Collaborating Authors


Artificial Intelligence Cold War on the horizon


While the U.S. has lacked central organizing of its AI, it has an advantage in its flexible tech industry, said Nand Mulchandani, the acting director of the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Mulchandani is skeptical of China's efforts at "civil-military fusion," saying that governments are rarely able to direct early stage technology development. Tensions over how to accelerate AI are driven by the prospect of a tech cold war between the U.S. and China, amid improving Chinese innovation and access to both capital and top foreign researchers. "They've learned by studying our playbook," said Elsa B. Kania of the Center for a New American Security. "Many commentators in Washington and Beijing have accepted the fact that we are in a new type of Cold War," said Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, deputy secretary general of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is leading efforts to develop global AI cooperation.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have your data. Why not China-owned ByteDance's TikTok?

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have your data. The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar two popular Chinese-owned mobile apps WeChat and TikTok from U.S. app stores as of midnight Sunday, escalating the U.S. standoff with China. "Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. The Trump administration contends the data collected from American users by TikTok and WeChat could be accessed by the Chinese government. "The Trump administration is looking to make sure U.S. TikTok consumer data stays out of Beijing," said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.

TikTok's owner gaining confidence that Beijing will OK U.S. deal

The Japan Times

TikTok-owner ByteDance Ltd. is getting more confident its envisioned alliance with Oracle Corp. will pass muster with China's regulators, a critical step in the political clash over the popular video app, people familiar with the matter said. While Beijing has asserted its right to block the sale of critical technologies, it is likely to greenlight the deal as long as it doesn't involve the transfer of the artificial intelligence algorithms that drive TikTok's service, they said, asking not to be identified discussing a private deal. That's true even if ByteDance were to cede majority control over TikTok, they said. ByteDance had reached a deal with Oracle and later made revisions put forward by the Treasury Department aimed at addressing U.S. national security concerns, it was reported Thursday. The proposal calls for ByteDance to own most of TikTok, with Oracle, Walmart Inc. and venture capital investors holding a minority. But U.S. President Donald Trump, who's threatened to ban the app on national security grounds, has final say on the transaction and has said he doesn't want the Chinese parent to retain majority control.

When 'Buy American' and common sense collide


One has to wonder whether America has lost its strategic sense entirely -- or for that matter, its common sense. On the one hand, the Department of Defense has released its latest evaluation of the Chinese military threat, noting specifically that Beijing is moving from what it terms in Pentagon-ese "informationalized warfare" to "intelligentized warfare." On the other hand, the House of Representatives has approved an amendment to its 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would expand the "Buy American" provision so that it could lock out defense exports from America's closest allies, whom it sorely needs in any confrontation with China or Russia. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithWhen'Buy American' and common sense collide Overnight Defense: Marine Corps brushes off criticism of Marines' appearance in GOP convention video US troops injured in collision with Russian vehicle in Syria Dems ask for probe of Vindman retaliation allegations Democrats press Pentagon watchdog to probe allegations of retaliation against Vindman brothers MORE (D-Wash.), The House voted to accept the proposal by Rep. Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossWhen'Buy American' and common sense collide NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus Lawmakers, labor leaders ramp up calls to use Defense Production Act MORE (D-N.J.) requiring that, by the end of fiscal year 2021, 75 percent of all components of major defense programs must be produced in the United States, and that the American share of those components should rise by 5 percent in every year following year until it reaches 100 percent in FY 2026. The House also approved other Buy American provisions to both its defense authorization and appropriation bills.

China Just Called Trump's Bluff on TikTok


Is Trump being outplayed on TikTok? Imagine a bidder wanting to buy KFC, but being told the deal might not include the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices. That's effectively what Beijing has told the list of U.S. companies keen to purchase short-video app TikTok: The key ingredients may be out of reach. At first it looked like the Trump administration had it all figured out. ByteDance Inc., it decided, was a risk to national security and the Chinese company's main product for international markets had to be sold. For reasons that remain confounding, Satya Nadella entered the fray and Microsoft Corp. put in a bid.

TikTok Sale Imminent, CNBC Says, But New Chinese Tech Export Rules Could Be An Obstacle

International Business Times

Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok has selected a buyer for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian assets and may announce a deal on Tuesday, CNBC reported. However, the Chinese government has created a potential obstacle to efforts by TikTok's parent internet tech firm ByteDance to sell off these assets to overseas buyers. Beijing has asserted it can block any such deal to foreign companies by imposing tighter restrictions on certain technology exports. Specifically, the Chinese Commerce Ministry added speech and text recognition – key elements of TikTok's technology -- to a slew of products that will now need government approval prior to their sale to foreign entities. China had not made any changes to its technology export list since 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Commerce Ministry statement.

TikTok US sale faces fresh hurdle after China tightens tech export rules

The Guardian

New Chinese government restrictions could complicate ByteDance plans to sell TikTok to a US company and avoid a ban threatened by Donald Trump. Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval – a process that can take up to 30 days. In mid-August, Trump gave the company 90 days to sell up or face a shutdown. The rules, which hadn't been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president. Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.

Huawei, long resilient, suffers as U.S. ramps up pressure

The Japan Times

BEIJING – For nearly a decade, Huawei kept its worldwide sales growing even as Washington told U.S. phone companies not to buy its network equipment and lobbied allies to reject China's first global tech brand as a security threat. Focusing on Europe, Asia, Africa and China's booming market, Huawei became the biggest maker of switching gear and a major smartphone brand. As the White House cut off access to American components and Google's popular music and other smartphone services, Huawei unveiled its own processor chips and app development. Last year's sales rose 19 percent to $123 billion (¥13 trillion). But now Huawei Technologies Ltd. is suffering in earnest, as Washington intensifies a campaign to slam the door on access to foreign markets and components in its escalating feud with Beijing over technology and security.

Video games becoming a new frontier in digital rights

The Japan Times

New York – Critical digital rights battles over privacy, free speech and anonymity are increasingly being fought in video games, a growing market that is becoming a "new political arena," experts and insiders said on Thursday. With the industry set to more than double annual revenues to $300 billion by 2025, questions about how video game operators, designers and governments handle sensitive issues take on added urgency, said participants at RightsCon, a virtual digital rights conference. In recent months, a Hong Kong activist staged a protest against Beijing's rule inside a popular social simulator game called Animal Crossing, and a member of the U.S. Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, campaigned in the game as well. The game Minecraft, meanwhile, has been used to circumvent censorship, with groups using it to create digital libraries and smuggle banned texts into repressive countries. "Video games have become this new political arena," said Micaela Mantegna, founder of GeekyLegal, an Argentinian group that focuses on tech policy.

Popular Chinese-Made Drone Is Found to Have Security Weakness

NYT > Business Day

Cybersecurity researchers revealed on Thursday a newfound vulnerability in an app that controls the world's most popular consumer drones, threatening to intensify the growing tensions between China and the United States. In two reports, the researchers contended that an app on Google's Android operating system that powers drones made by China-based Da Jiang Innovations, or DJI, collects large amounts of personal information that could be exploited by the Beijing government. The world's largest maker of commercial drones, DJI has found itself increasingly in the cross hairs of the United States government, as have other successful Chinese companies. The Pentagon has banned the use of its drones, and in January the Interior Department decided to continue grounding its fleet of the company's drones over security fears. DJI said the decision was about politics, not software vulnerabilities.