Displaying items by tag: Security
France's data watchdog (CNIL) announced a fine of 50 million euros ($57 million) for US search giant Google, using the EU's strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the first time.
Google was handed the record fine from the CNIL regulator for failing to provide transparent and easily accessible information on its data consent policies, a statement said. The CNIL said Google made it too difficult for users to understand and manage preferences on how their personal information is used, in particular with regards to targeted advertising.
“People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We're deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We're studying the decision to determine our next steps.”
The ruling follows complaints lodged by two advocacy groups last May, shortly after the landmark GDPR directive came into effect. One was filed on behalf of some 10,000 signatories by France's Quadrature du Net group, while the other was by None Of Your Business, created by the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems.
Schrems had accused Google of securing “forced consent” through the use of pop-up boxes online or on its apps which imply that its services will not be available unless people accept its conditions of use.
“Also, the information provided is not sufficiently clear for the user to understand the legal basis for targeted advertising is consent, and not Google's legitimate business interests,” the CNIL said.
The Canadian and German government are reportedly both seriously considering excluding Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei from its 5G networks due to security concerns.
China has called upon other countries to cease the “groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictions” against technology giant Huawei, after a Polish official said his country could limit the use of the company’s products by public entities following the arrest of Huawei employee Wang Weijing.
Poland is the latest country to express concerns over Huawei devices amidst security fears. Joachim Brudzinski, Poland’s internal affairs minister, has called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the accusatory security threats “suppress and restrict Chinese technology companies’ development abroad”, and China hoped the Polish side would work to create mutual trust and maintain relations.
“We urge relevant parties to cease the groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictions toward Huawei and other Chinese companies, and create a fair, good and just environment for mutual investment and normal cooperation by both sides’ companies,” Hua Chunying said.
“Using security reasons to hype, obstruct or restrict normal cooperation between companies in the end will only hurt one’s own interests.”
The Shenzhen-based equipment company has seen their equipment banned from Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and stripped from core telecom systems in the United Kingdom. Governments around the world have grown increasingly wary of Huawei’s presence in critical national telecoms infrastructure, amid cybersecurity fears and potential links to Beijing.
Pressure from the United States secret service to boycott Huawei equipment has led to a number of countries to exclude the phone giant in their rollout of 5G networks. In August, The Trump administration signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei equipment and is reportedly considering an executive order that would also ban U.S. companies from using the Chinese products.
An executive for Huawei Meng Wanzhou was also arrested in December in Canada at the request of U.S authorities and awaits possible extradition to the U.S. Huawei has always strenuously denied all accusations of espionage, and Hua Chunying maintained Wang Weijing’s alleged actions had “no relation to the company.”
Huawei has since sacked Wang after he was arrested along with a Polish security official on charges of spying for the Chinese government. In a statement, the company said the former employee had brought “disrepute” to the company.
Karol Okonski, a Polish government official responsible for cyber security said that “abrupt” policy changes toward Huawei were not warranted after the arrests, but that the use of the company’s products by state entities could be reviewed.
Two of the UK’s largest airports have invested in multi-million pound anti-drone systems, after an incident at Gatwick in December brought flights to a standstill.
Both London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports confirmed they have purchased high-tech systems to protect themselves from potential drone attacks.
It follows three days of chaos at Gatwick in December, after a reported drone sighting caused mass disruption and grounded nearly 1,000 flights during the busy Christmas period.
Flights were resumed after the British Army brought in Drone Dome equipment; reportedly manufactured by Israeli defense contractor Rafael, which allows operators to jam a drone’s radio signals and allow it to land safely. It is believed several airports have purchased their own ‘military-grade anti-drone apparatus’ to prevent future incidents which will provide a “similar level of protection,” after the army withdrew its equipment on January 3rd.
On December 19th, an airport security officer at Gatwick had witnessed two cross-shaped drones, flying over the south perimeter road with flashing lights. The sightings caused three days of flight cancellations, with over 140,000 passengers affected by the standstill; the biggest disruption since the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010.
Two people were arrested after the incident in December, but as of yet no one has been charged.
In July 2018, the UK government passed a law that banned drones from flying above 400ft and within 1km of an airport boundary, because of fears they could cause damage to aircraft windows during take-off and landing.
Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE may well have had draconian measures that had crippled the company lifted by the US Department of Commerce following an intervention by President Donald Trump, but the narrative that ZTE is a threat to national security is refusing to subside.
US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren became the latest politician to take aim at the telecoms behemoth and strongly criticized US senator Joseph Lieberman for serving as a lobbyist for the powerful Chinese vendor.
The ability for Republicans and Democrats to work together to form new policies and legislation in the US Senate and House of Representatives has been at an all-time low during the Trump administration.
The decision by the US to ban ZTE and Huawei from being involved in the rollout of 5G networks has drew bipartisan approval with both Republicans and Democrats voicing their concerns that both companies close association to the Chinese government was a huge threat to domestic security.
Warren, who announced she’d be seeking the Democratic nomination for the US Presidential election in 2020, denounced the US senator for acting as a lobbyist for the Chinese telecommunications behemoth on Twitter.
Warren tweeted, “ZTE is a giant foreign telecoms company that’s close with the Chinese government. They’ve violated serious US sanctions in Iran and North Korea. Their lobbyists keep blocking accountability. And today former senator Joseph Lieberman joined them. Should that be legal? No.”
Warren is an outspoken politician and is known for being a firebrand. She has faced the wrath of US President Donald Trump who has repeatedly ridiculed her claims that she was Native American.
She said that there should be a lifetime ban on members of congress working as lobbyists to make sure they only serve the public. Warren added, “We need a ban on foreign lobbying so countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have to conduct their foreign policy out in the open.”
Bloomberg reported that Lieberman, who was a vice presidential nominee in 2000, began working for ZTE in November. According to a lobbying registration form submitted to the US Senate, he is conducting an assessment of the concerns members of the US Congress, the executive branch and US businesses have about national security risks around ZTE products.
The form also states Lieberman will not be advocating for ZTE, and he had been appointed in the interest of transparency and caution.
Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu has pleaded with the governments of countries who have banned the Chinese telecommunications behemoth from becoming involved in the rollout of 5G networks, to produce evidence that implicates Huawei as a serious security threat.
Huawei’s CEO robustly defended its security record and expressed his disappointment that countries banned the Chinese vendor before affording them the opportunity to engage in dialogue which would’ve allowed them to take action, or respond to the allegations that it was a threat to domestic security.
In a press conference held at its HQ in Shenzhen, Hu said, “When it comes to security, we need to let the facts speak for themselves. Huawei’s record on security is clean. In over 30 years, the company has never had a serious cyber security issue or seen any evidence showing its equipment is a security threat. We have a solid track record.”
New Zealand and Australia have banned Huawei from their 5G projects, whilst it is also believed that the UK, Germany, Japan and South Korea are also considering the possibility of preventing Huawei from becoming involved in their 5G rollout plans.
However, Hu acknowledged that the vendor needed to be proactive with governments and customers, but stressed that they had already been doing this, and were willing to take additional steps in an effort to not be locked out of 5G programs in the west.
Hu added, “We will not relax. As technology becomes more complex and networks become more open, we will continue to increase our investment in security related efforts.”
For example, Huawei plans to launch a security centre in Brussels in Q1 2019 as part of a longer-term plan to expand cooperation with other governments around the world, such as Canada and the UK. In addition to this, it will invest $2 billion over the next five years to improve its software engineering processes to be better prepared for the future.
The recent high-profile arrest of the company’s CFO in Canada has reignited trade tensions and diplomatic relations between the US and China. However, despite the controversies and turmoil, Huawei is targeting a record of $100bn in total revenue for the year, and has secured more than 25 commercial 5G contracts and shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations.
Hu declined to comment on the ongoing situation with Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou because it was an ongoing case, but he did reiterate that the company is confident in its trade compliance measures along with the judicial systems in Canada and the US.
A top German IT watchdog has refuted claims that Huawei could be using their equipment to spy for Beijing.
Head of Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Arne Schoenbohm has spoken skeptically of the boycott, after the agency examined Huawei equipment and was unable to uncover any ‘reliable findings’ to support espionage claims.
BSI experts - who oversee computer and communications security for Germany -believe the lack of evidence is not enough to warrant a global ban.
