Displaying items by tag: Government
The Canadian and German government are reportedly both seriously considering excluding Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei from its 5G networks due to security concerns.
Vietnam has accused Facebook of breaching a new cybersecurity law by failing to take down anti-government content from its pages and advertising illegal products such as weapons and counterfeit goods.
The law – which came into place on January 1st - requires internet companies to remove "toxic content" and hand over user data when requested by authorities.
A report broadcast on Vietnam Television said that the Ministry of Information and Communications had sent several letters and emails to the company requesting the removals of pages calling for anti-government activities, but that the social media giant had delayed and failed to remove the pages from its site
Vietnam also accused the company of hosting advertisements for illegal products such as counterfeit money, fake goods, weapons and fireworks.
Facebook claim that the information did not violate community standards, and remains transparent about the content restrictions they make pursuant with local law.
"We have a clear process for governments to report illegal content to us, and we review all these requests against our terms of service and local law," a spokeswoman from Facebook said.
The consequences for violating the law are expected to be laid out in a decree which has yet to be made public and Facebook are the first reprimand since the controversial bill came into place days ago.
Vietnam has said the bill is designed to improve cybersecurity in the country, but has drawn widespread criticism from the US, the EU and web freedom groups. Critics have said the new legislation is a means to control online expression – similar to China’s strict censorship laws.
As all independent press and public protests are banned, social media is a crucial platform for activists in communist Vietnam, with over 53 million Facebook user profiles. However, reports in recent months suggest that Facebook posts have disappeared and accounts been blocked.
A Chinese drone maker has unveiled an unmanned warplane that can fly around for forty hours without needing to be refueled. ‘The Spy Hawk’ is invisible to radar and can scout ground targets from 9,800 ft according to its developers.
Footage released by Sea Hawke General Aviation Equipment Company Ltd shows the drone taking off from a runway in an unspecified location, and was widely shared across Chinese social media on New Year’s Day.
It is the first time the top-secret drone has been showcased to the public, as details surrounding the aircraft were previously shrouded in secrecy by the Beijing government.
A prototype was revealed briefly to spectators during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai last November, but until now information regarding the aircraft remained widely unknown.
The Spy Hawk has a wingspan of 18m (59ft), can carry up to 370KG and is capable of taking a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at the altitude of 3,000 metres (9,800 feet). The warplane can penetrate key enemy targets in a “highly threatening battling environment” says its designers, and is constructed of “world first” technologies.
The plane's deputy designer Wang Jianping says the drone is also equipped with China’s most advanced photo-electric aerial platform and contains seven different cameras that can turn 360 degrees.
It was announced last February by Sea Hawke that the drone had completed its first flight a month before.
It is the fourth UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) from the Chinese company after predecessor stealth drones ‘Star Shadow’, ‘Sharp Sword’ and ‘CH-805’.
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.
Chinese media outlets have launched a scathing attack on the United States for its role in the arrest and subsequent detainment of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver earlier this week.
The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.
US technology colossus Apple is reportedly renegading on a previous commitment that they made to the Irish government on the construction of $1 billion data center in rural Ireland. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has publicly disclosed that Apple CEO Tim Cook will no longer commit to the ambitious project.
However, the Taoiseach stressed that Dublin would do everything necessary in order to keep the project alive and facilitate whatever Apple needs to see the data center constructed. Apple initially disclosed its intentions to erect the facility in a rural location in the West of Ireland in February 2015. Its decision to go to a rural location was to take advantage of green energy sources located nearby.
However, the project has been subject to lengthy delays due to a number of planning objections over the last two years, and now Apple is eyeing up other potential location for the construction of its new data center. Varadkar met Apple’s CEO, but admitted that Cook did not commit to the proceeding with the project.
The Taoiseach said, “We didn’t get a start date, or a definite commitment or anything like that, but I did stress to Apple that the government would do anything within our power to facilitate the resumption of the project.”
Ireland’s Prime Minister is currently touring the US meeting potential new investors. Ireland relies heavily on foreign multinational companies like Apple for the creation of one in every 10 jobs created across the economy and sees major investments such as data centers as a means of securing their presence in the country.
Apple declined to commit when pressed on whether they remained committed to the project. A similar Apple center which was announced at the same time in Denmark is set to begin operations later this year, whilst Apple also announced in July that it would build its second EU data center in the Nordic region.
The government has said it is considering amending its planning laws to include data centers as strategic infrastructure, thus allowing them to get through the planning process much more quickly. However, such legislation is expected to be met with opposition by those within parliament.
Ireland has a checkered history when it comes to planning permission and previous governments have been brought down due to shady financial agreements between developers and politicians. A change in legislation to facilitate Apple’s attempts to construct their data center is not likely to be well received by the general public still dismayed at the country’s refusal to accept an EU ruling that Apple owed the state €13 billion in unpaid taxes.
The main challenge facing telecom operators in Africa is competition and regulatory stability, according to Mr. Abdellatif Bouziani, CEO of telecom provider Smart East Africa Group serving Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Speaking to Telecom Review, Mr. Bouziani said governments in Africa have sold too many operating licenses which have forced prices down, but operating costs remain the same.
Competition is high in the African telecom market, said Mr. Bouziani. With governments selling up to 6-7 telecom operating licenses, operators are forced to lower their prices, but operating costs remain the same, so they must cut spending to survive. But by reducing spending, operators aren’t able to experience growth. When there’s less cash going into countries, big players suffer, and smaller players suffer even more, he said.
