This episode features Nick Weaver, Dave Aitel and I exploring a Pro Publica story (and forthcoming book) on the FBI's difficulties in seeking to become the nation's principal resource on cybercrime and cybersecurity. We end up concluding that, for all its strengths, the bureau's structural weaknesses in addressing cybersecurity are going to thwart its ambitions for years to come.
Speaking of being thwarted for years, the effort to decouple U.S. and Chinese tech sectors continues apace. Nick and Dave weigh in on the latest (rumored) initiative -- cutting off China's access to U.S. quantum computing and AI technology -- and what that could mean for U.S. semiconductor companies, among others.
We could not stay away from the Elon Musk-Twitter story, which briefly had a national security dimension, due to news that the Biden Administration was considering a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of the deal. That's not a crazy idea, but in the end, we are skeptical that it will amount to much.
Dave and I exchange views on whether it is logical for the Administration to pursue cybersecurity labels for cheap Internet of things (IoT) devices. He thinks it makes less sense than I do, but we agree that the end result will be to crowd the cheapest competitors from the market.
Nick and I discuss the news that Kanye West is buying Parler. Neither of us thinks much of the deal as an investment.
And in updates and quick takes:
- I see a real risk for Google in the Texas Attorney General's lawsuit over the company's use of facial recognition.
- Nick unpacks the dispute between Facebook and The Wire, India's answer to Pro Publica, over The Wire's claim of bias in favor of incumbent Indian politicians. If you had the impression that Facebook has the better of that argument, you're right.
- And in another platform v. press, story, TikTok's parent ByteDance has been accused by Forbes of planning to use TikTok to monitor the location of specific Americans. TikTok has denied the story. I predict that neither the story nor the denial is enough to bring closure. We'll be hearing more.
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