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posted by janrinok on Wednesday April 17, @08:48AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Electric vehicles may become a new front in America's tech war with China after a US senator called for Washington DC to block Chinese-made EVs to protect domestic industries and national security.

Sherrod Brown, senator for Ohio and chair of the Senate Banking Committee, penned a letter to President Biden, claiming "there are currently no Chinese EVs for sale in the United States, and we must keep it that way."

He warned that "Chinese EVs, highly subsidized by the Chinese government, could decimate our domestic automakers, harm American workers, and give China access to sensitive personal data," insisting the US government must ban Chinese-made EVs as soon as possible, calling it "a matter of economic and national security."

The move comes as the dispute between the two economic superpowers over technology rumbles on, with the US last week sanctioning four more Chinese companies, claiming they were involved with providing chips for accelerating AI to China's military and intelligence users.

Among those added to the Entity List maintained by the US Department of Commerce was Sitonholy (Tianjin) Co, understood to be one of the largest distribution channels for Nvidia's datacenter products in China, thus cutting off supplies of Nvidia GPUs to many Chinese companies.

[...] The number of Chinese cars purchased by US customers is understood to be very low as these are subject to an extra 25 percent tariff on top of the regular 2.5 percent import duty that DC applies to imported vehicles.

However, Senator Brown notes in his letter that BYD already sells an electric hatchback named the "Seagull" for the equivalent of less than $10,000. This compares with the $28,140 that has been reported as the starting price of the current cheapest electric car available in the US, the 2024 Nissan LEAF S.

There is also a national security twist as Senator Brown claims that data collected by the sensors and cameras in Chinese EVs could pose a threat. "China does not allow American-made electric vehicles near their official buildings. To allow their vehicles freedom to travel throughout the United States would be foolish and highly dangerous," he stated.

Senator Brown also claims in his letter that nearly 20 percent of all electric vehicles sold in Europe during 2023 were made in China, citing this as a cautionary example.

The European Commission last year announced an investigation into subsidies in the Chinese EV industry, but there are said to be misgivings in Germany and elsewhere that a ban on Chinese EVs could backfire, with Beijing retaliating by locking Western carmakers out of the lucrative China market entirely.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday April 11, @08:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the ask-not-what-Ukraine-can-do-for-you... dept.

The Beeb reports on hackers (crackers in my old usage) in various countries that are helping Ukraine defend itself.

A team of vigilante hackers carrying out cyber-attacks against Russia has been sent awards of gratitude by Ukraine's military.

The team, One Fist, has stolen data from Russian military firms and hacked cameras to spy on troops.

The certificates are a controversial sign of how modern warfare is shifting.

Concerns have been raised about the practice of states encouraging civilian hackers.

One of the hackers called "Voltage" has been co-ordinating hacks from his home in the US.

His real name is [redacted for SN] and he is an IT worker from Michigan.

The 53-year-old told the BBC he is delighted his efforts for Ukraine have been officially recognised with a certificate of gratitude.

One Fist is made up of hackers from eight different countries including the UK, US and Poland. They have collectively launched dozens of cyber-attacks - celebrating each one on social media.

The certificates were sent to them all for "a significant contribution to the development and maintenance of vital activities of the military". They were signed by the commander of the Airborne Assault Forces of Ukraine.

The story goes on to describe various contributions to Ukraine's defense, such as defeating Russian access to public cameras in Ukraine.

While what appears to be the real name of "Voltage" appears in the BBC story, your AC submitter thought it wise to redact that name (although I think there is a high chance that it is an alias).

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 26, @02:52PM   Printer-friendly

The US must provide assurances that Julian Assange will not receive the death penalty if convicted, before a UK court rules on whether he can appeal against his extradition.

The court has adjourned its decision by three weeks to give the US government time to comply.

US authorities say the Wikileaks founder endangered lives by publishing thousands of classified documents.

His lawyers have argued that the case is form of "state retaliation".

In a High Court judgment on Tuesday, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson said that Mr Assange would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds, unless assurances were given by the United States.

These assurances are that the 52-year-old would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment - which protects freedom of speech in the US; that he would not be "prejudiced at trial" due to his nationality; and that he would not face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Judges have given the US authorities three weeks to make those assurances, with a final hearing potentially taking place on 20 May.

