ISO and IEC issue new standard for AI risk management

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have published a new standard providing guidance on risk management in artificial intelligence (AI). Titled ISO/IEC 23894:2023 Information technology – Artificial intelligence – Guidance on risk management, the standard offers guidance to organisations that develop, produce, deploy, or use products, systems, and services that use AI on how to manage AI-related risks. With the goal of assisting organisations in integrating risk management into their AI-related activities, the standard also describes processes for the effective implementation and integration of AI risk management. In this context, risk management processes are described as involving the systematic application of policies, procedures, and practices to the activities of communicating and consulting, establishing the context, and assessing, treating, monitoring, reviewing, recording, and reporting risk.

The standard is the result of work carried out within the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC on information technology – Subcommittee SC 42 on AI.

OHCHR consultation on human rights and technical standard-setting processes for new and emerging digital technologies

On 15 February 2023, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) will hold a consultation on human rights and technical standard-setting processes for new and emerging digital technologies.

The consultation will inform the report on the relationship between human rights and technical standards that the OHCHR will present to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 53rd session in June 2023. The report was required by the HRC it is July 2021 resolution on new and emerging digital technologies and human rights.

The event will take place in Geneva, at the Palais des Nations, and online. Registration is open until 14 February 2023.

More details, including an agenda and list of speakers, will be made available on the dedicated OHCHR webpage.

Wireless Power Consortium to release Qi2 wireless charging standard

The Wireless Power Consortium announced that it is working on a new wireless charging standard, Qi2, ‘to unify the industry under one global standard and provide enhanced convenience and efficiency for mobile devices and wearables’. Aimed to serve as a global standard for wireless chargers, Qi2 will ‘assure consumers that their devices are safe, efficient, and interoperable with other brands’, notes Paul Struhsaker, executive director of the Wireless Power Consortium.

The foundation elements for Qi2 were provided by Apple, building on the company MagSafe technology. At the core of the standard is a new Magnetic Power Profile, which will ensure that phones and other rechargeable battery-powered mobile devices are aligned with charging devices. This, in turn, will enable faster charging and improve energy efficiency.

Qi2 Certified mobile phones and chargers are expected to be available towards the end of 2023.

ITU-T launches focus group on metaverse

A Focus Group on Metaverse was established at the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) with the goal of supporting pre-standardisation activities for the metaverse.

Aspects to be considered as part of the group’s work include, among others: working definitions and terminology, concepts, vision, use cases, and ecosystem; technical requirements; technical frameworks and characteristics, including identification of fundamental underlying technologies; aspects related to security and the protection of personally identifiable information; networking infrastructure and connectivity; and interoperability.

The focus group is expected to carry out activities such as:

  • Study terminology and concepts.
  • Identify and study enabling technologies and key tasks for standardisation purposes.
  • Study and gather information to develop a pre-standardisation roadmap.
  • Build a community of experts to unify concepts and develop common understandings.
  • Identify stakeholders with whom ITU-T could collaborate.
  • Establish liaisons and relationships with other organisations that could contribute to pre-standardisation activities.

ETSI launches Industry Specification Group on Terahertz 

A new Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Terahertz was launched in the framework of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to define the target scenarios and the concrete frequency bands of interest on terahertz (THz) communications. THz is a candidate technology for 6G networks.

As explained by Thomas Kürner, Chair of ISG THz, the group ‘provides an opportunity for ETSI members to coordinate their pre-standards research efforts on THz technology across various European collaborative projects, extended with relevant global initiatives, a move towards paving the way for future standardisation of the technology’.

The ISG will initially focus on two major categories of use cases for THz: (a) mobile applications with high data rate requirements, such as augmented and virtual reality, in-flight and in-train entertainment applications, as well as vehicular and satellite communications; and (b) applications requiring both communication and sensing capabilities, such as holographic telepresence and interactive and cooperative robotics.

US senate passes Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Act

The US senate has passed the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act to strengthen national security by preparing the federal government’s defences against quantum-computing-enabled data breaches.

