Displaying items by tag: US

Facebook hires Patriot Act co-author as new chief lawyer

Written on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 11:43

Facebook has hired a new lawyer, Jennifer Newstead, a high-ranking US State Department Lawyer, who will oversee Facebook’s global legal functions amid pressure from regulators regarding its privacy policies.

Published in Government

US technology giant Apple is reportedly mulling over the prospect of entering into an unlikely partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei in an effort to address issues with the modem technology in its flagship iPhones.

Published in Devices

US reveals new 5G funding plan

Written on Monday, 15 April 2019 06:59

US officials revealed a plan to accelerate their deployment of 5G wireless networks with new funding estimated at $20.4 billion to build high-speed internet in rural areas.
At a White House event, the plans were unveiled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to host new spectrum auctions for 5G technology which aims to “improve Americans’ lives in so many ways” according to FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

Published in Government

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.

Published in Government

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.

Published in Government

Tesla to increase prices and keep several stores open

Written on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 07:59

Tesla is planning to increase prices by 3% on all cars except for the new mid-market Model 3.

Recently, Tesla said it would close down several stores in order to pay for a cut in the price of the Model 3 in the US to USD $35,000. The amount of stores to be closed down were not previously specified but Tesla has said that it now plans to close down “about half as many” stores as it makes half the cost savings.

The car manufacturer stated that if more stores were to be kept open, then the prices of their vehicles would have to increase by an average of about 3% worldwide.

Tesla has 378 stores and service locations worldwide but did not identify which ones would be closed.

A company spokesperson stated: “Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months.”

Tesla is planning to conduct online purchases which they claimed would take just a few minutes. The company said that buyers in store will be shown how to buy a Tesla online through their smartphones. They previously stated that if online sales were to increase, it would cause prices to decrease by an average of 6%.

In an attempt to convince customers to purchase their cars online, they said that it had a “generous returns policy” whereby the customer will be able to return a car after 1,000 miles or within seven days. This has been done to significantly decrease the need for test drivers.

Tesla has also said that some of its recently closed stores that used to be in “high visibility locations” will be reopened but with smaller amounts of staff and less cars.

The previous year has been “the most challenging” year in Tesla’s history as a business. The company has been attempting to cut costs as much as possible. In January, they announced a 7% job cut, equating to 3,000 job cuts.

Back in January, company founder Elon Musk stated that the company’s cars were still “too expensive for most people”.

He has been subject to a great deal of controversy over his tweet. Last month, he was held in contempt of court upon the request of the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, for violating a settlement month which was aimed at limiting his usage of social media.

This issue is due to his previous tweets about the company’s financial situation and some tweets from august last year in which he claimed he secured funds to make the company private.

Mr Musk has until today to officially respond.

Published in Finance

Trump reconsiders 5G nationalization plan

Written on Thursday, 07 March 2019 08:04

US president Donald Trump revisited a previous plan to nationalize 5G in the US after it had been previously scrapped in 2018 due to industry backlash.

President Donald Trump’s 2020  re-election campaign backtracked on the prospect of 5G wireless technology after it seemed to contradict the White House’s administration policy.

Trump’s admin began to discuss this prospect in January 2018 in an attempt to one-up their main competitor, China.

Politico reported that this plan would ensure the government have full control over the 5G spectrum to create a wholesale market where operators could buy capacity.

“A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underseved,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to Politico on Friday. She added “this is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

The resurgence of the campaign put it in an unfavorable position with White House administration officials who have been adamant on dropping the original plan of a free market approach after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Ajit Pai’s,  criticism against the matter.

5G technology is not yet readily available for the public.

Axios reported that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, believes that promoting a nationalized system could potentially general more votes from citizens in rural areas who want faster internet.

According to Business Insider, 5G is “next generation, super-fast wireless technology [which] has become a real, tangible thing that people can actually use.. Right now, only a tiny number of eople across a very limited spread of locations have access to 5G. For most of us, 5G is still a mystery, full of tantalizing promise but few details.”

Some members of the Trump administration such as Larry Kuldow, are wary of the nationalization of 5G as it would mean that private companies like Verizon and AT&T would be able to build it out.

Last month, trump expressed his concerns about 5G and its dominance by telling US operators to “step up their efforts” and criticized them for “lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future.”

As an attempt to reiterate his opposition to the prospect of network nationalization, Pai reposted a tweet from January 2018 which stated “The market, not the government, is best-positioned to drive innovation and investment.”

Similarly, some FCC commissioners such as Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr both expressed their opposition to the idea on social media while others even went as far as comparing it as a “China-like nationalization” of 5G networks.

In early February, Trump tweeted:

“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

“I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.

“We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”

Published in Government

Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is preparing to take the US government to court in an effort to the challenge the decision taken by the US congress which prohibits federal agencies from using its equipment.

The New York Times is reporting that the embattled Chinese vendor is now preparing to file a lawsuit against that legislation which was passed through the US House of Representatives.

Sources close to Huawei have leaked that the telecommunications company plans to argue the measure amounts to a so-called bill of attainder, which penalizes the vendor for a penalty without the benefit of a trial, which is illegal under the US Constitution.

The US has adopted a very aggressive approach towards Huawei and ZTE, and the latter was almost pushed the point of bankruptcy following draconian measures implemented by the US Department of Commerce.

In August of last year, President Donald Trump signed into law a defence spending bill which included a clause banning government agencies and contractors from using equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese vendor ZTE.

At the time, Huawei labelled the bill ‘misguided and unconstitutional’ – and blasted the decision taken by the Trump administration.

The lawsuit by Huawei is expected to be filed on 7 March in a federal court in Texas, where Huawei has its US headquarters.

The move comes as Huawei battles assertions from the US that it poses a security threat to telecommunications networks. The US has lobbied other nations in banning Huawei from their 5G networks, such as Australia and New Zealand, and is also attempting to pressure European countries such as the UK and France.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said countries that use Huawei equipment risk losing the US as a business and trade partner over the alleged security threat.

However, during his keynote address on stage at MWC19 Barcelona last week, Huawei rotating chairman Guo Ping blasted the US campaign against the company saying officials have “no evidence, nothing” to back up their claims.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Samsung takes the fight to Apple by opening new US stores

Written on Monday, 18 February 2019 12:53

South Korean conglomerate Samsung has unveiled its ambitious strategy to enhance its market share in the US by launching three new retails stores nationwide.

Samsung officially announced that it will open the new retail facilities as it gears up to launch an updated version of its flagship Galaxy handsets in the United States.

Some consumer experts are also claiming that the marketing strategy adopted by Samsung indicates clearly that the Seoul-based behemoth is directly challenging Apple in its domestic market.

Samsung said in a detailed statement that it made the move based on feedback from its customers.

The statement said, "They told us that they love having the ability to walk into a store and experience how the latest technology from Samsung works together to create a unique, immersive experience. Galaxy fans, in particular, mentioned that they were looking for a space to call their own, a place where they can get a feel for Samsung products first-hand."

It was further disclosed that the new stores will be located at the Americana at Brand mall in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston, Texas.

In addition to this, Samsung is holding a product launch in San Francisco amidst speculation it may launch a folding smartphone, which would make it the first of the major handset makers in the segment.

President of Samsung Electronics America, YH Eom, expressed his delight at the announcements and said the decision would solidify Samsung’s position as the world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer.

He said, “Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before. We want to build a 'playground' for Samsung fans -- a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer."

Samsung remained the number one global handset maker with a 20.8 percent share in 2018 despite an eight percent sales slump for the year, according to research firm IDC -- which also said last year showed the worst overall decline in sales for the smartphone sector.

Published in Devices
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