Internet Giants Told To Accept Cyber Curbs To Be Greeted In China

Internet Giants Told To Accept Cyber Curbs To Be Greeted In China

Facebook and Google will have to agree to tough online laws and censorship from China if they need authorize to its 751 Million Internet consumers, Chinese controllers claimed in a meeting this week in Geneva. Facebook and Google are banned in China, in addition to most chief Western news outlets including Twitter Inc.

Internet Giants Told To Accept Cyber Curbs To Be Greeted In China

“That is a question perhaps in minds of many people, why Facebook, why Google, are not yet operating and working in China,” claimed director general at the CAC (Cyberspace Administration of China) for the Bureau of International Cooperation, Qi Xiaoxia, to the media in an interview. In case of Google, it left the country of its own agreement in 2010. “If they need to emerge back, we are greeting them,” Qi claimed at the U.N.’s European office to the Internet Governance Forum.

“The circumstance is that they have to obey Chinese regulations and law. That is the sine qua non. And also that they might not do any injury to national consumers’ interests and national security of China.” Communist Party of China has hardened cyber laws in the last year, formalizing new regulations that need companies to amass data domestically and ban tools that permit consumers to challenge the Great Firewall that jams websites comprising Google and Facebook.

Their competitor Apple works conditional on stern censorship, having eliminated dozens of famous VPN (virtual private network) and messaging apps from its App Store for China this year to abide by requests from the government. In June, China rolled out a new law for national cyber security that needs foreign companies to amass information domestically and submit for data observation actions.

“We are of the thought that cyberspace is not a sector that is un-administrated. We require to supervise, or administer, or manage, the internet as per the law,” Qi claimed.

Kaspersky Lab software deemed threat to Lithuanian national security

In a strange development, Lithuania has said that software from Kaspersky Lab is a threat to its national security and hence they will not be using any of the security software developed by the Moscow-based company on computers that hold sensitive information.

The Lithuanian government said it will be removing Kaspersky Lab software from all computers that are on critical infrastructure such as energy, finance or transport including those run by private companies. Government agencies can only continue running it if their computers are not deemed sensitive by the cyber-security agency.

While Kaspersky Lab has already faced such a ban in one of the largest markets in the world – US – the latest ban in Lithuania is a blow none the less. Kaspersky’s antivirus software was banned from US government networks this year because of concerns the company has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and that its software could be used to enable Russian spying.

Antivirus software made by Russian companies are already under the radar in Britain as well with Britain’s main cyber-security agency sending out a warning to the British government agencies to avoid using antivirus software from Russian companies.

The Lithuanian government said in a statement Kaspersky Labs software was “a potential threat to… national security”.

“Information from computers using the software can leak into countries where we don’t want it to end up,” Rytis Rainys, deputy director at the state cyber-security agency told Reuters. “We drew on various sources for the conclusion, including information from our partners and intelligence sources.”

Kaspersky Labs was not immediately available for a comment.

The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyberespionage. It also says it is a scapegoat given tension between Washington and Moscow.

Nokia inks smartphone patent licensing deal with Huawei

Nokia has added one more smartphone manufacturer to its patent licensing kitty by inking a licensing deal with Huawei.

The deal with Huawei means that Nokia now has smartphone patent licesing deal with almost all major smartphone manufacturers out there including Apple, Samsung Electronics, LG, and Xiaomi. Neither Nokia nor Huawei revealed financial details about the deal, but Nokia said in its statement that they will start booking revenue, including and a one-off catch-up payment, from the fourth quarter.

Experts of patent licensing are of the opinion that the Huawei deal would be smaller than from Apple, which he estimated to be around EUR 250 million ($297 million) annually. Nokia could take home some EUR 100 million annually.

Analysts are of the opinion that the patent licensing deal with Huawei is going to be a huge positive for Nokia considering that it is facing tough competition in its network market. The revenue from patent licensing will help the company offset possible slump in the network business.

Nokia is currently taking home more than 90 percent of its revenue from telecoms network equipment, but the licensing payments are highly profitable.

Nokia built up its catalogue of patents in the days when the company dominated the mobile handset business. It covers technology that reduces the need for hardware components in a phone, conserves battery life and increases radio reception, among other features.

Twitter two-factor authentication now supports third-party apps

Twitter has expanded its two-factor authentication from accepting just SMS to third-party apps now.

Users will be able to install third-party apps for two-factor authentication to verify their accounts thereby paving way for millions of users who were not able to use SMS-based 2FA to proceed with better securing their accounts. You will now be able to use third-party authenticator app such as Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile, Authy or similar installed on your mobile device.

