At a glance.
- Australian Defence program seeks to find cyber innovation in small businesses.
- Sino-American trade talks may be coming.
- Rights groups ask Israel's MoD to restrict Cellebrite exports to Belarus.
ICERA aims to foster small business innovation.
Australia's Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, says that the Ministry's Next Generation Technology Fund will over the next six years funnel $36 million to small businesses working on cybersecurity. Technology Decisions reports that the Defence Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) program will provide successful applicants with up to $300 thousand over eighteen months. ICERA won't ultimately be confined to cybersecurity topics, but its first round of awards will be. Eventually the program will address such areas as "integrated intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, medical countermeasures, space and trusted autonomous systems." For now, however, its focus is cyber. Businesses who successfully execute their projects will be eligible to transition to other funding mechanisms and contract vehicles. ICERA is roughly analogous to the US SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs familiar to American business.
China, US to hold trade talks?
At least China says so, according to Reuters. The US isn't so sure. The two sides are due to review the implementation of the Phase 1 agreement they reached in February, but tensions over China's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and US restriction of major Chinese companies (including most prominently Huawei and ByteDance's TikTok) have raised questions of whether the talks will be at the expected "high level," or even if they'll take place at all.
Israeli human rights groups ask for export restrictions on Cellebrite.
After reports that Cellebrite's phone cracking technology was supplied to the current regime in Belarus, Israeli human rights advocates are pushing to restrict exports of the technology. The Jerusalem Post says that various groups are lobbying the Ministry of Defense to prohibit export of Cellebrite tools to Belarus, contending that the technology is dual-use and should be subject to the same strict scrutiny as weapons. Cellebrite's tools are for data extraction, not surveillance, monitoring, or lawful intercept, which puts them in a different category form, for example, NSO Group's Pegasus. But the advocates argue that data extraction technology under present conditions in Belarus could easily be used to enable repression of dissent.