At a glance.
- Expansion of the Abraham Accords.
- US officials signal they will no longer grant licenses for exports to Huawei.
- CISA creates new supply chain risk management office.
- US surgeon general: thirteen is too young for social media.
Expansion of the Abraham Accords.
The US along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco today announced the expansion of the Abraham Accords, a 2020 agreement normalizing relations between Israel and several other neighboring nations. Among other things, the deal will mean increased information sharing about cybersecurity threats among some signatories. Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Strategy, Policy and Plans Rob Silvers, said the agreement will build on existing cyber collaboration between the nations. Silvers told the Washington Post, “We’ll be meeting as a group to chart out how we can deepen our work on cyberdefense. Our countries face common cyber challenges — obviously, we all face cybercrime, ransomware and so forth.” He also called out Iran as “a dangerous, destabilizing actor across the region.”
Some critics of the expansion have expressed concerns that Bahrain, Morocco, and the UAE have been accused of abusing spyware. Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School, stated, “All of them have a track record of using mercenary spyware to target human rights defenders and political opposition, and the UAE has a long and very disturbing history of employing defense and intelligence contractors for information operations.” In response, Silvers stated, “When we have concerns, we have frank conversations,” and focused on defending the Biden administration’s anti-spyware stance. Proponents of the agreement include Christopher Painter, a top State Department cyber official in the Obama administration. Painter said that given the connections between Israel, the UAE, and the US, it’s a “natural progression” to expand.
US officials signal they will no longer grant licenses for exports to Huawei.
In the US’s latest move in its efforts to counter China’s industrial policies, sources say the Biden administration is considering banning the export of US products to Chinese telecom firm Huawei. As the Wall Street Journal explains, although Huawei was added to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List in 2019, the Commerce Department agreed to grant licenses allowing US companies to sell tech to Huawei as long as doing so wouldn’t put national security at risk. CRN reports that the Commerce Department has begun informing companies that they might no longer be granting such licenses, though no official decision has been made. US officials have signaled to major US suppliers to Huawei like Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. that they should prepare to slow their exports to the Chinese company. A Commerce Department spokesperson said that the department doesn’t publicly comment on such matters but that they are “working closely with our interagency export controls partners at the Departments of Energy, Defense and State.” At a press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said any new action against Huawei would “violate the principle of market economy and international trade rules, dampen international confidence in the U.S. business environment and amount to sheer sci-tech hegemonism.”
CISA creates new supply chain risk management office.
The Federal News Network reports that the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is establishing a new office dedicated to managing supply chain risk. The group will be led by Shon Lyublanovits, a former General Services Administration official who currently heads CISA’s project management office for cyber supply chain risk management (C-SCRM). Lyublanovits explains, “We’ve got to get to a point where we move out of this idea of just thinking broadly about C-SCRM and really figuring out what chunks I want to start to tackle first, creating that roadmap so that we can actually move this forward.” Congress established the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) in 2018 to focus on government-wide security IT supply chains policies. Sean Peters, deputy program manager for FASC at the Office of Management and Budget said CISA has been designated as FASC’s “information sharing agency.” Meanwhile, FASC is developing a scorecard to help agencies and other organizations manage supply chain risk management challenges.
US surgeon general: thirteen is too young for social media.
Over the weekend tHe US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN he feels thirteen-year-olds are too young to be using social media. During an appearance on CNN Newsroom, Murthy stated, "I, personally, based on the data I've seen, believe that 13 is too early. It's a time where it's really important for us to be thoughtful about what's going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationships and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children." As ABCNews notes, just over a year ago Murthy issued an advisory about a crisis in youth mental health and warning that while tech can be beneficial to children, it can also expose minors to unhealthy content. Murthy did not say if his recent statement would lead to any official guidelines.