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posted by janrinok on Friday July 29, @01:28PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ketchup-with-china dept.

Senate passes massive package to boost U.S. computer chip production

[....] The 64-33 vote represents a rare bipartisan victory a little more than three months before the crucial November midterms; 17 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting yes. The package, known as "CHIPS-plus," now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it by the end of the week and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

[....] The centerpiece of the package is more than $50 billion in subsidies for domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research.

Supporters on Capitol Hill, as well as key members of Biden's Cabinet, have argued that making microchips at home — rather than relying on chipmakers in China, Taiwan and elsewhere — is critical to U.S. national security, especially when it comes to chips used for weapons and military equipment.

[...] The final chips bill is a slimmed-down version of a much broader China competitiveness package that House and Senate lawmakers had been negotiating. Earlier, the Senate passed its bill, known as USICA, while the House passed its own version, the America COMPETES Act. But lawmakers couldn't resolve their differences, and leading Democrats decided to switch their strategy and scale back the legislation.

The package also includes tens of billions more in authorizations for science and research programs, as well as for regional technology hubs around the country.

If passed, will this be well spent? Will the US actually be globally competitive in chip manufacture?


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 27, @08:50AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the we'll-build-our-own-with-blackjack-and-... dept.

Russia Says It Will Quit the International Space Station After 2024

The new head of Russia's space agency announced on Tuesday that Russia will leave the International Space Station after its current commitment expires at the end of 2024.

"The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made," said Yuri Borisov, who was appointed this month to run Roscosmos, a state-controlled corporation in charge of the country's space program.

The pronouncement came during a meeting between Mr. Borisov and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Mr. Borisov told Mr. Putin that Russia would fulfill its commitments through 2024. "I think that by this time we will begin to form the Russian orbital station," he said.

Mr. Putin's response: "Good."

However:

Russian Space Station to Replace ISS Will Be Built No Earlier Than 2028:

"We propose to build it in two stages. If the decision on its construction is made before the end of the year, then the first stage will begin in 2028 with the launch of the Science Power Module by the Angara-A5M launch vehicle," Solovyov said in an interview with the Russian Space magazine.After that, the node and gateway modules will be launched on the same rocket. The first will be similar to the module that is already part of the International Space Station. The second will be used for spacewalks.

Earlier, it was reported that the launch of the first module could take place in 2027-2028.Earlier in the day, the new head of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, reported to President Vladimir Putin that Russia would fulfill all its international obligations and withdraw from the ISS project in 2024.

Commenting on the state of the national space industry, the Roscosmos chief said that the situation is "difficult."Ex-Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said on July 15 that after four years the industry managed "to get out of the system crisis quagmire." The Russian space industry, among other things, has achieved complete accident-free operations over the past four years, carrying out 86 successful launches in a row, completing the construction of the Russian segment of the ISS, and receiving the financing of the multi-satellite orbital grouping Sphere.

Additionally, Rogozin pointed out that Roscosmos managed to successfully implement a range of tasks including creating new Soyuz-5 spacecrafts, developing the preliminary design of the Russian orbital station to replace the ISS, and launch tests of the newest Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles have begun, which are expected to start combat duty by the end of 2022.


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posted by janrinok on Thursday July 21, @02:24PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Russia’s Gazprom has told customers in Europe that it cannot guarantee gas supplies because of “extraordinary” circumstances, according to a letter seen by the Reuters news agency, upping the ante in an economic tit-for-tat with the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian state gas monopoly said in a letter dated July 14 that it was retroactively declaring force majeure on supplies from June 14. The news comes as Nord Stream 1 (NS1), the key pipeline delivering Russian gas to Germany and beyond, is undergoing 10 days of annual maintenance scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

The letter added to fears in Europe that Moscow may not restart the pipeline at the end of the maintenance period in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine, heightening an energy crisis that risks tipping the region into recession.

Known as an “act of God” clause, force majeure is standard in business contracts and defines extreme circumstances that release a party from their legal obligations. The declaration does not necessarily mean that Gazprom will stop deliveries, rather that it should not be held responsible if it fails to meet contract terms.

[...] Russian gas supplies have been declining via major routes for some months, including via Ukraine and Belarus as well as through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

[...] The grace period for payments on two of Gazprom’s international bonds expires on July 19, and if foreign creditors are not paid by then the company will be technically in default.


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posted by hubie on Monday July 18, @02:44PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the wait-until-they-hear-about-NTP dept.

The MIT Technology Review writes in a long form article about how DARPA has rediscovered Free and Open Source Software, or at least the latter, and how it is now found everywhere across the board. As far as the Internet and the World Wide Web goes, its ubiquity has been a given since they were founded on it, but nowadays even at least 70% of closed source, proprietary products also contain lots of it. DARPA is worried about the kernel Linux in particular and the vetting process for adding code to the project specifically.

