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Huawei's CFO Is Being Accused of Fraud, and Her Main Defense Is a PowerPoint

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 02:45
"Today, a bail hearing was held for Huawei's chief financial officer, who was arrested in Canada on Saturday at the request of U.S. law enforcement," reports The Verge. "The CFO, Meng Wanzhou, is facing extradition to the U.S. for conspiring to defraud banking institutions, according to the Star Vancouver." The Verge reports that her main defense is "a PowerPoint presentation that Meng had once given to explain to a bank in Hong Kong that Huawei had not violated any U.S. sanctions." From the report: Many lined up to see Meng's bail hearing today, after the extremely high-profile arrest that signified the first major break in a U.S. probe that has mostly been kept from the public. The U.S. has an arrest warrant out for Meng that was issued by a New York court on August 22nd. It has 60 days from the time of Meng's arrest on Saturday to provide Canadian courts with evidence and intent. Meng served on the board for a Hong Kong-based company called Skycom, which allegedly did business with Iran between 2009 and 2014. U.S. banks worked with Huawei at this time, so Iran sanctions were violated indirectly, and Meng therefore committed fraud against these banks. Skycom reportedly had connections to Huawei and at the bail hearing today, Gibb-Carsley argued that Skycom was an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei's, using the same company logo. "Huawei is SkyCom," he said, "This is the crux, I say, of the alleged fraud." The hearing also examined whether Meng would be a flight risk if she was granted the $1 million bail, part of the argument Gibb-Carsley was pushing. "Defense lawyer Martin responded by explaining the Chinese emphasis on saving face, and how Meng wouldn't want her father and Huawei to look bad. Even more than that, 'she would not embarrass China itself,' Martin said."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

'Send Noncompete Agreements Back To the Middle Ages'

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 02:03
Stephen Mihm, Bloomberg contributor and associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, argues against the use of noncompete agreements (NCAs) because they limit the free flow of employees and discourage innovation. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from his report: The agreements, known as NCAs, forbid workers from taking valuable skills acquired from one employer to a competing firm. They first appeared in the Middle Ages, when master artisans required them of apprentices because they didn't want to face direct competition once their proteges set up shop on their own. Courts eventually sanctioned these restraints, provided they didn't harm the public interest, establish a monopoly or unduly restrain an employee's right to work. But this trend toward wider use of the contracts, which gathered steam from the late 18th century onward, conveniently omitted that they originally applied to skilled laborers operating in a pre-capitalist society. Yet employers increasingly used noncompete clauses to limit the mobility of unskilled wage laborers along with skilled workers. Have NCAs helped or hindered economic growth? The most famous study looked at California, one of only a handful of states that do not permit NCAs. The de facto prohibition of the agreements affected skilled and non-skilled workers alike, and employees high and low could jump from job to job without any fear of legal reprisal. The mobility seems to have disseminated innovation very swiftly from company to company, creating the kind of dynamism and technological spillover that helps foster long-term success. The prohibition of NCAs clearly benefited Silicon Valley. Further proof was provided by the comparison to another claimant to high-tech supremacy: Route 128 in Massachusetts. The conclusion was that California's ban -- and the embrace of the agreements in Massachusetts -- helped tilt the balance of power to California.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

After 23 Years, IBM Sells Off Lotus Notes

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 01:20
"IBM has agreed to sell select software products to HCL Technologies," writes Slashdot reader virtig01. "Included among these is everyone's favorite email and calendaring tool, Lotus Notes and Domino." TechCrunch reports: IBM paid $3.5 billion for Lotus back in the day. The big pieces here are Lotus Notes, Domino and Portal. These were a big part of IBM's enterprise business for a long time, but last year Big Blue began to pull away, selling the development part to HCL, while maintaining control of sales and marketing. This announcement marks the end of the line for IBM involvement. With the development of the platform out of its control, and in need of cash after spending $34 billion for Red Hat, perhaps IBM simply decided it no longer made sense to keep any part of this in-house. As for HCL, it sees an opportunity to continue to build the Notes/Domino business. "The large-scale deployments of these products provide us with a great opportunity to reach and serve thousands of global enterprises across a wide range of industries and markets," C Vijayakumar, president and CEO at HCL Technologies, said in a statement announcing the deal.

