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Tech Giants Join Call for Funding Chip Production

Some of the world's biggest chip buyers, including Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet's Google, are joining top chip-makers such as Intel to create a new lobbying group to press for government chip manufacturing subsidies. From a report: The newly formed Semiconductors in America Coalition, which also includes Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services, said Tuesday it has asked U.S. lawmakers to provide funding for the CHIPS for America Act, for which President Joe Biden has asked Congress to provide $50 billion. "Robust funding of the CHIPS Act would help America build the additional capacity necessary to have more resilient supply chains to ensure critical technologies will be there when we need them," the group said in a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses of the U.S. Congress. A global chip shortage has hit automakers hard, with Ford Motor saying it could halve second-quarter production. Automotive industry groups have pressed the Biden administration to secure chip supply for car factories. But Reuters last week reported administration officials were reluctant to use a national security law to redirect computer chips to automakers because doing so could hurt other industries. The new coalition includes some of those other chip-consuming industries, with members such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Verizon Communications. It cautioned against government actions to favor a single industry such as automakers.

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Intel Unveils Full Tiger Lake-H Processor Line-Up For Higher Performance Laptops

MojoKid writes: In January, Intel officially announced its Tiger Lake-H mobile platform, but today disclosed full details on the new, higher-end variant of Tiger Lake manufactured using 10nm SuperFIN technology, that brings with it a few significant platform enhancements beyond just its clock speed and core count boost. Intel is refreshing the lineup with higher-power and higher-performance Tiger Lake-H45 processors, with up to 8 physical cores (16 threads). In addition, the CPUs feature 20 reconfigurable PCI Express 4.0 lanes attached directly to the processor, which enable PCIe 4.0 NVMe RAID -- a first for any mobile platform. The platform features all of the latest IO and connectivity technologies, like Killer Wi-Fi 6 / 6E, Thunderbolt 4, and support for Resizable BAR. There are an array of consumer and commercial Tiger Lake-H based 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors coming down the pipeline. The top-end consumer SKU is the Core i9-11980HK, which is an 8-core / 16-thread processor, with a base clock of 2.6GHz and maximum turbo clock of 5GHz on one or two cores. What also makes this particular processor interesting is that it is fully unlocked and overclockable via Intel's XTU utility. Intel has shipped millions of units volume to laptop OEMs already and expects to have laptops in market from all of the majors this month.

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FCC Approves $7B Broadband Connectivity Fund

The US Federal Communications Commission has unanimously approved the final rules to implement the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The FCC program will provide funding for schools and libraries across the country to buy laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connections to help students and teachers to access the internet for online learning during the pandemic. From a report: The program is part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. It also follows the FCC approving a plan in February to administer $3.2 billion in emergency relief to subsidize broadband for millions of Americans during the pandemic. That program will provide $50 per month to low-income households and $75 per month to households on Native American lands to cover the cost of broadband services starting May 12. It also provides $100 toward buying a laptop or tablet. "Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households," Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the FCC, said in a statement Monday. "These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare and employment resources. They will help close the homework gap for students nationwide."

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Apple Gave Zoom Access To Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

AmiMoJo writes: Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the app to continue using and accessing the iPad camera while the app is being used in Split View mode. Zoom can do this thanks to an "entitlement," which grants developers the ability to execute a particular capability with an API. As Provost notes, Apple publicly documents the ability for developers to apply for several different entitlements, such as ones related to CarPlay, HomeKit, and more. However, the special API that Zoom has been given is not offered to other developers by Apple, nor is its existence acknowledged by the company itself. On the Zoom Developer Forum, a staff member for the video conferencing platform had confirmed earlier in February that Zoom has access to the "com.apple.developer.avfoundation.multitasking-camera-access," or iPad Camera Multitasking entitlement. Further reading: Apple Offered Special App Store API Access To Hulu and Other Developers.

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Facebook Ordered To Stop Collecting German WhatsApp Data

Facebook was ordered to stop collecting German users' data from its WhatsApp unit, after a regulator in the nation said the company's attempt to make users agree to the practice in its updated terms isn't legal. From a report: Johannes Caspar, who heads Hamburg's privacy authority, issued a three-month emergency ban, prohibiting Facebook from continuing with the data collection. He also asked a panel of European Union data regulators to take action and issue a ruling across the 27-nation bloc. The new WhatsApp terms enabling the data scoop are invalid because they are intransparent, inconsistent and overly broad, he said. "The order aims to secure the rights and freedoms of millions of users which are agreeing to the terms Germany-wide," Caspar said in a statement on Tuesday. "We need to prevent damage and disadvantages linked to such a black-box-procedure." The order strikes at the heart of Facebook's business model and advertising strategy. It echoes a similar and contested step by Germany's antitrust office attacking the network's habit of collecting data about what users do online and merging the information with their Facebook profiles. That trove of information allows ads to be tailored to individual users -- creating a cash cow for Facebook.

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