Displaying items by tag: Fears

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

Japanese government bans Huawei and ZTE products

Written on Monday, 10 December 2018 07:54

The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.

Published in Telecom Vendors

The United States is planning to increase its scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley in an effort to protect what it describes as ‘sensitive technologies’ which are seen as vital to US national security. China has shown a particular interest in AI and machine learning and both technologies have received a significant amount of Chinese capital in recent years.

The US has expressed concern that the cutting-edge technologies being developed in the US could be used by China to bolster its own military capabilities. However, the US government has now taken steps to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which is the inter-agency committee that reviews foreign acquisitions of US companies on security grounds.

It has been disclosed that an unpublished Pentagon report has raised concerns that China is skirting with US oversight in relation to gaining access to sensitive technology through transactions that don’t currently trigger CFIUS review. A member of the Trump administration said they had the review CFIUS due to the ‘predatory practices’ of China. The official who was not granted authority to speak said, “We're examining CFIUS to look at the long-term health and security of the U.S. economy, given China's predatory practices in technology.”

Under the administration of former US president Barack Obama – CFIUS prevented a number of attempted Chinese acquisitions of high-end chip makers. One Republican in the senate, John Cornyn, is currently drafting legislation which would enable the CFIUS to have much more power to block technology investments it expresses concern about.

A spokesman for the Senator said, “Artificial intelligence is one of many leading-edge technologies that China seeks, and that has potential military applications. These technologies are so new that our export control system has not yet figured out how to cover them, which is part of the reason they are slipping through the gaps in the existing safeguards.”

It is believed one of the most contentious issues over Chinese investment in advanced technology comes at a time when the US military looks to incorporate elements of AI and machine learning into its drone program. The program which has been entitled ‘Project Maven’ has been specifically designed to provide relief to military analysts who are part of the war against Islamic State.  Analysts currently have to endure spending long hours staring at big screens reviewing video feeds from drones as part of its attempts to snuff out the threat of insurgents in war-torn places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

China has made no attempts to hide its ambition to become a major player in developing technologies such as AI, through a series of foreign acquisitions. In March, China search engine colossus Baidu Inc. launched an AI in conjunction with China’s state planner the National Development and Reform Commission. On example of this was Baidu’s decision in April to acquire U.S. computer vision firm xPerception, which makes vision perception software and hardware with applications in robotics and virtual reality. “China is investing massively in this space," said Peter Singer, an expert on robotic warfare at the New America Foundation.

Published in Government

China’s internet regulator has issued a report in which it has outlined plans to formalize a new cybersecurity review which would represent a new challenge for foreign tech firms in what has become an increasingly volatile market for the tech sector. It has been an exceptionally difficult year for US technology companies in China - Uber sold off its operations, Apple services were discontinued in some parts - while Microsoft faced a new inquiry.

However, the latest proposal by the Cyberspace Administration of China looks set to create a new standoff - and further increase tensions between the US and China over internet policy. In the report submitted by the Cyberspace Administration it didn’t elaborate on what the government checks would entail, but it has been speculated that it is likely to consist of security checks targeting encryption and data storage.

Over the last number of years, a number of US and other foreign tech firms were subject to a series of secretive Chinese security reviews. The reviews involved employees of tech companies being asked to disclose specific information about certain products in person. This naturally set alarms bells ringing off among many US tech companies – and now the latest news regarding the proposed cybersecurity reviews being formalized by China has increased fears.

US companies fear that once subject to secretive reviews, Chinese authorities may use the checks to extract trade secrets, or find weaknesses in the products for state hackers. The reviews are run by a committee of engineers and experts with ties to China’s military and security agencies. It’s a further indication of China’s efforts to enhance the already unprecedented internet controls it has in place in the country.

China broadened their efforts to streamline cybersecurity management in the country – and seem intent on continuing this trend with the latest review. Only last month, it passed a new cybersecurity law which drew criticism from human rights groups and foreign companies. However, authorities seem undeterred by the scrutiny its policies in relation to cybersecurity have come under.

Beijing has struggled to balance its goal of fostering innovation with its desire to keep control over a communication medium it believes could be destabilizing. While it includes boilerplate references to opening up, the report makes clear that the government will continue to err on the side of control for now.

In a section subtitled “Peace,” the report said that Beijing would work to get ahead of a global cybersecurity arms race threatening international peace. In another part, the regulator said that China would use military means if necessary to protect its internet sovereignty. China has said in the past that the internet represents a new realm, akin to space, in which it must assert its rulership rights.

