Google has publicly confirmed that it has cancelled controversial plans for an Android search engine app (Project Dragonfly) for the Chinese market.Google’s plans to create censored search app for Chinese market had not gone down at all well with staff at the search engine giant.Last November staff at Google wrote an open letter to senior management, calling for the halting of development the controversial search app for the Chinese market.Google had publicly confirmed the existence of ‘Project Dragonfly’ in September last year, after an internal petition from “hundreds of staff” called for more transparency and oversight of the project.The secret project was unearthed after the Intercept in early September alleged Google was seeking to re-enter the Chinese market with an Android search app that would blacklist content deemed unacceptable by Chinese authorities.That decision to develop a mobile search app for China was hugely controversial, as it opened the firm up to allegations of supporting state censorship.
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Most companies across Asia Pacific remain slow to adopt blockchain technology, according to a recent survey, because they are still grappling to understand how reliable it is.About 68% of companies in the region cited the lack of understanding and education as the reason their senior management and executives have not adopted the technology, the poll by London-based consultancy Ernst & Young has found.“A large part of building trust is understanding what blockchain does, and more importantly, what it does not do, and then implementing mechanisms to provide that trust,” said E partner Adam Gerrard, the firm’s blockchain assurance leader in the region, in a statement on Tuesday.The E poll covered 576 respondents in the region as part of a blockchain-focused webcast that the firm conducted last month.Its findings show why Asia Pacific, excluding China, continues to lag behind the United States and western Europe in blockchain-related investments.It provides a snapshot of where the technology is moving quickly past the testing and proof-of-concept stage, and beyond its initial applications in banking and cryptocurrency.
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IFlytek, China’s national champion in voice recognition, has raised 2.8 billion yuan (US$407 million) via a private placement that brought in money from a state-backed industry fund and several provincial government funds.The Shenzhen-listed company will use the proceeds to bankroll research in open platforms for smart speech, so-called next-generation cognitive technology, and service robots, it said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.The placement has pulled in investors including Anhui Development Investment Company, Anhui Railway Development Fund, Anhui Smart Voice and Artificial Intelligence Venture Capital, as well as an investment fund for state-owned companies under government-controlled investment vehicle China Reform Holdings.Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Hefei, the capital of the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, iFlytek has established itself as the country’s foremost developer of advanced speech recognition, speech evaluation, and natural language processing technologies.In 2017, the company was handpicked by the Chinese government to spearhead the country’s development in voice intelligence and take the lead in building an “open innovation platform.”The firm’s AI speech open platform is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the new funds as iFlytek intends to invest 2.05 billion yuan (US$297 million) in that project, with 1.18 billion yuan (US$171 million) the amount coming from proceeds of the private placement.
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US President Donald Trump has renewed his offensive against search giant Google, saying his administration would investigate the company’s alleged links to the Chinese government.Why it matters: Google’s work in China has come under greater scrutiny since news broke last year that the company was working on a censored version of its search engine for China.US lawmakers and a high-ranking military officer have continued to question the work the company is doing in China.Critics say that the company’s presence in China benefits the country’s military, a claim that the company has continued to deny.“The Trump Administration will take a look!” —US President Donald Trump on TwitterGoogle was not immediately available for comment when contacted by TechNode on Wednesday.
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What do 5G and the Chinese telecom-gear maker Huawei have to do with the escalating trade war between the US and China?Now it's in the news nearly every day as a centerpiece of the US-China trade battle.As China tries to transition from a country known for making toys and cheap plastic tchotchkes to one that leads in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics and 5G, it's adhering to a state-led industrial policy that US intelligence officials say relies on intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, cyberespionage and discriminatory treatment of foreign investment, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.That responsiveness is critical for things like driving autonomous vehicles that need to make split-second decisions to avoid crashes or using an augmented reality application in the grocery store to pick out a safe product for your child with a severe food allergy."The leader of 5G stands to gain hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue over the next decade, with widespread job creation across the wireless technology sector," the Defense Innovation Board, a group of American business leaders and academics, said in a report for the US Department of Defense earlier this spring.Tech heavyweights such as former Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Walter Isaacson, the author and a former chief executive of the Aspen Institute, participate on the board.
After a series of teasers, we got to see a promo image of the Honor 9X / Honor 9X Pro recently, and now, China’s TENAA has listed the device on its database.That is to say, Huawei sub-brand has met the Chinese authorities pre-release requirements for the Honor 9X.Three variants of the device with HLK-TL00, HLK-AL00, and HLK-AL10 model numbers made it to theTENAA website.The regulatory body has yet to upload images and the full specs of the three models but reveals only a few of its key specs.These devices are believed to be the same device, but with slight variations.The listing confirms the Honor 9X gets a footprint of 163.1 x 77.2 x 8.8mm, and a 6.59-inch display.