The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act asks for:

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prioritise the acquisition and migration of federal agencies’ information technology to post-quantum cryptography.
  • OMB to create guidance for federal agencies to assess critical systems following the publication of post-quantum cryptography standards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST);
  • Direct OMB to send an annual report to Congress that includes a strategy on how to address post-quantum cryptography risks.

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Australia, Canada, UK, USA issue statement on telecom supplier diversity

Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA have issued a Joint statement on telecommunications supplier diversity. The statement highlights the four countries’ commitment ‘to ensuring the security and resilience of [their] telecommunications networks, including by fostering a diverse supply chain and influencing the development of future telecommunications technologies such as 6G’. The countries also note the role of open and interoperable networks in creating ‘a more open, diverse, and innovative market’.

To achieve telecommunications suuplier diversity, the countries will:

  • Share information on their policy approaches to telecom suupliers diversity;
  • Take a complementary and cooperative approach to telecom research and development;
  • Proactively address security concerns as open and interoperable architectures develop;
  • Work together to encourage transparency in industry-led standards-setting processes;
  • Encourage industry to avoid market fragmentation;
  • Coordinate efforts when engaging with international stakeholders and fora, share and implement best practices, and work together to tackle shared policy challenges.

Furthermore, Australia, Canada, and the USA have endorsed the Open RAN Principles published by the UK in 2022: open disaggregation, standards-based compliance, demonstrated interoperability, and implementation neutrality.

The initiatives are expected to help open up the global market to new competitors and increase efforts to lessen the world’s dependence on a limited number of telecommunications corporations to build and operate 5G and future networks.

EU-US Trade and Technology Council holds third ministerial meeting

The third ministerial meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) was held on 5 December 2022 in Washington, DC, USA. During the meeting, the two parties:

  • Reiterated the importance of cooperating on trust and security in the ICT ecosystem and noted that the TTC Working Group on ICTS security and competitiveness plans to discuss transatlantic subsea cables’ connectivity and security, including alternative routes, such as the transatlantic route to connect Europe, North America and Asia.
  • Reiterated their commitment to developing and implementing trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), building on the Joint Roadmap on Evaluation and Measurement Tools for Trustworthy AI and Risk Management.
  • Announced plans to launch a pilot project to assess the use of privacy-enhancing technologies and synthetic data in health and medicine.
  • Announced plans to establish an expert task force to strengthen research and development cooperation on quantum information science, develop common frameworks for assessing technology readiness, discuss intellectual property, and export control-related issues as appropriate, and work together to advance international standards.
  • Announced progress on increasing standards cooperation, for instance through the Strategic Standards Information mechanism meant to enable the EU and the USA to share information about international standardisation activities and react to common strategic issues.
  • Announced that the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission are entering into an administrative arrangement to implement an early warning mechanism to address and mitigate semiconductor supply chain disruptions in a cooperative way.
  • Stressed the importance of eliminating the use of arbitrary and unlawful surveillance to target human rights defenders, and expressed concerns over government-imposed internet shutdowns.
  • Announced plans to enhance transatlantic trade, for instance through developing joint best practices for the use of digital tools to simplify or reduce the cost of commercial actors’ interactions with the governments in relation to trade-related policy, legal requirements, or regulatory requirements.
  • Announced the launch of a Talent for Growth Task Force to facilitate exchanges of experiences on training and capacity building and serve as a catalyst for innovative skills policies.

These and other commitments and initiatives are outlined in the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting.

ETSI releases a new specification defining telemetry framework and requirements for access networks

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) released a new specification, ETSI GS F5G-011, that defines a telemetry framework and associated requirements for the Optical Access Network. The telemetry, by the data recovered and combined with analytics and artificial intelligence, will unlock the potential of the fifth generation of fixed networks, to provide end users with the optimised quality of experience of their fibre to the home (FTTH) network. Service providers and operators will benefit from the advantages of real-time monitoring with scale, speed, and automation using telemetry. Moreover, the telemetry will allow operators to gain better visibility and insight into the network as it introduces finer granular data points and more frequent data streaming in the Optical Access Network. In addition, telemetry data enable the prediction of network issues and the implementation of preventative measures without impacting the optical line terminal (OLT) performance, further enhancing the network’s operational performance.