Government

Tue
16
Nov
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US Blacklists Israeli 'Spyware' Maker

The US government has blacklisted an Israeli company that made spyware used by national governments. NSO Group's tools have reportedly been used against diplomats, journalists and political activists. The move is as much a political signal as a ... practical measure. NSO being added to the group means US businesses must apply for a license to supply it, which will likely be refused. This would primarily affect cyber researchers who sell it information about known vulnerabilities. Although there's no immediate ban on US organizations using NSO's services, it's now clearly frowned upon. Threat To ... (view more)

Fri
06
Aug
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Nations Ranked For Online Censorship

At least 175 countries have some form of online censorship according to a newly-published study. The degree varies wildly, however, and is somewhat dependent on definitions. The report comes from Comparitech, which ranked the 175 countries for ... "censorship" in six categories of Internet use: file sharing torrents, pornography, political media, social media, virtual private networks and apps for messaging or voice over Internet protocol (such as Skype). For each category it gave the country one point if it had some form of legal restriction and two points for an outright ban. That ... (view more)

Tue
03
Aug
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Phone, Gadget Repair 'Rules' to be Enforced by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted unanimously to enforce "right to repair" laws. The rules should make it harder for manufacturers to maintain monopolies over fixing gadgets such as phones. The FTC follows an executive order from the ... President that covered economic competition issues in general but included a specific reference to smartphones. (Source: theverge.com ) The moves aim to tackle companies such as phone makers which either block or restrict third-party companies or device buyers from carrying out repairs. This involves a range of tactics such as refusing to supply ... (view more)

Mon
21
Jun
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Gov't Proposes Curbing the Reach of Big Tech

The House of Representatives will examine five different proposals for curbing the power of big tech companies. The bills take very different approaches to the task, though it's unclear if any but the least dramatic has a shot at becoming law. There ... could be a couple of reasons why lawmakers have thrown out so many ideas. One is simply a numbers game with the hope that more attempts means more chance of something becoming law. Another is to present some more drastic measures that get rejected in the hope that the "weaker" bills then look more reasonable and balanced. The five bills, as ... (view more)

Fri
11
Jun
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TikTok Ban Unites Senators

A bill to boost US technology has received rare bipartisan support in the Senate. The proposed law includes measures on drones, computer chips and video app TikTok. While the "Endless Frontier Act" includes many measures targeted at the US, it also ... includes several that directly target China. They are intended to address fears not just of tech competition but also security threats. The bill passed the Senate by 68 votes to 32. President Biden has indicated he would back the bill, though it's not yet certain it will pass the House of Representatives in its current form. Some critics who are on ... (view more)

Fri
28
May
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$100B Gov't Broadband Expansion to be Cut Back

President Biden has offered to reduce his proposed spending on improving broadband provision by a third. It's an attempt to reach a consensus with political opponents, but the debate seems to be as much about the principle as the sums involved. Back ... in March , the White House announced plans for broadband to be a key part of a proposed infrastructure spending program. The idea was to treat it in the same way as water and electricity supplies where public money has at various times paid for extending availability to areas that private providers didn't yet serve. Budget Cut Would Slow Expansion ... (view more)

Wed
26
May
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Florida Bans FB, Twitter From Banning Politicians

Florida has banned tech sites from banning politicians from posting. The law takes effect on July 1st, 2021, but seems destined for the Supreme Court. The law was first proposed in February, shortly after Facebook and Twitter banned then-President ... Donald Trump. It's now passed the legislature and has been signed into law by the state's governor. Under the law, sites can still remove specific posts. They can also suspend a user for up to 14 days for violating its policies. No Permanent Bans However, the law bans longer suspensions or permanent bans for anyone known to be a candidate for ... (view more)

Tue
04
May
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EU Forces Web Hosts to Take Down Terror Content

Internet hosting providers will have just one hour to remove terrorist content after a government request under new European laws. It's raised fears some sites may get caught up potentially faulty content filters. The law is a European Union ... regulation that will take effect in Spring 2022. It will automatically apply in all European Union countries and will be based on where a website is hosted rather than where its operators are based. A press release announcing the regulation says it covers any content (both text and audio or video) that will "that incite, solicit or contribute to terrorist ... (view more)

Thu
15
Apr
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Use of AI Could Be Banned or Restricted

Proposed laws in Europe would ban some forms of artificial intelligence while restricting others. But critics say the proposals are too vague to be workable in practice. The proposals, expected to be formally published in the next few weeks, come ... from the European Commission. If approved by the European Parliament they could become a regulation that takes immediate legal effect across all European Union countries. It's not yet clear if and how the rules would extend to businesses in other countries as happens with data protection rules. Under the proposals, only AI used by the military or for ... (view more)

Tue
06
Apr
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US to Spend $100B to Expand Broadband

The US government plans to spend $100 billion to expand broadband availability in the US. The goal is that all Americans should have access to "affordable" high-speed broadband by 2029. The spending is part of a planned infrastructure bill, so it's ... possible the broadband measures may not survive the legislative process. It's a clear sign that the government views Internet access as a key utility, with the broadband measures coming alongside spending to upgrade water networks and electricity grids. Indeed, a White House explanation directly compares the broadband move to the 1936 Rural ... (view more)

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