Enterprise

Former Twitter employees reportedly spied on users for Saudi Arabia

More than 6,000 accounts hacked

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Image source: Twitter

Absolutely no one is safe from drama these days. Facebook, Huawei, Blizzard; for the past year, these companies have found themselves on the receiving end of today’s negative headlines. Though a hotspot for its own controversies, Twitter is relatively steering clear from this year’s drama. In fact, the social media giant recently banned all political ads on its platform, inciting a round of applause from a lot of users.

Unfortunately, here’s a slight tarnish on Twitter’s relatively clean record. Announced today, two former Twitter employees have allegedly spied on numerous Twitter accounts for the Saudi Arabian government. All of the suspects are being (or have been) pursued by the American government.

According to the suit, one of the suspects, Ahmad Abouammo supposedly accessed only three accounts. However, another former employee, Ali Alzabarah, accessed over 6,000 accounts. Taking place between 2014 and 2015, the breach targeted individuals who were overtly critical of the Saudi Arabian government — including Jamal Khashoggi, a murdered Saudi Arabian journalist from last year.

“We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law,” said US Attorney David L. Anderson, according to The Washington Post. For the first time in a while, the American government is taking a strong stance against Saudi Arabia, a country controversially supported by US President Donald Trump.

In Twitter’s defense, the company is decrying the blatant invasion of privacy. According to a spokesman, Twitter’s sensitive data is accessed only by “a limited group of trained and vetted employees.” For what it’s worth, Twitter values the importance of dissenting opinions. “We understand the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work.”

SEE ALSO: Twitter is finally getting a dark mode for Android!

Enterprise

Huawei is building an ecosystem of connected devices

A smart phone is at the center of it all

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Huawei is making a strong push towards building an ecosystem built on the backbone of their success in the mobile computing space.

At the APAC Huawei Developer Day, the company unveiled a roadmap to demonstrate their transition from a phone maker to a complete ecosystem of devices. We’ve previously seen similar concepts from Apple, Google, and Samsung, and now Huawei plans on having a piece of the pie.

Huawei is the world’s second-largest phone maker today and aims to develop a wide array of smart applications for day-to-day usage. Obviously, Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) will be at the center of it all and consists of eight nodes. These nodes will offer extended hardware capability to the phone, and in return, provide more IoT and AI-based applications for the end-user.

These nodes include televisions, speakers, glasses, watches, vehicles, earbuds, laptops, and tablets. These devices can complement the phone and offer various use-case scenarios like smart homes, smart offices, next-gen mobility, and advances health tracking.

Smartphones are credited to be one of the most revolutionary inventions because a palm-sized device can completely replace appliances like televisions, computers, the radio, and more. Phones are always connected to the internet today and this opens up an abundance of new opportunities for everyone.

For developers, it can be an ideal platform to launch their services across a wide array of devices. Huawei claims it has 570 million HMS users, a figure that will be extremely enticing for developers because an audience is easily available.

HMS also includes software-based add-ons like AppGallery, Huawei Browser, Huawei Assistant, and Huawei Mobile Cloud. These services also act as a backup option for the brand because its recent flagship does not ship with Google apps out-of-the-box and requires an alternative.

By 2020, Huawei intends to open up access to 24 HMS Core kits, 55 services, and 997 APIs for the APAC region. To further encourage developers, the company has announced an investment of US$ 1 billion in the Shining-Star Program to train them on AI, AR/VR, and IoT.

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Enterprise

Second GNI Innovation Challenge is now accepting applicants

Winners get a US$ 250,000 funding

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Google News Initiative hosts the annual Innovation Challenge to support projects in journalism and for its second year, they are now accepting applicants from the Asia-Pacific region.

This year’s Innovation Challenge will focus on projects that increase audience engagement for news providers. Everyone can apply as long as they commit to an authentic and trustworthy news ecosystem.

To apply, applicants must come from eligible countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Google will ask for project descriptions and budget information on its online application form. All projects must have clear indicators showing its impact from a user and/or business perspective. Also, there is a one-year deadline for delivering the project.

There are four criteria for judging: impact on news ecosystem, innovation, feasibility, and inspiration. Winners of the challenge will receive a funding of up to US$ 250,000 and 70% financing for all the projects’ costs.

To know more about the Innovation Challenge, visit Google News Initiative website.

The Google News initiative is Google’s effort to help the news industry. It builds products, partner with organizations, and conducts programs to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

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Enterprise

Huawei can officially trade with the US again ‘very shortly’

Exemptions are coming!

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It’s been a while since our last major update on Huawei’s situation in the US. For weeks, we’ve only received slight developments from minor sources. Now, Huawei is finally on the verge of a huge breakthrough.

Last weekend, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explained the ongoing progress for the country’s deal with China and its companies. “We’re making good progress,” Ross told Bloomberg.

“Phase One” of the deal will likely begin this week, according to the report. The development will come with a series of changes for both China and the US. Most notably, the US government will finally approve several operating licenses for Huawei.

To start with, both sides will finally agree on tariffs on imported products including smartphones. Both countries want to eliminate tariffs on any products they want. Agreed upon, imported products might be cheaper for either side.

Additionally, the US will finally go through its prohibited entity list. Currently, several Chinese companies are forbidden from dealing business with American companies. However, the government allowed American companies to apply for an operating license to trade with the entities. Unfortunately, the applications haven’t gotten anywhere. As of this writing, the government has not approved a single application.

This will soon change with the deal. The licenses “will be forthcoming very shortly,” Ross said.

Trump is also optimistic about the deal’s eventual outcome, eyeing an inking on American soil this month. “I want to get the deal,” he said.

Of course, the deal has always been up in the air since its inception. According to Ross, the eventual deal will still depend on China’s participation.

SEE ALSO: UK could allow Huawei to build its 5G network

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