Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, May 16, 2019!
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1. The foldable PC is here!
The U.S. government was responsible for several significant technology-concerned developments in the last 24 hours. One is directly related to Huawei, while another is… well, it’s also directly related to Huawei actually. Just nobody said so.
National security emergency over IT threats
- Trump has signed an executive order which prevents U.S. companies dealing with foreign communications technology and service providers deemed a threat to national security (White House).
- The Secretary of Commerce will have the right to “prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security,” the White House wrote in a statement yesterday.
- According to the statement, the order is intended to: “Protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services.”
- Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security announced it is adding Huawei and its affiliates to its “Entity List.” (BIS)
- The Entity List restricts foreign companies’ access to U.S. technologies. Foreign companies on the list must acquire government approval before they can conduct business with U.S. partners.
- The Commerce Department said it added Huawei to the list because it is: “Engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interest.”
- I reached out to Huawei on the matter, and it said: “We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security. Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers.”
- The developments arrive as U.S. and China trade tensions rise.
Huawei just keeps taking hits
- While the emergency order doesn’t specifically name Huawei or China, Huawei is certainly a key component.
- China’s Huawei is the biggest global telecoms equipment provider, and the U.S. has raised numerous concerns regarding its 5G rollout and its devices.
- The U.S. has also pressured other nations to avoid Huawei, claiming its ties to the Chinese government pose a threat.
- Huawei has denied, and continues to deny, any pernicious involvement with the Chinese government.
- The White House had already barred federal agencies from using Huawei products. However, this move is far wider-reaching.
- Though Huawei develops certain technologies in-house, like its HiSilicon chipsets, it has in the past relied on multiple deals with U.S. component suppliers (Barrons).
- Starving Huawei of these resources will undoubtedly harm the company.
- Whether this will help ascertain if it’s complicit in spying or other nefarious operations isn’t clear.
- At this point, I can’t see how Huawei will be able to shake its label, whatever it’s actual involvement with the government may be. Practically speaking: what exactly could Huawei do to convince people it doesn’t pose a threat?
- This won’t be the last we’ve heard of U.S. and Huawei.
2. White House to help banned social media users return to platforms?
- The White House has launched a new tool to help people or organizations that have been banned from social media platforms (The Verge).
- The tool, found on Typeform, aims to determine if users have been wrongly censored from a platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, or another (Typeform).
- When accessing the page, a message appears which says: “Social Media platforms should advance freedom of speech. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.”
- “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”
- The move arrives after the ban of several high-profile, right-wing social media accounts in recent months (Politico).
- The White House believes Social Media companies are biased against conservatives.
- In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said, “We enforce the Twitter Rules impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation.”
- It’s unclear what actions will be taken in cases where accounts are deemed to have been wrongfully banned.
3. While the U.S. continues to rally against Huawei, the company has apparently patched things up with major rival Samsung: the companies have agreed to drop their smartphone patent disputes (Nikkei).
4. Apple’s in-house 5G modem over 5 years away, Qualcomm truce only way out (Android Authority). Great insights into the behind-the-scenes goings-on via The Information [paywall].
5. Realme X hands-on: ten out of ten? (Android Authority) A new Realme flagship was announced yesterday and it has a fancy pop-up camera. Looks neat.
6. VFX artist explains what it would take to fix Sonic (io9). The answer? A lot.
7. The radio navigation planes use to land safely is insecure and can be hacked (Ars Technica).
8. How the promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. evaporated (New York Times).
11. The pistachios that need police protection (BBC). This is nuts, yo.
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