IT Strategy

Three big IT stories around the world you might have missed

A digest of tech news from around the globe in the last month.
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· 4 min read

Time flies, and so does IT news across the globe. IT Brew rounded up three of the most interesting international tech news stories in the last month.

NSO Group must give up Pegasus code

Israeli cyber-espionage firm NSO Group must give WhatsApp access to source code for its Pegasus spyware, a US district court judge ruled.

NSO has earned a dubious reputation after media organizations and nonprofits like the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab repeatedly flagged Pegasus’s use by authoritarian governments to attack journalists, activists, and others. In 2019, WhatsApp owner Facebook (now Meta) sued NSO after concluding that the firm had exploited a vulnerability in the chat app to infect over 1,400 phones with malware.

According to TechRadar, US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that WhatsApp was entitled to “information concerning the full functionality of the relevant spyware,” granting it access to source code for Pegasus and other malware from April 2018 to May 2020. The order allows NSO Group to keep the identities of clients and other data like server architectures confidential.

A spokesperson for WhatsApp told the Guardian the ruling is an “important milestone in our long-running goal of protecting WhatsApp users against unlawful attacks,” while NSO declined to comment. NSO has long insisted government clients are responsible for any abuse of its products.

Citizen Lab senior research fellow Bill Marczak challenged that argument at SANS Cyber Threat Intelligence Summit earlier this year, telling attendees mercenary spyware vendors do not “sell a product and forget it” but offer “ongoing support, ongoing maintenance, without which the product is essentially useless.”

India to require government approval of AI models

India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT issued an advisory to tech firms in early March requiring “significant” companies to get government approval to launch new AI models, TechCrunch reported. The advisory also asks companies to ensure their models do not enable discrimination or compromise electoral processes, as well as label products for “possible and inherent fallibility or unreliability.”

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The advisory is not legally binding, TechCrunch wrote, yet deputy IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said it matches future regulation and urged firms to “comply with it.” As recently as a year ago, the ministry expressed no intent to regulate AI, calling it a “kinetic enabler of the digital economy and innovation ecosystem.”

According to Reuters, in late February, Chandrasekhar accused Google’s Gemini AI tool of violating several regulations and laws after it issued an answer stating Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had backed policies “some experts have characterized as fascist.”

The advisory surprised AI industry execs both in India and Silicon Valley, TechCrunch reported, with Kisan AI founder Pratik Desai tweeting it was “terrible and demotivating.”

Digital Markets Act to kick in throughout EU

Some of the US’s biggest tech firms—like Apple, Google, and Microsoft—have had to scramble to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which went into effect in early March, the New York Times reported.

The law is intended to cajole tech companies of a certain scale into allowing smaller rivals greater access to their users, and has resulted in changes like Microsoft disabling Bing search by default or Apple allowing rival app stores and payment systems.

As it stands, the rules currently cover some social networks, “intermediation” services, ad delivery systems, operating systems, communications services operated by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft, as well as Google search and YouTube.

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.