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Megvii, a Chinese AI startup that supplies facial recognition software for the Chinese government’s surveillance program, is expanding its technology beyond humans to recognize different faces of pets.As reported by Abacus News, Megvii’s new program is trained to recognize dogs by their nose prints — much like how humans have unique fingerprints.Using the Megvii app, the company says it can register your dog simply by scanning the snout through your phone’s camera.Just like how a phone registers your fingerprint for biometric unlocks, the app asks you to take photos of your dog’s nose from multiple angles.Megvii says it has an accuracy rate of 95 percent and has reunited 15,000 pets with their owners through the app.Facial recognition for pets is becoming more widespread over the past few years.
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Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues.In this piece Telecoms Consultant John Strand ponders the contradictions in Chinese cyber security policy.It is well known that the Chinese government has the country on lockdown: people are monitored 24/7 with millions of CCTV cameras; the “Great Firewall of China” blocks access to unapproved content and tracks attempts to circumvent it; municipal party leaders keep tabs on citizens.People who don’t live up to the Chinese government standards are sent to “transformation-through-education” or reeducation camps and generally are denied due process to defend their activities, according to Amnesty International.Indeed, if China was so concerned about law and order, they could end these attacks immediately, but they don’t.The Chinese goal is to get Global domination from telecommunications networks over computers to IOT devices.
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In March, Russian tech giant Yandex inked a deal with Hyundai to build self-driving car tech for the latter’s Mobis division, marking the company’s first official partnership with an automaker.This morning, it revealed the fruit of its labor in an autonomous Hyundai 2020 Sonata that’ll launch this fall with Yandex’s software and sensor suite.Yandex, which claims it’s been testing the Sonata prototype on closed tracks in a variety of weather and simulated traffic conditions ahead of a debut on public Moscow streets, says it took only a few weeks to retrofit the chassis with its self-driving system.The company plans to introduce additional Sonatas to its fleet of 50 driverless Toyota Priuses toward reaching 100 vehicles by 2020, and it says it’ll build its stack into other Hyundai and Kia models in the future.“The new Sonata is [designed] on a modern platform that allows integration of our proven self-driving system with minimal modifications,” said head of Yandex Self-Driving, Dmitry Polishchuk.“We received the first Sonata at the end of May 2019 and immediately started developing the prototype with Hyundai Mobis engineers, who also helped develop the new Sonata.”
Speaking on CNBC recently, US Senator John Barrasso was adamant that Huawei, the leading Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, represented a clear threat to the United States.They have said that the conglomerate, based in Shenzhen in southern China, installs “back doors” or “Trojans” in its devices to siphon off sensitive data to the Chinese government without detection.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled the world, warning allies to stay away from Huawei lest they put intelligence-sharing with the US at risk.In May, the US put Huawei on its Entity List, prohibiting the sale of US technology to the smartphone maker.The government said it had cause to believe Huawei was involved in activities that threatened American national security or foreign policy interests.US President Donald Trump last month appeared to have backed off a little from the ban after meeting Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Japan.
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China is working on changing the new energy vehicle (NEV) mandate policy, also known as dual credit policy, in an effort to close an emissions loophole that automakers were exploiting.Why it matters: Automakers in China piled into the electric vehicle market in response to incentives created by local governments which, in its calculus, weighted the production of electric vehicles five-to-one.The Chinese government had previously set a goal that all-electric vehicles should make up around 20% of total car sales in 2025, which means most of the balance would be gas-powered.Analysts say that the policy change signals a renewed emphasis on gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, which had been excluded from purchase subsidies for new energy vehicles in China.Details: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released a modified version of its NEV policy on Tuesday, which stipulates that fuel-efficient vehicles could offset 20% of the credits set for corresponding electric cars.Effective beginning April 2018, the earlier rule specified that each vehicle be assigned a specific number of credits depending on its energy-saving efficiency level.
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Huawei has put its financially favourable foot forward, suggesting Poland will only get a cash boost if the vendor is allowed to participate in the 5G bonanza.The role of Huawei in European networks has been under scrutiny for a considerable amount of time, and while it does appear it will be safe in numerous markets, Poland is one which is still hanging in the balance.According to Reuters, Huawei is prepared to invest roughly $793 million in the country as long as it is allowed to sell equipment to the Polish telcos.Back in January, a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national working for Orange were both arrested on spying allegations by Polish security services.Evidence was not produced at the time, though concrete evidence has not been needed to ban Huawei in the US, or in countries such as Australia.This filters down to the general public also, with Poland one of the most consistently pro-American nations in Europe and the world.
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Thinks British public will be fine getting stopped and searched on faulty software's say soThe Chinese government has an unlikely supporter of its facial recognition program: the head of London's Metropolitan Police union.As you might expect, Marsh defended the Met's system and argued that facial recognition could be an extremely valuable tool in tackling crime."That's absurd," he told the BBC Essex Breakfast Show [he starts talking around 2:11:30].He said that he hoped the Met's own system would soon be as effective as the Chinese government's.The Chinese government's use of facial recognition has been widely condemned for being intrusive and not respecting its citizens' privacy or human rights.
