Maybe it was leap year, maybe it was news overload, but when we told you last week Codebook was taking a break, we were a week off — and so here we are once more in your inbox, with a special 1 big thing contribution from Axios' Erica Pandey.
After today we really are taking a brief break, before Codebook returns with some exciting changes. We'll miss you till then.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The U.S.'s blunt policy of walling itself off from Huawei could backfire, making the Chinese telecom giant even stronger in the long term, Erica Pandey reports.
Why it matters: The grand decoupling of American and Chinese tech amid trade tensions and cybersecurity concerns, of which Huawei is at the center, is pushing China's companies to become increasingly self-reliant. Huawei's progress could position it to take the lead in the global U.S.-China tech race, experts say.
"We could end up ceding ground to global Chinese companies if the United States increasingly fences off access to its tech sector, isolating itself from where innovation is happening around the world," says Samm Sacks, an expert on China and cybersecurity at New America.
Driving the news: The Commerce Department barred American firms from selling to Huawei computer chips that are crucial to building base stations for its new 5G wireless networks — but the Chinese company is learning to live with the ban, Tim Danks, a U.S.-based Huawei executive, told Yahoo Finance.
Yes, but: China had already begun a move toward tech independence long before the U.S. ban on Huawei, building expertise in chips and software to become less reliant on the West, and the U.S. in particular.
The big picture: As Huawei keeps building out networks, even without U.S. chips, it's making headway all over the globe — and bringing Beijing's vision for the internet with it. "We can blacklist companies in this country and wall them off, but they’re going to continue to gain ground in markets across Europe and Asia," Sacks says.
What to watch: American companies are making strides in 5G, but have yet to provide the world with a compelling alternative to Huawei, says Sacks. Its chief competitors in the 5G market are Ericsson and Nokia.
Still, China has not secured a definitive lead, Jim Lewis, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Policymakers in D.C. are targeting Huawei and other Chinese-owned companies because they're trying to thread the needle between protecting U.S. security and avoiding wider disruption of the two nations' interdependent economies, Axios' Kyle Daly reports.
The big picture: A new wave of proposals in Congress is turning TikTok, Huawei and other specific companies into proxies in Washington's broader power struggle with Beijing.
What's new: Sen. Josh Hawley will soon introduce a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government devices, he announced at a Wednesday hearing centered on Chinese technological threats.
Yes, but: Breaking up with China isn't easy.
Meanwhile: China's enormous middle class has become a major market for U.S. companies like Apple. China, like many other countries, also continues to rely heavily on the U.S. for software, hardware components and other tech.
Tech and telecom firms have become lawmakers' first stop in targeting China for three reasons:
What's next: Coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions may soon end up teaching American companies more about how to get along without Chinese counterparts than any congressional mandate.
When the popular free-stock-trading app Robinhood went offline Monday and Tuesday, Twitter wags immediately opined that programmers must have failed to account for this year's quadrennial Leap Day, which fell on Saturday.
But it wasn't a bad guess. Calendar quirks have always been a predictable source of software bugs. We think of the measurement of time as a science, but it is also a human art, encrusted with customs, exceptions and historical quirks.
Y2K: Two decades ago, a bug associated with the flip of the millennium counter threatened a Y2K doomsday that never materialized, whether because the danger had been overhyped or because freaked-out companies hauled enough COBOL programmers out of retirement to fix everything.
2038: Today, Unix programmers are already preparing for the "Year 2038 bug." Some versions of Unix will break in that year as the number of seconds that have passed since Unix time began in 1970 grows too big to hold in a 32-bit register.
Daylight savings time: The clock's seasonal adjustments used to cause many systems to throw fits. Modern systems handle them smoothly, for the most part — but every time the clocks move forward or back, the brains of your local sysadmins, IT crews, and tech-support teams ache from their old war wounds.
What's next: The U.S. moves its clocks forward this coming weekend. Everybody ready?
Georgia closed an investigation into its governor's accusation that Democrats had hacked state voter registration systems, concluding there was no evidence to support the charge.
Catch up fast: Two days before the polls opened in the 2018 Georgia governor's race, Brian Kemp, then Georgia's secretary of state in charge of overseeing the election, made his explosive charge.
Kemp was also the Republican candidate for governor in the election he was overseeing. He went on to beat Democrat Stacey Abrams by a slim margin of a little over 1%.
Now, 16 months later, a state attorney's general investigation reports there was zero evidence for Kemp's charges, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Democrats say the accusation was a lie intended to suppress votes. Kemp's office continues to refer to the incident as a "failed cyber intrusion."
One face-plant thing: The investigation reported that there was indeed an attempt at breaking into the state's election systems — by the Department of Homeland Security, which was asked to perform such tests by Kemp's office.
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