"If assurances are not given then we will grant leave to appeal without a further hearing," said Dame Victoria in the court's ruling.

"If assurances are given then we will give the parties an opportunity to make further submissions before we make a final decision on the application for leave to appeal."

See also: Julian Assange faces further wait over extradition ruling

posted by hubie on Wednesday March 13, @10:22AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Russian troops in Ukraine have allegedly been using SpaceX’s Starlink terminals to get internet access during the ongoing war that has seen hundreds of thousands of casualties on each side. And now, House Democrats are finally asking hard questions of SpaceX leadership about how this could be happening, according to an open letter published on Thursday.

The letter to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell from some top Democrats in the House makes the case that Starlink’s high-speed satellite internet access is considered essential to Ukraine’s continued ability to fight against Russia’s invasion, which first started in February 2022.

The letter from the Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Rep. Robert Garcia of California, stresses that Russia’s use of Starlink tech would be “potentially in violation of U.S. sanctions and export controls.”

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on February 15 that Russian troops have been using Starlink internet for “quite a long time,” according to Ukraine’s Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov.

Russia is believed to be acquiring the Starlink terminals from black market sellers, sometimes posing as German appliance manufacturers according to the Journal, but SpaceX leaders presumably have insight into who and how these terminals might be used by illicit Russian actors. For example, Musk shut off Starlink access for Ukrainian-controlled devices in Crimea early in the war, ostensibly to stop an “escalation” of the conflict.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday February 16, @04:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the some-battles-you-cannot-win dept.

I have my country and my convictions. And I don't want to give up on either. I can't betray either one. If your convictions mean anything, you must be ready to stand up for them. And, if necessary, make sacrifices [for them]. If you're not ready [to do that], then you have no convictions. You just think you do. But those aren't convictions or principles; they're just thoughts in your head.

It so happens that in today's Russia, I have to pay for my right to have and to openly express my convictions by sitting in solitary confinement. And, of course, I don't like being in prison. But I won't renounce my convictions or my homeland. My convictions aren't exotic, sectarian, or radical. On the contrary, everything I believe in is based on science and historical experience. Those in power must change. The best way to elect leaders is through honest and free elections. Everyone needs a fair court. Corruption destroys the state. There should be no censorship. The future lies with these principles.

Alexey Navalny, Russia's most famous dissident, has died. (4 June 1976 – 16 February 2024).

Returning to Russia in 2021, after having been treated in Berlin for novichok poisoning, Navalny was immediately arrested on arrival at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Since then, he has been in and out of (but mostly in) solitary confinement all over the country, with his final station being the Polar Wolf penal colony in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Siberia.

On Monday, he had been visited by his parents. In reacting to the news of her son's death, his mother reacted:

"I don't want to hear any condolences. We saw our son in the colony on Feb. 12th. He was alive, healthy, cheerful."

More info here.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday February 08, @12:48PM   Printer-friendly

The European Parliament has reached a provisional deal on EU regulations to strengthen consumers' right to repair.

Negotiations over the bill have been ongoing for a while now - the rules were first proposed in March 2022, and the hope is that new requirements will be finalized in 2024.

The thinking is that consumers should be better informed about the lifespan and repairability of products before buying them, and there should be measures to boost repair after the legal guarantee period has expired.

All told, the bill looks set to bolster the repair sector. Manufacturers must make spare parts and tools available for "a reasonable price" and be prohibited from using contractual clauses or hardware or software blocks to obstruct repairs. While singling no company out specifically, the European Parliament said: "In particular, they should not impede the use of second-hand or 3D issued spare parts by independent repairers."

Other consumer rights in the deal include options for borrowing a device while their own is being repaired or opting for a refurbished unit, an additional one-year extension of the legal guarantee for repaired goods, and free online access to indicative repair prices.

Under the regulation, manufacturers must inform customers of the duty to repair and be obligated to fix "common household products," such as a washing machine or smartphone. The European Parliament has left open the possibility of adding more items over time.

[...] It will be a while before this all goes into effect, though. Once both Council and Parliament adopt the directive, member states will have 24 months to get it into national law.

Original Submission