AI giants pledge to ensure the technology’s safety, security, and trustworthiness

Representatives from leading AI companies (Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI) gathered at the White House on July 21 for the announcement of their voluntary commitment to “help move toward safe, secure, and transparent development of AI technology.” According to a White House statement, the companies have made commitments to ensuring products are safe before introducing them to the public, building systems that put security first, and earn the public’s trust.

Bipartisan infrastructure act includes billions for regional innovation

Congress passed the bipartisan infrastructure framework, formally, the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it the week of Nov. 15. While small as a percentage of the trillion-dollar total, there are a number of proposed items that can support regional innovation economies, with broadband being the highest funded. Other proposals of interest include funding that will stimulate demand for clean energy innovations, further cybersecurity development and reauthorizing the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Regional innovation highlights in infrastructure bill

Editor’s note: The Senate passed the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act on Aug. 10, 2021. This article has been updated to reflect the final amendments and new information on next steps for the legislation.

Cybercrime and internet fraud losses total in the billions in 2020

Over the course of 2020, Americans reported a total of $4.2 billion in losses due to internet fraud and cybercrime, an increase from the $3.5 billion reported in 2019. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center experienced a record number of reports surrounding cybercrime and internet fraud: 791,790 total complaints were filed throughout 2020, a 69 percent increase from 2019. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s recently released Internet Crime Report 2020 also finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new targets for internet criminals as both individuals and businesses reported online financial crimes surrounding the CARES Act stimulus funds, including the Paycheck Protection Program and unemployment insurance fraud.

Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute to help secure America’s manufacturing sector

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) will be led by the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). CyManII will lead a national consortium with partners from industry, universities, and three DOE National Laboratories (Idaho, Oak Ridge, and Sandia). Its focus: to make U.S. manufacturing more energy efficient and cyber secure by tackling two key obstacles in manufacturing: securing automation and securing supply chain networks. Over five years, the institute will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding, subject to appropriations, and will be matched by over $40 million in private cost-share commitments.

DOE announces $70 M for cybersecurity institute for energy efficient manufacturing

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $70 million for a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation. This institute will focus on early-stage research for advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing.

Questions for economic developers on cybersecurity and AI

The World Economic Forum (WEF) identified cybersecurity breaches along with environmental degradation caused by human-induced climate change, as the top two risks to the global economy over the next 10 years, according to the 2018 Global Risks Report, the Forum’s annual survey of nearly 1,000 experts from across the planet.  With evidence mounting of Russian hacking of the U.S. elections in 2016, increasingly common cyberattacks on the mega databanks of several of the country’s largest corporations, and computer viruses growing more serious in their potential disruption, the WEF concerns seem justified.

Growing strain on global systems heightens risks

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest survey of more than 1,000 experts and decision makers on the likelihood and impact of 30 global risks over a 10-year period found four areas of concern: environmental degradation; cybersecurity breaches; economic strains; and geopolitical tensions. Despite experiencing a year-long global economic recovery, the survey revealed that respondents are pessimistic about the year ahead (59 percent say they expect an increase in risk for the year, compared to 7 percent who expect declining risks). The report cautions that we are struggling to keep up with the pace of change and are pushing systems to the brink.

DHS Announces $40M to Support Cybersecurity Focused COEs, Free Cybersecurity Training for Vets

In August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced over $40 million in available federal funding for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Homeland Security Quantitative Analysis via two federal funding opportunities (FFO). DHS will commit up to $40 million to an institution of higher education to act as the lead center for a network of COEs. In addition, DHS also is accepting applications for potential partners to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities. The proposed COEs will conduct end user-focused research to enhance the application of analytic tools that support real-time decision making and address homeland security-related threats and hazards. The deadline for submitting proposals is November 1. DHS also announced that it will provide free cybersecurity training and certification prep courses to military veterans through a new partnership with Hire our Heroes– a nonprofit focused on providing workforce services to transitioning military members.

NIST to Fund National Cybersecurity Network; Other Nations Invest in Cybersecurity R&D

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a federal funding opportunity (FFO) to establish and sustain up to eight Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnerships to Stimulate (RAMPS) Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development. Through this announcement, NIST will commit up to $1.6 million for state or regional consortiums that identify cybersecurity workforce development pathways that address local workforce needs. Although lead organizations must be a nonprofit or institution of higher education, NIST encourages public-private partnerships with industry and local governments. Proposals are due July 12, 2016.


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