Displaying items by tag: Data

US Congress pass bill to protect customer data

Written on Monday, 17 December 2018 07:54

Fifteen Democratic senators have proposed a new bill for protecting online information.

The Data Care Act creates new rules around how companies handle the data of customers. Data collectors would be required to ‘reasonably secure’ information and to ‘not use individual identifying data in ways that harm users’. It requires data collectors to give adequate notice to consumers about breaches of sensitive information.

If data collectors share or sell data with a third party, it would give the FTC the authority to fine companies that act deceptively.

It is just one of many proposals that members of Congress have put forward to regulate the tech industry. Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden proposed a bill that would send executives who mishandle data to prison.

Privacy activists have welcomed the bill, believing online personal data should be handled in the same regard as bank or medical records. EFF legislative analyst India McKinney said in a statement that the organization will “look forward to working with the Senator to improve his bill and to advance information fiduciary protections that will meet the needs of Internet users and adequately safeguard consumer data privacy as a part of comprehensive privacy legislation.”

The bill comes after Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before a committee earlier this week. He was questioned on data privacy during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

Published in Government

Facebook embroiled in new data sharing claims

Written on Thursday, 14 June 2018 09:10

Beleaguered social media behemoth Facebook has been subjected to further scrutiny over its data sharing policies following a report by the Wall Street Journal.  The WSJ has claimed that Facebook offered deeper access to user records in a series of customized data sharing deals.

According to the report in the New York-based publication the Silicon Valley based social networking firm struck agreements, known internally as whitelists with a small group of companies which allowed access to users’ data which included connections, phone numbers and a metric that measures the closeness of a user with other users in its network.

When quizzed about these agreements and whitelists by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook acknowledged the deals which included agreements with enterprises such as the Royal Bank of Canada and Japanese car manufacturer Nissan, among others.

It was further alleged that the access was offered to companies which advertise on the social network or were valuable for other reasons, the newspaper said. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that Facebook continued to offer such access for periods lasting weeks and months after declaring it had cut off access to third party developers in 2015.

Company officials told WSJ Facebook struck the deals to improve user experience, test new features and allow certain partners to wind down existing data sharing projects. The latest revelation is the latest in a string of publicly damaging setbacks for the company, which faced fierce criticism in recent months over its data sharing activities.

Last week, Facebook’s data sharing practices with 60 device makers, including China-headquartered vendors, was flagged by a US politician. The company is also attempting to deal with the fallout of revelations in March that it shared data of 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica. It was also announced last week that Instagram had overtaken Facebook amongst teenagers and young adults.

Published in Apps

Nokia partners with Vodafone Qatar on network modernization

Written on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 10:06

Nokia and Vodafone Qatar are modernizing Vodafone Qatar's core network using Nokia virtualized applications to meet growing high-quality voice and data demands of customers living in and visiting Qatar.

The modernization of the network will provide increased capacity, scalability, flexibility and performance in the delivery of services such as high-definition Voice over LTE (VoLTE) to Vodafone Qatar's more than 1.4 million mobile subscribers.
Nokia began deployment in November 2017, leveraging its hardware, NFV applications and global services expertise. The first test call was completed in March 2018 and Nokia will complete the deployment in 2019. As part of the agreement, Nokia will provide care services for five years and managed services for 20 months.

Ramy Boctor, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Qatar, said: "We are working with Nokia to deploy virtualized core network capabilities that will enable us to provide world-class services. Our aim is to deliver superior customer services leveraging this 'Telco over Cloud core' network."

Deon Geyser, head of South Africa and Vodafone (SAV) Market Unit at Nokia, said: "We are pleased to continue a long-standing relationship working with Vodafone Qatar on this Telco over cloud core modernization project. With a history of proven deployments in the field, we are able to leverage our breadth of cloud core capabilities and services expertise to deliver a network that will deliver new flexibilities in the delivery of services such as VoLTE."

Published in Telecom Operators

Huawei denies collecting data from Facebook users

Written on Thursday, 07 June 2018 08:39

Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei has vehemently denied that it collected data from Facebook users after the Silicon Valley social media colossus confirmed that it granted the Chinese smartphone manufacturer with access to user information.

Huawei has been deemed a threat to national security in the United States by a number of leading US intelligence officials and Republican congressman. The Chinese vendor has been subjected to intense scrutiny over the last few months, and this latest revelation by Facebook will only serve to heighten concerns over national security.

