Exclusive: U.S. senators want stiff sanctions to deter Russia election meddling

Reuters | April 03, 2019

U.S. Republican and Democratic senators will introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to deter Russia from meddling in U.S. elections by threatening stiff sanctions on its banking, energy and defense industries and sovereign debt. Known as the “Deter Act,” the legislation is the latest effort by U.S. lawmakers to ratchet up pressure on Moscow over what they see as a range of bad behavior, from its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s civil war to attempts to influence U.S. elections. The measure will be introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican. They offered a similar measure last year, when it also had bipartisan support but was never brought up for a vote by the Senate’s Republican leaders, who have close ties to President Donald Trump.

Spotlight

Digital modernization refers to the process of utilizing technology, whether through adoption of new tools or the improvement of existing ones, to achieve organizational goals. This can include enhancing the user experience, ensuring high uptime, implementing robust security measures, reducing latency, and streamlining processes for resolving issues. All levels of government are going through a digital transformation to deliver services and programs more effectively,transparently, and economically.To meet the demands of citizens who have adapted to the technological advancements in society, digital government transformation has become a vital aspect of providing efficient and effective services. However, one of the biggest hurdles in this process for federal agencies is striking a balance between leveraging technology for its benefits and maintaining robust security and privacy measures. Federal agencies handle confidential information regularly, making it imperative to safeguard against data breaches. Consequently, agencies must ensure that their digital systems and procedures are secure and adhere to relevant regulatory requirements.

Spotlight

Digital modernization refers to the process of utilizing technology, whether through adoption of new tools or the improvement of existing ones, to achieve organizational goals. This can include enhancing the user experience, ensuring high uptime, implementing robust security measures, reducing latency, and streamlining processes for resolving issues. All levels of government are going through a digital transformation to deliver services and programs more effectively,transparently, and economically.To meet the demands of citizens who have adapted to the technological advancements in society, digital government transformation has become a vital aspect of providing efficient and effective services. However, one of the biggest hurdles in this process for federal agencies is striking a balance between leveraging technology for its benefits and maintaining robust security and privacy measures. Federal agencies handle confidential information regularly, making it imperative to safeguard against data breaches. Consequently, agencies must ensure that their digital systems and procedures are secure and adhere to relevant regulatory requirements.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Borqs to Establish with the U.S. Government a Plan to Divest its Ownership of Holu Hou Energy Due to Deemed Critical Technology

Borqs | December 20, 2022

Borqs Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: BRQS, “Borqs”, or the “Company”), a global provider of 5G wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and innovative clean energy, today announced the Company has received a letter dated December 13, 2022 (the “Letter”) from the Department of the Treasury on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) stating that the Company is required to negotiate with CFIUS to fully divest its ownership interests and rights in Holu Hou Energy LLC (“HHE”) due to HHE solar energy storage system and EnergyShare technology for Multi-Dwelling Residential Units (“MDU’s”) being deemed a critical technology and therefore a potential national security risk. As stated in the Letter, HHE is considered a top ten solar energy storage supplier in Hawaii, has only been increasing its dominant market share, expects to grow at an exponential rate, and focuses on multi-family dwelling units which are common in military housing. Due to Borqs’ IoT software development and hardware sourcing capabilities in China, CFIUS is concerned that through Borqs, the PRC could gain significant visibility and exert influence over HHE’s business operations and get access to HHE critical technology. CFIUS is requiring the Company to design a plan to mitigate all identified national security risks to the satisfaction of CFIUS. Borqs intends to comply to the requirements from CFIUS and enter into a National Security Agreement with various departments of the U.S. Government with a plan that is effective, monitorable and verifiable to voluntarily divest Borqs’ investment interests and rights in HHE (the “Plan”). HHE’s commercialization of its solar energy storage system and novel EnergyShare technology for MDU’s has enabled the company to open up a new market segment for renewable energy in the USA - likely worth several billions of dollars. In the last year the Company’s MDU development pipeline has reached thousands of individual units in Hawaii alone, with California MDU potential being at least one to two orders of magnitude higher in the coming years. One segment of this new market is for communities of military and other government personnel. The overall MDU opportunity is significant for the company and significant for the USA. Since Borqs’ financial support in HHE starting from October 2021, HHE has signed approximately $50 million in contracts and has a growing pipeline approaching half a billion dollars. We believe this voluntary mitigation will enable the tremendous inherent value of HHE to be realized and that the divestment can be a profitable transaction for Borqs’ shareholders. The Plan to mitigate will include engaging a nationally recognized investment bank with experience in administering competitive sales and auction processes, assigning and hiring of security and monitoring personnel to directly communicate with CFIUS, immediate and complete removal of all Borqs administrative and technical influence over HHE, immediate voluntary reduction of Borqs ownership of HHE from a majority to a minority position and with the target of divesting all. The Company believes such points will enable the Company to accomplish the divestment in an orderly manner. About Borqs Technologies, Inc. Borqs Technologies is a global leader in software and products for the IoT, providing customizable, differentiated and scalable Android-based smart connected devices and cloud service solutions. Borqs has achieved leadership and customer recognition as an innovative end-to-end IoT solutions provider leveraging its strategic chipset partner relationships as well as its broad software and IP portfolio. Borqs’ unique strengths include its Android and Android Wear Licenses which enabled the Company to develop a software IP library covering chipset software, Android enhancements, domain specific usage and system performance optimization, suitable for large and low volume customized products, and is also currently in development of 5G products for phones and hotspots. The Company acquired controlling shares of the solar energy storage system entity, Holu Hou Energy LLC, in October 2021. About Holu Hou Energy, LLC Holu Hou Energy, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, brings state-of-the-art renewable energy and energy storage systems to the Single-Family Residential, Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential and Commercial building markets. With operations in California, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Shanghai, HHE engineers proprietary storage system and control platform solutions, including a breakthrough “HHE Energy Share” technology that is key to development of the Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential housing market. HHE is a vital partner for investors and asset owners that are seeking ESG solutions.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Borough of Caldwell Joins Community of Local Buyers with the New Jersey Purchasing Group

