Nvidia Will Support ARM Hardware For High-Performance Computing (venturebeat.com) 12

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany this week, Santa Clara-based chipmaker Nvidia announced that it will support processors architected by British semiconductor design company Arm. Nvidia anticipates that the partnership will pave the way for supercomputers capable of "exascale" performance -- in other words, of completing at least a quintillion floating point computations ("flops") per second, where a flop equals two 15-digit numbers multiplied together. Nvidia says that by 2020 it will contribute its full stack of AI and high-performance computing (HPC) software to the Arm ecosystem, which by Nvidia's estimation now accelerates over 600 HPC applications and machine learning frameworks. Among other resources and services, it will make available CUDA-X libraries, graphics-accelerated frameworks, software development kits, PGI compilers with OpenACC support, and profilers. Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang pointed out in a statement that, thanks to this commitment, Nvidia will soon accelerate all major processor architectures: x86, IBM's Power, and Arm. "As traditional compute scaling has ended, the world's supercomputers have become power constrained," said Huang. "Our support for Arm, which designs the world's most energy-efficient CPU architecture, is a giant step forward that builds on initiatives Nvidia is driving to provide the HPC industry a more power-efficient future."

Why New York's Subway Still Uses OS/2 (tedium.co) 167

Every day 5.7 million people ride the subway in New York City -- and are subjected to both "the whims of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the unheard-of reliability of a marginally successful operating system from the early 1990s."

martiniturbide shared this report from Tedium: OS/2 and MTA consultant Neil Waldhauer said in an email, "For a few years, you could bet your career on OS/2." To understand why, you need to understand the timing. Waldhauer continues, "The design is from a time before either Linux or Windows was around. OS/2 would have seemed like a secure choice for the future." So for a lack of options, the MTA went with its best one. And it's worked out for decades, as one of the key software components of a quite complex system...

Despite the failure of OS/2 in the consumer market, it was hilariously robust, leading to a long life in industrial and enterprise systems -- with one other famous example being ATMs. Waldhauer said, "Thinking about all the operating systems in use [in the MTA], I'd have to say that OS/2 is probably the most robust part of the system, except for the mainframe." It's still in use in the NYC subway system in 2019. IBM had long given up on it, even allowing another company to maintain the software in 2001. (These days, a firm named Arca Noae sells an officially supported version of OS/2, ArcaOS, though most of its users are in similar situations to the MTA.)


Three Geeks Rescue a 50-Year-Old IBM 360 Mainframe From an Abandoned Building (ibms360.co.uk) 129

In late April of 2019 Slashdot reader Adam Bradley and engineer Chris Blackburn were "sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing..."

They eventually submitted the winning bid for an IBM 360 Model 20 mainframe -- €3,710 (about $4,141 USD) -- and proceeded to pick it up from an abandoned building "in the backstreets of Nuremberg, Germany." (Where they tackled several issues with a tiny door that hadn't been opened since the 1970s.) By day Adam is a railway software engineer, but he's also been involved in computer history for over a decade at The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley, England.

Along with engineer Peter Vaughan, the three are now blogging "the saga that unfurled...and how we eventually tackled the problems we discovered." But after much beer, whisky, and Weiner Schnitzel, Adam assures us the story ends with a victory: The machine will shortly be headed to the UK for a full restoration to working order. We're planning to blog the entire process and hope some of you might be interested in reading more about it.
Red Hat Software

IBM, Microsoft, and Red Hat CEOs Shared a Keynote at 15th Annual Red Hat Summit (crn.com) 12

An anonymous reader quote CRN: IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared the keynote-session stage with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst at the 15th-year installment of the open-source technology event. Rometty talked up IBM's pending $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat and their future relationship. Nadella was there to help herald Azure Red Hat OpenShift, the new enterprise-grade Kubernetes platform that allows developers to run container-based applications on-premises and across Azure, Microsoft's public cloud. Microsoft will jointly manage the platform with Red Hat.

"The CEOs of (two of the) largest technology companies in the world on stage in the same keynote, and it's a Red Hat keynote," Whitehurst said. "Who would have expected that? Hopefully it says something about open source and our role, but it also certainly says something about those companies and their desire to serve customers and their desire to embrace open source."