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The ransomware scourge continues apace, with new local governments and municipalities suffering particularly visible attacks every month.WIRED also took a deep look this week at mainstream location-tracking services like Google Maps and Apple's Find My Friends.Though they are developed by well-known companies and the location sharing is advertised for accepted uses, these apps also have the potential to be exploited by attackers who have access to victim devices.Domestic abusers or even someone like a rogue coworker could potentially turn on device tracking to stalk a target, and the fact that these apps have an air of legitimacy makes it less likely that victims will notice, especially since there aren't many warnings or notifications when a trusted user initiates tracking.Plus, here's a look back at the worst cybersecurity incidents of 2019 so far.See if your favorite data disaster or act of international cyber-aggression made the cut!
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Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei appears to be little more than a celebrity spokesperson nowadays, but a recent interview suggests the vendor is just fine with its US shunning.Such comments will certainly set off alarm bells in the offices of some US semiconductor firms, but it should hardly come as a surprise.The ‘Made in China 2025’ strategy might be unpopular with the US and Europe, but it is by no-means a secret.Through this initiative, the Chinese Government wants to evolve the perception of the country, ditching the ‘world’s factory’ tagline and moving up the value chain towards higher value products and services.This plan has been heavily criticised by the US for a number of reasons, but ultimately it all boils down to one; this is a genuine threat to the technological domination of the US on the global scene.If ‘Made in China 2025’ succeeds, the US will no-longer be the dominant force in the technology world, and other economies could be shattered if China replaces imported goods with domestic.
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President Donald Trump called for a tariff on Chinese-produced goods back in May, and the Chinese government threatened to put a tariff on US goods in retaliation.This caused concern in the tech industry.Although the president says he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce at the G20 summit in Japan on Sunday, many major tech companies are reportedly still looking to move their manufacturing elsewhere.Amazon, Google, HP, Dell, Sony, Nintendo, Asus, Lenovo and Microsoft are some of the companies planning to move production of their products away from China, according to a report Wednesday from Nikkei Asian Review.The tech companies already have, or will, begin producing some of their respective electronics in other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, according to the report.In June, Apple reportedly began preparations to move 30% of its iPhone production out of China.
工业和信息化部关于电信服务质量的通告(2019年第2号) — Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People Republic of ChinaWhat happened: Chinese authorities have accused 18 apps of collecting user data without permission including Alibaba’s food delivery arm Ele.me, social e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, voice recognition leader iFlytek and NetEase’s cross-border e-commerce site Kaola.The industry ministry has called on the affected companies to rectify the issues, which include not informing users on how to update personal infomation or how to deactivate accounts.The government has also banned 33 apps which were harvesting personal data or installing promotional apps automatically.Why important: Personal data leaks are an “extremely serious” issue in China, a report from the China Consumers Association found.Data from 85.2% of survey respondents was found to have been leaked with app operators among the largest culprits of unauthorized collection.
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Tech exec challenges startup over default trackingSuperhuman, an email startup betting people who deal with a lot of messages will pay $30 a month for a more organized inbox, has come under fire for not providing privacy by default."Superhuman is a surveillance tool that intentionally violates privacy by notifying senders every time their emails have been viewed by recipients," said Mike Davidson, VP at InVision and former design VP at Twitter, in a tweet last week.The Superhuman app is currently available on a limited basis – you have to request access and spend time on a waiting list.Beyond its aesthetic polish, it includes features like "AI triage," "Undo Send," social network analytics, reminders, scheduled messages and the ability to determine whether its messages have been opened – and therein lies the problem.It's not a stingray (IMSI-catcher) that poses as a cell tower to hoover up phone data; it's not a mobile app cynically designed to gather personal info through a social media company or marketing SDK; it's not a website littered with trackers or any of the apps offered for free from Google or Facebook; it's not a Chrome extension designed to spirit passwords away.
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A set of publications took the time to travel to China to investigate a claim that China installed malware on tourist phones at their borders.As it turned out, this practice didn’t occur at every single station, but it was certainly happening – and it was government sanctioned.The app, and what it doesAt the border to China, agents collected smartphones from tourists entering the country from Kyrgyzstan, installed malware, and returned said phones to their owners.The malware went by the name BXAQ or Fengcai, and it is apparently still being installed on phones today.The malware takes the form of an app called CellHunter or MobileHunter, and is relatively easy to remove – or so it would seem.
2018 was the year when Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing company that defeated Uber in China, vowed to put safety ahead of rocket-ship growth after two deadly passenger incidents.The mobility giant said Tuesday to a group of media that it has removed more than 300,000 drivers who don’t meet its standards since launching a safety overhaul last year.That adds pressure to an already loss-making company, which some speculate could be hit with a halved valuation (link in Chinese) since reaching an $80 billion high last year, for which passenger wait time is crucial to the success of its business.The Information reported this week that the seven-year-old company is in talks with its largest shareholder SoftBank and other investors about raising money for an autonomous driving unit.Didi is also hoping to keep both drivers and passengers happy by hiring more support staff.The company said it now has some 9,000 customer service reps on standby 24/7 to take questions from drivers and passengers; half of the agents are in-house staff.
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