Bidnet Direct | November 28, 2022

Today, the Borough of Caldwell announces it has joined the New Jersey Purchasing Group, a regional purchasing community by Bidnet Direct. Local government agencies throughout New Jersey utilize the purchasing group for bid and vendor management. The Borough of Caldwell invites all potential vendors to register online with the New Jersey Purchasing Group to access its upcoming solicitations by visiting http://www.bidnetdirect.com/new-jersey/caldwellnj. The Borough of Caldwell joins the New Jersey Purchasing Group and the community of over 50 participating local government agencies located throughout New Jersey. Along with a variety of bid and vendor management solutions, the Borough of Caldwell gains access to a bid library to help with bid creation, a shared pool of vendors, and association with like-minded purchasing professionals in the area. Vendors interested in doing business with the Borough of Caldwell are encouraged to register at http://www.bidnetdirect.com/new-jersey/caldwellnj. Benefits of joining the New Jersey Purchasing Group include: Centralized location for bids from approximately 54 participating agencies Bid alerts customized to the vendors’ products or services Reliable and timely delivery of notifications, addenda and documents The New Jersey Purchasing Group is one of Bidnet Direct’s regional purchasing groups throughout the country. It provides the Borough of Caldwell a bid and vendor management solution, document and addendum distribution, and tracking of all activity throughout the procurement process. About the Borough of Caldwell: Please visit the Borough of Caldwell’s website to explore the history and structure of the Borough. Our History - Caldwell, New Jersey About Bidnet Direct: Bidnet Direct, powered by mdf commerce, is a sourcing solution of regional purchasing groups available at no cost to local government agencies throughout the country. Bidnet Direct runs regional purchasing groups, including the New Jersey Purchasing Group, across all 50 states that are used by over 1,600 local governments.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY,CYBERSECURITY

Avenu Completes Acquisition of Government Payment Solutions Provider, Interware

Avenu Insights & Analytics | January 20, 2023

In a recent announcement, Avenu Insights & Analytics, a firm specializing in administration and revenue enhancement solutions for governments, has acquired Interware Development Company Inc, a cloud-based payment solutions provider for local governments. Interware's industry-leading payment processing solutions offer Avenu's existing customers a new, centralized payment platform. Avenu and Interware will jointly deliver software and services that boost government capabilities and enhance the overall citizen experience. The state and local governments will be able to collect permitting and licensing, utilities and tax revenue more efficiently through this integrated platform. Interware's dynamic payment solutions, combined with Avenu's advanced sales & marketing framework helps bring together existing third-party payment processing providers. This results in an optimized and uniform level of service which transforms the government's ability to tackle the rapid rise in workflow processes that restricts staff productivity and resources, ultimately affecting efficiency. With shared resources and an integrated strategy, the combined company will be able to offer its customers more services and greater technical expertise. Paul Colangelo, CEO of Avenu, said, "Governments are seeing an increasing need for an integrated payment solution software offering to streamline their administrative and budget activities and automate workflow processes." He adds, "The combination of Avenu and Interware will provide governments with a centralized solution to maximize their efficiency while shaping a more robust citizen experience." (Source – Business Wire) About Avenu Insights & Analytics Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Centreville (Virginia), Avenu Insights & Analytics offers a broad range of solutions and services to more than 3,000 local and state government clients across the country. The company's services include Clearview Pension Administration Solution (CPAS) - the first ISO 9001 registered pension software, IT project management, compliance auditing, tax administration, and much more. Avenu delivers software solutions that digitally transform government customers by providing online access to records, modernizing processes, and lowering costs.

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