December 2, 2023

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Global Tech Policy Briefing: January 2022

6 min read

Howdy, happy new 12 months and welcome back to Citizen Tech, InformationWeek’s month-to-month tech policy roundup. This month we’re hunting at:

Ukraine and Cyber War

The complete earth is looking at the Ukraine disaster unfold. Above 100,000 Russian troops have amassed just more than Ukraine’s border, when Britain and other international locations have ferried arms to Kyiv. Will this be the initial European war given that Kosovo? If a war breaks out, count on it to be at least partly digital. 

Ukraine has invested intensely in Turkish drone know-how, as Reuters studies Baykar, the army drone company, has provided arms to all current conflicts from the Azerbaijan’s standoff with Armenia to the Libyan Civil War. War is increasingly a electronic match, fought by personal computers and the passive reception of online media. In the text of veteran battle reporter Aris Roussinos, “Drone, digicam, and social media sharer … turn out to be a solitary, built-in weapon method, a hybrid semi-autonomous proxy.”

Not surprisingly, the threat of hacks originating in Russia has spiked. On January 11, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) introduced new recommendations for mitigating Russian state-sponsored cyber threats on US crucial infrastructure. The pointers consist of 13 often focused vulnerabilities, as perfectly as a record of practices and methods to watch out for.

The suggestions urge firms to have a reaction prepare laid out very well in advance, and to speak to the FBI or CISA at the very first indication of an attack.

Inexperienced Tech and ‘Energy Security’ 

Just one of the a lot-debated kinks in Europe and NATO’s response, or deficiency of reaction, to Russia’s intense maneuvers, is the Nord Stream 2 purely natural gasoline pipeline, or Russian fuel normally. Germany famously relies on it, which has contributed to that country’s reluctance to stir the waters. French president Emmanuel Macron, amid other people, considers this a betrayal of European values the Germans take into account it superior feeling. But a lot more European nations are in that same scenario: Finland and Poland, for example, rely on Russian gas and oil.

On January 28, President Biden and European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen released a joint statement “committed to Europe’s electrical power safety and sustainability and to accelerating the world wide changeover to cleanse power.” Both equally the Biden and VDL presidencies have pushed for better financial commitment in environmentally friendly tech and formidable carbon reduction objectives, but this is one particular of the to start with periods these eco-friendly initiatives have been explicitly, aggressively tied to geopolitics.

“We also share the aim of ensuring the vitality security of Ukraine,” the statement reads, “and the progressive integration of Ukraine with the EU gasoline and electrical energy markets.”

This comprehension concerning the EU and the US is not very as environmentally friendly as it looks, nevertheless. The statement notes with tacit approval that the US is the best supplier of liquified all-natural gas to the EU there is no mention of other, a lot less polluting systems, like photo voltaic or nuclear. Some addictions have priority over others, it would seem.

Taiwan, Lithuania Direct European Microchip Work

In the December 2021 concern of Citizen Tech we coated the EU’s (instead unimpressive) drive to create extra chips at home, in a generate to make their tech sector (such as automotive) extra viable and much less dependent on global supply chains. As POLITICO studies, Lithuania has identified alone unexpectedly major that cost, with the assistance of … Taiwan. The Taiwan Semiconductor Producing Business, which generates in excess of 60% of world foundry profits (for every CNBC), has invested 200 million euro in Lithuania’s domestic chip field. This is a variety of thank you for Lithuania’s persistent guidance of Taiwanese sovereignty, which China sees as a provocation.

Mathieu Dûchatel, director of the Asia Method at the Institut Montaigne, informed POLITICO that, “Taiwan is actively playing its financial playing cards well. Obviously, Taiwan has a little something concrete to give to improve the European semiconductor ecosystem, and the message is that this is connected to deepening Taiwan’s global space — so this is a type of financial statecraft.”

FCC Bans Unicom

On January 27, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it was revoking China’s state-owned telecom firm Unicom’s solutions authority, proficiently banning Unicom from the US. The FCC cited a amount of “serious concerns” for this action, between them the “changed nationwide security environment” and a “lack of candor, trustworthiness, and reliability” on the part of the Chinese federal government.

The FCC expressed issues that Unicom could (or has presently) allowed “the Chinese authorities to access, shop, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications, which in flip let them to interact in espionage and other dangerous activities versus the United States.”

Unicom has 60 days to comply with the purchase.

5G Experience-Off

Why is the US federal government so hesitant to adopt 5G networks? It has practically nothing to do with the conspiracy theories. As discussed by Michael Calabrese on Slate, it’s a sensible problem: Previous yr, cell carriers like Verizon purchased a variety of radio-wave frequencies, called the C-band, at an FCC auction. The prepare was to use the C-band for 5G transmitters, as several countries currently do.

However, in the US, airlines use a variety of frequencies close to the C-band — very well, 200 megahertz absent, which is both a very good safe and sound length or perilously shut based on which character in this tale you question. The airways (and the Federal Aviation Administration) are fearful that the 5G visitors could interfere with altimeters and radio communications in between pilots and airports, leading potentially to crashes and other disasters.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tried all month to get the airlines and cellular vendors to get together, largely without accomplishment. Late in the thirty day period they lastly agreed to make it possible for 5G besides in areas all over airports. But this is a incredibly non permanent solution, and leaves a amount of technological issues unanswered.

The want for 5G infrastructure is increasing promptly, as illustrated by John Deere’s desire in 5G GPS-run tractors, but the US govt is a household divided. Commerce and the FCC are butting heads over C-band basic safety, the Pentagon requires a higher radio buffer for security’s sake, and there’s no up-to-day federal spectrum policy.

Crypto’s Wild West Refuses to Settle

Cryptocurrencies resist regulation — that is the stage. It would make them a thorn in the aspect of central financial institutions and governments all above the globe, as we’ve described in Citizen Tech. Now, as POLITICO reviews, crypto firms are returning hearth, this time towards the US Securities and Trade Commission (SEC), whose chair, Gary Gensler, has referred to the proliferating demimonde of crypto as a “Wild West.”

A person crypto organization, Ripple, has led the demand in the courts with a match in excess of digital asset regulation. Grayscale Investments and Terraform have adopted Ripple’s lead, bringing new situations in opposition to the SEC over company overreach and accusations of securities regulation violations.

The Ripple scenario begun in 2020, when the SEC accused Ripple of failing to satisfy the Howey take a look at standard in boosting $1.3 billion off a cryptocurrency. (The Howey check defines an investment contract.) Now Ripple is countersuing.

POLITICO quotes economic marketplace author Jeff Hauser as saying that “Ripple’s assert is akin to arguing that new cars may possibly not be topic to present velocity boundaries.”

Regardless of whether or not which is genuine, Ripple’s common counsel may be proper when he calls the SEC’s initial motion “not just … a scenario towards Ripple, but a situation in opposition to the complete marketplace.” The viability of a fully decentralized, digitized revenue industry could nicely be determined by cases like these.

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