During the presentation Red Hat's CEO told Microsoft's CEO, "To be blunt, five years ago we had, I guess to be polite, it would be called an adversarial relationship."

Earlier in the presentation, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had said, "Everything has a time," adding later that the Red Hat/Microsoft partnership "is driven by what I believe is fundamentally what our customers expect of us. They expect us to...really interoperate, be committed to open source."

World's Fastest Supercomputer Coming To US in 2021 From Cray, AMD (cnet.com) 89

The "exascale" computing race is getting a new entrant called frontier, a $600 million machine with Cray and AMD technology that could become the world's fastest when it arrives at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2021. From a report: frontier should be able to perform 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, a level called 1.5 exaflops and enough to claim the performance crown, the Energy Department announced Tuesday. Its speed will be about 10 times faster than that of the current record holder on the Top500 supercomputer ranking, the IBM-built Summit machine, also at Oak Ridge, and should surpass a $500 million, 1-exaflops Cray-Intel supercomputer called Aurora to be built in 2021 at Argonne National Laboratory. There's no guarantee the US will win the race to exascale machines -- those that cross the 1-exaflop threshold -- because China, Japan and France each could have exascale machines in 2020. At stake is more than national bragging rights: It's also about the ability to perform cutting-edge research in areas like genomics, nuclear physics, cosmology, drug discovery, artificial intelligence and climate simulation.

Top Cybersecurity Experts Unite to Counter Right-to-Repair FUD (securepairs.org) 49

Long-time Slashdot reader chicksdaddy writes: Some of the world's leading cybersecurity experts have come together to counter electronics and technology industry efforts to paint proposed right to repair laws in 20 states as a cyber security risk. The experts have launched securepairs.org, a group that is galvanizing information security industry support for right to repair laws that are being debated in state capitols.

Among the experts who are stepping forward is a who's who of the information security space, including cryptography experts Bruce Schneier of IBM and Harvard University and Jon Callas of ACLU, secure coding gurus Gary McGraw of Cigital and Chris Wysopal of Veracode, bug bounty pioneer Katie Moussouris of Luta Security, hardware hackers Joe Grand (aka KingPin) and Billy Rios of Whitescope, nmap creator Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon, Johannes Ullrich of SANS Internet Storm Center and Dan Geer, the CISO of In-Q-Tel. Together, they are calling out electronics and technology industry efforts to keep replacement parts, documentation and diagnostic tools for digital devices secret in the name of cyber security.

"False and misleading information about the cyber risks of repair is being directed at state legislators who are considering right to repair laws," said Paul Roberts, the founder of securepairs.org and Editor in Chief at The Security Ledger, an independent cyber security blog. "Securepairs.org is a voice of reason that will provide policy makers with accurate information about the security problems plaguing connected devices. We will make the case that right to repair laws will bring about a more secure, not less secure future."

"As cyber security professionals, we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and reliable advice to lawmakers who are considering Right to Repair laws," said Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio, a hardware hacker and embedded systems security expert.

The group will counter a stealthy but well-funded industry efforts to kill off right to repair legislation where it comes up. That has included the creation of front groups like the Security Innovation Center, which has enlisted technology industry executives and academics to write opinion pieces casting right to repair laws as a giveaway to cybercriminals.

Securepairs organizers say they hope to mobilize information security professionals to help secure the right to repair in their home states: writing letters and emails and providing expert testimony about the real sources of cyber risks in connected devices.

Open Source

The Mysterious History of the MIT License (opensource.com) 40

Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff explains why it's hard to say exactly when the MIT license created. Citing input from both Jim Gettys (author of the original X Window System) and Keith Packard (a senior member on the X Windows team), he writes that "The best single answer is probably 1987. But the complete story is more complicated and even a little mysterious."

An anonymous reader quotes his article at OpenSource.com, which begins with the X Window System at MIT's "Project Athena" (first launched in 1983): X was originally under a proprietary license but, according to Packard, what we would now call an open source license was added to X version 6 in 1985... According to Gettys, "Distributing X under license became enough of a pain that I argued we should just give it away." However, it turned out that just placing it into the public domain wasn't an option. "IBM would not touch public domain code (anything without a specific license). We went to the MIT lawyers to craft text to explicitly make it available for any purpose. I think Jerry Saltzer probably did the text with them. I remember approving of the result," Gettys added.

