News In Context

EU, U.S. Data Sharing Deal Comes Into Force

In a move designed to reassure thousands of companies over the transfer of personal information, the European Union  approved a new deal allowing companies to freely transfer data between the EU and the United States, potentially ending three years of legal limbo.

The European Commission said that a recent executive order issued by US president Joe Biden that imposed new obligations on the transfer of data between the regions provided adequate privacy protections to European citizens. Commission officials said its decision meant global companies could move data safely according to the new regime, which included requirements on the responsible handling and deletion of personal information.

The U.S.  has sought to resurrect transatlantic data-sharing arrangements, as thousands of organizations, including tech companies, banks, law firms and carmakers, have relied on the privacy shield to move data easily between the two regions. According to the White House, transatlantic data flows underpin $7.1 trillion in economic activities.

The  EU’s top court in 2020 struck down the governments’ previous data agreement, known as Privacy Shield, over concerns that U.S. intelligence agencies had too much leeway to snoop on Europeans’ personal data.

The July 10th decision marks the end of long-running, complex negotiations that reached the White House. To pave the way for the deal, U.S. President Joe Biden in October 2022 issued an executive order to restrict U.S. intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) from accessing Europeans’ digital information and create better, more independent redress for Europeans.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week it has finalized its commitment under the Executive Order. A new Data Protection Review Court will allow European residents to bring claims against U.S. agencies if they believe their data was not gathered in a “necessary” and “proportionate” way for national security.

However, the deal approved July 10—known as the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework—is expected to face a legal challenge from European privacy advocates, who have long said that the U.S. needs to make substantial changes to surveillance laws.



Silo AI Creates Europe’s Largest Industrial Generative AI Lab

Silo AI is to acquire Combient’s AI subsidiary Combient Mix in a strategic deal to create Europe’s largest private generative AI lab. The deal will increase European competitiveness by accelerating the adoption of industrial AI, reports The combination of Silo AI and Combient Mix will create the largest pure-play AI company in Europe with 300+ experts, around half of whom hold a PhD in computer vision, language technology, machine learning or other relevant fields.“Entering the generative AI era, Europe must establish a critical mass in AI. This unique partnership harnesses cutting-edge AI research, a proven AI-driven product development history, and the robust industrial strength of the Nordics,”  Tero Ojanperä, Silo AI’s Executive Chairman and co-founder.Silo AI is one of Europe’s largest private AI labs for smart devices, autonomous vehicles, industry 4.0, and smart cities and has offices in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada.

Silicon Valley Ripostes: Elon Musk Launches New AI Company, Meta To Unleash Its AI Commercial AI Model

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and owner of Twitter, on July 12 announced the debut of a new artificial intelligence company, xAI, with the goal to “understand the true nature of the universe.” According to the company’s website, Musk and his team will share more information in a live Twitter Spaces chat on Friday. Team members behind xAI are alumni of DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Twitter and Tesla, and have worked on projects including DeepMind’s AlphaCode and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots. Musk seems to be positioning xAI to compete with companies like OpenAI, Google and Anthropic, which are behind leading chatbots like ChatGPT, Bard and Claude.News of the startup was previously reported by the  Financial Times in April, along with reports that Musk had secured thousands of GPU processors from Nvidia.

Meanwhile, Meta is poised to release a commercial version of its AI model, allowing start-ups and businesses to build custom software on top of the technology. The move will allow Meta to compete with Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google, which are surging ahead in the race to develop generative AI. The software, which can create text, images and code, is powered by large language models (LLMs) that are trained on huge amounts of data and require vast computing power.

And this week Alphabet said it is rolling out its  answer to Microsoft-backed rival ChatGPT, its artificial- intelligence chatbot, Bard, in Europe and Brazil,  the product’s biggest expansion since its February launch, and Anthropic, which was founded two years ago by former OpenAI research executives, debuted its new AI chatbot called Claude 2, and invited the public to use it.

Open AI Investigated By U.S. Regulators Over AI Risks

The risks posed by artificially intelligent chatbots are being officially investigated by U.S. regulators for the first time after the Federal Trade Commission launched a wide-ranging probe into ChatGPT maker OpenAI. In a letter sent to the Microsoft-backed company, the FTC said it would look at whether people have been harmed by the AI chatbot’s creation of false information about them, as well as whether OpenAI has engaged in “unfair or deceptive” privacy and data security practices.

China To Establish AI Rules With Emphasis on Content Control

China is drawing up tighter rules to govern generative artificial intelligence as Beijing seeks to balance encouragement for companies to develop the technology against its desire to control content, reports The Financial Times. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the powerful internet watchdog, aims to create a system to force companies to obtain a licence before they release generative AI models, two people close to Chinese regulators told the FT. The requirement tightens draft regulations issued in April, which said groups would have 10 working days to register a product with authorities after launch.


Chinese Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Officials

Chinese hackers penetrated the email accounts of U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and other State and Commerce Department officials in the weeks before Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to Beijing in June, U.S. officials said July 12/. The investigation of the efforts by the Chinese hackers, who likely are affiliated with China’s military or spy services, is ongoing, American officials said. But U.S. officials have downplayed the idea that the hackers stole sensitive information, insisting that no classified email or cloud systems were penetrated. The State Department’s cybersecurity team first discovered the intrusion.


Israeli Company Helps Developing Nations Fuel Vehicles With Seed Oil

Casterra, a subsidiary of Evogene), a computational biology company, is helping developing countries to run their vehicles on green fuel made from the oil of the  castor bean, by supplying farmers with genetically engineered varieties of the plant that can thrive in tough conditions. It just announced that it secured two orders worth a total of $11.3 million to provide its seeds for biodiesel production in countries in Africa. As nations struggle to transition to using renewable energies, biodiesel – a blend of fuel usually made from vegetable oils or animal fats (up to 20% of the fuel) and regular diesel – can help ease the strain on the environment by lowering the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of automobiles.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.