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Trump's Pick To Be the Next Attorney General Has Opposed Net Neutrality Rules For Years

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 00:40
William P. Barr, President Trump's pick to become the nation's next Attorney General, is a former chief lawyer for Verizon who has opposed net neutrality rules for more than a decade. "Barr, who served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush from 1991-93, warned in 2006 that 'network neutrality regulations would discourage construction of high-speed internet lines that telephone and cable giants are spending tens of billions of dollars to deploy,'" reports Fast Company. From the report: Barr's appointment would be welcome news for at least three major internet service providers and a trade organization -- including Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association -- that have spent more than $600 million lobbying on Capitol Hill since 2008, according to a MapLight analysis. Their lobbying on a key issue was rewarded last December, when the Federal Communications Commission, led by another former Verizon lawyer-turned-Trump appointee, overruled popular opinion by voting to scrap rules that banned internet companies from giving preferential treatment to particular websites or charging consumers more for different types of content. Barr's previous employment with Verizon foreshadows credibility problems similar to those faced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, also a former Verizon lawyer. Barr, however, is likely to face even more scrutiny stemming from his role as a member of WarnerMedia's board of directors. The entertainment conglomerate, which includes HBO, Turner Broadcasting, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Group, was created in the aftermath of AT&T's 2016 purchase of Time Warner Inc. [...] Barr has argued that net neutrality rules will discourage internet service providers from investing in high-end delivery systems, such as fiber-optic networks. "Companies are going to make these kinds of investments only if they see an opportunity to earn a return that is commensurate with the risk, and only if they have the freedom to innovate, differentiate, and make commercially sensible decisions that they need to compete and win in the market," he said at a 2006 Federalist Society convention. Barr also claimed that 81 percent of the nation's roughly 40,000 zip codes have three or more choices of broadband providers. A PC Magazine study last year found that to be untrue, with only 30 percent of 20,000 zip codes having three or more broadband options.

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China's Chang'e-4 Launches On Mission To the Moon's Far Side

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 23:56
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: China is aiming to go where no one has gone before: the far side of the moon. A rocket carrying the Chang'e-4 lunar lander blasted off at about 2:23 a.m. local time on Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. (In the United States, it was still midday Friday). Chinese authorities did not broadcast the launch, but an unofficial live stream recorded near the site showed the rocket rise from the launch pad until its flames looked like a bright star in the area's dark skies. Nearly one hour later, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency reported that Chang'e-4 had successfully launched. Exactly when it will set down at its destination has not yet been announced -- possibly in early January -- but Chang'e-4 will provide the first close-up look at a part of the moon that is eternally out of view from Earth. The rover will attempt to land in the 110-mile-wide Von Karman crater. The crater is within an area known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, a gigantic, 1,600-mile wide crater at the bottom of the moon, which has a mineralogy distinct from other locations. "That may reflect materials from the inside of the moon that were brought up by the impact that created the basin," reports The New York Times. The suite of instruments on the rover and the lander -- cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers -- "will probe the structure of the rocks beneath the spacecraft, study the effects of the solar wind striking the lunar surface," the report says. "Chang'e-4 will also test the ability of making radio astronomy observations from the far side of the moon, without the effects of noise and interference from Earth." It will also see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon's low gravity.

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If Your Gmail Inbox Is Being Flooded With Promo Emails, You're Not Alone

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 23:10
Gmail users are reporting that promotional emails (meant to showcase deals, offers, and other marketing emails) from companies are ending up in their main "Primary" inbox (meant for person-to-person conversations and messages that don't appear in other tabs.). The company says it is working on a fix. From a report: Google told BuzzFeed News it's working on a fix, but it did not specify when users should expect inboxes to go back to normal. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "We are aware of an issue in Gmail causing certain promotional email to be incorrectly categorized. We are rolling out a fix shortly."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

DHS Looking Into Tracking Monero and Zcash Transactions

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 22:50
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is interested in acquiring technology solutions that can track newer cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero. From a report: According to a pre-solicitation document [PDF], the DHS wants to know if this is possible, before filing an official solicitation request later down the line. The DHS said that "prior efforts have addressed Bitcoin analytics," but now the agency and the law enforcement agencies under its supervision are looking into similar cryptocurrency analytics solutions that can be used to track so-called privacy coins -- cryptocurrencies that support anonymous transactions. "A key feature underlying these newer blockchain platforms that is frequently emphasized is the capability for anonymity and privacy protection," the DHS document said. "While these features are desirable, there is similarly a compelling interest in tracing and understanding transactions and actions on the blockchain of an illegal nature. This proposal calls for solutions that enable law enforcement investigations to perform forensic analysis on blockchain transactions," it added.

