This Week In Tech And Telco: Chinese Whispers – I Mean Spying

Welcome back to this week and tech and telco, your go-to news source for professionals in the tech and telco space. What are we talking about right this week?

China upgrades cybersecurity laws, giving government widespread access

As of December 1st, China is applying tougher cybersecurity standards, forcing companies to open their networks and deploy government-approved equipment.

The move will likely see a backlash from the US, which has already stopped American companies from using tech from Chinese telecom Huawei in 5G networks amid fears of government spying.

The existing law allows the Chinese government to audit private business networks and mandates the use of approved security equipment – the law will now apply to all networks.

Foreign businesses are concerned about how this will affect their operations. It could mean switching to Chinese equipment or complying and opening up networks to Beijing.

For a more in-depth look at China’s cybersecurity law, check out this great rundown from TechDirt.

"The Cybersecurity Authority of China [CAC] insists it won't use the law to steal private information. And China has so many other ways to steal intellectual property that it probably doesn't need to," said James Lewis, head of cybersecurity at the Center for Strategic International Studies who has also held several federal positions evaluating and negotiating with China. Comforting.

How will businesses react to China's new rules? Photographer: Ling Tang | Source: Unsplash

Startup to cut the middle man and pay users for their data

Instead of businesses collecting user data for free, start-up OzoneAI wants them to pay.

The startup gives users granular control over their data and sells it on to companies that pay, cutting out big tech like Facebook and Google. Data is anonymized, and users would get a cut of the profits.

But it’s not up to OzoneAI who gets what – in an app, users grant companies access to their data and get paid for it.

If it takes off, this could be a big one for user privacy and data management, businesses may find the model difficult to adjust to, though depending on the price tag, it could be an attractive offer.

By taking big tech out of the equation, OzoneAI believes advertising will be more efficient for everyone – marketers should keep an eye on this one too.

Is it time to cut out the middle man from data and tech
Is it time to cut out the middleman? Photographer: Ben Rosett | Source: Unsplash

Facebook’s Libra is looking less and less likely

This week’s been an interesting one for those watching Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts. Though Libra started off strongly, with the backing of major financial services when first announced, support has dwindled following pressures from governments, particularly in the US.

At the end of last week, eBay, Stripe, Mastercard, Visa, and Mercado Pago all announced they were dropping out of the project, following PayPal’s steps the week prior.

In another blow to the global cryptocurrency hopeful, Bookings Holdings became the latest to pull out earlier this week. And another one bites the dust.

The news came ahead of a planned Libra Association Council meeting on October 14, which still went ahead. Calibra, a digital wallet for Libra, CEO and former Facebook blockchain lead David Marcus sits on the board alongside Katie Haun, a general partner with Andreessen Horowitz; Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo; Patrick Ellis, general counsel at PayU; and Matthew Davie, chief strategy officer of Kiva.

>>> In other crypto news

The future of Telegram’s cryptocurrency is also unknown, as the US flexes its muscles towards crypto once again. This time, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has halted the issuing of tokens, arguing the company’s $1.7bn offering was illegal.

One of the photo pack of Skycoin Physical Coins.Whole pack is available here: https://mega.nz/#F!eRdzjAYJ!Fh3rjvU_Ld_B1tRW6aLiOQPlease read the license info there, thanks!
Is the establishment against all crypto? Photographer: Stanislaw Zarychta | Source: Unsplash

3D printed rockets, made on Mars? Yup.

Relativity Space wants to build 95% of its rocket, Terran 1, using only 3D printing, and in just 60 days.

Its founders, Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, both former Google employees, not only want to build rockets, but build them on Mars too.

The company uses AI to train its robot on what the final outcome should look like, using sensors, cameras and even sound to monitor it throughout the build. With every new part, the algorithm improves and will eventually be able to recognize its own mistakes.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, and others also use 3D printing for select parts, though not quite on this scale.

The company also wants to move the autonomous operation to Mars, and build rockets there. Ellis sees this as key in transporting critical infrastructure between Earth and the red planet.

Credit: MDx media

Robot hand has solved a Rubik’s Cube

Researchers at OpenAI have developed a new way to transfer complex manipulation skills from simulated to real-world environments, showing it off with a robot hand successfully solving a Rubik’s Cube

This may not seem highly innovative, but it’s a massive step forward in the world of robotics. Not least because it shows an entirely new level of dexterity for robots, but because it taught itself how to fidget with the cube via a reinforcement-learning algorithm, which is inspired by the way animals learn. The achievement had also only been simulated prior to this.

It’s particularly difficult to replicate the achievements attained via simulation, but the robot’s Rubik’s Cube success translated well to the real world. The task itself is also tricky, with many humans being unable to solve the puzzle.

Can you solve a Rubik's cube? Credit: OpenAI

More tech headlines you should read

  • In the UK, Three suffered a major outage. The network was down from Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon, leaving a large portion of the network’s 10 million customers without access. (The Guardian)
  • Does a rocket engine need propellers? Perhaps not. A NASA engineer is proposing to take us to the stars with no propellant at all. Instead, how about the “helical engine”? It exploits mass-altering effects known to occur at near-light speed. (New Scientist)
  • Waymo and Renault are exploring an autonomous mobility route in Paris as part of the deal Renault and Nissan signed with Waymo earlier this year. They hope to solve transportation issues ahead of the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. (TechCrunch)
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