Huawei Can't Catch a Break
Today in international tech news: Like the U.S. before it, Canada hints that it doesn't trust Huawei. Also: Taiwan asks Apple to dumb down its mapping images, the Philippines backs off its controversial cybercrime law, for now, and Google's Ireland page becomes a one-way ticket to Indonesia.
Oct 10, 2012 8:28 AM PT
Huawei wasn't mentioned by name, but...come on.
Canada announced that it could exercise its right to block companies that pose a security threat to the nation's communications network.
As the BBC reports, Canada invoked what it calls a "national security exception" when choosing telecommunications companies. This comes one day after the U.S. House Intelligence Committee deemed Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE a liability to national security.
A spokesperson for the Canadian prime minister didn't list any potentially problematic companies, opting instead for a vanilla statement about how the government will choose carefully who it allows to construct a secure communications network in the country.
A spokesperson for Huawei said that the national security exception only applies to foreign companies, and that because Huawei is fully incorporated in Canada, the ruling doesn't apply.
There was a bit of good news for Huawei on Tuesday: According to Reuters, the European Commission delayed a trade case against Huawei and ZTE. So while the companies likely won't be building networks in North America anytime soon, they at least won't be on trial in Europe. Not yet, anyway.
Taiwan Wants Apple to Make Maps Worse
According to the Associated Press, Taiwan wants Apple to blur its map image the nation's new $1.4 billion, 10-story tall early warning radar station, which is designed to detect aircraft and missiles. Located in northern Taiwan, the facility was reportedly built with U.S. technology and is expected to be operational later this year.
The nation's defense ministry spokesman, David Lo, pointed out that Google uses low-resolution satellite images for sensitive facilities, and that Apple should do the same.
For all critiques of Apple's new maps, its Chinese maps have actually been lauded. Apple collaborated with a Chinese company for its China maps, while the rest of the world was mapped with technology from Netherlands-based TomTom.
As The Register points out, Apple also irked Turkey with its satellite mapping images, which clearly displayed military facilities and a one-man prison that houses the leader of a Kurdish separatist group.
Philippines Cybercrime Law on Hold
The Philippines Supreme Court has suspended the controversial anti-cybercrime law that took effect last week.
According to The New York Times, there were fears that the law -- ostensibly designed to prevent pornography, identity theft and spam -- could lead to imprisonment for social media posts. That fear is likely rooted in the fact that, under the law, Internet libel is classified as a cybercrime -- which is a jailable offense.
More than a dozen petitions were filed against the law, known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
In addition to the perceived threat to free speech, the law also allows authorities to collect information on Internet users and to block websites it deems inappropriate.
Google Vanishes in Ireland
Google's Irish page, Google.ie, was inaccessible for thousands of Irish Internet users on Tuesday, as people were automatically redirected to a third-party server from Indonesia.
According to Naked Security, it is not clear whether the mix-up was the result of an administrative gaffe or a malicious hack.
The third-party site to which users were redirected, farahatz.net, is apparently run by Kulpreet Rana. A little Internet sleuthing -- probably a Google search -- revealed that Rana is listed as a director of intellectual property at ... Google. Of course, the farahatz.net listing could have been false, or there would be multiple Kulpreet Ranas.