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Blockchain regulator to also look into AI, big data and IOT - junior minister

Maltese government signs MOU with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei

Dr Schembri (left) with Huawei company representatives. Photo: DOI/Omar Camilleri

Dr Schembri (left) with Huawei company representatives. Photo: DOI/Omar Camilleri

A newly-created watchdog tasked with regulating Malta’s blockchain sector will also be developing frameworks for other disruptive technologies, parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri has said.

The Malta Digitial Innovation Authority would be delving into “AI [artificial intelligence], IoT [Internet of Things], Quantum technology, and big data,” Dr Schembri said.

The authority was set up to regulate locally-based businesses working with smart contracts and distributed ledger technology, or blockchain. It was established as part of Malta’s push to become a leader in the DLT space.

Dr Schembri was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Chinese tech giant Huawei. The MOU is aimed at sustaining academic research while addressing real-world challenges related to public safety, data processing, video analytics and ICT systems.

As part of the MOU, Maltese students will have the chance to undergo two weeks of ICT training in China.

“The memorandum of understanding is a clear sign of Huawei’s commitment in boosting innovation. We are here acknowledging the strategic nature of 5G wireless technology as an enabler for innovative applications, new business models, and investment”, Dr Schembri said.

Huawei CEO Thomas Miao said that Huawei "is committed to support the Maltese government vision and be a leader in the digital sector. We believe in Malta”.

The MOU signing was followed by a Huawei 5G demo truck roadshow, where one could see 5G life network and real demo cases. 

Huawei is a Fortune Global 500 firm and one of the world's largest mobile phone manufacturers, with revenues topping $92 billion in 2017. Its reputed links to the Chinese government have prompted suspicion among some Western governments, which have cited espionage concerns about the company. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims.  

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