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UPS Tries Delivery Tricycles As Seattle's Traffic Doom Looms

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 21:45
An anonymous reader shares a report: Pushing the cargo bike across a rain-soaked parking lot at a UPS distribution center in Seattle, where the shipper showed off its newest delivery vehicle, I had a realization once the pedal assist kicked in. "Yep, this will totally work," I thought. Bike messengers have long known cycling is the fastest way to get around traffic-choked cities. More commuters are getting it too. Now UPS is giving it a shot: The 111-year-old delivery service has started moving packages around Seattle by electric tricycle, in a yearlong pilot. The vehicle in question was designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland, Oregon. When the rider starts to pedal, human power pushes the front hub. With a thumb throttle, the rider can draw power from a pair of battery packs in the base of the trike to rear hub motors for the back two wheels, with enough juice for 12 to 18 miles of range. The extra power comes in handy because the trailer, made by Portland's Silver Eagle, can fit as many as 40 packages, or about 350 pounds worth of stuff. For UPS the move is pretty spot on, because while the Emerald City is always congested, it's less than two months from what its traffic engineers call the "period of maximum constraint." That ominous-sounding constrained period arrives on February 4, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct elevated highway along the waterfront is torn down and the 2-mile tunnel Seattle dug to replace it comes online. Crews are finishing the ramps that connect the tunnel to surface roads, and for three weeks, the city won't have a road to get through downtown on the city's waterfront side. To dodge the traffic horror show, Seattleites are planning vacations, renting Airbnbs to stay downtown, anything to avoid driving, including working from home.

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California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 21:10
Solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California, after the state's Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that's the first of its kind in the United States. From a report: Set to take effect in 2020, the new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun. It also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home's electrical system, to store the sun's energy. "These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country," said commissioner Kent Sasaki, according to The Mercury News. "[It's] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels." The rule marks a new phase in California's environmental policies, which have often set trends and established standards nationwide. The state has set the goal of drawing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The solar panels rule was initially endorsed as part of the state's Green Building Standards Code by the California Energy Commission back in May.

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Chinese Mobile App Companies Are a National Security Risk, Says a Top Democrat

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 20:55
Chinese mobile app companies pose the same national security risk to the US as telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE, Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. From a report: Recent US legislation largely banned Huawei and ZTE from use by the government and its contractors, due to concerns about surveillance and other national security risks. Now Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is signaling that Chinese app developers may face similar scrutiny from lawmakers, corporate America, and the intelligence community. Warner's comments follow a recent BuzzFeed News report that popular apps from China's Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech were exploiting user permissions to engage in a form of ad fraud. Eight Android apps with more than 2 billion total downloads were said to be engaging in a form of app-install ad fraud. Google subsequently removed two of the apps from the Play store and said it continues to investigate. Cheetah and Kika deny engaging in app-install fraud. "Under Chinese law, all Chinese companies are ultimately beholden to the Communist Party, not their board or shareholders, so any Chinese technology company -- whether in telecom or mobile apps -- should be seen as extensions of the state and a national security risk," Warner said in an interview this week with BuzzFeed News. Further reading: Sen. Warner calls for US cyber doctrine, new standards for security.

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AI as Talent Scout: Unorthodox Hires, and Maybe Lower Pay

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 19:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: One day this fall, Ashutosh Garg, the chief executive of a recruiting service called Eightfold.ai, turned up a resume that piqued his interest. It belonged to a prospective data scientist, someone who unearths patterns in data to help businesses make decisions, like how to target ads. But curiously, the resume featured the term "data science" nowhere. Instead, the resume belonged to an analyst at Barclays who had done graduate work in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Though his profile on the social network LinkedIn indicated that he had never worked as a data scientist, Eightfold's software flagged him as a good fit. He was similar in certain key ways, like his math and computer chops, to four actual data scientists whom Mr. Garg had instructed the software to consider as a model. The idea is not to focus on job titles, but "what skills they have," Mr. Garg said. "You're really looking for people who have not done it, but can do it." The power of such technology will be immediately apparent to any employer scrambling to fill jobs in a tight labor market -- not least positions for data scientists, whom companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are competing to attract. Thanks to services like Eightfold, which rely on sophisticated algorithms to match workers and jobs, many employers may soon have access to a universe of prospective workers -- even for hard-to-fill roles -- whom they might not otherwise have come across.

