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China v USA

China will overtake America as leading AI superpower, warns ex-Google Beijing bigwig

While America today is ahead of the world in artificial intelligence, China will take the lead in five years, Google China's former president Kai-Fu Lee said today. Lee – now founder and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, which invests in AI startups in both nations – argued the US and the Middle Kingdom each has its own strengths …

United States, you have 2 months to sort Privacy Shield ... or data deal is for the bin – Eurocrats

The Privacy Shield agreement – which governs the flow of personal data between America and Europe – should be suspended if the US doesn't comply by 1 September, the European Parliament has said. At the plenary session of the European Parliament today, MEPs voted 303 to 223 in favour of a resolution that criticises the US and …
Rebecca Hill, 5 Jul 2018

US slaps trade ban on ZTE over Iran links

The US government is accusing Chinese vendor ZTE of using a complex scheme of subsidiaries to get around Iranian sanctions, and has therefore slapped export controls on the company. A notice at the Federal Register [PDF] describes documents obtained by the USA. In those documents, ZTE referred to import and export control " …

Obama administration softens stance on Wassenaar

The Obama administration is revisiting much-criticised 2013 revisions to the Wassenaar Arrangement that made it look like practically any security software is illegal. The State Department had decided in 2013 that “intrusion software” should be included as one of the “dual use” technologies that needed to be controlled under …

Comcast celebrates Presidents Day with Gerald Ford impression

Comcast says it is still working to figure out the cause of an outage that hit subscribers across the US Monday. A company spokesperson told The Register that as of Tuesday morning, "Our engineers continue to work on this issue to determine its cause and find a solution to prevent it from occurring again." This after users in …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Feb 2016

Brit spies want rights to wiretap and snoop on US companies' servers

The US and UK authorities are holding secret negotiations that would allow British domestic spies to tap into servers in the Land of the FreeTM when investigating Her Majesty's citizens. A draft proposal, seen by the Washington Post, would allow MI5 to get access to data stored on overseas computers run by American firms, and …
Iain Thomson, 5 Feb 2016
Kentucky's proposed network

Kentucky to build 3,400-mile state-owned broadband network – and a fight is brewing

Yet another US state is weighing up the idea of laying thousands of miles of cable to create its own broadband network. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a group of telcos are pushing back against a proposed $324m network involving 3,400 miles of cabling, which would cover 120 counties in the state. The construction …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jan 2016
Bob and Doug McKenzie of Canada

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid: AWS to open data center in Montreal

Amazon Web Services will open its first data center in Canada later this year, allowing folks to use AWS's cloud services in North America but not necessarily in the US. The new region will go live in Montreal, Quebec, and will compete against nearby rivals, such as OVH. AWS also offers locations in Northern Virginia (US East …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jan 2016
Cartoon man with hat and tie. Facial features replaced by question mark.

Iranian hackers targeted New York dam, had a quick nosy around

Iranian hackers penetrated the online control system of a New York dam in 2013, according to reports, and poked around inside the system. The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers gained access to the dam through a cellular modem, according to an unclassified Homeland Security summary of the case. Two sources said the …
Kat Hall, 21 Dec 2015

What America's drone owner database could look like in future

A task force assembled by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revealed its suggestions for personal drone registration in the US. The team's recommendations [PDF] aim to serve as an outline for the FAA as it moves forward with a plan to craft registration requirements for personal-use drones. By registering …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Nov 2015

Systemax offloads North America problem child to PCM for $14m

Ailing tech supplier Systemax looks to have dealt with the corporation’s problem child – it is selling “certain assets” of the North American Technology Group (NATG) to PCM for $14m and will shutter the rest. The once mighty reseller has reported steep losses and falling sales this year; it has already closed 31 retail stores …
Paul Kunert, 19 Nov 2015

Insight: Who will rid me of this troublesome currency trend?

Senior folk at Insight Enterprises’ US HQ might be humming the patriotic anthem "God Bless America", for it was only a double-digit sales bounce Stateside that spared executive blushes in the third quarter. Turnover in North America was up 15 per cent year-on-year to $1bn in the three months ended September, but sales in EMEA …
Paul Kunert, 29 Oct 2015

FBI boss: No encryption backdoor law (but give us backdoors anyway)

President Obama will not push for laws requiring tech companies to cripple their encryption systems with backdoors, FBI boss James Comey has said. But – and you knew a but was coming – the United States government will continue to lean heavily on American giants to plant backdoors in their systems. Speaking at a Homeland …

Safe harbour ruling: RELAX, Facebook and Google will be FINE!

The European Court of Justice’s decision to rule the EU-US safe harbour agreement invalid is causing panic among some companies dependent on keeping data flows going ... but Google and Facebook are probably prepared for it. Much to the satisfaction of those who have long condemned US data collection policies, the landmark …

US, China manage to keep a straight face while promising to not hack each other's corps

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have announced an cyber-peace deal in which neither side will engage in commercial spying online. "We have agreed that neither the US nor the Chinese government will conduct, or knowingly support, cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property – including trade secrets …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015
Medieval writing. Pic: Hans Splinter

In EU-US data sharing we trust – but can we have that in writing, say MEPs

European lawmakers won’t blindly accept an EU-US agreement on new data sharing laws without important legal questions being answered and fine print being read, according to several prominent MEPs. After four years of talks, the EU and the US reached a “gentleman’s agreement” on data sharing for law enforcement last week. On …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Sep 2015
Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Insecurity: OIG audit identifies numerous deficiencies

An Office of the Inspector General audit into the US Department of Homeland Security has identified a range of deficiencies across the agency, which is responsible for America's cybersecurity. The 36-page audit (PDF) was published with the positive title "[Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] Can Strengthen its Cyber Mission …

Should take down mean stay down? EU’s Big Internet quiz leaks

Brussels wants to know if you think Silicon Valley’s giant internet plantations do business fairly in Europe – and is inviting views on Big Internet’s biggest legal loophole. A leak of the European Commission’s imminent platforms consultation, seen by The Register – it’s one of several – wants Europeans' views on whether “take …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2015

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