German Energy (In)security and Chinese unlimited Moon-Energy… Our Tech News Digest is back!

TechSec’s Bi-Weekly Tech News Digest: October 4th, 2022

By Daniel Haltmeier

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the eleventh bi-weekly Tech News Digest, provided by the GISA Technology and Security Initiative (TechSec). Our goal here is to give you an easy-to-read update on what has been happening lately in the world of technology and security. To do so, we pick the top news stories from the last two weeks and present a short summary. Should you be interested in knowing more, just follow the links below the respective paragraphs.

Germany‘s first steps in socialism – or: how to save a country from a cold winter

The German government, one of the leading capitalist economies in the world, has nationalized the gas company UNIPER. What might sound like any Marxist‘s dream come true is in fact a security measure; namely, providing the German people with gas as cheap as possible to avoid an energy catastrophe in the coming winter.

Only a few months ago, UNIPER went almost bankrupt and was saved by the German government with a $15 billion rescue package. With an additional $8 billion being paid now, the German state will take over 99% of the company’s shares. The German minister of economic affairs stressed that the only motive behind the deal was the security of German energy supply. This comes as a consequence of Russia‘s brutal and unjustified attack against Ukraine which has further strained – if not destroyed – EU-Russian relations. Russia has since stopped large parts of its gas supply to Europe. In the case of UNIPER, almost 50% of their gas supply came from Russia.

Even if this nationalization is a drastic measure for German standards, it is necessary given the difficult circumstances. Although one could make the argument that Europe has brought these difficult circumstances upon itself by supporting Ukraine in the ongoing war, it‘s worth it given the downright monstrous Russian acts against a sovereign nation.

Read more about this on THE WASHINGTON POST

The Moon could soon provide us with unlimited energy

The 2020 Chinese moon mission has brought back a lot of moon-stones to earth. Now, Chinese researchers found a new mineral in these stone samples. The new mineral making up this particle is only the sixth to be discovered in moon samples and the first one to be discovered by Chinese scientists. The Chinese researchers found a single crystal particle – thinner than a human hair – among all the moon soil brought back to earth. The crystal discovered contains not only a previously unknown mineral, but also an ingredient needed for nuclear fusion – a form of almost limitless energy similar to the forces fueling the sun. 

The secret ingredient to nuclear fusion is helium-3. The finding of helium-3 in this moon sample is another indicator that helium-3 might be abundant on the moon while being extremely scarce on earth. With all nations striving for better energy supply, the question has to be asked: when will the race for moon extractivism begin?

Read more about this on VICE.

North Korea‘s new submarine (no, it‘s not just a sunken ship)

Among the news of Russian nuclear threats against the rest of the world and the race for hypersonic missiles, this news was almost forgotten.  Before one Russian maniac turned our world into chaos, it would have been important news that another North Korean maniac seems to be in possession of a new type of submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles. Based on commercial satellite imagery of a North Korean Navy Base, a US Think-Tank concludes that the North Koreans must at least be close to finishing the development of such a vessel. 

There have already been previous suspicions about this development when North Korean state TV showed Kim Jong Un inspecting a new type of submarine in 2019. The new submarine would be an important addition to North Korea’s large fleet of submarines which, however, are all unable to carry missiles except for an experimental one.

Read more about this on SWISSINFO.

Child sextortion series in Gloucestershire

A series of sextortion cases involving young children – some as young as 10 years old – is currently worrying parents, teachers, police and the rest of British society. So far, 17 sextortion cases involving children have been reported in the Gloucestershire region. However, the number may suffer from under-reporting, as sextortion is oftentimes not reported by children because of shame and guilt they might feel.

Sextortion is when a person threatens a victim to share sexually explicit pictures of a person unless they do something in return. Oftentimes, unknown individuals will send children friend requests on social media platforms, pretending to be of the same age. Conversations then turn sexual and the offenders will finally ask the victim for sexualised pictures. 

The police urges parents to inform their children about this particular danger. Victims are also recommended to not pay and instead screencapture the messages and inform police.

Read more about this on BBC.

US bans Chinese Investments on Tech industries

US President Biden has signed a new executive order which will limit Chinese foreign direct investment (FFI) in US tech companies. This happens within a larger context of deteriorating US-Chinese trade relations and US allegations of economic espionage and intellectual property (IP) infringement by Chinese companies buying up US tech companies. According to President Biden, the loss of American IP to China threatens US national security. 

Although the executive order does not mention China and is not country-specific, the order is clearly targeting Chinese FDI in critical sectors such as artificial intelligence or biotechnology. The order is, however, not a complete ban on FDI in this sector. It rather gives US regulators more factors to consider that can trigger the blocking of particular FDI attempts. The order also does not affect outbound US FDI.

Read more about this on THE NEW YORK TIMES.

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