"For such serious decisions like a ban, you need proof," Schoenbohm pointed out.
Chinese phone giant Huawei has faced international scrutiny over the past year, with Western countries growing increasingly wary of the Chinese phone maker’s involvement in telecommunication infrastructure. Pressure from the United States secret service to boycott Huawei equipment has led to a number of countries, including Japan and Australia, to exclude the phone giant in their rollout of 5G networks.
New Zealand’s largest carrier Spark had had plans to use the Huawei’s 5G equipment for their launch in July 2020, but was denied by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
His comments follow the announcement that rival Chinese phone maker ZTE will cease to maintain mobile operator O2’s network in Germany – a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica – as of next year, amidst security fears.
BSI experts insist Huawei has nothing to hide, after the agency visited Huawei labs in Bonn, set up so customers can inspect products, including the source code of software.
Huawei models remain the most popular in Germany, with three of their main networks using the Chinese equipment.
The Chinese telecom company will cease to maintain mobile operator O2’s network in Germany – a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica – as of next year.
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.
Huawei exec touts cloud services as growth area
Chinese telecom equipment provider and smartphone maker Huawei aims to take on Amazon and Alibaba as a global provider of public cloud services, the company said in April. Edward Zhou, Huawei’s VP of Global Public Affairs, reiterated this to Active Telecom recently, saying Huawei can provide more trustworthy cloud services based on its legacy telecom experience.
Huawei used to provide cloud infrastructure for its customers but now also provides cloud services. In April this year, the company said it would expand cloud computing with a dedicated division, with the purpose of strengthening its public cloud offering, which involves shared data infrastructure, as opposed to dedicated infrastructure built for single customers.
“We believe we can provide more trustworthy cloud services based on our telecom background,” Mr. Zhou told Active Telecom. “Telecom services are very different from traditional IT services, and we draw upon this experience to build better, more reliable cloud services.”
Tailor-made cloud services are fundamental to Huawei’s offerings, Zhou said. “We make customizations based on our global version,” he said. Providing more security in its cloud services is also very important for Huawei’s customers today, Zhou added, because cloud is still a relatively new technology and Huawei needs to ensure that its customers are protected.
“Cybersecurity is a very hot topic for all countries and companies,” Mr. Zhou said. “Inside Huawei we have a very strong team dedicated to cybersecurity for our solutions and products – security is imbedded in these offerings. We believe high quality includes high security.”
Consultancy firm Gartner predicts the market for public cloud services to reach $383 billion by 2020 from $247 billion this year. Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion. By expanding into cloud computing, Huawei hopes to diversify away from its hardware focus and develop software-based revenue.
The company’s strategic focus will be on its telecom partners’ cloud transformation, Eric Xu, deputy chairman of Huawei’s board and one of three rotating chief executive officers, recently told Reuters. Xu reflected Zhou’s view that Huawei’s global network of telecom clients gives the firm a distinct advantage.
“Huawei as a brand is strong because it is not only about consumer smartphones. We have three different business groups: carrier, enterprise and consumer,” Mr. Zhou said, discussing the company’s future aspirations. “I think our strategy to build the brand revolves around quality – it is Huawei’s highest priority. We aim to deliver higher quality than other players in this market.”
Huawei has established its services in more than 170 countries around the world, aiming to become a “global iconic tech brand”. The company does face challenges, however, said Mr. Zhou. For example, Huawei often faces data protection rules and other regulatory barriers in some countries that it operates in. The company’s strategy is to follow the local rules and cater to local needs.
“We try to provide governments with expertise and knowledge about technology to support government initiatives,” Mr. Zhou said. “Many countries are talking about digital transformation and we have the technology and expertise to offer them support. We are very happy to contribute some of our value to governments pushing for change.”
Huawei’s broader vision, Zhou said, is to facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT) era, where everything will be connected by sensors. He said Huawei is a top investor in R&D (research and development) and focuses on bringing together the world's best intellectual resources to strengthen its innovation capability.
“Thanks to the emergence of new technologies including 5G and NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT), it will be easy to connect everything and create more value,” said Zhou. He added that the company also aims to support the development of cloud computing technologies – adding intelligence to cloud services.
“Everything will be connected and intelligent,” said Zhou. “That’s our larger vision.”