Facebook confirmed that Huawei along with several other companies was allowed to access Facebook data to get the world’s leading social network to perform on its smartphones. Following a fierce backlash in the US congress, Facebook mobile partnerships leader Francisco Varela has leapt to the defense of Huawei, saying that the information utilized by the Chinese vendor was stored on the device and not on Huawei’s servers.

Varela said, “Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones. Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers.”

A spokesperson for Huawei told AFP that it cooperated with Facebook as part of a concerted effort to improve user services, and strongly denied it collected or stored the data of users. In addition to this, it also rubbished claims it had any links to the Chinese government and dismissed fears in the US over national security.

The spokesperson said, “Like all leading smartphone providers, Huawei worked with Facebook to make Facebook's services more convenient for users. Huawei has never collected or stored any Facebook user data. Our infrastructure and computing products are used in 170 countries and we’ve worked hard to become a trusted ICT provider for our customers.”

US Senator Mark Warner, who is also vice-chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence, expressed his concern regarding the revelations by Facebook that Huawei had access to users’ data.

Warner said, “Concerns about Huawei aren't new. I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers."

Contracts with phone makers placed tight limits on what could be done with data, and "approved experiences" were reviewed by engineers and managers before being deployed - according to the social network.  Facebook said it does not know of any privacy abuse by phone makers who years ago were able to gain access to personal data on users and their friends. 

Published in Telecom Vendors

China Telecom and Huawei complete world’s first 400GE test

Written on Thursday, 19 October 2017 07:14

China Telecom Guangzhou Research Institute and Huawei said results of the world's first 400GE test indicate next-generation large-capacity port technology 400GE possesses the qualities required for commercial deployment.

With the rapid development of HD video, cloud computing, and other services, backbone network traffic has experienced average annual growth of over 45 percent, according to Huawei, creating challenges for backbone network bandwidth. As the next-generation port technology, 400GE can significantly increase backbone network bandwidth to help carriers cope with the explosive growth of data traffic.

Currently, international standards organizations are accelerating development work on 400GE standards, which are expected to be released by year-end 2017. In 2016, China Telecom Guangzhou Research Institute and Huawei established a 400GE joint innovation R&D team to develop live-network service requirements, application scenarios, standards formulation, and technology R&D, driving the standardization and commercial use of medium-and-long distance 400GE port technology.

Test results verified 400GE port functions such as line-speed forwarding, multi-service stacking, and fault reporting. The test was performed in China Telecom's network and terminal key laboratory using test cases based on actual network applications. The expert team at the Guangzhou Research Institute was responsible for sorting out network requirements, test-case design, and the process of the all-round test.

Huawei backbone routers were used in the test, and 400GE port networking was used between devices and the tester. Under real-world network traffic conditions, at full bandwidth, 400GE ports experienced zero packet loss in line-speed forwarding. Multi-service stack tests showed that protocol-based forwarding was normal; bundled 400GE and 100GE ports could implement precise load balancing; the transmission distance was as far as 10 km; and loopback and fault reporting functions were normal.

"High-speed traffic growth has contributed to the rapid development of high-speed port technology," said Zhu Yongqing, IP technology research owner at China Telecom Guangzhou’s Research Institute. "In the final release of the 400GE technology standard, China Telecom Guangzhou Research Institute and Huawei performed the world’s first 400GE port tests based on requirements of the live network, realizing a combination of network requirements and technical R&D.

Yongqing added, “The test results reached expectations. In the future, we will cooperate with Huawei and other partners to promote development of the 400GE industry and maturation of the supply chain, ultimately driving the development of China Telecom’s network and the national broadband infrastructure."

"This joint venture with China Telecom Guangzhou Research Institute has officially opened up the possibility of commercial use for 400GE single ports," said Chen Jinzhu, General Manager of Huawei’s Backbone Router Domain. "Moving forward, we will focus on customer requirements and spare no effort in core technologies. Our innovative solutions can assist carriers in seizing development opportunities as we enter the cloud era."

Published in Telecom Vendors

The average monthly cost of mobile services in Central and South American countries dropped approximately 20 percent between 2014 and 2017, according to Strategy Analytics Latin America Emerging Markets report. In addition, the level of data included in mobile plans in Latin America has doubled to an average of 3.4GB.

The report takes into account SIM only, prepaid and postpaid plans for individuals and businesses among more than 55 suppliers in 19 countries. A summary of the report says, “The implementation of 4G LTE technology in South and Central America has resulted in easier and better access to mobile telephony and internet services throughout the region. We have seen a strong shift from voice and SMS based services to data-based services.”

