In recent months, a series of U.S. government reports have documented U.S. policymakers’ growing concerns over Chinese government policies and programs designed to advance China’s competitive edge in a range of technologies and industries. In turn, the findings of these reports are shaping U.S. economic and national security laws and policies, as illustrated by the recent Section 301 tariff actions, national security reviews of investment by Chinese firms under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process, and provisions of the recently-passed John McCain National Defense Authorization Act that restrict exports of “emerging and foundational technologies” and U.S. government use of certain Chinese-made telecommunications equipment. Against this background, a report released on October 26, 2018, is likely to further increase U.S. government scrutiny of China-manufactured devices with internet connectivity features – so-called “Internet of Things” or “IoT” devices.
Mobile phones are ubiquitous extensions of our personal and professional lives and few think deeply about the tangled webs of software and hardware providers that formulate components to mobile phone fabricators. However, the Federal Trade Commission’s recent settlement with BLU Products represents an important reminder of the importance of appropriate vendor oversight in all phases of the manufacturing and sales process.
An international human rights organization is urging the Chinese government to stop building big data policing technologies that aggregate and analyze citizens’ personal information. Though governments collecting information about its citizens is not new, China has begun pursuing newer and ambitious technologies, such as big data analytics, facial recognition, and cloud computing, to better and more quickly aggregate, mine, and leverage personal information.
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