There has always been an uneasy relationship between governments and technology – all governments, not just in the U.S. All governments want the most advanced technology working to their advantage while doing their best to keep it away from other nations. In fact, the powers that be would much prefer their own citizens not be empowered with the best technology on the market. So they are always somewhat at odds with technology. On the one hand, they want to develop and encourage it. On the other, they want to suppress it as much as possible.
When technology gets too good, governments get worried. AppleInsider has the latest on new worries from some in the U.S. government.
“Apple could be impacted by proposed US export ban on AI, Computer Vision, iPhone processor technology.”
“The Bureau of Industry and Security controls the export of ‘dual use and less sensitive military items’ via Export Administration Regulations (EAR), specifically through the Commerce Control List (CCL). The CCL advises of whether specific items need to be handled in specific ways in order to leave the country, such as by acquiring licenses before being exportable to specific locations, and is usually meant to prevent potentially harmful products or technologies from being acquired or misused by bad actors.”
There is an ongoing concern about terrorist nations and safe havens acquiring technology. But that gets more difficult to regulate as the technologies in question are no longer beyond the reach of average consumers. The same AI and computer vision that power hotdog or not a hotdog can also power new types of weapons.
A few years ago, consumer-level encryption entered the spotlight. Apple practically boasted that their encryption and security model was so good, even law enforcement couldn’t break it. This was not a message Apple sent directly. But the challenge law enforcement agencies perceived.
The San Bernardino incident pitted the FBI directly against Apple when it tried to force Apple to unlock a phone they couldn’t and create a software backdoor which they wouldn’t. This battle is not over, just dormant at the moment.
GPS is another technology the government has limited. The military has always had more precise GPS than consumers. It is not a limitation of the companies making consumer devices. It is a government regulation. Recently, plans were announced to relax those restrictions.
The current round of technology concerns are open for public comment, but only for a limited time. You have to get your comment in by December 19. The government has released a document titled, “Review of Controls for Certain Emerging Technologies.” There, you can read all about the issues and leave a comment.