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USA outlines plan for federal engagement in AI standardisation

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a Plan for federal engagement in developing artificial intelligence technical standards and related tools. According to NIST, 'US global leadership in AI depends upon the federal government playing an active and purpose-driven role in AI standards development'. As such, the institute recommends that the US government 'commits to deeper, consistent, long-term engagement in AI standards development activities to help the US to speed the pace of reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI technology development'. For this to happen, the government is encouraged to bolster AI standards-related knowledge, leadership, and coordination among federal agencies. It should also promote research activities dedicated to advancing a broader understanding of how trustworthiness can be incorporated within standards. Moreover, the government needs to support and expand public-private partnerships to develop and use AI standards to advance reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI. Concerning international AI standards development activities, the US is encouraged to strategically engage with international parties to advance AI standards for US economic and national security needs. Lastly, the plan notes that federal agencies should focus on AI standards efforts that are consensus-based, inclusive and accessible, multi-path, open and transparent, and that result in globally relevant and non-discriminatory standards.

WEF to lead the G20 Smart Cities Alliance

The World Economic Forum (WEF), in collaboration with the G20 presidency, announced its plan to establish universal norms and guidelines for implementing smart city technology. The collaboration which will be named the Global Smart Cities Alliance will bring together members from the G20, municipal and regional leaders, national governments, private sector partners and cities’ residents to deal with smart city technologies. The aim of the initiative will be to define a collective set of principles and standards for the responsible collection and use of data in urban environments. The Internet of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities team in WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network will lead the process.


NIST publishes new digital identity guidelines

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published new guidelines on digital identities, after a year-long consultation process. The guidelines define digital identity as the unique representation of a subject engaged in an online transaction. They supercede previous guidelines that promoted measures such as regular changing of passwords and promote appropriate business and privacy risk management practices. Dubbed the 800-63-3, the guidelines reconcept online identification with two processes; identity proofing and authentication proofing.


They also recognise the existence of federated identity systems and encourage minimal dissemination of identifying information. They promote pseudonymous access to government digital services whenever possible. Federated identity providers are instead required to support a range options for querying data for example by asserting whether an individual is older than a certain age instead of seeking their full date of birth.  


The guidelines only allow the use of biometrics for authentication when strongly bound to a physical authenticator.The guidelines apply to agencies using federal systems over a network, credential service providers, verifiers and relying parties.

China issues 5G licenses for commercial use to China's major telecom carriers

China granted commercial use 5G licences to its major players: China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and the China Broadcasting Network. Licenses are issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology following the plan announced in May. Telcos were running the test project since 2018 and announced the licences to be issued in 2020, however China decided that companies are now ready for full scale deployment of the 5G networks.

The World Economic Forum creates six technology policy councils

The World Economic Forum announced the formation of six Global Fourth Industrial Revolution councils to work on new technology policy guidance. The councils will aim to help policy makers to regulate artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, drones, Internet of Things, and precision medicine. The participants of the boards will be leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia and will gather regularly to address the relevant regulatory issues, to define a mutual understanding of best policy practices and provide strategic guidance. According to the announcement, the councils’ members  already met for the first time at the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in San Francisco and are planning a global summit on technology governance next year in April 2020..

ITU celebrates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

ITU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) under the theme “bridging the standardisation gap” with special focus on a) the participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process; b) empowering local experts in the standardisation process at the national, regional and international levels; and c) promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries.​ 'International standards provide the technical foundations of global markets. They create efficiencies enjoyed by all market players, efficiencies and economies of scale that ultimately result in lower costs to producers and lower prices to consumers. And this has an important impact on what ITU is doing to connect the world,’ said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. This year the celebration included an award ceremony and an expert panel discussion on how inclusive international standards help countries use technology to improve lives. The ITU international standards contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) through ensuring interoperability, unlocking global markets, and promoting innovation and growth.

NIST publishes guide to secure company mobile devices

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) published ahow-to guide titled ‘Mobile Device Security: Cloud and Hybrid Build’ for public and private companies to protect their mobile devices form data breaches by using commercially available technology. In general, it is a manual for network architects to ensure employees can access information remotely, while minimising security risks.


IETF introduces manufacturer usage descriptions to help secure IoT devices

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has introduced manufacturer usage descriptions (MUD) which provides the basic framework to allow manufacturers to provide policy that can be used to generate IP-based access lists. This feature will detect and possibly prevent Internet of things (IoT) devices to unrestrictedly access the network, but only allow them to connect to the dedicated services. MUD is realised as RFC 8520.

Automatic Certificate Management Environment (ACME) standard

On March 12, IETF issued a new RFC 8555 for the Automatic Certificate Management Environment. With this new standard, issuing of certifications for websites will be automated and with no human intervention. Previously this process was manual only. ACME will preserve the same level of protection and security. The first version of ACME was developed by the Let’s Encrypt certification authorities back in 2015. Since then many certificate authorities introduced this new standard.

ETSI releases cybersecurity standard for IoT consumer devices

The ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) Technical Committee on Cybersecurity (TC CYBER) released a cybersecurity standard for Internet of things (IoT) products. The aim of the standard is to establish a security baseline for IoT consumer devices and to provide a basis for future IoT systems. Implementing this standard will require manufacturers to cease using universal default passwords and to implement a vulnerability disclosure policy that will enable to report about security issues. The initial draft of the standard was based on the ‘Code of Practice for Security in Consumer IoT Products and Associated Services’ which was published by the UK Government department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in March 2018.


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