The Biden administration is holding talks among federal agencies about the security of Americans’ data and whether the U.S. government has adequate tools.
In June, President Joe Biden withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of Chinese-owned WeChat and TikTok and ordered a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps.
The order set a Dec. 6 deadline for Commerce, in consultation with other government agencies, to submit a report on “additional executive and legislative actions to address the risk associated with connected software applications” that are acquired or accessible by companies controlled or based in countries that are deemed foreign adversaries.
A White House official confirmed to Reuters that the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “have submitted an initial set of analyses and recommendations” in connection with the order, without offering details.
The official added that the “administration is now engaged in interagency deliberations to ensure that relevant departments and agencies have the tools, authorities and resources needed to protect Americans’ sensitive data.” The administration did not release any of the findings.
On Nov. 26, the Commerce Department proposed amending regulations on information and communications technology supply chains to provide additional criteria to implement Biden’s executive order and determine if connected software applications present unacceptable risks.
The Commerce Department said in October it met a separate deadline to make recommendations to protect U.S. data.
The administration of former President Donald Trump sought to block new users from downloading the Chinese apps and ban other technical transactions that Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok and WeChat both said would effectively block the apps’ U.S. use.
U.S. courts blocked those orders, which never took effect.
The Trump administration contended WeChat and TikTok posed national security concerns because sensitive personal data of U.S. users could be collected by China’s government. China and the apps have denied any improper use of U.S. data.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Buy Is Not A ‘Metaverse Bet’ – Forbes
When Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard this past week for nearly $70 billion, the same refrain kept being repeated, first by Microsoft, then by mainstream outlets. That this purchase was a “big bet on the metaverse.”
And yet no one, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella included, have been able to articulate exactly what that means, or why that’s the case. Unless we have finally arrived at the inescapable conclusion that the true metaverse as it exists right now, is mostly just…video games, and has been for decades now.
There is nothing about the Activision Blizzard purchase that actually speaks to this new, often VR or web3-driven vision of the metaverse. Activision is not a VR or AR developer in any meaningful capacity. Their most “immersive” virtual world game is World of Warcraft, the MMO that has existed as a “livable” virtual space since 2004, and these days, is often badly showing its age.
The metaverse is supposed to be a shared, interconnected digital space, but there’s nothing about this purchase that signals Microsoft is building something like that. This is simply a very large tech company buying a very large video game publisher, and they will then start making a lot of money from those very popular video games.
What idea of the metaverse are we even trying to qualify here? Is it simply the idea that if you own a bunch of IPs under one company, they could theoretically be combined someday to create a “metaverse”? If that’s the definition, than Fortnite is far ahead of everyone, licensing hundreds of IPs for use in its game, including a number across Sony and Microsoft video games (Master Chief, Kratos, Aloy, Marcus Fenix, etc).
Microsoft is betting on the video game industry, you know, the thing that has existed for forty years and is bigger than all other entertainment industries combined? The metaverse remains little more than a buzzword, something to spur investment in web3 projects, or try to justify Facebook’s colossal investment in VR. I do agree that video games, as a concept, are closer to the fictionalized vision of the metaverse than anything else, and yet this has been true for eons. Purchasing Activision Blizzard, which does not really have much of a roster of “living universe” games, seems entirely outside of this. Minecraft was more of a “metaverse purchase than this,” but that buzzword didn’t exist back then.
I think tech investment in video games is a good thing overall, and I expect to see more of it. But pretending like buying the company who produces the highest selling video game of the year, every year, is about making a “metaverse play” is disingenuous, and simply repackaging something that has already existed for decades.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series now rumoured to launch February 9 – MobileSyrup
Samsung recently revealed an Unpacked event is coming but didn’t set a specific date for the keynote. Rumours previously indicated that the event would take place on February 8th. However, information from reliable tipster Ice Universe suggests the S22 series will instead be revealed on February 9th.
However, Digital Daily says that the phone series will launch on February 8th, with the devices releasing on February 24th.
Rumours indicate Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra will feature a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and work with an S Pen. The other S22 models will lack the S Pen, sport an S21-like design, a trio of cameras, and the aforementioned Snapdragon 8 gen 1 chipset.
Samsung will likely unveil the official launch date for the Galaxy S22 series in the coming weeks.
Samsung Galaxy A53 passes through TENAA, some specifications revealed – XDA Developers
The Galaxy S22 series isn’t too far off, with Samsung now accepting reservation orders for the phones, but there are a few other devices in the pipeline too. One of them is the Galaxy A53, the upcoming entry in Samsung’s super-popular A50 lineup, which has already leaked a few times. Now we have the first concrete information about the phone’s hardware, thanks to a new regulatory listing.
TENAA, China’s equivalent to the FCC, has published certification information for the Galaxy A53 (via Android Authority). The page includes dimly-lit photos of the phone from the front, rear, and side, which appear to match the renders published by OnLeaks from November. There is some new information though, especially about the internal hardware.
The phone is identified as the SM-A5360, and has 5G support — there was speculation that Samsung might be ditching the 4G option and only selling a 5G-capabel A53, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true for every region. TENAA says the device measures 159.5×74.7×8.1 mm, again matching the information from OnLeaks, and weighs 190 grams.
Other hardware details include a 6.46-inch 1080×2400 display, a 4,860mAh battery, an unspecified 8-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of internal storage, microSD card support up to 1TB, and an under-screen fingerprint sensor. There are three rear cameras: 64MP, 32MP, and two 5MP. The listing also reaffirms the Galaxy A53 won’t have a headphone jack, which is a shame.
Overall, the phone doesn’t appear to be significantly different from last year’s Galaxy A52. The screen is nearly identical in size, though we don’t know the refresh rate — the A52 4G had a 90Hz display, while the A52 5G/A52S was 120Hz. The Galaxy A52 also had the same 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, and in-display fingerprint sensor. We don’t know for sure what each camera will do, but the A52 had a 64MP primary lens, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 5MP macro, and a 5MP depth sensor. The 32MP camera mentioned in the listing could be an upgraded ultra-wide, or Samsung might be swapping it for something else (like a telephoto camera).
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