At a glance.
- Proposed executive order would limit influence of Chinese tech in US.
- UK prepares new security requirements for telecom sector.
- UK ICO pledges to crack down on websites exposing minors to adult content.
- New Zealand intelligence minister plans meetings with the other Five Eyes.
Proposed executive order would limit influence of Chinese tech in US.
Semafor reports that three anonymous sources have stated US President Joe Biden is planning to issue executive orders intended to limit the influence of Chinese technology on America. The orders are expected to limit US investments in China, more closely regulate how Chinese platforms like TikTok can collect data on US citizens, and restrict the types of technology that can be sold to Chinese customers. The investment limit measures were considered for inclusion in the CHIPS Act, a bill passed in July to help support semiconductor manufacturing in the US, but they were removed from the bill when industry leaders said the restrictions were too broad and overly complicated. The news follows the announcement that Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital’s Chinese branch has established an $8 billion fund for investments in Chinese technology. It’s unclear whether the executive orders will be merely presidential rhetoric or might lead to concrete measures that could further motivate the separation of US and Chinese economies.
UK prepares new security requirements for telecom sector.
The British government has concluded a public consultation regarding new security regulations for telecom operators, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released details of the government’s response. The Wall Street Journal reports that many of the requirements were unchanged but bear new deadlines. For instance, operators will be required to patch critical software flaws within fourteen days of discovery. Cybersecurity processes will require executive oversight, and administrative privileges for critical systems will have tighter controls. The new plans will be presented to the British Parliament as soon as possible, and implementation deadlines for the rules will vary depending on the size of the operator, with companies with over £1 billion in annual revenue required to implement the measures by March 2024, and all companies required to implement the changes by March 2028. Minister of state for DCMS Matt Warman stated, “From heightened geopolitical threats through to malicious cyber criminals exploiting network vulnerabilities, global events have shown the importance of providing world-leading security for our networks and services.”
Michael Scott, CTO of NetRise, wrote to express approval of the ICO's move:
"The new security requirements imposed by the U.K. government are a step in the right direction, but they will only be truly effective if there are also rules requiring manufacturers to be more transparent about the security of their products. Currently, telecom operators may often be left in the dark about the security of the equipment they use, and as a result, they can inadvertently introduce vulnerabilities into their networks. The new rules requiring them to patch critical flaws within 14 days will help in some cases, but if manufacturers are not required to be more forthcoming about security issues, operators will still be at a disadvantage. Ultimately, the only way to truly secure telecommunications networks is to ensure that both operators and manufacturers are taking security seriously and working together to protect users."
UK ICO pledges to crack down on websites exposing minors to adult content.
In a reversal of previous statements, The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced Friday it will tighten enforcement of internet companies offering pornography or other adult-only content to ensure they’re taking necessary steps to prevent access to minors. Bloomberg recounts that the ICO previously stated such sites were not subject to the Children’s Code or Age Appropriate Design Code, as they are not aimed at children, and a recent Bloomberg report revealed that the ICO had not enforced a single case involving violations of the Children’s Code since it came into effect two years ago. The ICO’s change in position comes after eleven civil society groups, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Barnardo’s, put forward a legal challenge arguing the code’s wording actually covers sites “likely to be accessed” by minors. The challenge also states that allowing children to access such sites could pose data protection harms. Recently installed Information Commissioner John Edwards stated, “We now accept that if there are a significant number of children accessing the sites they are in the aegis of the code.” Edwards added that his office had been investigating four companies for potential non-compliance and auditing nine more, but the names of the companies have not been disclosed. John Carr of the Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety responded, “It’s brilliant news if the ICO is going to move against these porn sites who have known for a very long time that what they are doing is wrong, but never felt any legal pressure to do anything.”
New Zealand intelligence minister plans meetings with the other Five Eyes.
RNZ reports that Andrew Little, Minister for New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau, has scheduled visits to all four of the other members of the Five Eyes this month. During his trip he will meet with intelligence committee members and attend the Billington Cyber Security Summit being held in Washington, DC this week. He noted that with the lifting of COVID travel restrictions, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in-person meetings would be beneficial for the international intelligence partnership. "Quality intelligence informs good policy decisions and operational delivery across government agencies, and helps keep us safe. New Zealand has been part of the Five Eyes since 1956 and the partnership gives us access to more intelligence, support, and better technology," Little stated.