Displaying items by tag: Policy

Mark Zuckerberg and French President Macron held a meeting at the Elysee Palace in an effort to crack down on the latest issues surrounding social media and the internet.

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Spotify recently made an official complaint against Apple to the European Commission, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior and their complaints have now warranted an investigation.

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Dutch operator signs 5G agreement with Huawei

Written on Monday, 29 April 2019 13:45

Dutch telecommunications operator KPN has formally announced that it has penned an agreement with Huawei to build its 5G Radio Network. However, it has also been disclosed that it will only select a Western vendor for its 5G core and Huawei will not be considered for that role.

It is essentially the same terms and conditions that the UK has agreed with Huawei in their approach to 5G. KPN has said that it will modernise its mobile network towards 5G, but countered that it had adopted a tightened security policy in relation to vendor selection.

The company is of the belief that the mobile core network from a security perspective is much more sensitive. The Dutch operator has entered into a preliminary agreement with Huawei to provide the radio access part of the 5G network.

The agreement has been drafted in a way that enables it to be adjustable and reversible in order for it to align with future Dutch government policy.

Jan Kees de Jager, KPN’s CFO, told the media separately that the upgrade will also involve swapping out Huawei equipment from its current core network. In contrast to what his counterparts in Germany and the UK have claimed, de Jager did not believe switching from Huawei for other vendors would lead to addition cost. Equipment from Nokia, Ericsson and other suppliers would be as affordable as Huawei for the 5G infrastructure.

Huawei expressed their delight that the Dutch operator had selected the Chinese ICT vendor to help them on their journey towards 5G modernization. 

“We appreciate KPN’s trust and are honoured by their decision to partner with us for the mobile radio access network modernisation,” said a Huawei spokesperson. “We are committed to support KPN in their ambition to maintain and strengthen their lead in the global telecoms industry. In general, Huawei believes that excluding parties based on geographical origin does not provide a higher level of security. Cyber security can be improved by establishing standards that apply to all parties in the sector. Today, the IT supply chain is highly globalised. Cyber security must therefore be addressed jointly at a global level and suppliers must not be treated differently based on the country of origin.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

UAE cabinet unveils 10-year AI strategy

Written on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 11:40

The UAE has adopted a new national AI strategy in the hopes of establishing a brand of artificial intelligence within the nation.

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Radiation concerns temporarily halt 5G activity in Brussels

Written on Thursday, 18 April 2019 08:46

5G plans in Brussels have been put on hold until radiation levels as a consequence of the new technology are measured accurately.

Brussels has the strictest telecom radiation regulations globally. The Belgian government is concerned that 5G technology is unable to measure radiation from 5G antennas.

The Belgian Institute of Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) recommended last year that the country should loosen their grip on the limits they have set in order to allow the region to capitalize on 5G technology. As a result, ministers approved of this and increased the indoor limit to 9 volts per meter (v/m) and the outdoor limit to 14.5 v/m.

Orange has unveiled its plan to rollout 5G in Brussels this year and to make it commercial by next year.

The Minister for Housing, Quality of Life, Environment and Energy in the Government of the Brussels Capital Region, Celine Fremault, has decided to halt any further activity with regards to 5G deployment. Fremault is worried that the MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) antennas needed for 5G technology are unable to accurately measure the level of radiation emitted which would mean that there is a risk of the technology not being within legal limits.

She said that while she recognizes the benefits that come with 5G technology, “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.”

She added, “I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not.”

Additionally, Belgian operators are currently facing more challenges pertaining to the 5G rollout as the government has decided to delay the spectrum auction. It has been speculated that while it has been postponed to 2020, it may be postponed even further as ministers have not been able to reach an agreement on 5G licenses and how they should proceed with the auction.

Switzerland on the other hand, has begun its 5G rollout. Swisscom recently published a ‘fact check’ on 5G technology in order to avoid “misinformation”.

Christian Neuhaus, a Swisscom spokesman commented on the issue by stating that, “The frequencies are the same as what we’ve been using for years. They’ve been analyzed in thousands of studies and not one has managed to prove scientifically that there’s a serious risk to health.”

Published in Telecom Operators

On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British Police at the embassy of Ecuador in London.

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On Saturday, the Australian government pledged to introduce new laws on social media executives in light of the latest terrorist attack in New Zealand.

The new law would be imposed on social media executives of big tech companies which could lead up to a three-year prison sentence if they fail to remove extremist material from their platforms.

This new legislation is to be discussed in parliament next week.

Facebook has said that it removed around 1.5 million videos which comprised of the livestreamed massacre which took play on March 15 in Christchurch mosque in New Zealand. It was a 17-minute video which was filmed by the terrorist himself going on a rampage and killing 50 innocent people. This video was almost immediately available online and Facebook quickly took the video down several hours after the attack.

“Big social media companies have a responsibility to take evry possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison met with several tech companies on Tuesday some of which included Facebook, Twitter and Google. At the meeting, Australia stated that it would advise other G20 countries to do the same and hold social media firms accountable.

At the meeting, Facebook said that it was “committed to working with leaders and communities” in order to “help counter hate speech and the threat of terrorism.” However, the tech company refused to give any further comments.

Attorney General Christian Porter said that the new legislation would make it a criminal offence if social media platforms fail to discard “abhorrent violent material” such as murder, rape and terror attacks.