There's some ambiguity about when exactly the early license language stabilized; as Gettys writes, "we weren't very consistent on wording." However, the license that Packard indicates was added to X Version 6 in 1985 appears to have persisted through X Version 11, Release 5. A later version of the license language seems to have been introduced in X Version 11, Release 6 in 1994... But the story doesn't end there. If you look at the license used for X11 and the approved MIT License at the Open Source Initiative (OSI), they're not the same. Similar in spirit, but significantly different in the words used.

The "modern" MIT License is the same as the license used for the Expat XML parser library beginning in about 1998. The MIT License using this text was part of the first group of licenses approved by the OSI in 1999. What's peculiar is that, although the OSI described it as "The MIT license (sometimes called called [sic] the 'X Consortium license')," it is not in fact the same as the X Consortium License. How and why this shift happened -- and even if it happened by accident -- is unknown. But it's clear that by 1999, the approved version of the MIT License, as documented by the OSI, used language different from the X Consortium License.

He points out that to this day, this is why "some, including the Free Software Foundation," avoid the term "MIT License" altogether -- "given that it can refer to several related, but different, licenses."

IBM Halting Sales of Watson AI Tool For Drug Discovery Amid Sluggish Growth (statnews.com) 29

Citing lackluster financial performance, IBM is halting development and sales of a product that uses its Watson AI software to help pharmaceutical companies discover new drugs, news outlet Stat reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the company's internal decision-making. From the report: The decision to shut down sales of Watson for Drug Discovery marks the highest-profile retreat in the company's effort to apply artificial intelligence to various areas of health care. Last year, the company scaled back on the hospital side of its business, and it's struggled to develop a reliable tool to assist doctors in treating cancer patients. In a statement, an IBM spokesperson said, "We are focusing our resources within Watson Health to double down on the adjacent field of clinical development where we see an even greater market need for our data and AI capabilities."

Further reading: IBM Pitched Its Watson Supercomputer as a Revolution in Cancer Care. It's Nowhere Close (September 2017); IBM Watson Reportedly Recommended Cancer Treatments That Were 'Unsafe and Incorrect' (July 2018).
Open Source

SUSE Will Soon Be the Largest Independent Linux Company (qz.com) 57

At SUSECon in Nashville, Tennessee, European Linux power SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann said his company would soon be the largest independent Linux company. "That's because, of course, IBM is acquiring Red Hat," reports ZDNet. "But, simultaneously, SUSE has continued to grow for seven-straight years." From the report: Brauckmann said, "We believe that makes our status as a truly independent open source company more important than ever. Our genuinely open-source solutions, flexible business practices, lack of enforced vendor lock-in, and exceptional service are more critical to customer and partner organizations, and our independence coincides with our single-minded focus on delivering what is best for them." Practically speaking, SUSE has been growing by focusing on delivering high-quality Linux and open-source programs and services to enterprise customers. Looking ahead Brauckmann said, "SUSE is better positioned to bring more innovation to customers and partners faster through both organic growth and acquisitions, keeping us on track to provide them with the open solutions that keep them ahead with their own customers in their own markets. We continue to adapt so our customers and partners can succeed."

Last year SUSE's revenue grew by 15 percent in fiscal year 2018, and the business is about to surpass the $400 million revenue mark for the first time. SUSE, which sees not quite half of its business in Europe, is also seeing revenue growth around the world. North America, for example, now accounts for almost 40 percent of SUSE's revenues. The company is also expanding. SUSE added more than 300 employees in the last 12 months. For the most part this has been in engineering followed by sales and services. SUSE staff is now approaching 1,750 globally and its plans on continuing to hire aggressively.


OS/2 Warp Community Announces It's Merging With the Flat Earth Society (os2world.com) 154

"From now on our communities will merge to became one single point of contact for OS/2 users and people investigating the truth about our planet earth," OS2World announced today.

OS2World's news master martiniturbide, also a Slashdot reader, writes: The OS/2 community expects that this action will benefit the platform by getting the funds to finally create an open source clone of OS/2. OS2World asks every OS/2 user to start believing that the earth is flat to get the "big bucks" that will finally turn the operating system into a Windows 10, Ubuntu, MacOS X and Android competitor in the final OS Wars of all ages.