The report highlights that the number of free minutes included in monthly services was 26 percent higher in 2017 compared to 2014 in Latin America. Also, the average published maximum download speed increased from 12Mbps in 2014 to almost 40Mbps in 2017.

“We have seen a strong change in terms of minutes, SMS and free data included, with a big increase especially in the amount of data included in the plans during the period from 2016 to 2017,” said Strategy Analytics analyst, Pawel Kmiec. “They linked in the reduction of cost by surplus for all types of calls and data.”

Published in Government

Data fuels growth in Thailand’s mobile industry

Written on Sunday, 03 September 2017 11:30

Increased data usage fueled growth in Thailand’s mobile industry in the first half of 2017, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board. Pricing competition in the sector dropped, and overall Thailand’s economy increased by the fastest rate in four years.

Thailand’s GDP rose 3.7 percent year-on-year in Q2 2017 after annual growth of 3.3 percent reported in Q1.

The country’s three leading mobile operators – AIS, True Move and Telenor-owned dtac – saw service revenue increase 8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, according to a report by Bangkok Post. In addition, non-voice revenue generated around 68 percent of the operators’ service revenue in Q2.

“It seems the telecoms business is on the up-and-up after reaching bottom last year,” CIMB analyst told Bangkok Post, reflecting on how Thai telecom operators have pulled back their aggressive marketing campaigns.

AIS’ second quarter revenue increased 21 percent year-on-year to THB 18.7 billion ($562 million), the Bangkok Post report said, representing 63 percent of its total revenue. True’s data revenue increased 25 percent to THB 10.4 billion, while dtac’s data revenue grew the most at 27 percent to THB 11 billion, representing 66 percent and 74 percent of total revenue, respectively.

The operators all posted increases in service revenue in Q1 this year, Bangkok Post said. In the lead was True with 17 percent growth, ahead of AIS with 6.6 percent and dtac with 2.3 percent. In terms of voice revenue, dtac and AIS both experienced year-on-year declines, while True posted a 2.6 percent increase.

Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited, commonly referred to as AIS, is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 39.87 million customers as of Q3 2016. For a long time True ranked third behind dtac, but in the opening quarter of 2017, True boosted its market share to 26.5 percent, placing it just ahead of dtac’s 26.2 percent share. True maintained its lead over dtac in Q2, according to GSMA Intelligence.

Published in Telecom Operators

Three of China’s state-run mobile operators have posted positive financial results for the first-half of 2017, after enduring a difficult 2016. China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile all made solid gains on their bottom line, largely due to the continued rapid demand for data and 4G uptake.

All three entities suffered a decline in earnings during 2016 - but in the first-half of this year they’ve made a combined profit of CYN 77.6 billion ($11.6 billion) compared with a combined profit of CYN127.6 billion for all of 2016.

Analysts have attributed the success of the state-owned mobile operators to significant 4G subscriber gains from January-June. The trio took its LTE user base to 885 million. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that both China Telecom and China Mobile are increasingly close to reaching the 70% 4G penetration mark, with China Unicom lagging behind by a reported 14%.

China Mobile remains the market incumbent with a 64% share of total subscribers, 67% of which are 4G users. The Chinese operators ended June with 3.47 million 4G base stations, the breakdown of which consisted of China Mobile (1.65M) China Telecom (1.05M) and China Unicom (770,000). It was also disclosed that China Mobile has announced its intentions to construct an additional 120,000 4G sites in the second-half of next year, whilst China Telecom has said it will deploy another 110,000 by the end of this year.

Mobile voice revenue continues to decline sharply due to the dominance of OTT’s, but all three operators still managed to grow mobile service revenue by 5%. It’s the universal demand for data which has contributed to the operator’s success so far this year. China Telecom has enjoyed a healthy increase of 24% in mobile data, accumulating CYN55.3 billion in the process. China Mobile reported a 34% increase in mobile data accumulating CYN185 billion, whilst China Unicom’s data growth increased by 21%, accumulating CYN43.5 billion.

The state-run operators have signed up 23.7 million 4G subscribers in July, which takes the country’s total to 908M. However, China Mobile has announced its plans to end 2017 by amassing 630M 4G subs, which analysts suggest is a target they should easily surpass. At this extraordinary pace, China will likely end the year with well over 1 billion 4G customers, which would also subsequently mean that China would have 40% of the 2.45 billion global LTE connections by the end of the year.

