Hillicon Valley: UK bans Huawei from 5G networks | Shipt workers to strike over pay structure | Democrat presses Google, Apple over foreign transparency

Hillicon Valley: UK bans Huawei from 5G networks | Shipt workers to strike over pay structure | Democrat presses Google, Apple over foreign transparency
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U.K. REVERSES, BLOCKS HUAWEI: The United Kingdom announced Tuesday that it will ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from its fifth-generation (5G) network, a reversal on a decision from earlier this year.


The U.K. had said in January that Huawei technology could be used outside of "core" 5G networks, but changed direction after intense domestic and international pressure, especially from the United States.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said while speaking in Parliament on Tuesday that mobile network operators in Great Britain would have to stop buying equipment from Huawei by the end of the year.

Those operators will also be required to rip out all Huawei gear from their systems by 2027, he said.

Dowden warned that the change would likely cause delays in the rollout of 5G wireless technologies as well as additional costs, given Huawei's technological dominance in the space.

“As facts have changed, so has our approach,” he said. “This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the U.K.’s telecom networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run."

Dowden may have been referring to new restrictions imposed on Huawei by the U.S. in May making it harder for the company to source key chip equipment from American suppliers.

Even before those restrictions, U.S. lawmakers pushed hard for London to reverse its January decision.


Multiple agencies in the U.S. have deemed the Chinese company a national security threat, and intelligence officials have raised concerns about Chinese Communist Party access to networks built by Huawei.

Read more.

SHIPT WORKERS TO STRIKE: Workers for the Target-owned grocery delivery service Shipt are striking Wednesday in protest of the company rolling out a less transparent payment structure nationwide.

The walk-off will coincide with the day that the new pay model will take effect in 12 metro areas, including Chicago, Tampa, Richmond, Va., and Portland, Ore.

Shipt shoppers are raising alarm over the change, which they say would likely reduce pay by at least 30 percent based on a similar pay shift that occurred at the end of 2019.

While Shipt previously had a simple model for calculating payouts — a 7.5 percent commission on all orders plus $5 — the new model, dubbed V2, rolled out in some markets last year doles out pay based on a black box algorithm.

“We do not like the transparency because we're not able to calculate or figure out exactly how it is that we're being compensated,” Willy Solis, one of the strike’s organizers and a shopper in Texas, told The Hill on Monday.

While Shipt stresses that the model being introduced to new metro areas this week is not exactly the same as V2, the differences are hard to spot, especially since the algorithms are not made public.

“There have been certain enhancements,” Molly Synder, the company’s chief communications officer, told The Hill in an interview, clarifying later that “a lot of what is different is the transparency” in terms of numbers of items in orders and changes to orders after they’re initially placed.

In emails reviewed by The Hill to shoppers in the 12 metro areas getting the new pay structure, Shipt said that “soon, your pay will reflect your effort.”

“[W]e’re evolving our pay model to better align compensation with the work that goes into each shop,” the emails read.

Read more.

DEM PRESSES GOOGLE, APPLE ON FOREIGN TRANSPARENCY: Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchCongress must enact a plan to keep government workers safe House committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns House Democrats launch investigation into Trump administration's repeal of silencer export ban MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday urged Google and Apple to be more transparent with customers about the potential data privacy dangers of foreign-made apps.

Lynch, who serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s national security subcommittee, reached out to the companies following statements from the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) that foreign-made apps could pose a danger to consumers.

“We remain concerned that mobile applications owned or operated by foreign developers, or that store the user data of U.S. citizens overseas, could enable our adversaries to access significant quantities of potentially sensitive information on American citizens without their knowledge to the detriment of U.S. national security,” Lynch wrote in letters to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

Lynch previously wrote to the FBI and the ODNI in February raising concerns around foreign-made and controlled apps.

The FBI responded to Lynch earlier this month, stating in a letter that “if users voluntarily provide information to a mobile application that is based in a foreign country or that stores information in a foreign country, the information is subject to the respective foreign country's laws, which may allow its acquisition by that country's government.”

The ODNI backed up concerns around U.S. data used by foreign-made apps, writing in a separate response to Lynch this month that foreign mobile apps do present a security risk.

“Mobile applications developed, operated or owned by foreign entities present a potential national security risk because developers can deliberately code kill switches, backdoors or vulnerable data streams into mobile applications that allow access to the application’s software, application-generated data, or even—in some cases—the device itself,” the ODNI wrote to Lynch. 

As a result of the concerns from the intelligence agencies, Lynch asked Google and Apple to commit to requiring app developers to disclose the countries where user data is stored, make this information available to customers considering downloading the app, and also asked whether the companies would consider further changes to protect data privacy.

Read more.


GOOGLE FUNDING SCHOLARSHIPS: Google plans to fund 100,000 need-based career certification scholarships to assist workers in finding jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Monday.

Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, said in a release that the tech giant's new suite of Google Career Certificates includes the fields of data analytics, project management and user experience design. 

Participants do not need a college degree or prior experience for the program, and Google considers the certificate itself equivalent to a four-year degree.  

“College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn’t need a college diploma to have economic security,” Walker said in a statement. 

“We need new, accessible job-training solutions — from enhanced vocational programs to online education — to help America recover and rebuild,” he added.

The certificate programs take about six months to complete.

Read more.


Lighter click: This meme has run its course

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How may Google fight an antitrust case? Look at this little-noticed paper (New York Times / David McCabe)

MySpace wasn't a simpler time, we were just teenagers (Motherboard / Samantha Cole)

COVID-19 and new immigration restrictions could spur an offshoring boom in tech (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)