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Huawei secretly worked with North Korea on spying tech

Here we go again

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In the 2014 film The Interview, director Seth Rogen depicted North Korea as a backwards country incapable of basic human rights. The Hollywood depiction echoed the political sentiments of the present age — that North Korea falls behind most nations on several levels. Prejudices can, of course, be deceiving. According to a new report, North Korea isn’t the backwards country that everyone thinks it is.

Apparently, North Korea received invaluable help from outside technology — Huawei. As reported by The Washington Post, Huawei has secretly worked with the North Korean government for the latter’s wireless communications technology. Partnered with China-based Panda International, Huawei has engaged in North Korean business deals for at least eight years.

In 2008, then-leader Kim Jong Il discretely struck a deal with Huawei. The latter would help establish the North Korean telecommunications provider, Koryolink. Huawei became the country’s main provider for technology. The company even shipped employees to North Korea, establishing an inconspicuous office at a local hotel.

According to a telling internal document, Huawei’s assistance went beyond mere technology providing services. In 2008, North Korea asked Huawei for a spying algorithm; to which, the latter agreed. Huawei created an encrypted algorithm that allowed the government to intercept and monitor all calls made using Koryolink.

Huawei’s involvement went through all the protocols of secrecy. Internally, they struck all mentions of North Korea, hiding behind codes. (For example, “Country A9” would refer to North Korea.) Naturally, when America cracked down on North Korea in 2016, Huawei withdrew from all its North Korean offices, leaving current business deals hanging.

Huawei’s current troubles stem from its alleged involvements with blacklisted countries. Before its recent obsession with cybersecurity, the American government sought sanctions against Huawei for dealing with Iran and North Korea. The government, however, could never pin anything conclusive against the company. The recent ban stems from a different concern.

Of course, this latest report is a huge monkey wrench in the geopolitical machine. Both China-US and North Korea-US relations are already tense. Huawei’s North Korean involvement can potentially cause ripples throughout both fronts. For one, Trump already relinquished his iron grasp on Huawei recently. Will his tone change after today’s report? Will we see Huawei banned again? The Huawei saga continues.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is firing hundreds of workers

Enterprise

UK Prime Minister caught using a Huawei P20

After issuing warning about the company

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Image source: ITV

Whenever you lobby against a certain thing, you’d better not get caught using that same thing. Surprisingly (or not), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not receive that memo. On live television, the leader of the increasingly Huawei-phobic country used a Huawei P20 to take a selfie with the show’s interviewers.

On ITV’s This Morning, the Prime Minister engaged in an interview about his governmental policies. After the interview, he whipped out last year’s popular flagship from Huawei, inviting the hosts for a selfie.

Ironically, Johnson issued a statement, exercising caution over Huawei’s entry into UK’s 5G market. Currently, the country is deliberating business with the Chinese tech company. Unlike the US, the UK is still on the fence about a China-sponsored deal.

However, the Prime Minister recently brought a warier approach to a future deal, focusing on national security over corporate interests. Still, Johnson remains open to foreign investments, decrying unnecessary biases against international help.

If anything, Huawei is assuring other countries that its technology will not interfere with their respective national securities. On the other side, the company’s primary rival, the US, is asking other countries to reconsider trade deals with Huawei, citing the cybersecurity risk in allowing the company to take over a country’s telecommunications.

Regardless of the UK’s decision, Johnson’s P20 comes at an interesting time. To make matters a bit more muddled, Johnson’s representative alleges that the phone came from a staffer, rather than the Prime Minister’s own pocket. Is the UK for or against Huawei? Only time will tell.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Freebuds 3 review: Best value wireless earbuds

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Enterprise

Google’s founders step down from parent company

Sundar Pichai will take over as Alphabet CEO

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Today’s world is dominated by personalities. Facebook is already completely synonymous with Mark Zuckerberg. Apple is already completely synonymous with Tim Cook. Unsurprisingly, technology’s biggest leaders are dominating the discussion surrounding their respective companies. However, amidst today’s cults of personalities, one big company is keeping it relatively lowkey: Google.

Even since the company’s inception, Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have traditionally shied away from the limelight, letting the products speak for themselves. In fact, in 2015, the founders stepped down from their leadership roles at Google, surrendering the reins to incumbent CEO Sundar Pichai. Meanwhile, Page and Brin restructured (and headed) the entire corporation under a larger parent company, Alphabet. Still, despite the restructuring, the duo kept to their shadows.

Now, Page and Brin are taking an even larger step back. In a sudden farewell letter issued today, the duo is stepping down from Alphabet’s top seats. Once again, Pichai will take over as CEO of both Alphabet and Google.

“And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet,” the letter said. However, the duo will still “remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders.”

On the other side of the board, Pichai is taking a confident approach to the new leadership role. “I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone,” Pichai said.

Pichai’s promotion comes at an interesting time. For one, Google is currently under negotiations with Huawei to resurrect the latter’s Android-powered products. Who knows where Alphabet and Google will go from here?

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 3 saved a man from a bullet

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Enterprise

ING Bank has a new way to entice you to save

By offering rebates

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ING is being aggressive with its efforts to shakeup digital banking in the Philippines. After providing an all-digital way to create a savings account and offering aggressive interest rate, the bank is now offering rebates on transfer fees.

While the emphasis these holiday season is to spend, ING is encourage Filipinos to save by offering a fixed PhP 100 rebate for every successful electronic bank transfer, for up to two transactions per month.

The promo begins right now and will last until January 31, 2020. So if you’re wondering where you should put your hard-earned bonus, think about saving instead of spending. This promo will work alongside the 4 percent per annum interest rate.

ING first entered the Philippines in November 2018. In 2019, they launched an aggressive campaign to get more Filipinos to save by offering an alternative to your usual banks — one that’s purely digital with sign up possible all on the app. Best of all, there’s zero maintaining balance.

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