Governments in Africa are the big winners in the equation, Mr. Bouziani explained, because they generate revenue from selling the licenses and collecting taxes and fines from the operators. But that puts pressure on emerging players like Smart East Africa which began operating four years ago. Big operators are suffering because they have big costs, and smaller operators are suffering because they cannot grow.
“We have to do business differently now,” Mr. Bouziani told Telecom Review. “We cannot do it the same way we did 5-10 years ago.” Voice is no longer primary, he explained, therefore the industry needs to get closer to the OTT (over-the-top) players to benefit more from them utilizing operators’ networks. Operators need to be a part of the change rather than taking a back seat and watching it happen, he said.
Smart East Africa launched in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi in 2014 under Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) Kenya, which in turn is part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). The operator was launched in the three markets to drive innovation in the market and focus more on the youth segment, Mr. Bouziani said.
AKFED is the sole for-profit agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and works in partnership with international organizations and governments to stimulate the private sectors of developing economies, with the aim of generating capital for investment into long-lasting and sustainable development initiatives.
The organization is essentially a development and investment agency, Mr. Bouziani explained. AKDN holds a 51 percent stake in Smart East Africa while Timeturns, the previous owner of Smart, owns a 49 percent stake.
To stand out in the market, the company implemented an “innovation-friendly” environment to foster knowledge and new ideas. Mr. Bouziani said: “We have to take into account how much telecoms has changed with the introduction of OTT, increasing data usage and value added services. We must ask ourselves: how can we play around with all these things to come up with a business model that allows us to survive in this non-conventional industry?”
In 2014, Smart announced plans to invest US$300 million over the course of five years to expand its telecoms networks and services. The company faces stiff competition, with 17 rival operators combined across Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. The company offers free roaming across the three countries.
Chinese telecommunications conglomerate Huawei has launched a demo ‘smart city’ in Weifang, China. It’s part of an overall objective by the company to showcase and highlight its narrowband Internet of Things ‘smart city’ applications and Ocean-Connect IoT platform.
The Chinese smartphone maker made the announcement in relation to its new demo ‘smart city’ at the Huawei Connect conference which was held in Shanghai. It conveyed to those in attendance that Weifang will utilize Huawei’s city-level IoT platform to access, manage and collect data from sensory equipment that will be spread across the entire city in real-time.
Huawei has also publicly stated that it has enabled smart lighting applications across Weifang for a series of different objectives which range from monitoring the status of the street lights, its brightness and the applications can also detect faults. It has been claimed that the system has been specifically designed to save around 80% of traditional electricity usage and 90% of previous maintenance costs.
In addition to this, it has also been disclosed that Huawei has integrated eight services with its NB-IoT network which includes a remote-control system, Wi-Fi hotspots, video surveillance, environment monitoring and statistics. Huawei has outlined that its primary objective is to develop a ‘nervous system’ of smart cities with the Chinese multinational corporation already deploying its smart city solutions in over 100 cities across the globe.
Zheng Zhibin, Huawei Enterprise Business Group GM of Global Smart City Solution Department declared that Huawei’s vision is to improve connectivity services in urban areas all over the world – which is imperative in order to continue to drive the growth of the ‘digital economy’.
He said, “ICT advancement is accelerating the growth of the digital economy, which is a driving force of global economic development and transforming cities across many areas including governance, transport, living, social interactions, and employment, promoting the sustainable development of cities. The underlying connectivity in these smart cities will be critical to unlock the potential of the digital economy. Huawei is focused on improving connectivity capabilities within cities, and is creating the nervous system of better-connected cities through an IoT platform, achieving better awareness [and] connectivity among smart devices."
At Huawei Connect in Shanghai it was also formally announced that the telecommunications colossus and the Government of Weifang City had formed an Internet of Things Innovation R&D Centre and an IoT Industry Alliance.
South African telecommunications firm Vodacom has been forced to delay its planned rollout of 4G services in some of the most rural and remote locations in the country - after it ran out of spectrum. The company’s CTO Andries Delport confirmed that the operator had exhausted its spectrum which subsequently limited urban availability of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).
In addition to this, Vodacom’s CTO said that its rural 4G coverage initiative had reached 44% of the population, but due to the exhaustive demands on spectrum it was unable to expand its coverage further until more bandwidth is released by South Africa’s regulatory authorities.
Vodacom’s Head of Innovation, Jannie van Zyl echoed the sentiments of her colleague and stressed that the LTE-A rollout was also being constrained by the lack of spectrum assets available. It’s been a long-term problem in South Africa, with the country’s telecommunication operators long raising its displeasure with the slow release of the country’s airwaves, amidst internal squabbles and rows about how the spectrum should be allocated.
Vodacom’s CTO highlighted delays in clearing sub-900MHZ airwaves currently used for analogue broadcast. He believes that allowing access to the airwaves would dramatically quicken and increase the availability of 4G in rural areas.
However, clearing the band has been a long drawn-out process in South Africa, and operators have encountered red tape over the years. South Africa’s authorities were initially working to a deadline of January 2011 in relation to switching off analogue TV signals. The deadline has been moved several times in the years, with the move to digital only occurring in February 2016.
Delays in allocating new bandwidth for wireless services in South Africa has also been a long-standing problem. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa came under intense pressure from operators and government departments over its long-awaited 4G auction. Despite pressure and criticism the process was also postponed from its initial date of January 2017, after a row broke out over communications in the country.
The South African government formally announced a shared network deal in an attempt to increase broadband coverage on a national basis. This would see an open access network created which any operator could access through wholesale agreements.