Published in Telecom Operators

Telecommunication operators Three and Vodafone are closing the gap on UK incumbent EE according to analysis conducted by Root-Metrics. The company carried out 646,230 tests across all of the United Kingdom. It assessed the operators in six categories, which ranged from reliability, speed, data, calls, texts and overall performance.

Whilst EE still came out on top as the strongest performer, it was highlighted that both Vodafone and Three had closed the gap considerably. EE was given four awards by Root-Score, while both Three and Vodafone received two awards each.

EE won the best overall category, and also emerged as frontrunners in speed and data. In addition to this, it shared joint-first with Vodafone for text messaging. Three won outright across the UK for its reliability, and shared joint-first with Vodafone for call performance. O2 came last in all categories apart from text quality, where it finished third.

However, this represents a significant and telling change across the telecommunications landscape, last year EE won all the awards on offer by Root-Score. The latest findings declared that whilst EE is the best-performing telco overall in the UK, Vodafone was No.1 in Northern Ireland, whilst Three dominated in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland was the only region were 02 performed well.

General Manager of Europe for Root-Metrics, Scott Stonham, suggests that “the report only serves to reiterate just how competitive the UK telecommunications sector is,” he said.

“These latest results have really shaken things up and show the increasing competitiveness in the UK, particularly over the last six months. EE continues to lead the way, but Three and Vodafone are close behind. What is clear is that each operator showed strong performance in at least one particular country, while nobody was able to sweep the board at the four nation’s level. UK consumers have strong mobile options depending on how and where they use their devices most.”

A Senior Research Director on telecoms at HIS Markit said it was imperative that operators needed to invest in radio spectrum in order to succeed. “To succeed, mobile operators must secure sufficient radio spectrum and invest in the necessary equipment, sites and operational teams to ensure consumers enjoy fast reliable mobile broadband. With new UK spectrum allocations soon to be auctioned in the run up to 5G, these performance results provide a snapshot on the competitive balance between the UK mobile operators now, and highlight which operators most need to acquire new spectrum capacity if they are to be a future mobile performance winner.”

Fogg also stressed that the results which come ahead of a spectrum auction in September, could radically alter the balance of spectrum holdings, which would allow operators with smaller holdings such as Three and O2 to compete in a more efficient manner. 02 CEO Mark Evans, has already declared that he wants to see the auction commence soon and that it was compete ‘fiercely’ for spectrum allocation.

Published in Telecom Operators

Social networking colossus Facebook is challenging a gag order from a US court that is currently preventing the organization from talking about three government search warrants. However, Facebook is claiming that the preventative measures implemented by the US court pose a threat to freedom of speech.

According to reports and court documents, Facebook wants to notify three of its users about the search warrants that are seeking their communications and information, and to provide those users with the opportunity to object to the warrants.

Facebook released a statement on the gag order and expressed its concern over a breach of the First Amendment concerns with this particular case. Facebook said: "We believe there are important First Amendment concerns with this case, including the government's refusal to let us notify three people of broad requests for their account information in connection with public events.”

The First Amendment to the US constitution guarantees certain rights including freedom of speech; however, William Miller, a spokesman for US prosecutors declined to comment on Facebook’s decision to challenge the gag order. In an undated court document it said that Facebook decided to challenge the gag order around the three warrants on the basis that free speech was at stake – and that the events underlying the government’s investigation were generally known to the public.

It has not yet been disclosed what the precise nature of the government’s investigation is; however, there have been suggestions that the timing of the proceedings coincide with charges against people who protested at Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. On the day, Donald Trump was sworn in as president - over 200 people were arrested in Washington as masked activists threw rocks at police, whilst multiple vehicles were set on fire.

Technology firms have consistently complied with thousands of requests for user data made on an annual basis by the government around the world, but in extraordinary circumstances, leading tech entities such as Microsoft and Twitter have defied and challenged government secrecy orders. Facebook fought a secrecy order in April, in relation to a disability fraud investigation, but it lost the case in New York highest state court.

Facebook says about half of U.S. requests are accompanied by a non-disclosure order prohibiting it from notifying affected users. In April, a local judge in Washington denied Facebook's request to remove the gag order there, according to the document. Facebook is appealing and has preserved the relevant records pending the outcome, the document said.

"The government can only insulate its actions from public scrutiny in this way in the rarest circumstances, which likely do not apply here," said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for digital rights.

Published in Apps
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