Now DARPA, the US military's research arm, wants to understand the collision of code and community that makes these open-source projects work, in order to better understand the risks they face. The goal is to be able to effectively recognize malicious actors and prevent them from disrupting or corrupting crucially important open-source code before it's too late.

DARPA's "SocialCyber" program is an 18-month-long, multimillion-dollar project that will combine sociology with recent technological advances in artificial intelligence to map, understand, and protect these massive open-source communities and the code they create. It's different from most previous research because it combines automated analysis of both the code and the social dimensions of open-source software.

"The open-source ecosystem is one of the grandest enterprises in human history," says Sergey Bratus, the DARPA program manager behind the project.

"It's now grown from enthusiasts to a global endeavor forming the basis of global infrastructure, of the internet itself, of critical industries and mission-critical systems pretty much everywhere," he says. "The systems that run our industry, power grids, shipping, transportation."

Recently, software appears to have been occupying a lot of attention over in Washington, DC. Unfortunately occasional lines in mainstream articles indicate that it is M$ and M$ lobbyists are steering the policy discussion there. It appears that they are spending an enormous amount of time in direct contact with politicians and policy makers, all the while log4j is still getting milked by them as a distraction from all the actively exploited vulnerabilities in their own products.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday July 04, @10:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the somebody-wants-more-bribes dept.

U.S. May Lose Silicon Wafer Factory If Congress Can't Fund CHIPS Act, Commerce Secretary Says

U.S. may lose silicon wafer factory if Congress can't fund CHIPS Act, commerce secretary says:

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC's Jim Cramer on Monday that she believes GlobalWafers will follow through on its plan to build a silicon wafer factory in Texas — but only if Congress passes funding for the CHIPS for America Act by the time the August recess begins.

"This investment that they're making is contingent upon Congress passing the CHIPS Act [funding]. The CEO told me that herself, and they reiterated that today," Raimondo said in an interview on "Mad Money."

"It has to be done before they go to August recess. I don't know how to say it any more plainly. This deal ... will go away, I think, if Congress doesn't act," she added.

GlobalWafers, a Taiwan-based semiconductor silicon wafer firm, said Monday that it plans to build a facility to produce the component in Sherman, Texas. The facility could create up to 1,500 jobs and produce 1.2 million wafers a month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) for America Act incentivizes investment in the U.S. semiconductor industry. While it was passed in January 2021, a funding package has not been approved by Congress.

McConnell Warns Dems of Fallout for Reviving Biden Bill

McConnell warns Dems of fallout for reviving Biden bill:

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell threatened Thursday to derail a bill designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States if Democrats revive their stalled climate and social policy package.

The rejuvenation of the Democratic reconciliation package, central to President Joe Biden's agenda, remains a work in progress and is far from certain. But with some signs of progress in the negotiations, McConnell is moving to complicate Democratic plans by warning that Republicans would react by stopping separate semiconductor legislation from moving over the finish line in the coming weeks, despite its bipartisan support.

"Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill," McConnell tweeted, referring to the shorthand name for the computer chips bill that passed the Senate last year.

Both chambers of Congress have passed their versions of the legislation, which would include $52 billion in incentives for companies to locate chip manufacturing plants in the U.S. Lawmakers are now trying to reconcile the considerable differences between the two bills, but at a pace that has many supporters worried the job won't get done before lawmakers break for their August recess.


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posted by janrinok on Friday June 24, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the watching-you-watching-me dept.

The world's biggest surveillance company you've never heard of:

For example, the research found 55,455 Hikvision networks in London. "From my experience of just walking around London, it would probably be several times over that. They're in almost every supermarket," says Samuel Woodhams, a researcher at Top10VPN who carried out the study.

The prevalence of Hikvision cameras overseas has caused anxieties around national security, even though it hasn't been proved that the company transfers its overseas data back to China. In 2019, the US passed a bill banning Hikvision from holding any contracts with the federal government.

What really made Hikvision infamous on the global stage was its involvement in China's oppressive policies in Xinjiang against Muslim minorities, mostly Uyghurs. Numerous surveillance cameras, many equipped with advanced facial recognition, have been installed both inside and outside the detention camps in Xinjiang to aid the government's control over the region. And Hikvision has been a big part of this activity. The company was found to have received at least $275 million in government contracts to build surveillance in the region and has developed AI cameras that can detect physical features of Uyghur ethnicity.

Presented with questions about Xinjiang by MIT Technology Review, Hikvision responded with a statement that did not address them directly but said the company "has and will continue to strictly comply with applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate, following internationally accepted business ethics and business standards."

Adding Hikvision to the SDN (Specially Designated Nationals List) would do more than ratchet up tensions between the US and China—it would open up a new front in international sanctions, one in which tech companies increasingly find themselves embroiled in geopolitical power struggles.


