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US Threatens German Government Against Using Huawei 5G Tech

It is a market that will be worth billions, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment

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Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has sent a letter to the German government threatening to curtail access to American intelligence if Berlin decides to issue contracts to Chinese tech giant Huawei to build their 5G communications networks, the media reported.

“The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has indeed received a letter; there is no comment on its content from their side. There will be a quick reply,” CNN quoted Matthias Wehler, spokesperson at the German embassy in Washington D.C., as saying on Monday.

Germany announced on March 7 that it wouldn’t ban any company from bidding on 5G contracts.

The State Department has not commented on Grenell’s letter, but Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesperson, outlined how Huawei’s 5G networks could pose a constantly evolving and shifting threat.

“Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate,” Marquis told CNN.

“The 5G networks our allies buy won’t be the networks that they eventually operate, as the software could be changed on a moment-to-moment basis by the manufacturer.”

The letter follows similar warnings by President Donald Trump’s administration urging allies to ban or restrict Huawei products from their 5G networks due to its ability to compromise national security by selling equipment with “backdoors” that could allow for unauthorised surveillance.

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A man lights a cigarette outside a Huawei retail shop in Beijing. VOA

China and Huawei have vigorously pushed back on the US charges and the telecom giant last week filed a suit against Washington over the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act, which bans American federal agencies from buying Huawei products.

The lawsuit is Huawei’s most aggressive move yet to fight back against US claims.

Germany’s March 7 announcement follows a similar decision by the UK. Both countries argue they can mitigate any risks and their decisions could make it harder for Washington to convince smaller countries to follow suit.

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Security concerns have led Australia to completely ban the company’s technology and New Zealand has moved to partially restrict it.

The 5G network is the next generation of wireless networks that promises to be 100 times faster and more reliable than current technology.

It is a market that will be worth billions, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment. (IANS)

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

Also Read- Dell and Alienware to Launch New PC Gaming Devices to India

According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)