Displaying items by tag: Authorities

British telecommunications behemoth Vodafone has confirmed that it has delayed the installation of equipment supplied by Chinese vendor Huawei amidst security concerns surrounding the company.

However, Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read moved quickly to highlight that a blanket ban on Huawei would significantly hamper the roll out of 5G as the innovative Chinese enterprise has become the global leader in relation to 5G development.

Read said that the cautionary measure was taken by Vodafone because of the controversy currently swirling around Huawei following the high-profile arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, and the detainment of another executive in Poland on suspicion of espionage.

Vodafone will engage in further discussions from authorities who have flagged their safety concerns over Huawei. However, Vodafone has insisted that but it will use the vendor’s equipment in its radio networks.

Read stated that the authorities had not forced Vodafone’s decision, but did acknowledge and concede that the negativity around Huawei had now become unhealthy in Europe and required for a more structured conversation that presented the facts so that we’re making the right decision for the industry, and isn’t politically motivated.

Vodafone Group said that it uses only a small amount of Huawei equipment in its core networks in a number of markets in Europe, which includes. However, interestingly the CEO did confirm that Huawei’s equipment was not used in its core network in the UK.

In addition to this, Read highlighted the importance of the availability of Huawei infrastructure, adding the industry needed to “look at it more holistically” and be “more grounded.” He noted rival vendors Ericsson and Nokia also have R&D facilities and significant manufacturing facilities located in China.

Vodafone has continued to pursue its digital strategy and has yielded good financial returns by simplifying its operating model and accelerating digital transformation. Vodafone has also announced an extension of a network sharing deal with Telefonica’s O2 UK, and added that it is planning to explore opportunities to monetize its UK tower assets. 

Published in Telecom Operators

US technology colossus and global search engine giant Google has avoided paying a whopping €1.1 billion tax bill in France after a Parisian court ruled in its favour. The court’s decision was a welcome reprieve for the Californian based entity, as the ruling comes just weeks after Google was fined by the European Commission (EC).

Google’s legal row in relation to this tax bill has dragged on for six years, but a Parisian administrative tribunal ruled that Google was not liable to pay five years worth of back taxes which was being sought by France’s tax authorities. The tribunal found that Google’s advertising saes business had no taxable presence in the country.

The Wall Street has claimed that the French court’s decision could have implications for the other tax battles that Google are currently embroiled in Europe and other parts of the world. In its summary of its findings, the Parisian court concluded that Google did not illegally evade French tax by routing sales in the country through the Republic of Ireland. Google’s European headquarters is in Ireland - and they ruled that Google could not be taxed if it also has a permanent base in France.

Google reiterated its commitment to France by vowing to support the growth of its digital economy. In a statement issued by the US firm, which employs 700 people in France – they suggested that the decision by the court confirms that it abides by French tax law and international standards. The statement read, “We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy.”

However, France’s Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Gerald Darmanin, claimed that the tax authority may yet appeal the decision made by the administrative panel. In the meantime, the court’s decisions eased recent pressure on Google across Europe. The European Commission fined the organization €2.4 billion a fortnight ago, it said it abused its market dominance as a search engine, and illegally promoted its own shopping comparison website.

In addition to this, reports have circulated that the EU may fine Google over its Android operating system, which last year was accused of stifling innovation and market competition by the EU competition commissioner.

A number of other European countries have also attempted to claim back taxes from Google. In Spain, authorities raided Google’s offices in 2016, while the company also agreed to pay €306 million in Italian back taxes earlier this year.

Published in Finance

Russian authorities have ordered a popular video website to be blocked due to an allegation of a copyright infringement from a reality TV station.

A reality TV station called Piatnitsa has accused Dailymotion of copyright infringement and a Moscow court have granted the request that the website should be blocked until investigations into the alleged breach are explored further.

Users are reportedly still able to access Dailymotion, but it is expected that the site will be blocked by the end of the week. The reality TV channel which is owned by Gazprom Media expressed its satisfaction at the court ruling which blocks Dailymotion in ‘Russian territory’.

Dailymotion is a video sharing platform based in France and is one of the biggest video platforms in the world - but it stands accused of repeatedly featuring clips of the most-watched shows on Piatnitsa – which is a channel that specializes in reality programming. 

In addition to this, Gazprom Media also stated in its statement to the press that Dailymotion's French owner Vivendi did not appeal the ruling within the time limit to stop the shutdown going ahead.

Russia was until recently renowned for the scale of its online piracy, but the government has cracked down over the past few years on the illegal distribution of movies and music, considerably boosting its legislation in this area -- a key condition for joining the World Trade Organization in 2012.

Published in Government

US Road Safety Authorities have called on smartphone makers to develop additional applications to its devices in order to combat the surge in deaths which have been caused due to distracted driving. The claim by US highway safety officials drew immediate objection and opposition from the electronics industry who have argued that distracted driving is not entirely caused by phone checking.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued voluntary guidelines to tech companies in an effort to try and stop an alarming rise in road deaths – which they believe is as a result of engagement with a smartphone device. In the guidelines they request device makers to block video displays and prevent manual text entry when vehicles are moving and under way.

US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx believes far too many people are put at risk on the roads by drivers who are distracted by their smartphones, and he feels companies directly involved in producing these products should take more responsibility in terms of road safety.

“As millions of Americans take to the roads for Thanksgiving gatherings - far too many motorists are put at risk by drivers that are distracted by their cell phones - and we have submitted straightforward and basic guidelines which are grounded in the best research available that will enable designers of mobile devices to build products that can cut down distraction on the road.”

The proposal submitted by the US Transportation Department comes in light of a report that suggests that over 3,500 road deaths last year were due to driver distraction.

Industry groups are urging regulators to proceed cautiously against safety advocates who have chided the government for acting too timidly. The debate could also have implications for technology giants Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google who are both embarked on programs designed to develop vehicle technology.

The Consumer Trade Technology Association, a trade group whose members include top smartphones makers Apple and Samsung have labelled the guidelines as ‘extreme.’ President of The Consumer Technology Association, Gary Shapiro said: “This regulatory overreach could thwart the innovative solutions and technologies that help drivers make safer decisions from ever coming to market. The NHTSA doesn’t have the authority to dictate the design of smartphone apps and other devices used in cars – and its legal jurisdiction begins and ends with motor vehicle equipment.”

CTIA, a trade group for wireless companies including AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications were also critical of the guidelines characterized by the NHTSA – the Washington based company felt the proposal was the wrong approach for consumers.

“A regulatory path can’t keep pace with efforts to reduce distractions, whether they arise from interacting with mobile or embedded devices or other activities like eating, said Tom Power, general counsel for CTIA.

However, William Wallace, a policy analyst for Consumers Union spoke in favor of the guidelines proposed and said the issue of distracted driving had reached epidemic proportions. “The problem of distracted driving has grown into an epidemic. These guidelines could help stem the increase in traffic deaths that we’ve seen in the last two years.”

It was also revealed that research found that interference with a driver’s attention is equal whether the driver is holding a device or not. In several crashes investigated it was established drivers were on hands-free devices. Incredibly though only 14 US states and the District of Columbia ban the use of hand-held mobile phones. There are currently no jurisdictions that prohibit the use of hands-free devices