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August 2022 Global Tech Policy Bulletin: From Trouble in Taiwan to Intrigue at the FTC

Hello, and welcome back again to Citizen Tech, InformationWeeks monthly policy roundup. This month were considering a spate of cyberattacks in Taiwan following Nancy Pelosis visit; the Inflation Reduction Act, that provides tax credits to electric car makers under extremely difficult conditions; online censorship in South Asia, and Big Techs submissive response; the European Commissions endless war with Silicon Valley; Russian military intelligence diverting Ukrainian internet and cell networks; and the resignation of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner.

DDoS Attacks on Taiwan

As Taiwan welcomed US Speaker of the home Nancy Pelosi at the start of the month, a number of DDoS attacks struck several Taiwanese government websites, like the defense ministry and Taoyuan AIRPORT TERMINAL. The federal government rolled with the blow and was back operation exactly the same day. In accordance with POLITICO, the attacks weren’t sophisticated enough to function as work of Chinese security forces; rather theyre likely the task of patriotic hackers, in what of the guts for Strategic and International Studies James Lewis — Chinese civilians acting in the name of these outraged country.

None of the is confirmed, but Chinas belligerent a reaction to Pelosis visit, from fulminations on social media marketing to naval exercises, suggests a Chinese source for the hacks. Hacking, as a geopolitical tactic, is definitely murky, and the lines between intelligence services, legitimate businesses, well-meaning stooges, and outright criminals tend to be hard to trace. But 2022 has seen a sharp rise in the significance of the cyber volunteer: politically motivated amateurs fighting for an underlying cause. The Ukrainian government recruited thousands of these in February and March, as Foreign Policy reported. In China, evidently, they dont require a formal invitation.

Chips, Supply Chains, Biden

Tensions between your US and China over Taiwan have serious implications for the tech industry. Bidens CHIPS Bill, which passed into law in July, cant crank up production of semiconductors fast enough to get rid of American reliance on the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Pelosi, notably, met with TSMCs CEO, Mark Liu, on her behalf visit.

Domestically, the Biden administration has talked endlessly about securing supply chains from future wars and pandemics by backsourcing manufacturing. It really is one side of a coin whose other face may be the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. But a written report in the NY Times casts doubt on whether Biden really can accomplish both feats. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act offers federal tax credits for electric car makers, however the standards are so stringent that only Tesla and GM, making use of their huge budgets, may possibly claim them. By 2024, 50% of the the different parts of each car should be manufactured in a NAFTA country; by 2028 it’ll rise to 100%. The minerals found in battery production have similar restrictions. Moreover, the credits is only going to connect with the production of sedans that sell at under $55,000, and bigger vehicles (trucks, SUVs, etc.) under $80,000. A 2022 Tesla Model S costs about $105,000. For whom are these tax credits, then? Also, if Chinese state battery producer CATL opens plants in america, since it has publicly considered, will those batteries count as domestic products?

War Bulletin VII

This month, the brand new York Times investigated the question of access to the internet in occupied elements of Ukraine. Russian security services have closed cell and broadband networks on the floor, often at gunpoint. Usage of social media marketing, from Facebook to YouTube, is another casualty. They’re rerouting online connections through Russia, says the days, in order to control inbound and outbound information. Some Ukrainians report needing to purchase a new, Russian SIM card for his or her phone, also to let an armed soldier copy their passport to obtain it — an indicator that the Russians see individual internet use as a significant security concern.

By June, over four months in to the war, about 15% of Ukraines internet infrastructure have been damaged beyond use by bombardment or the accidents of war. More than 10% of cell towers are out of service.

Censorship and Big Tech in South Asia

Sticking to this dreary theme, two enormous digital markets in South Asia, India, and Indonesia, joined Myanmar, Vietnam, along with other neighbors in floating online censorship bills this month. India withdrew its bill under accusations (such as this in Bloomberg) that was an authoritarian abuse. However in Indonesia, the federal government is now able to demand that any platform remove online speech. Ostensibly it is a question of data privacy and police, targeting sexual trafficking and terrorist recruitment.

But that is an opaque process, with out a guarantee of freedom of expression or political criticism. (Its interesting that the NY Times, in condemning this censorship, hastens to make sure readers that similar measures taken contrary to the misinformation will be legitimate. Which could well be true, but a mirror may be to be able here.) As Reuters reported, Jakarta blocked Yahoo!, PayPal, and many gaming platforms almost immediately for noncompliance with the brand new regime. Meta, Amazon, and another tech giants haven’t resisted.

Europe Invaded from the West

For several they were mild and submissive in Indonesia, Big Tech’s firms are gearing up for battle in europe, where in fact the Von Der Leyen Commission has decided against them in the event after case, as POLITICO reports. The casus belli may be the Digital Markets Act, an enormous bill (awaiting signature) with every sort of data privacy, consumer protection, and antitrust requirement that famous brands Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta despise.

The DMA is unlikely to take effect before next year, but tensions already are high. Brussels insider Damien Geradin told POLITICO to anticipate among three approaches from each warring company: acceptance, outright hostility, and negotiation. Its unclear who’ll act how, but given the Commissions recent misfortune in court, particularly against Apple, Silicon Valley may sense weakness and choose aggression.

Every problem of Citizen Tech addresses the European Commissions endless war with Big Tech, and once and for all reason. The EU may be the worlds leader in digital regulation. If the DMA fails completely, and Big Tech wins the war, these stories may cease.

Drama at FTC

Heres a little story that looks trivial but hints at something bigger. Amid general unrest among staff, Noah Phillips, a commissioner at the united states Federal Trade Commission, resigned this month. Phillips is really a Republican, and his resignation is partly a protest against Lina Khan, FTC chair, whom he accused of unfairly shutting out Republican voices in decision making. Khan has cast a cold eye on Big Tech during her tenure, seen as a a solid antitrust stance.

Among the voices who’ll decide Phillips replacement will undoubtedly be Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who in accordance with POLITICO is skeptical both of Khans enthusiasm for competition law and Big Techs hostility toward conservative speech on platforms like Twitter. The brand new commissioner will need to satisfy a minumum of one of these criteria. It is a little star; the SECs drama with Twitter and Elon Musk is another; a fascinating constellation is forming in the info economy. Keep your eye onto it.

JUST AROUND THE CORNER: 72 Hours of German Opera About Semiconductors

Portuguese foreign policy writer Bruno Maaes compared semiconductors to the magic ring in Richard Wagners Ring Cycle on his Substack: The Ring of the Nibelung may be the story of a magic ring granting its possessor the energy to rule the planet. It really is never clear what this power includes, but that could well be because only those that utilize it can truly get access to its secrets and modus operandi. The ring is forged from gold from the Rhine river and quickly becomes the thing of intense rivalry between your great powers: the Nibelungs, the Gods, the Giants, and Mortals … Exactly what is a semiconductor? It really is, just like the ring, a simulator. By reproducing at the atomic level the processes where the physical world works since it does, it we can create new artificial worlds.

No word yet when hell finish the libretto.

What things to Read Next:

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