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Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
UN GGE: Rebooted: On Wednesday, the UN sent 25 nations an invitation to participate in the sixth Group of Government Experts (GGE) on cyberspace. The GGE is focused on “advancing responsible state behavior in cyberspace in the context of international security,” and the list of participants includes China, Russia, and the U.S. The latest GGE is complicated by the fact that the UN has simultaneously formed the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), which Russia proposed to study international cyberspace norms. In addition, the last UN GGE in 2017 ended in a stalemate, with Russia, China, and Cuba unwilling to agree to a consensus view on the applicability of international humanitarian law and the right of self-defense applied to states in cyberspace. Russia has pitched the OEWG as an ‘inclusive’ and ‘democratic’ version of the UN GGE, since any of the 193 UN member states can participate. As former Assistant Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program Alex Grigsby argues, the rivaling processes will likely split international attention and slow down the process of building consensus around norms in cyberspace.
The EU wants ethical AI: the EU released a set of nonbinding guidelines this week on the ethical development of AI. The guidelines are intended to be a “baseline” for firms developing AI, and it includes seven standards by which an AI system will be judged to be “trustworthy.” Those standards are: “human agency and oversight,” “technical robustness and safety,” “privacy and data governance,” “transparency,” “diversity, nondiscrimination, and fairness,” “societal and environmental well-being,” and “accountability.” A pilot phase of the guidelines will run through 2020, and the commission behind the report will publish a further set of policy recommendations this June. Underscoring just how much the EU has taken the lead on technology regulation relative to efforts by the private sector and the US government, the guidelines come only a week after Google was forced to shut down its own AI ethics council.
Germany and the U.S. find common ground on Huawei and 5G: Despite Germany’s refusal to ban Huawei equipment from its 5G networks last month, the United States has called Germany’s new security standards “a very possible step forward” and encouraged other states to adopt similar “risk-based security frameworks.” The United States had originally threatened to stop sharing intelligence with allies who don’t ban Huawei equipment, but the German government is claiming that the United States has indicated that it won’t take such a drastic step after all. Huawei, however, isn’t out of trouble just yet: U.S. State Department official Rob Strayer said in the context of Germany’s new standards that “a rigorous application of those frameworks…will lead inevitably to the banning of Huawei.”