UK gives Huawei an amber light to supply 5G

The UK government will allow Huawei to be a supplier for some non-core parts of the country’s 5G networks, despite concerns that the involvement of the Chinese telecoms vendor could pose a risk to national security. But it will be excluded from core parts of the networks, according to reports in national press.

The news of prime minister Theresa May’s decision made during a meeting of the National Security Council yesterday was reported earlier by The Telegraph. The newspaper said multiple ministers raised concerns about her approach — including the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, International Trade Secretary, and International Development Secretary.

The FT reports that heavy constraints on Huawei’s involvement in U.K. 5G networks reflect the level of concern raised by ministers.

May’s decision to give an amber light to Huawei’s involvement in building next-gen 5G networks comes a month after a damning report by a U.K. oversight body set up to evaluate the Chinese company’s approach to security.

The fifth annual report by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board blasted “serious and systematic defects” in its software engineering and cyber security competence.

Though the oversight board stopped short of calling for an outright ban — despite saying it could provide “only limited assurance that all risks to U.K. national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks can be sufficiently mitigated long-term”.

But speaking at a cyber security conference in Brussels in February, Ciaran Martin, the CEO of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) expressed confidence UK authorities can mitigate any risk posed by Huawei.

The NCSC is part of the domestic GCHQ signals intelligence agency.

Dr Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity advisor and research associate at the Center for Technology and Global Affairs at Oxford University, told TechCrunch he’s not surprised by the government’s decision to work with Huawei.

“It’s a message that was long expected,” he said. “U.K. officials have been carefully sending signals in the previous months. In a sense, this makes us closer to the end of the 5G drama.”

“With proper management most risk can be mitigated. It all depends on the strategic planning,” he added.

“I believe the level of [security] responsibility at telecoms will remain similar to today’s. The main message expected by telecoms is clarity to enable them to move on with infrastructure.”

The heaviest international pressure to exclude the Chinese vendor from next-gen 5G networks has been coming from the U.S. where president Trump has been leaning on key intelligence-sharing allies to act on espionage fears and shut Huawei out — with some success.

Last year Australia and New Zealand both announced bans on Chinese kit vendors citing national security fears.

But in Europe governments appear to be leaning in another direction: Towards managing and mitigating potential risks rather than shutting the door completely.

The European Commission has also eschewed pushing for a pan-EU ban — instead issuing recommendations encouraging Member States to step up individual and collective attention on network security to mitigate potential risks.

It has warned too — and conversely — of the risk of fragmentation to its flagship ‘digital single market’ project if Member State governments decide to slam doors on their own. So, at the pan-EU level, security considerations are very clearly being weighed against strategic commercial imperatives and technology priorities.

Equally, individual European governments appear to have little appetite to throw a spanner in the 5G works, given the risk of being left lagging as cellular connectivity evolves and transforms — an upgrade that’s expected to fuel and underpin developments in artificial intelligence and big data analysis, among other myriad and much hyped benefits.

In the UK’s case, national security concerns have been repeatedly brandished as justification for driving through domestic surveillance legislation so draconian that parts of it have later been unpicked by both UK and EU courts. Even if the same security concerns are here, where 5G networks are concerned, being deemed ‘manageable’ — rather than grounds for a similarly draconian approach to technology procurement.

It’s not clear at this stage how extensively Huawei will be involved in supplying and building U.K. 5G networks.

The NCSC sent us the following statement in response to questions:

National Security Council discussions are confidential. Decisions from those meetings are made and announced at the appropriate time through the established processes.

The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance.

As part of our plans to provide world class digital connectivity, including 5G, we have conducted an evidence based review of the supply chain to ensure a diverse and secure supply base, now and into the future. This is a thorough review into a complex area and will report with its conclusions in due course.

“How ‘non-core’ will be defined is anyone’s guess but it would have to be clearly defined and publicly communicated,” Olejnik also told us. “I would assume this refers to government and military networks, but what about safety communication or industrial systems, such as that of power plants or railroad? That’s why we should expect more clarity.”

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Verizon will offer YouTube TV to 5G and broadband customers


SIPA USA/PA Images

Verizon has turned to Google to provide its internet subscribers with streamable shows and other content. The carrier has announced that it’s going to offer YouTube TV, the platform’s premium service, to both wireless 5G home and Fios broadband customers. That confirms a report from 2018 that the company was seeking a partnership with Mountain View — and Apple — to give customers more streaming options.

YouTube TV gives subscribers access to live TV programming from networks like CBS and Fox, as well as from cable stations like the Food Network, CNN and ESPN. The partnership will allow them to add the service to their internet bundles, though it’s not clear at the moment if Verizon will be able to offer the option at a lower price. A YouTube TV subscription typically costs $50 a month for over 70 channels, six accounts, three simultaneous streams and a personal DVR with no storage space limits. Verizon did say, however, that the team-up will give it a way to offer “unique, high-value YouTube TV promotions to customers across platforms.”

