President Trump signs executive order temporarily suspending work visas for H-1B holders

Tech Crunch | June 23, 2020

President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting work visas like the H-1B visa program for highly-skilled workers, cutting off a critical source of foreign labor for tech companies already complaining about tech talent shortages. Visa-holders already in the U.S. and those applicants who have already received a visa are exempt from the ban. The restrictions are intended to last until the end of the year, which would disrupt the government’s typical process of awarding new visas at the beginning of the national fiscal calendar in October. Officials from the Trump administration told the Wall Street Journal that the move is intended to protect American jobs, but executives in the technology industry have long warned that visa restrictions would hurt the nation’s ability to compete in industries that have both strategic and financial significance as engines of economic growth.

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

Germany to Create Its First Quantum Computing Business Cloud

Germany Trade & Invest | November 14, 2022

Germany's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has contracted software company QMWare and cloud specialist IONOS, together with the University of Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer FOKUS research institute, to construct a platform for quantum computing applications for German industry. The cloud will be the first of its kind in the country. The project, called SeQenC, will run for three years and is part of the ministry's "Digital Technologies for Business" support program. The ministry will be investing tens of millions of euros, although no exact figure was named. During the project's three-year span, selected partner companies from industry and the wider economy will be invited to test out applications in sectors such as telecommunications, logistics, finance, automotive and energy. The project is the latest in a series of quantum computing initiating to come from the BMWK. In late September, the ministry announced that it would put EUR 14 million into a quantum processer prototype developed on the basis of photonic systems. The BMWK has pledged to invest EUR 740 million in quantum computing as a whole. "The German government's investment indicate how serious it is about quantum computing in Germany, Such initiatives not only create superior conditions for businesses active in Germany. They also show that niches are arising for international quantum computing businesses to come to Europe's largest economy and profit from this exciting transformation." -Asha-Maria Sharma, computing industry expert at the German government agency Germany Trade & Invest. Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is the economic promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. GTAI supports German companies setting up in foreign markets, promotes Germany as a business location and assists foreign companies setting up shop in Germany.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS,CYBERSECURITY

SentinelOne Announces Membership with CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency | January 17, 2023

SentinelOne, an autonomous cybersecurity solution provider, recently announced that it joined the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC). The membership further supports the US Government's strategy to protect the cyber ecosystem and critical infrastructure. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) founded JCDC in 2021. The collaborative aims to unite the international cyber community and defend cyberspace. SentinelLabs and SentinelOne's autonomous cybersecurity platforms will aid JCDC in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data on cyber threats. SentinelOne will lend its insights and support to JCDC's strategic planning and offer advice as part of the partnership. As a result, JCDC will have unprecedented insight into new threats through this collaboration, allowing them to prevent attacks even before they happen. SentinelLabs is a top-tier team of security researchers dedicated to discovering and analyzing critical vulnerabilities, attack vectors, malware strains, and threat actors. "JCDC goes beyond other public-private partnerships, delivering collaborative engagement between the nation's top cyber minds with a focus on planning, action, and mitigation. With exceptional speed, scale and intelligence, our team and technology will play a crucial role in the organization's continued success. We have partnered closely with CISA for years and look forward to continuing that relationship, helping protect the world's most critical assets and information," said Jared Phipps, SVP of Americas Sales and Solution Engineering. (Source: Business Wire) About Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) established JCDC in August 2021 to transform traditional public-private partnerships into real-time private-public operational collaboration and shift the paradigm from reacting to threats and vulnerabilities to proactively planning and taking steps to mitigate them. The company leads the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to its cyber and physical infrastructure. Its multi-faceted mission is home to more than 15 career fields including business administration, cybersecurity, program management, communications, and data science.

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