Indonesia blocks Musk's over its X-rated past

ALSO: Japan's government to write docs with AI; 5G boom coming; India denies infosec issues

Asia In Brief Elon Musk's rebadged Twitter,, has been blocked in Indonesia as the domain was formerly used to for websites containing content deemed unsuitable, such as – ahem – adult entertainment and gambling.

The director general of information and public communication at Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo), Usman Kanson, reportedly said last week that the Ministry was working with X/Twitter on the issue, and meanwhile the majority Muslim country's 24 million X/Twitter users are unable to access the site.

"As many as 846,047 online gambling content on websites and social media platforms have had their access cut off by Kominfo from 2018 to 19 July 2023," said Budi Arie, the minister of communication and informatics, at a press conference last week.

He added that the Ministry continues to monitor and terminate access to all forms of online gambling, coordinates with law enforcement officials, and encourages the public to report such content.

Japan plans to have GTP-4 write government correspondence

The Japanese government intends to use the GPT-4 multimodal large language model to assist in clerical work, analysis and for tasks such as generating draft responses to parliamentary questions on a trial basis, according to media reports.

Microsoft and the government of Japan have agreed that the tech giant will provide GPT-4, the AI technology underlying ChatGPT, for government purposes.

The decision requires upgrades to domestic datacenters, which will ensure data is stored onshore can so that confidential information can be retained without legal complications. Local storage also means more Japanese industries can adopt the technology.

"We are pleased to announce the launch of Azure OpenAI Service in the Japan region," a Microsoft Japan spokesperson told The Register.

"We expect that this initiative will address the wide-ranging expectations in Japan regarding the handling of data and will further the utilization of generative AI in the public and private sectors," the spokesperson added.

The data will be fed back through the system to enhance the Japanese language version of the technology, which is known to need a bit of work.

No breach here, says Indian minister responsible for ID-as-a-service

An Indian minister has denied that there has been a breach of the country's national identity system, Adhaar.

"No breach of Aadhaar card holders' data has occurred from the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) maintained by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), in which the database of biometric and demographic information of Aadhaar is maintained. CIDR is not linked to any external database, such as bank databases," railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told parliament last week.

The scheme has been the subject of many security-related scares, as inappropriate access to personal information has sometimes been possible, UIDAI's infosec is believed to be sub-optimal, and individual biometrics data has been attributed previously to multiple individuals.

Meanwhile, India's minister of state for IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, also delivered a denial in parliament last week. The minister reportedly called allegations from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey that the government shut down Twitter services during the 2021 farmer's protest an "outright lie."

Alibaba subsidiary ditches investment in AI company on US blacklist

Alibaba subsidiary Taobao sold [PDF] its entire stake in Chinese AI outfit SenseTime last week.

SenseTime has backers that include Singapore's sovereign fund Temasek, and SoftBank.

SenseTime has been linked to efforts to track and profile the Chinese Muslim minority Uyghur population and has been listed on US export ban registers since 2019

Seven Singapore satellites sling from subcontinent

On Sunday, seven Singapore-made satellites made their way into orbit atop the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The spacecraft was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at around 6:30AM.

Among the satellites were a 350kg radar imaging earth observation satellite called DS-SAR, a nanosatellite from Internet of Things connectivity biz NuSpace, a climate change focused remote sensing nanosatellite built by university students called Galassia-2, and more.

5G connections surge across APAC

5G connections in Asia Pacific are expected to rise from four percent of cellular accounts to over 40 percent by 2030, according to a report published by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

GMSA said the predicted increase is driven by "a fall in the average selling price of 5G devices, rapid network expansion in many countries, and efforts by governments to integrate mobile-enabled technologies into many aspects of society."

Although the region will modernize its cellular networks, the GSMA noted that almost half in the area still lack access to mobile internet.

"The services (42 percent) and manufacturing (34 percent) industries will be the primary beneficiaries of 5G by 2030, driven by applications in smart cities, smart factories and the smart grid," predicted GSMA.

In other news …

The US is suspicious about a rise in Chinese semiconductor exports in 2022, right when Russia needed them.

Meanwhile a US think tank reckons the world needs to keep a closer eye on Chinese AI research, which should be easy enough, right?

Not to be outdone, China's own restrictions on export of essential elements for manufacture of electronic components are pushing prices up – because trade wars go both ways.

And TSMC is building yet another chip fab in northern Taiwan.

India's four big outsourcers are having trouble training staff in AI applications fast enough to meet demand. ®

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