IBM Accused of Violating Federal Anti-Age Discrimination Law (propublica.org) 127

A group of ex-employees filed a lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of failing to comply with a law requiring companies to disclose the ages of people over 40 who have been laid off. The suit also alleges that the company has improperly prevented workers from combining to challenge their ousters. From a report: It is the second broad legal action against IBM since a 2018 ProPublica story that documented widespread age discrimination by the company in its global restructuring. The former employees are asking the court to invalidate a written agreement that IBM requires its employees to sign to receive severance pay. Under the document's provisions, workers agree to give up any right to challenge their dismissal in court. Until now, most age-related legal actions contesting an IBM layoff have been brought by the rare ex-worker who refused to sign the agreement and left without severance.

If the district court were to agree that IBM's separation agreement is invalid, it could open the company up to lawsuits by tens of thousands of older workers IBM has laid off in recent years. Today's lawsuit and the string of other cases filed in the wake of ProPublica's story face steep odds as a result of decisions by the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts that curtailed workers' ability to challenge employers' staffing decisions. The rationale is to limit what federal judges view as cumbersome, costly cases that hamstring both employers and the courts.


IBM Signs 6 Banks To Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar's XLM Cryptocurrency (coindesk.com) 50

IBM is taking its banking clients a step closer to cryptocurrency. From a report: Announced Monday, six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders -- remittances or foreign exchange -- more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system. So far three of the banks have been identified -- Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil's Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea -- the rest, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros and Indonesian rupiah, "pending regulatory approvals and other reviews," IBM said. The network went live Monday, although while the banks await their regulators' blessings, the one stablecoin running on World Wire at the moment is a previously announced U.S. dollar-backed token created by Stronghold, a startup based in San Francisco.

Quantum Computer Not Ready To Break Public Key Encryption For At Least 10 Years, Some Experts Say (theregister.co.uk) 84

physburn writes: The Register has spoken to some experts to get a better understanding of the risk quantum computers present to the existing encryption systems we have today. Richard Evers, cryptographer for a Canadian security biz called Kryptera, argues that media coverage and corporate pronouncements about quantum computing have left people with the impression that current encryption algorithms will soon become obsolete. But they will not be ready for at least 10 years, he said. As an example, Evers points to remarks made by Arvind Krishna, director of IBM research, at The Churchill Club in San Francisco last May, that those interested in protecting data for at least ten years "should probably seriously consider whether they should start moving to alternate encryption techniques now." In a post Evers penned recently with his business partner Alastair Sweeny, he contends, "The hard truth is that widespread beliefs about security and encryption may prove to be based on fantasy rather than fact." And the reason for this, he suggests, is the desire for funding and fame.

IBM, and Some Other Companies Did Not Inform People When Using Their Photos From Flickr To Train Facial Recognition Systems (nbcnews.com) 105

IBM and some other firms are using at least a million of images they have gleaned from Flickr to help train a facial recognition system. Although the photos in question were shared under a Creative Commons license, many users say they never imagined their images would be used in this way. Furthermore, the people shown in the images didn't consent to anything. From a report: "This is the dirty little secret of AI training sets. Researchers often just grab whatever images are available in the wild," said NYU School of Law professor Jason Schultz. The latest company to enter this territory was IBM, which in January released a collection of nearly a million photos that were taken from the photo hosting site Flickr and coded to describe the subjects' appearance. IBM promoted the collection to researchers as a progressive step toward reducing bias in facial recognition. But some of the photographers whose images were included in IBM's dataset were surprised and disconcerted when NBC News told them that their photographs had been annotated with details including facial geometry and skin tone and may be used to develop facial recognition algorithms. (NBC News obtained IBM's dataset from a source after the company declined to share it, saying it could be used only by academic or corporate research groups.)