“You’ll now be able to use a third party app for two-factor authentication instead of SMS text messages,” Twitter said on Thursday. These third-party apps work independently and generate codes offline to help you use the two-factor authentication.

Twitter, however, said it will still rely on SMS as two-factor authentication but has now allowed third-party apps as an alternative. The micro-blogging site has given a step-by-step direction on how to use the third-party apps.

This is an important move because SMS-based two-factor authentication uses static codes and for users located in countries where SMS issues have been present, it is definitely a huge positive.

Static codes could be intercepted in the event a hacker or some other malicious third-party has access to one or more alternative ways of viewing messages on a device other than having physical access to it and hence app based dynamic 2FA is definitely a much more secure.

With third-party apps like Google Authenticator, the codes disappear in about 30 seconds, making it a more secure way to verify your identify and access your account.

Microsoft to focus more on the government, small business segment in India

A top Microsoft official in India has revealed expansion plans of the software giant in the country stating that the Redmond-based Windows 10 maker will be focusing on government and small business segment to grow.

Microsoft India president Anant Maheshwari said in an interview that the company’s clear focus areas are the SMB and government sectors. Maheshwari valued the overall information technology opportunity in the country at $107 billion. He added that India is part of Microsoft’s top 14 priority regions and is a ‘fast growing’ market for the company.

According to Microsoft, they have over 200 thousand enterprise customers in India. As far as government is concerned, Microsoft is serving both the central government and state governments in 29 states.

When asked about the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) resulting in some tax notices to IT players, Maheshwari said Microsoft sees the indirect tax reform as a big opportunity.

“There may be some challenges as the tax regime transitions, but broadly for me, I would think of GST as a massive opportunity for anybody who is trying to do digital transition,” he said.

The company employs over 8,000 people in the country who work out of nine offices in various cities. Apart from serving the local market, its staff, the largest in any country outside of the US, also serves the global needs, especially on delivery, research and innovation.

On the rising protectionism and whether its business is affected by the stance of the US president Donald Trump administration, Maheshwari seemed to suggest that it has not had a major impact.

The issue around visa fees, one of the major concerns for the industry, is not a “significant” topic for the company, he said, underscoring that its view on the issue is in sync with the industry lobby Nasscom.

The company’s cloud customer-base has risen in the last few months from India, which will result in a review of the infrastructure capabilities, he said. However, it may not necessarily result in any new data centre or facilities here, he said.

“We have seen a very strong uptick on the public cloud in the last six months, which automatically causes us to look at our capacity and our capacity planning going forward,” Maheshwari said.

“The way to look at capacity planning is not to look at new locations. But also existing locations by ramping up. That is something we will continue to do as we go forward.”

The company competes with tech giants like Amazon and Google for cloud play. Last week, it disclosed that it works with 70 of the 100 top listed companies.

German watchdog says Facebook data harvesting is ‘abusive’

Germany’s competition watchdog has slammed Facebook for its ‘abusive’ data harvesting practices and added that the social networking behemoth is abusing its dominant position to “limitlessly” harvest user data from outside websites and apps.

The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has released a preliminary assessment report wherein it has focused on Facebook’s use of third-party sites to track users’ browsing behaviour, often without their knowledge. The FCO said that they are of the view that Facebook is abusing this dominant position by keeping tabs on user activities without the users’ knowledge.

These third parties include Facebook-owned services such as WhatsApp and Instagram, but also sites and apps that are less obviously linked to Facebook, often through the “like” button at the bottom of a webpage.

The FCO said many users were unaware their movements on other sites were being shadowed by Facebook, and that it “can also not be assumed” that users consent to the data collection.

The data transmitted from third sources give Facebook a wealth of information about its users, from which the Silicon Valley titan benefits financially by offering targeted advertising on its website.

FCO president Andreas Mundt said the social network’s advertising space was “so valuable” precisely because it has “huge amounts of personalised data at its disposal”.

The anti-trust watchdog expects to finish its probe by mid-2018, some two years after it was launched. The FCO does not have the power to slap Facebook with a fine, but the company can be forced to alter or even cease some of its activities.

The German scrutiny marks another setback for Facebook in Europe at a time of heightened concerns over the tracking of personal data online.

On Monday, France’s data protection agency told WhatsApp it needed to obtain users’ permission to transfer some information to its parent company Facebook, and gave it a month to comply.