Enterprise

Huawei in talks with Swiss-based ProtonMail for Gmail substitute

The Swiss firm also offers a VPN service

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Huawei and Google have finally split ways. After months of uncertainty, Huawei has finally confirmed the first Google-less smartphone. Unlike its predecessors, the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro will ship without Google’s officially licensed products. That said, a pressing question remains: what will replace Google in Huawei’s devices?

The Chinese company has already discussed several alternatives including an open-source version of Android. Huawei’s most compelling alternative is its in-house software, Harmony OS. Currently, Harmony OS is in development in preparation for an eventual application for mobile devices. However, despite the seemingly positive developments, Huawei has lacked something critical: a new ally.

So far, Huawei’s potential solutions are either developed in-house or still clinging on to the Android ecosystem. Fortunately, Huawei’s lone battles are coming to an end.

The company is now discussing a potential partnership with an unlikely ally: the Switzerland-based ProtonMail. Notably, Switzerland is a neutral territory, allowing Swiss companies like ProtonMail to do business with Huawei.

In an official blog post, the Swiss company has extended support for Huawei’s official app store, AppGallery. According to a Bloomberg interview with the company’s founder, “what [Huawei sees] from [ProtonMail] is having an alternative to Google in case they can’t offer Google anymore.”

“As Huawei devices are especially popular in developing countries where Proton has many users, publishing on the Huawei AppGallery could become essential to continue supporting these user communities,” according to the blog post.

Additionally, ProtonMail has commented on Google’s shadier practices. “Google doesn’t respect users’ privacy,” the post further said. The company has notoriously gone off against Google in the past.

In contrast, ProtonMail offers an email service with end-to-end encryption and open-source cryptography. The company also offers an accessible VPN service called ProtonVPN. The company’s founder, Dr. Andy Yen, has continuously advocated for stricter privacy in digital communication. His team aims to add ProtonCalendar and ProtonDrive to their products in the future.

UPDATE [09/10/19]: ProtonMail has posted a follow-up blog post explaining the situation. Despite the emailing service’s support for Huawei’s AppGallery, both companies are not currently pursuing an official partnership with each other.

SEE ALSO: Huawei announces flagship Kirin 990 processor

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!

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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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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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