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EU Governments Agree To Tougher Stance On E-evidence

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 19:00
EU governments agreed on Friday to toughen up draft rules allowing law enforcement authorities to get electronic evidence directly from tech companies such as Facebook and Google stored in the cloud in another European country. From a report: The move underlines the growing trend in Europe to rein in tech giants whether on the regulatory front or the antitrust front. The e-evidence proposal also came in the wake of recent deadly terrorist attacks in Europe, pressure on tech companies to do more to cooperate with police investigations and people's growing tendency to store and share information on WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber, Skype, Instagram and Telegram. The European Commission, the EU executive, came up with the draft legislation in April, which includes a 10-day deadline for companies to respond to police requests or 6 hours in emergency cases, and fines up to 2 percent of a company's global turnover for not complying with such orders. The proposal covers telecoms services providers, online marketplaces and internet infrastructure services providers and applies to subscriber data and other data on access, transactional and content.

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Abzû studio Giant Squid unveils beautiful forest adventure The Pathless

Eurogamer - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 18:45

In among the early morning storm of announcements at this year's Game Awards was one particularly nice surprise: a reveal of The Pathless, the new game from Giant Squid, developer of wonderful aquatic adventure Abzû.

Giant Squid Studios was founded by Matt Nava, formerly art director on ThatGameCompany's astonishing Journey, and Abzû carried much of that game's delicate artistry and spirit, if not quite its lasting emotional impact. As such, I've been eagerly awaiting news of a follow-up, and we now know that The Pathless trades Journey's deserts and Abzû's watery depths for the verdant expanse and imposing mountain backdrop of an endless forest.

Here, players take on the role of the Hunter, a master of archery, attempting to dispel a curse that threatens the world. Key to the experience is your bond with your eagle companion, and together you'll scour secrets in the forest's shadows, solve puzzles in ancient ruins, and engage in epic battles. It looks, as you might expect from Giant Squid, absolutely beautiful, and undoubtedly reminiscent, stylistically and tonally, of its forebears.

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Categories: Video Games

The FTC's Top Consumer Protection Official Can't Go After Facebook -- or 100 Other Companies

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 18:18
The Federal Trade Commission's top consumer protection official is prohibited from handling the cases involving 120 different companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Uber, according to financial disclosure documents published by Public Citizen this week. From a report: Andrew Smith, who heads the FTCs Consumer Protection Bureau, would be in charge of handling investigations into some of the country's largest companies and any consumer protection violations that may occur. But due to his conflicts of interest, Smith is barred from participating in any investigations involving the companies he previously provided legal services for. "It's a big world out there, and the FTC has very broad jurisdictions," Smith said to The Verge. "There are plenty of investigations that I'm involved in." Smith was approved by a 3-2 Republican majority in May.

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Win a Smash Bros. edition Switch in Nintendo Life's Smash Battles Live tournament

Eurogamer - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 17:49

Update: Today's the day! Nintendo Life's Alex and Arekkz will do battle, live on YouTube and Twitch at 7PM. Don't forget to tune in to see who picks Kirby, therefore automatically making them Sakurai's favourite to win.

Hello! I bring you a public service announcement on behalf of our network buddies at Nintendo Life, who are co-hosting a special Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament with Arekkz from YouTube channel Arekkz Gaming on the game's launch day, 7th December.

The tournament, Smash Battles Live, will be decided between four members of the community who will be teamed up with Nintendo Life's Alex Olney, Arekkz and two more special guests. It will be livestreamed from Loading Bar: Server in Shepherd's Bush - if you'd like to take part, register at smashbattleslive.com. Four people will be picked at random to be part of the tournament.

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Categories: Video Games

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a colourful pop music game headed to Switch

Eurogamer - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 17:44

With colours as bright as this, it would have been pretty hard to miss Sayonara Wild Hearts at the Game Awards 2018. But if you did, have a little peek at this stylish new game coming to Switch in 2019.