The fines for such an offence are expected to be worth billions of dollars.

Porter stated, “Mainstream media hat broadcast such material would be putting their licence at risk and there is no reason why social media platforms should be treated any differently.”

Nigel Phair, a cybersecurity expert, hinted that this new law could not possibly imprison social media executives. He stated that jail was reserved for “serious criminal matters” and that executives based in Australia were not company “decision makers”.

“Jails is for violent offenders, not marketing representatives in Australia of an American social media company.”
He said that the social media firms could have done more than what they pledged to do on Tuesday. He added, “They didn’t read the tea leaves back then, it’ll be different how they read the tea leaves now.”

Published in Apps

US judge places temporary ban on iPhone imports

Written on Thursday, 28 March 2019 08:07

On Tuesday, a US trade judge has called for a ban of some iPhone imports as Apple was found to have violated a Qualcomm chipmaker patent.

International Trade Commission administrative law specialist MaryJoan McNamara recommended a “limited exclusion order together with a cease and desist order” against the tech ginat.

Since the iPhone does not compeet with Qualcomm products, Apple will not be required to post a bond while US President Donald Trump and a panel of judges review the order.

Qualcomm released a statement which read: "We appreciate Judge McNamara's recognition of Apple's infringement of our hardware patent and that she will be recommending an import ban and cease and desist order.”

Apple has not replied to a request to post a comment on the matter as of yet.

The patent which is being investigated involves extending power and battery life. The issue at hand constitutes for one of the two complaints that Qualcomm officially issued against Apple to the commission.

Qualcomm shares went up by 2.4 per cent while Apple’s shares were down by at least 1 per cent  as soon as the ruling was released.

The California-based tech giants have been involved in a long-term battle over patents and royalties which have taken to the courts and other administrative bodies on a global scale.

Last week, Qualcomm won a case against Apple over patented technology which was found to be used in iPhones and won $31 million. These chips were found to have been used on the iPhone 7, 8 and X.

Other patents at issue were “flashless booting” which allows for devices to connect to the internet quickly as soon as they are switch on and allows smartphone apps to move data online in an efficient manner.

In addition to this, another patent would be using rich graphics in games whilst still maintaining battery life.

Apple sued Qualcomm a couple of years ago over payments for a preliminary ruling which involved Qualcomm owing Apple around $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments which has not been paid yet. The judge’s decision is still to be determined.

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EU to ignore Huawei ban suggestion from US

Written on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 08:55

The 28 EU members have been asked to share some data to assess any risks involved with the rollout of 5G technology in Europe, according to Reuters.

The Reuters report stated that Andrus Ansip, head of the European Commission, is set to make the recommendations on Tuesday.

Ansip plans to use the processes which are outlined in the directive on network and information systems from 2016 and has also very recently passed the Cyber Security Act.

For the past couple of years, the US has been trying to dissuade its allies from benefitting Chinese businesses, namely Huawei. The US and Huawei have been at odds recently with regards to 5G deployment. Washington has claimed that Huawei’s products could be used to spy on other countries by the Chinese government which they have no solid proof of. Huawei sued the US on 7 March.

Many countries have not reacted to the claim. However, Australia and New Zealand have barred the use of Huawei gear.

With the UK leaving the EU soon, it is still uncertain whether they will follow the European Commission’s suggestion. Last month at a conference in Brussels, the head of the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre, Ciaran Martin, said that any threat posed by Huawei was manageable.

“Because of our 15 years of dealing with the company and 10 years f a formally agreed mitigation strategy which involves detailed provision of information, we have a wealth of understanding of the company,” said Martin.

He continued, “We also have strict controls for how Huawei is deployed. It is not in any sensitive networks, including those of the government. Its kit is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers. Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei.”

On 9 April, an EU-China summit will take place where discussions surrounding this topic will be held alongside other relevant topics pertaining to the Chinese economy.

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Security researcher Victor Gevers has uncovered a database of 1.8 million women in China who have their names, addresses, marital status, education levels, and phone numbers listed however the most troubling part of this database is the fact that women of a certain age group were also categorized as “breed ready”.

Gevers has said that anyone with an IP address has access to this database. This comes after his discovery of the Chinese database that leaked 300 million private messages last week.

“We don’t know who is behind this database and what the intention was… that is the part that worries us the most,” said Gevers. Most of the women in the database were located in Beijing.

Gevers reported the database on Twitter and had it closed down by 4am ET on Monday. 

Some of the women are linked to their Facebook profiles and as Facebook is banned in China, they must have accessed it through the use of a VPN.

“In China, they have a shortage of women. So an organization started to build a database to start registering over 1.8 million women with all kinds of details like phone numbers, addresses, education, location, ID number, marital status, and a “BreedReady” status?” he tweeted.

Also, around 90 per cent of the women on that list were listed as single and were between the ages of 15 and 95. The “BreedReady” women were categorized,  the youngest status was given to 18 year olds and the oldest with the status was 39.

The purpose of this database still remains uncertain however, many internet users said that it may have been the Chinese government’s effort to track the fertility of Chinese women as China’s birth rate has hit an all-time low.

China’s National Statistics Bureau found that only 15 million children were born in 2018 which was 2 million less than the previous year.

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