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posted by janrinok on Thursday June 09, @01:53PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the sound-of-rattling-sabres dept.

Economist says China must seize TSMC if the US tightens sanctions:

The importance of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, better known as TSMC, to the global economy cannot be understated. The world's largest chip manufacturer has a 54% share of the global chip market, which makes an economist's call for China to seize TSMC if the US imposes harsh sanctions on the country all the more concerning.

Bloomberg reports that Chen Wenling, chief economist at the government-run China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said, "If the US and the West impose destructive sanctions on China like sanctions against Russia, we must recover Taiwan."

Chen singled out TSMC in the speech at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University last month. "Especially in the reconstruction of the industrial chain and supply chain, we must seize TSMC," she added.

TSMC is reportedly set to build six chip fabs in the US, though it has announced just one so far. "They [TSMC] are speeding up the transfer to the US to build six factories there," Chen said. "We must not let all the goals of the transfer be achieved."

Chen does talk about the scenario only taking place if the US hit China with Russia-like sanctions, which were put in place after it invaded Ukraine. Taiwan has long said it is an independent nation, while China insists it is part of its territory and has no qualms about using force to bring it under control.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday May 01, @02:18PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept.

Big Telecom Convinces Missouri Lawmakers To Block Funding For Broadband Competition:

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) set aside $42.5 billion to be spent by the states on expanding access to affordable broadband. But state by state, telecom lobbyists are working hard to ensure that this money only goes toward "unserved" locations, and can't be used to potentially create competition in markets they already serve.

Last month we noted how states like Illinois, at the direct demand of companies like AT&T, have been passing restrictions on who can or can't access these funds. That includes blocking some cooperatives or local governments from building broadband networks. Since that's expressly forbidden by the IIJA, these states are risking all broadband funding

In other instances it's a bit more subtle than that. Missouri, for example, just passed a bill (once again directly demanded by AT&T) stating that "no federal funds received by the state, political subdivision, city, town, or village shall be expended for the construction of retail broadband internet infrastructure unless the project to be constructed is located in an unserved area or underserved area."

On its face it doesn't seem controversial. But if you know how the U.S. telecom sector and policy actually works, its intention becomes more clear. The bill doesn't just block funding for areas that are already served, it blocks access to projects in areas incumbent ISPs claim they might serve someday:

the current version of the bill would allow incumbent ISPs to block federal funding to competitors if they vaguely indicate they have eventual interest in upgrading an area. Historically, state and federal regulators in fealty to regional monopolies aren't consistent about following up on fiber deployment promises, potentially perpetuating longstanding Internet access coverage gaps.


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posted by Fnord666 on Friday April 29, @04:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the government-should-govern-moderation-policies dept.

Greene offers bill to abolish Section 230

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Thursday is introducing a bill to abolish Section 230 — the law the protects online platforms from liability — on the heels of Twitter accepting Elon Musk's offer to buy the company and take it private.

Greene's bill would eliminate the law making online platforms not liable for content posted by third parties and replace it with a provision to require "reasonable, non-discriminatory access to online communications platforms" through a "common carrier" framework that Greene compared to airlines or package delivery services.

Republicans have long claimed that social media platforms have an anti-conservative bias, pointing to tweets that have been taken down and the removal of entire feeds from networks.

[....] Titled the 21st Century FREE Speech Act, Greene's measure will serve as the House version of a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).

To combat the alleged bias against conservatives, it would prevent online communications platforms from exerting "undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, political or religious group or affiliation, or locality" and would provide consumers a mechanism to sue for violations.

Should any platform be liable for someone else's speech? Even if they engage in moderation?


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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday April 07, @11:11AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Amazon, Google Busted Faking Small Business Opposition To Antitrust Reform:

For decades now, a favorite DC lobbying tactic has been to create bogus groups pretending to support something unpopular your company is doing. Like "environmentalists for big oil" or "Americans who really love telecom monopolies." These groups then help big companies create a sound-wall of illusory support for policies that generally aren't popular, or great for innovation or markets.

Case in point: this week both Politico and CNBC released stories showcasing how Amazon and Google had been funding a "small business alliance" that appears to be partially or entirely contrived. The group, the Connected Commerce Council, professes to represent small U.S. businesses, yet has been busy recently lobbying government to avoid antitrust reform (which would, generally, aid small businesses).

When Politico reached out to companies listed as members of the organization, most of them had mysteriously never heard of it, and were greatly annoyed their company names were being used for such a purpose:

The four-year-old group listed about 5,000 small businesses in its membership directory before it removed that document from its website late last month. When POLITICO contacted 70 of those businesses, 61 said they were not members of the group and many added that they were not familiar with the organization.

Google is not your friend!


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