From the developer behind mobile games Device 6 and The Sailor's Dream, Sayonara Wild Hearts is the latest title by Simogo, and seems to revolve around biker gangs in a world of 1980s-style neon. As you can see (and hear) in the announcement trailer, it's pretty music-focused, and leans heavily on pop and electronic influences. It's hard to tell what the core gameplay will be, as there's everything from motor bike racing to sword fights, but it looks like it's going to be a fast-paced 3D action game.

Although Sayonara Wild Hearts remains fairly mysterious, Simogo has now explained a little more about the game's influences and development, which you can read about in this blog post. The developer wanted to focus on "what makes an action game good: the thrill", with an emphasis on creating a visceral experience for players. The story, meanwhile, revolves around a young woman's heartbreak - which disturbs the balance of the universe and leads her to a "highway in the sky, where she finds her other self: the masked biker called The Fool". Even I'm not this dramatic over break-ups.

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Categories: Video Games

Millions of Smartphones in 11 Countries Were Taken Offline Yesterday by an Expired Certificate

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 17:40
Ericsson has confirmed that a fault with its software was the source of yesterday's massive network outage, which took millions of smartphones offline across the UK and Japan and created issues in almost a dozen countries. From a report: In a statement, Ericsson said that the root cause was an expired certificate, and that "the faulty software that has caused these issues is being decommissioned." The statement notes that network services were restored to most customers on Thursday, while UK operator O2 said that its 4G network was back up as of early Friday morning. Although much of the focus was paid to outages on O2 in the UK and Softbank in Japan. Ericsson later confirmed to Softbank that issues had simultaneously affected telecom carriers who'd installed Ericsson-made devices across a total of 11 countries. Softbank said that the outage affected its own network for just over four hours.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Your Apple Products Are Getting More Expensive. Here's How They Get Away With It.

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 16:50
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt as though the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel. For some perspective, we charted out the past few years of prices on a few iconic Apple products. Then we compared them with other brands and some proprietary data about Americans' phone purchase habits from mobile analytics firm BayStreet Research. What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation -- faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn't charging all customers more, it's definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders. [...] Apple says prices go up because it introduces new technologies such as Face ID and invests in making products that last a long time. Yet it has clearly been feeling price discomfort from some quarters. This week, amid reports of lagging sales that took its stock far out of the trillion-dollar club, it dedicated its home page to a used-car sales technique that's uncharacteristic for an aspirational luxury brand. It offered a "limited-time" deal to trade in an old iPhone and get a new iPhone XR for $450, a $300 discount.

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This RX 580 8GB at £170 is a bargain for 1080p PC gaming

Eurogamer - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 16:37

The Radeon RX 580, our pick for the best graphics card for 1080p gaming, has been reduced to its lowest price yet. Right now, you can get the full-fat PowerColor RX 580 8GB for just £169.99 from Overclockers, a savings of £30.

The PowerColor Dragon V2 graphics card is also part of AMD's Fully Loaded promotion, so you choose any two of three upcoming PC titles to get for free. The games on offer are Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5 and The Division 2, each of which will be released early next year and has a retail price of around £50. If you were planning to pick up these games that's an additional savings of £100 - and if you weren't going to get these games, you could potentially flip the codes online to get some money back.

We mentioned earlier that the RX 580 is our pick for the best value graphics card, and that's a fact - the card typically outperforms the popular GeForce GTX 1060 6GB at a similar price point, making it the better choice overall. (You can see the exact figures in our RX 580 benchmarks page.)

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Categories: Video Games

Europe Should Be Afraid of Huawei, EU Tech Official Says

Slashdot - Fri, 07/12/2018 - 16:08
The European Union should be worried about Huawei and other Chinese technology companies because of the risk they pose to the bloc's industry and security, the EU's technology commissioner said on Friday. From a report: "Do we have to be worried about Huawei or other Chinese companies? Yes, I think we have to be worried about those companies," Andrus Ansip told a news conference in Brussels, days after a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested in Canada as part of an investigation into alleged bank fraud. Huawei, which generated $93 billion in revenue last year and is seen as a national champion in China, faces intense scrutiny from many Western nations over its ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns it could be used by Beijing for spying. Ansip said he was concerned because Chinese technology companies were required to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services, such as on "mandatory back doors" to allow access to encrypted data. He also said those companies produce chips that could be used "to get our secrets." "As normal, ordinary people we have to be afraid," he said, adding he did not have enough information about the recent arrest in Canada.

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