U.S. to Limit Exporting Surveillance Tech to Certain Countries

The U.S. government has announced its plans to work with other nations to put restrictions on the export of surveillance tools to authoritarian countries such as China. The Biden administration says it would gather allies and start an initiative to regulate the export of surveillance tools. The initiative is planned to be discussed during a virtual gathering, Summit for Democracy, on December 9-10. Representatives from more than 100 democratic nations will be participating. The primary objective of the summit is to crack down on authoritarian governments from using cyber tools to violate fundamental human rights. Continue reading U.S. to Limit Exporting Surveillance Tech to Certain Countries

Chinese Committee Is Drafting Plans to Replace Foreign Tech

China is furthering its protectionist goals by accelerating a plan to replace non-native technology with local suppliers. Reports surfaced this week that Beijing’s Information Technology Application Innovation Working Committee (ITAIWC) will be vetting and approving everything from cloud services to semiconductors for sensitive sectors like banking and government data centers, a market projected to be worth $125 billion by 2025. The secretive, government-backed committee formed under Xi Jinping in 2016 will also have a decisive role in setting industry standards and training personnel to operate approved hardware and software. Continue reading Chinese Committee Is Drafting Plans to Replace Foreign Tech

Commerce Chief Nominee Scrutinizes China, 5G and Internet

Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, President Biden’s nominee to head the Commerce Department, described some of her positions during a Senate confirmation hearing. She revealed that she will take a “very aggressive” stance against China’s “unfair” trade practices stressing the need to develop a “whole-of-government response” in concert with U.S. allies. Raimondo also called for a national 5G spectrum policy and stated she will pursue changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Continue reading Commerce Chief Nominee Scrutinizes China, 5G and Internet

Trump’s Orders Ban U.S. Transactions With TikTok, WeChat

The Trump administration released two executive orders late last week barring transactions with WeChat and TikTok “by any person or involving any property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” The orders go into effect in 45 days, essentially creating a deadline for Microsoft to complete its deal to acquire the Chinese app TikTok by September 15. As he has in the past, President Donald Trump accused Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok of funneling U.S. consumers’ data to the Chinese Communist Party. Continue reading Trump’s Orders Ban U.S. Transactions With TikTok, WeChat

FCC Formally Names Huawei, ZTE National Security Threats

The Federal Communications Commission has officially designated Huawei Technologies and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunication firms, as national security threats. Last year, the FCC voted to add both companies to the Entity List and barred them from using U.S.-manufactured semiconductors. Now, U.S. carriers cannot use the Universal Service Fund to purchase or maintain products from the two companies. The Fund, managed by the FCC, is an $8.3 billion government subsidy program to expand Internet access in rural and other underserved areas.

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Huawei Holds the Most 5G Patents, But Still Needs U.S. Tech

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department banned the sale of any semiconductors made with U.S. software to China’s 5G behemoth Huawei Technologies. Now, that company’s stockpile of chips essential to its telecom business is dwindling, likely to run out by early 2021. According to sources, Huawei executives have yet to come up with a solution and, without one, the U.S. move is on track to disrupt China’s $500 billion 5G rollout. In the long-run, it could also sideline that country’s goal of dominating 5G globally

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Foreign Investment Law Does Not Deter Chinese Investing

The U.S. has yet to define the specifics of a 2018 law designed to limit foreign access to critical technologies. In the meantime, Chinese investors continue to put money in U.S. startups and venture capital funds. U.S. tech entrepreneurs also welcome a connection with China, and investment between the two countries remains significant. The tangle of investments in a single company can make it hard to determine provenance. Even so, successful Chinese AI startup SenseTime Group was blacklisted by the Trump administration. Continue reading Foreign Investment Law Does Not Deter Chinese Investing