IT Strategy

Three big IT stories around the world you might have missed

A roundup of some of the biggest IT-related news stories internationally.
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· 3 min read

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From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.

It’s already tough to keep track of the pace of news in 2024—but we’ve got your back. IT Brew rounded up three of January’s most interesting tech news stories from around the world.

RIP floppy bureaucracy

It’s time once and for all to stop copying those floppies. The government of Japan is dropping requirements that citizens and businesses use floppy disks when submitting forms for around 1,900 government procedures.

In 2022, Digital Minister Taro Kono declared war on the government’s widespread use of floppy disks for bureaucratic procedures as part of a wider govtech modernization initiative. According to Ars Technica, the latest announcement also covers similar requirements mandating the use of CD-ROMs. Floppy disks and standard CD-ROMs max out at 1.44mb and 700mb of storage respectively.

According to The Register, one of the only remaining businesses that sells floppy disks is the US-based Floppydisk.com, which more or less relies on finding abandoned stocks in warehouses across the globe. Owner Tom Persky told the site he didn’t see the Japanese government decision as a threat, as there are a “significant number of hobbyists and industrial users that will continue to use floppy disks over the next years.”

EU upgrades security

The European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, has adopted a cybersecurity certification scheme which will “establish a standard set of rules and procedures on how to certify information and communication technology (ICT) products in their life cycle,” Silicon Republic reported.

While the certification framework is voluntary, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a statement it will “ensure that the products that we use in some of the most sensitive environments, like routers and ID cards, are cybersecure.” European regulators will publish the scheme “shortly,” after which it will pass into effect within 20 days.

The framework is designed to complement the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), a law which will soon require every internet-enabled hardware and software product sold throughout Europe to meet a set of cybersecurity standards. The CRA requires manufacturers to provide security updates throughout a device’s life cycle; compliant devices will have a special CE marking on their packaging.

China’s dip in flipped chips

The number of chips imported into the Chinese market underwent a significant contraction throughout 2023, likely due to a combination of economic factors and US sanctions.

Bloomberg reported in mid-January the total value of integrated circuits imported into the Chinese economy dropped from $413 billion to $394.4 billion, a 15.4% decrease. Though many chipmakers saw decreased sales in 2023, shipment volume to China also declined by 10.8%, which Tom’s Hardware noted is an indicator Chinese firms are struggling to acquire more valuable categories of equipment like high-end graphics cards and AI chips used to train machine learning algorithms.

A US government review last year found many Chinese firms managed to hoard stockpiles of powerful 14nm chips with relative ease, despite US sanctions designed to choke off the supply from manufacturers like Nvidia.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.