At a glance.
- Decoupling China from global IT hardware markets.
- The UK's contact-tracing system may undergo a redesign.
- REvil gang doesn't care for the business implications of being labeled terrorists.
Decoupling from China.
The US Commerce Department's announcement late last week that it would extend licensing requirements to semiconductors made abroad, but with US technology, is clearly aimed at companies on the Entity List, notably Huawei and ZTE. The decision will among other things affect the company's ability to import chips made in Taiwan by TSMC. It's also been coldly received by Beijing, which. Reuters and others report. Global Times, a Chinese government news outlet, quotes a source to the effect that "China will take forceful countermeasures to protect its own legitimate rights." Qualcomm, Cisco and Apple, and possibly Boeing as well, are among the US companies Beijing suggests will bear the brunt of what Global Times characterizes as a "counterattack": they all face placement on an "unreliable entity list," and close scrutiny under applicable Chinese cybersecurity and anti-monopoly laws. Global Times (to quote them again) blames the US measures for dragging Washington and Beijing into a "tech Cold War."
In a related development, Taiwan's chipmaker TSMC will, with US assistance, build an advanced semiconductor plant in Arizona. The Wall Street Journal reports that the planned factory will produce chips with 5-nanometer transistors.
Reuters also reports that the US and Japan have agreed to undertake "an economic security dialogue" that will address, among other matters, a joint policy on 5G infrastructure.
The UK's contact-tracing system may undergo a redesign.
ComputerWeekly reports signs that the National Health Services contact-tracing system, now being piloted on the Isle of Wight, may be about to undergo a major reinvention. At issue is the centralized approach to data collection and use. Privacy concerns have apparently been sufficiently widespread to induce NHS to consider moving to a decentralized approach to the problem. The London office of Swiss firm Zuhlke Engineering has received "a multimillion-pound contract" from NHSX that observers believe may be connected to development of a decentralized contact-tracing app.
Quartz has an account of how the two basic approaches to contact tracing (or exposure notification) are being followed in different countries, contrasting Germany's attempt to develop a decentralized system with the centralized approach being taken in Australia. ZDNet reports that Australia's Digital Transformation Agency has provided details of the COVIDSafe "trace tracking application," including the decision to use Amazon Web Services for key elements of the system. The decentralized exposure notification system developed by Apple and Google has, the Wall Street Journal reports, been overcoming initial skepticism among European governments as they've come to place a greater emphasis on privacy. But the Washington Post writes that health officials are complaining that the decentralized system is of little value to them in tracking and isolating infection.
Different national systems in Europe are groping toward interoperability. TechCrunch describes the ways in which it remains unclear how well national apps will cross borders.
REvil gang doesn't care for the business implications of being labeled terrorists.
The FBI pointed out that the extortion attempt the REvil ransomware gang made against the boutique celebrity law firm Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks may amount to an act of cyber terrorism, and that paying terrorists' ransom can be a violation of Federal law. That angered the gang, Forbes reports, and the hoods released a lot of anodyne and generic emails purporting to be a foretaste of the "dirty laundry" they have on President Trump. The dump didn't prove that they had much of anything: the emails weren't by President Trump (who's not a client of Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks) and they appeared to include mere mentions of his name, and Scunthorpesque uses of the verb "to trump."