"None of the people I photographed had any idea their images were being used in this way," said Greg Peverill-Conti, a Boston-based public relations executive who has more than 700 photos in IBM's collection, known as a "training dataset." "It seems a little sketchy that IBM can use these pictures without saying anything to anybody," he said. John Smith, who oversees AI research at IBM, said that the company was committed to "protecting the privacy of individuals" and "will work with anyone who requests a URL to be removed from the dataset." Despite IBM's assurances that Flickr users can opt out of the database, NBC News discovered that it's almost impossible to get photos removed. IBM requires photographers to email links to photos they want removed, but the company has not publicly shared the list of Flickr users and photos included in the dataset, so there is no easy way of finding out whose photos are included. IBM did not respond to questions about this process.

Open Source

Node.js and JS Foundations Are Merging To Form OpenJS (venturebeat.com) 38

The Linux Foundation today unveiled several major collaborative partnerships as it looks to cement the development of various open source projects that power much of the web. From a report: First off, the Node.js Foundation and the JS Foundation, which the Linux Foundation launched in 2016, are merging to form the OpenJS Foundation. The merger between the two chief organizations that focus on JavaScript comes six months after they publicly began to explore such a possibility with their communities. The OpenJS Foundation will focus on hosting and funding activities that support the growth of JavaScript and web technologies, the Linux Foundation said in a press release.

The OpenJS Foundation consists of 29 open source JavaScript projects including jQuery, Node.js, Appium, Dojo, and webpack. The merger is supported by 30 corporate and end user members including Google, Microsoft, IBM, PayPal, GoDaddy, and Joyent that recognize the "interconnected nature of the JavaScript ecosystem, and the importance of providing a neutral home for projects which represent significant shared value," the Linux Foundation said in a prepared statement.
Also in the report: The Linux Foundation has created CHIPS Alliance, a project that aims to host and curate open source code relevant to design of chips that power mobile, IoT, and other consumer electronic devices; and the Continuous Delivery Foundation, which aims to serve as a platform for vendors, developers, and users to frequently engage and share insights and best practices to spur the development of open source projects.

It also announced that the GraphQL Foundation is collaborating with Joint Development Foundation to encourage "contributions, stewardship, and a shared investment from a broad group in vendor-neutral events, documentation, tools, and support for the data query language."

Cringley's Next 2019 Predictions: Only 3.5 Cloud Players Will Survive (cringely.com) 148

Ten days ago 66-year-old tech pundit Robert Cringely revealed the first of what may be his final set of annual predictions for the technology industry -- but he's not done yet. Thursday Cringely predicted that "the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) solution based on Open Source using Linux will change the Internet-as-a-Service Cloudscape to VPC-only during 2019" -- and that there'll be an industry-wide shakeout.

Long-time Slashdot reader supremebob, a Connecticut-based sys-admin, writes: He seems to believe that IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud and doomed to fail, and Alibaba will only survive because of its strong Chinese presence. These seem like safe predictions, but his comments on Google Cloud are somewhat controversial...
After AWS, Alibaba, and Microsoft, "All the others will eventually disappear," Cringely writes, adding "Remember you read it first here." Google's largest cloud customer will always be Google and that will inevitably lead to poorer service for outside customers. That's why I think of Google Cloud as half of a player. Feel free to prove me wrong by delighting customers, Google... I don't see the marketing effort to help clients migrate. Lots of handholding is needed that IBM and Microsoft are happy to provide. Google does not understand customers whose IQs are sub-200. As such, Google doesn't have (and likely won't) have a history of winning outside of search advertising.

For IBM, their VPC roll-out is coming in the next month or two, but it's more marketing than an actual product. Big Blue simply has no capital to build out a unique offering. And Oracle? Well the new head of Google Cloud came from Oracle, where not enough was happening.

Cringely also predicts the U.S. government will try to force Amazon to spin-off its near-monopoly cloud business, noting that "the larger customers of AWS (those not operating on a credit card) generally hate Amazon because of its ruthless business behavior."

Lots of pressure will come to bear in this case from IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, who are all suffering from a very specific database problem competing with AWS. Each of these companies sells their own database (DB2, SQL Server, and Oracle, respectively) that they've rolled into their cloud services. AWS's RDB, in contrast, is based on MySQL and costs Amazon almost nothing to support, giving the biggest cloud player a clear pricing advantage.

