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Week Ending: 31st January - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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We are finally at the end of the longest month of the year and what a week it’s been. With the big announcement that Huawei will in fact be allowed to play a role in the UK 5G network, experts calling for cybersecurity law reform and Chrome claiming protecting privacy may kill the web. If you missed the weeks biggest I.T. and tech stories, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to date.

Huawei to play limited role in UK 5G network

The government announced this week that, after reviewing the US review of Huawei, it will allow the Chinese telecoms giant to play a limited role in the roll out of the UK’s 5G network. This means that it will be able to provide components for up to 35% of the network but will not play a role in providing equipment for the core which holds the ‘sensitive’ parts of the network. It will also be excluded from equipment based near military bases and nuclear sites.

While the Prime Minister is said to have spoken to the American President, the decision has caused outrage across the US. As we have discussed in earlier roundups, Huawei has been caught up in an ongoing trade war between the USA and China – where the telecoms giant is based. US officials believe that even though the company is not state owned, it is guilty of spying for the Chinese government.

With the new plans in place, the UK 5G network will be made up of components from three main suppliers – Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei. This is troubling to many who feel the market in the UK is not diverse enough and the network will be over reliant on a very small number of vendors. This could affect the long-term security of the 5G network. Read more here.

UK cybersecurity laws need to be reformed

The United Kingdom’s Computer Misuse Act was drawn up 30 years ago, when the internet was in its infancy. According to a recent report this law is outdated and not suitable for today’s technology. In essence, the act states that it is illegal for people to access or modify data on a computer without authorisation. This kind of criminal activity is most prevalent in cyberattacks. However, as it stands, the act prevents cybersecurity professionals from conducting threat intelligence research against cyber criminals.

According to cyber experts and academics, the government needs to upgrade the act so that cybersecurity professionals can conduct their jobs without the fear of prosecution. Cyber threats in the form of disruption to major technology systems from individuals and geo-political threat actors continue to rise year on year and experts are stating that we need to make this reform now to allow the cybersecurity industry to flourish in the 20th century.

The report’s recommendations include; introducing a range of measures to better tailor existing offences, new public interest defences to untie the hands of cyber threat intelligence professionals, new targeted guidance for prosecutors and the creation of new sentencing guidelines.

Protecting privacy could break the web

According to Justin Schuh, the leader for trust and safety at Google Chrome, moving to protecting the privacy of internet users too quickly could bring an end to the web. In a speech at Usenix Enigma, Mr Schuh said that if changes to privacy are made too soon, advertisers could be driven to mobile apps which may bring an end to the web.

Much of the internet is supported by targeted advertising content and if advertisers are no longer able to target their content on the web there is a danger they may move to mobile apps to deliver it. However, amid calls for stricter privacy regulations on the internet, there is also the danger that if Google moves too slowly it will lose out to other browsers that are working hard on privacy improvements.

This is an issue that ensues across the tech industry as a whole, with people becoming more aware of how their data is being used and wishing to protect their privacy online. Many people are now paying for subscriptions to video streaming services and newspaper sites to avoid the eyes of prying advertisers.


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