Heather Rivera, Global Head of Product Partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement:

“YouTube TV has become known for its best-in-class user experience that enhances the way users watch live TV today. With this partnership, we’re making it simple and seamless for Verizon’s customers to sign up to enjoy YouTube TV on-the-go on their mobile phones or tablets or at home on their big screen devices.”

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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Tesla now sells electric cars with 370 miles of range

Tesla has increased the range of its latest Model S and Model X cars by 10 percent, now capable of a maximum of 370 and 325 miles respectively. The increase comes as the result of an upgraded drivetrain, and has been achieved without making any changes to the cars’ existing 100 kWh batteries. The cars can also charge faster and have an improved suspension design.

The upgrades extend Tesla’s range lead over much of its competition, who still struggle to reach the 300 mile EPA threshold. The 2019 Nissan Leaf has a maximum EPA range of 226 miles, the Chevy Bolt gets 238 miles, Jaguar’s I-Pace was recently given a 234-mile rating, and the Audi E-tron taps out at 204 miles.

At the other end of the market, Tesla also announced that it’s bringing back the standard range versions of the Model S and X. The 285 mile Model S will cost $78,000, while the 250 mile Model X will be $83,000. The changes come in the wake of Tesla stopping online sales of the $35,000 Model 3 and adding Autopilot as standard to the rest of its vehicles.

The new Model S and Model X cars will be able to charge more quickly from Tesla’s Superchargers. They’ll be able to draw 200kW from the company’s V3 charging stations, and 145kW from the V2. When the V3 superchargers were first announced at the beginning of March, both cars were limited to 120kW. Only the Model 3 can take advantage of their maximum rate of 250kW.

Outside of the new drivetrain design, the new Model S and Model X cars are also equipped with a new air suspension system that Tesla says should feel softer while cruising and more responsive during “dynamic driving.” The company says it plans to continue upgrading the system with future software updates.

The new Tesla Model S and Model X are available starting today. If existing owners of either car want to buy one of the new models then Tesla will include the $20,000 Ludicrous Mode upgrade at no additional charge.

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Holded, the ‘business operating system’ for SMEs, gets €6M in Series A funding led by Lakestar

Holded, the Barcelona-based startup that offers a SaaS to help SMEs with a range of business tasks, has raised €6 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Lakestar, with previous backers Nauta Capital and Seedrocket 4Founders Capital following on.

Founded in 2016 by Bernat Ripoll and Javi Fondevila, Holded describes itself as a “Business Operating System”. The idea is to provide a single platform for small to medium-sized business owners to manage every aspect of their business.

The Saas covers financial management such as accounting and invoicing to HR, CRM, and project and inventory management. In addition, the customisable platform offers multiple integrations to connect with a number of popular payment and e-commerce solutions. They include Amazon, Paypal and Shopify.

Alongside this, Holded is able to “automate” a number of core business administration tasks via the cloud-based platform’s own AI. It also uses data garnered through the use of the software to benchmark business performance and provide managers and business owners with actionable insights with regards to how they might increase sales, reduce expenses and save time.

Holded co-founder Bernat Ripoll says the company set out to develop next generation Enterprise-Resource-Planning (ERP) software that addresses the needs of modern companies, which is something that appears to be resonating with SMEs. Since closing its seed round in early 2018, Holded has increased user numbers from 10,000 to 30,000, claiming to now be the leader in Spain.

Meanwhile, Holded says the new capital will be used to accelerate its expansion into international markets. The Spanish startup will also invest further in the development of the software’s core functionality.

“[We] now aim to replicate this [success] in other countries while continuing to consolidate the Spanish market,” says Holded co-founder Javi Fondevila, adding that the startup plans to roll out new product features and “country-specific” integrations.

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Your dead iPhone can live on as beautiful artwork

Better than tossing it into the trash, no?
Better than tossing it into the trash, no?
Image: TheIncorporeal

The moment you realize your phone is dead, and you’ll have to spend at least a few hundred bucks for a new one, is never a very happy one. But you can make it a bit less frustrating by taking your phone apart, glueing the parts onto a glass, and framing it as if it were an artwork. 

Reddit user TheIncorporeal did exactly that, and the result is quite aesthetically pleasing — especially if you’re a tech geek. 

Of course, making it look this nice isn’t exactly easy, but TheIncorporeal has some tips on how to do it. The short version is that you need to find the right frame and arm yourself with patience; but check out his comments, below, for details. 

He’s done the same with several iPhone models, including an iPhone 5, 4s and 4, and the results are equally beautiful. 

Given that practically everyone has a dead or near-dead phone lying around somewhere these days, finding material to work with shouldn’t be much of a problem. Now, all you have to do is put in some work, and your walls could be adorned with pretty phone-part artworks in no time. If that sounds like too much trouble, you can contact TheIncorporeal directly, via this email: deconstructeddevices@gmail.com. He’s turning his idea into a business and is doing commissioned work. 

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