundreds of millions of dollars from its bottom line. In October, U.S. regulators effectively banned shipments of advanced microchips and the equipment required to make them in order to bolster national security and thwart Chinese weaponization. Continue reading Nvidia Offers Advanced Chip to Clear U.S. Export Control List

FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, is continuing his efforts to have TikTok banned, telling the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. in his strongest language to date that the viral short-form video app is, as a result of consumer adoption, becoming a part of the nation’s critical information infrastructure, and thus presents a national security risk due to Chinese ownership. TikTok is reportedly back in negotiations with the CFIUS, an interagency committee that reviews foreign investment, about a change of ownership that would smooth the path to ongoing U.S. operations. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

The Biden administration is acting to limit China’s rapid military progress by banning shipments of advanced chips and the production tools needed to make them. This is in response to signs that China is using AI and supercomputing to develop hypersonic weapons and systems that may be able to crack highly encrypted messaging. The new rules, which extend to foreign companies using relevant U.S. technology, have already begun taking effect. But companies including Intel, Samsung, TSMC and SK Hynix have reportedly received limited exemptions allowing them to continue shipping to some factories there. Continue reading U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Taiwanese semiconductor giant GlobalWafers wants to invest $5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art 300-millimeter silicon wafer factory in Sherman, Texas, but only if Congress can fund the CHIPS for America Act, which passed in January 2021 and has been promised $52 billion but sits with an empty purse. The new GlobalWafers factory would be the first of its kind in the U.S. in 20 years and is expected to create 1,500 jobs. GlobalWafers president Mark England says if government incentives are not unleashed soon the company will “pivot to South Korea.” Continue reading GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

TikTok’s ‘Agency Center’ Connects Creators with Talent Pros

TikTok is launching an Agency Center to help creators connect with talent firms for guidance and support. Creators who toggle the “agency invitation” button to “on” in the TikTok LIVE center will allow their profiles to “be searched and invited by any agency.” Eventually, LIVE Agencies can invite creators to join their network for coaching and connection with a community of experienced LIVE talent. The move is the latest effort to help creators earn on TikTok as the app strives to fend off competitors who have added short-form videos but indicate longer-form videos are more ad-friendly. Continue reading TikTok’s ‘Agency Center’ Connects Creators with Talent Pros

State AGs Launch Investigation into Effects of TikTok on Kids

A group of state attorneys general has announced an investigation into TikTok and the potential harm it may cause younger users. The fact-finding is not unlike that launched by top state legal advisors last year into Meta Platforms. The bipartisan group is exploring whether TikTok is violating state consumer protection laws with engagement tactics that may cause minors to become “hooked” on the app. Kids in the age of social media “feel like they need to measure up to the filtered versions of reality that they see on their screens,” said California attorney general Rob Bonta. Continue reading State AGs Launch Investigation into Effects of TikTok on Kids

European Chips Act Aims to Boost Production, EU Tech Role

The European Commission is ramping up to boost microchip production, unveiling the European Chips Act, which proposes to unleash roughly $49 billion in public and private funds for chipmaking. The plan, announced this week, is part of the EU’s effort to regain a degree of commercial independence, and underscores the importance of computer chips to national security, something the Biden administration has also emphasized. The EC proposal reserves for the Commission the right to prioritize specific products under certain circumstances, something the chip foundries of various nations have also been doing. Continue reading European Chips Act Aims to Boost Production, EU Tech Role

TikTok Updates Safety for Minors, Expands Security Features

On the heels of its first Congressional hearing for product safety, TikTok has announced policy changes aimed at making the short-form video social platform safer and more secure, particularly for minors, LGBTQ and minority users. In October, TikTok vice president and head of public policy Michael Beckerman testified along with executives from Snapchat and YouTube, addressing questions from U.S. senators as to the social media site’s impact on teen eating disorders and fallout from dangerous hoaxes. The policy updates address those concerns and institute new cybersecurity measures intended to protect user data from unauthorized access. Continue reading TikTok Updates Safety for Minors, Expands Security Features

Biden Administration Intends to Contain TikTok Security Risk

The Commerce Department is taking steps to shore-up federal rules against potential security risks from foreign-owned social platforms like ByteDance’s TikTok, expanding federal oversight to include apps that might be used by “foreign adversaries to steal or otherwise obtain data,” a recent filing in the Federal Register stipulates. The proposed rule allows the commerce secretary to designate certain foreign apps as security risks and force software connected to the Internet to submit to third-party auditing. Such audits could include monitoring logs that show user data as well as the parsing of source code. Continue reading Biden Administration Intends to Contain TikTok Security Risk

Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

U.S. demand for semiconductors was as much as 17 percent higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, yet there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in the available supply, with median inventory falling to less than five days in 2021, from 40 days in 2019, according to a Commerce Department report. “If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster, or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the U.S.” that makes anything from medical devices to automobiles to computers, the report concludes. Continue reading Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

VPN Unlimited Settles with U.S. Filmmakers in BitTorrent Suit

VPN Unlimited has agreed to block BitTorrent traffic via sites such as The Pirate Bay as well as access to online pirate services on U.S. servers. The move is part of a settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by a consortium of independent film production companies. The complaint alleges that VPN Unlimited’s subsidiary KeepSolid Inc. has perpetuated widespread copyright infringement. BitTorrent sites YTS and RARBG are also targeted in the settlement. By failing to disconnect repeat offenders, VPN and KeepSolid are accused of encouraging copyright infringement. Continue reading VPN Unlimited Settles with U.S. Filmmakers in BitTorrent Suit

Lawmakers Urge Treasury Sanctions Against Spyware Firms

Human rights are center stage in a Congressional request to the U.S. Treasury Department for sanctions against Israeli spyware firm NSO Group and three additional foreign surveillance companies that allegedly aided authoritarian governments in committing criminal moral abuses. In a letter signed by Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) and 16 other Democratic lawmakers, Treasury was also asked to slap down UAE cybersecurity firm DarkMatter, European bulk surveillance mills Nexa Technologies and Trovicor, and top executives at those firms. Continue reading Lawmakers Urge Treasury Sanctions Against Spyware Firms

SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

A Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the 2020 Russian cyberattack of SolarWinds has corporate executives concerned over the possibility that information unearthed in the probe will expose them to liability. Companies suspected of or known to have been downloading compromised software updates from SolarWinds have received letters requesting records of all breaches since October 2019, raising fears that sensitive cyber incidents previously unreported and unrelated to SolarWinds may be revealed, providing the SEC with details that many companies may never have wanted to disclose. Continue reading SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

U.S. Offers Incentives for Countries to Avoid China’s 5G Gear

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) is leading a program to encourage nations to avoid gear from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in building their own 5G networks. The workshops on how to do so, combined with a handbook and some financial incentives, are aimed at legislators in Central and Eastern Europe as well as developing countries around the world. The handbook will include case studies of how the United Kingdom, for example, deployed 5G without Chinese equipment. Continue reading U.S. Offers Incentives for Countries to Avoid China’s 5G Gear