Throughout 2018, Huawei’s and ZTE’s stories have been tinged by cybersecurity issues. Across the globe, countries have discussed the companies’ potential for Chinese espionage. The story first broke out in the United States. Since then, US officials have bounced back and forth on whether both companies should be banned. In what was assumed to be a final swing, the United States reinstated Huawei and ZTE back into the American corporate world.
Now, more countries have picked up the pace. Australia, Japan, and the UK have recently declared their concern over Huawei’s security. Today, Germany joins in on the fun. All four countries are considering a total ban on Huawei’s hardware.
In all four nations, cybersecurity concerns appeared right before the dawn of 5G networking. Of note, Huawei and ZTE are important facets in the new network’s growth. Both are developing their own solutions to 5G networking. Facing a possible ban, they might have to look elsewhere to further their 5G dreams.
Discussions stem directly from China’s newly implemented National Intelligence Law. Within this law, China forces companies and individuals to serve the government when needed. The ruling breeds fear in other countries. Chinese companies operating within their borders can open a backdoor for China.
As the bidding game for every country’s first 5G network starts, Huawei and ZTE might have to step back. Particularly, Germany isn’t sure about a Chinese network building the infrastructure for the next generation of communication. As of now, no plans have been announced yet. However, the move will definitely come with repercussions in any of the four countries.
Besides network infrastructure, Huawei also has plans for other 5G hardware. Reportedly, the company will release its first 5G phone next year. Additionally, this phone will come with a foldable hinge, similar to Samsung’s own foldable phone.
Huawei executive caught using Apple products
Owned a Huawei Mate 20 RS, though
Just like its competitors, Huawei is an intensely competitive smartphone brand. In the past, the company has thrown a lot of shade against its market rivals. The most notable recipient, however, is Apple. Huawei has even punished its employees for using Apple’s products. Not for nothing, the Chinese company has since overtaken Apple in the standings.
Given Huawei’s competitive nature, it would be ironic if the company’s head honchos were using a competitor’s products. Funny enough, that’s what happened.
Late last year, Huawei’s chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada for illegal business practices. Since then, the Huawei heir languished in house arrest. Her extradition remained in a state of uncertainty.
However, a recent court filing has revealed more information about the arrest. According to the report, Canadian authorities seized a curious number of Apple products. Meng was using an iPhone 7 Plus, a MacBook Air, and an iPad Pro. In her defense, she also carried one Huawei phone — the Huawei Mate 20 RS Porsche Design.
Because of the seizure, Meng’s lawyers requested authorities for a copy of the data. They also asked for the devices to be sealed. Canada has since agreed to the request.
Regardless, Meng’s ownership of a mainly Apple ecosystem is an ironic fact amid the company’s geopolitical troubles. If anything, it’s a refreshing break from the usual strife that Huawei has gotten into over the past year.
Some Nokia 7 units are sending your data to China
Finland will reportedly investigate HMD Global
Are you afraid of data theft? Lately, the online community has put the clamps on shady business practices in the tech industry. For example, Facebook was recently put under the microscope for selling its users’ data to willing buyers. However, for every documented case, dozens of undocumented others are lying in wait for unsuspecting victims.
Now, Finland is mounting a similar case against HMD Global, the current owners of the Nokia brand. Last month, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) received a tip from Henrik Austad, a local Nokia 7 user. While monitoring his handset’s outgoing traffic, Austad noticed a glaring anomaly: it was sending data packets to a Chinese server called “vnet.cn.”
For every instance that the screen turns on, the Nokia 7 sent the phone’s geographical data, SIM card number, and serial number to the Chinese server. Theoretically, the server’s owners (and anyone who can access the traffic) can know the whereabouts of specific users.
Investigating the tip, NRK discovered the server’s owners: China Telecom. Unfortunately, further investigations have warranted nothing. The media company speculates that the surveillance mechanism was intended for Chinese users but ended up with international markets.
HMD Global has since admitted to the fault. Apparently, the company has already detected the error before Austad’s tip. As a result, they released a Nokia 7 security patch a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, HMD Global’s confession isn’t enough for its home country, Finland. In an email, Reijo Aarnio, Finnish Ombudsman for Data Protection, was surprised at the leaked information. As a result, Finland authorities will investigate the matter even further.
In their defense, HMD Global claims that “the data was never processed, and no personal information was shared with third parties or authorities.” Of note, the Nokia 7 is a China-exclusive phone. Later on, HMD Global released the international variants, Nokia 7.1 and Nokia 7 Plus.
Qualcomm orders Apple to pay millions of dollars
For alleged patent infringement
Throughout the past year and a half, one story took center stage: Huawei’s battles with the American government. However, amid the story’s prominence, another story brewed in the background: Qualcomm’s gripes with Apple. Across 2018, Qualcomm discovered new strategies to make Apple’s life a living hell.
Now, Qualcomm’s seeds might finally pay off. Previously, the company filed a variety of litigious claims against Apple. Of these claims, patent infringement stood out as a constant motif. This week, both companies are going at it in a San Diego court.
At the trial, Qualcomm demanded US$ 31 million in damages for Apple’s violations. According to the chip maker, the damages involve Apple’s usage of Qualcomm chips in some iPhones. The exact figure came from Patrick Kennedy, an economist and expert witness in the trial. Kennedy calculated the figure based on the number of iPhones sold between the affected period.
Approximately, each infringing iPhone will cost US$ 1.40. Despite the demanded fee’s heft, Apple can definitely pay for the millions. The company is still one of world’s top smartphone makers.
Still, Qualcomm’s efforts remain steadfast. The company is dedicated to its mission. After this March trial, the two will meet again to settle licensing deals in April. Despite the ability to pay millions, Apple is feeling the pressure. Their recent battles might cause them delays in upgrading to 5G. Further, some countries have enacted iPhone bans at Qualcomm’s behest.
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