Circuit Break Podcast #432: Remote Ownership

Podcast Title: Remote Ownership

Release Date: 2024-05-24

Episode: #432

In this episode of Circuit Break, Parker Dillmann and Stephen Kraig discuss the recent increase in semiconductor tariffs and its impact on the electronics industry. Parker shares insights from his latest article analyzing how these tariffs affect bill of materials costs. The hosts also dive into a compelling news story about ASML and TSMC’s ability to disable chip machines remotely in the event of geopolitical conflicts, particularly if China invades Taiwan. They explore the ethical implications and security concerns surrounding this capability. Personal project updates include Parker’s work on Python scripting to automate data extraction from invoices.

Podcast Audio:

Podcast Notes:


  • Recent increase in semiconductor tariffs and its potential impact on bill of materials costs.
  • ASML and TSMC’s ability to remotely disable chip machines in case of geopolitical conflicts.

Key Discussion Points

  • Analysis of the new semiconductor tariffs and their impact on BOM costs.
  • Breakdown of HTS codes and country of origin data for electronic components.
  • Discussion on engineers’ shifting component choices to avoid tariffs.
  • Insights into historical trends in component pricing and sourcing.
  • ASML and TSMC’s ability to remotely disable chip machines in case of geopolitical conflicts.
  • Ethical and security implications of remote shutdown capabilities.
  • Speculative discussion on backdoors and right to repair in the context of high-tech manufacturing equipment.
  • Personal project updates: Python scripting for data extraction and automation.

Relevant Links

Community Questions

  • What are your thoughts on the ethical implications of remotely disabling manufacturing equipment in other countries?
  • How do you see the impact of the increased semiconductor tariffs affecting your projects or business?
  • Have you noticed any trends in component pricing or sourcing that have influenced your engineering decisions?

One thing I was considering during the podcast was the requirement for spare parts and service in factory equipment.

Given the cost of parts for EUV machines I doubt they have any kind of inventory built up. Assuming no part inventory, if ASML stopped delivering spare parts, how long could TSMC realistically keep the machine operational?

Even without a remote kill, I get the IP theft risk but I doubt they could keep the lines operational for even 1 quarter after breaking ties due to whatever geopolitical conflicts happen to have occurred. That definitely bounds the usefulness of capturing them, for productive purposes, I would think. For destructive purposes on the other hand…

Depends on if the parts are easy to duplicate or not. I would assume that the CCP is trying to reverse engineer as much as they can to reduce there risks.