The new report is the clearest signal yet of the government’s intent to crystallize those checks into a formal policy.

Still, if China were to be more public about the checks, it could lead to copycat policies from other countries, analysts have said.

Drafts of proposed Chinese laws are typically released to domestic and foreign companies for comment. In this case, the reviews were carried out without formal legislative process, meaning that companies had little room to push back.

Published in Government

Russian President signs off on new cybersecurity doctrine

Written on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 10:45

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has approved a broad-ranging cybersecurity plan which is specifically aimed at bolstering the county’s defences against cyberattacks from abroad, while it will also be utilized for cracking down on perceived foreign influence. The new doctrine comes in light of the media furore over allegations from the United States that Moscow was behind a series of cyberattacks which were aimed at influencing the outcome of last month’s US Presidential election.

The Kremlin have described it as a new ‘information security doctrine’ and is an update from Russia’s last policy in 2000. The new document outlines a number of fears that range from concern over foreign hacking and negative media coverage abroad. The document also discloses The Kremlin’s fears about the ‘erosion of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values.’

The plan has been described as quite vague and offers few concrete steps but it does set out the general aims of the new policy – which include bolstering the military's propaganda output and ratcheting up controls over the internet in Russia.   

Over the past few years the Kremlin has increasingly pulled up the drawbridge as ties with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War over the Ukraine crisis. Russia has splashed vast sums on state-funded channels and outlets broadcasting Kremlin propaganda across the globe.

In light of Putin’s approval of this cybersecurity document it seems it will do little to approve relations between Russia and the West, with The Kremlin expressing its fears over foreign influence and outside hacking which seems to be taking aim at the US in response to their allegations last month.

Published in Government

A number of major US technology companies suffered a drastic decline in its stocks following the presidential election of Donald Trump – and are now quite fearful for the future under his administration. During the election campaign close to 150 tech leaders including founders of worldwide brands such as Apple, Reddit and Wikipedia penned an open letter in July - in which it warned that his nomination would be a ‘disaster for innovation.’

However, the controversial Republican candidate and New York based billionaire secured the nomination on November 8th and will now subsequently become the 45th President of the United States. His success has left the technology sector pondering its future under Trump – and already stocks have taken a huge decline since his nomination.

Trumps pre-election rhetoric sent shivers through Silicon Valley as he announced that he intended to squeeze trade on China, clamp down on immigration which is critical to many tech firms - and he also issued a warning to online giants Amazon suggesting they could have ‘a huge antitrust problem’ if he were to be successful in his candidacy.

Gene Munster, an analyst on the technology sector at US investment bank and asset management company Piper Jaffray has moved to dispel some of the fears surrounding immigration and Amazon.

Munster said: “The tech sector is in more control of its own destiny than Donald Trump and will work through these problems.”

“I think the ‘antitrust’ probe of Amazon is unlikely, and I don’t think there will be major change on skilled immigration under Trump, and there could be an increase on tariffs for electronics components and that could potentially impact companies such as Apple, but it would be equally spread over manufacturers because they all rely on imports.”

However, many tech companies could boost significantly from Trump’s pledge to lower taxes on capital repatriated from overseas, which could well benefit companies such as Apple and Google. The tech sector holds the lion’s share of an estimated $2.5 trillion (Dh9.18 trillion) held by US firms overseas.

Bob O’Donnell, a consultant at Tech-analysis Research in Silicon Valley believes there could be a lot of money repatriated by tech companies. O’Donnell said: “Tech firms could use the repatriated money for job creation, and that would be very interesting - the tech sector may get a fresh look at the kinds of services and technologies that people want to invest in under Trump.”

“For example, a major push on infrastructure investment could be a big opportunity to integrate ‘smart’ technology for services such as transportation.”

While Trump has said very little in relation to the tech sector thus far, analysts and consultants have noted that the tech industry is such a huge part of the economy that you simply can’t ignore it. However, it has also been noted and taken into account that things that were viewed as special privileges may be taken away.

Some within the tech sector are gravely concerned that a Republican administration may seek to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ which ultimately prohibits broadband firms from playing favorites – which could spell trouble for online video operators like Netflix and Amazon.

Many tech leaders have simply had to put the disappointment of Trump’s election result behind them and move forward. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO, Tim Cook sent a memo to staff in which he said that the only way to move forward is to do so together. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg brushed off the election result by stating that it would not be right to say the election of Donald Trump changes the fundamental arc of technology over time.

Published in Government