US Tech Firms Fear China Could Be Spying On Them Using Power Cords, Report Says (cnbc.com) 142

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Fearing that China could be spying on them using power cords and plugs, several U.S. technology companies have asked their Taiwanese suppliers to shift production of some components out of the mainland, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday. The report cited unnamed executives from two Taiwanese companies: Lite-On Technology, a manufacturer of electronic parts, and Quanta Computer, a supplier of servers and data centers. Lite-On's clients include Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, while Quanta counts Google and Facebook among its customers, according to Nikkei. The executives told Nikkei that some of their American clients -- without specifying which companies -- asked them to move out of China partly because of cyberespionage and cybersecurity risks. The U.S. tech firms were worried that even mundane components such as power plugs could be tapped by Beijing to access sensitive data, according to the report. According to the report, Lite-On Technology is building a new factory in Taiwan to manufacture power components for servers due to China's cybersecurity concerns. Quanta has also shifted production out of mainland China to Taiwan due to similar concerns, as well as additional tariffs imposed by Washington as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.
The Internet

W3C Approves WebAuthn as the Web Standard For Password-Free Logins (venturebeat.com) 55

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today declared that the Web Authentication API (WebAuthn) is now an official web standard. From a report: First announced by the W3C and the FIDO Alliance in February 2016, WebAuthn is now an open standard for password-free logins on the web. It is supported by W3C contributors, including Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, PayPal, SoftBank, Tencent, and Yubico. The specification lets users log into online accounts using biometrics, mobile devices, and/or FIDO security keys. WebAuthn is supported by Android and Windows 10. On the browser side, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge all added support last year. Apple has supported WebAuthn in preview versions of Safari since December.

Tech Critics Create Powerful Video Responding To IBM's 'Dear Tech' Ad (slate.com) 141

"Technology hasn't fallen short of its promise. Tech companies have," argues Evan Selinger, a philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, reporting on a new "collaborative video response to IBM's Dear Tech Ad" (which was aired during last week's telecast of the Oscar's). Earlier Selinger wrote: [IBM's] infantilizing ad depicts technology as if it were an autonomous person, a benevolent Santa Claus figure that can give great products to all the good little girls and boys if they ask politely.... It all sounds nice. But the message obscures the fact that technology hasn't fallen short of its promise. It's recalcitrant tech companies that need to change. That includes IBM....

IBM isn't alone in this sunny disingenuousness. Its competitors also give lip service to listening to our hopes and dreams while shutting down criticism that's voiced to make things better... A commercial like this one can't avoid being an empty marketing pitch when it represents a contested concept as a clear and unambiguous wish that technology can magically grant just as easily as Santa can satisfy a request for a new smartphone.

So a team of tech critics including Joy Buolamwini of the MIT Media Lab "created an alternative to IBM's ad. It's a provocative, line-by-line, video counterstatement" -- not "Dear Tech," but "Dear Tech Company."

Here are some of its more provocative quotes:

Europe Frightened By US 'Cloud Act', Fearing National Security Risks (straitstimes.com) 182

"A foreign power with possible unbridled access to Europe's data is causing alarm in the region. No, it's not China. It's the U.S.," writes Bloomberg (in an article shared by hackingbear).

"As the U.S. pushes ahead with the 'Cloud Act' it enacted about a year ago, Europe is scrambling to curb its reach." Under the act, all U.S. cloud service providers, from Microsoft and IBM to Amazon -- when ordered -- have to provide American authorities with data stored on their servers, regardless of where it's housed. With those providers controlling much of the cloud market in Europe, the act could potentially give the US the right to access information on large swaths of the region's people and companies.

The U.S. says the act is aimed at aiding investigations. But some people are drawing parallels between the legislation and the National Intelligence Law that China put in place in 2017 requiring all its organisations and citizens to assist authorities with access to information. The Chinese law, which the US says is a tool for espionage, is cited by President Donald Trump's administration as a reason to avoid doing business with companies like Huawei Technologies. "I don't mean to compare US and Chinese laws, because obviously they aren't the same, but what we see is that on both sides, Chinese and American, there is clearly a push to have extraterritorial access to data," said Ms Laure de la Raudiere, a French lawmaker who co-heads a parliamentary cyber-security and sovereignty group. "This must be a wake up call for Europe to accelerate its own, sovereign offer in the data sector."

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