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Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

Newly unsealed court documents have revealed a secret legal battle between Microsoft and one of America’s leading prosecutors focused on chasing Chinese technology companies breaking U.S. law.

U.S. attorney Alexander Solomon—who also happens to be the lead prosecutor on two criminal cases involving Huawei—just scored a big victory in that tussle, forcing Microsoft to keep quiet about a demand to hand over customer emails.

That request was originally filed in August 2018 and was followed by a gag order. Both were kept secret until Wednesday, when it emerged Microsoft was told to hand over emails, text messages and voicemails belonging to two employees at one of its unnamed enterprise customers. Microsoft said that while it could provide the data, it should be allowed to inform executives at that unnamed company. It asked the government to lift a gag order that had prevented it from informing anyone. As revealed in a Microsoft blog post and court documents unsealed Wednesday, the software giant lost that fight, though it will appeal.

Nothing was said about why the government wanted those emails. But there are numerous indications the data grab is related to America’s fight against Chinese businesses’ breaches of U.S. law.

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To start, the prosecutors in the case are both leading high-profile cases into various offenses committed by Chinese nationals and businesses against the U.S. And one, Alexander Solomon, is the lead prosecutor in two cases in which Huawei is at the center.

The biggest is the one in which Huawei stands accused of illegally exporting equipment to Iran from the U.S. via a subsidiary called Skycom, and then repeatedly lying about the deals. Not only were Huawei, its U.S. business and Skycom charged, so was the daughter of the Huawei CEO and the current CFO, Wanzhou Meng, who is currently fighting extradition from Canada. Huawei has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Huawei entities were, in January this year, charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (lEEPA), a law that Trump recently used to enforce sanctions on Iran. As per court documents detailing the order on Microsoft, the two employees of the unnamed customer are suspected of similar crimes, namely wire fraud, money laundering and breaches of lEEPA.

Going deeper, those staff at the Microsoft customer are being investigated for working for one multinational corporation and conspiring with another to violate the lEEPA. They did so “by sending and attempting to send U.S. origin goods to [a company] in [a foreign country], in contravention of U.S. sanctions,” according to a court filing.

The name of the customer remains a mystery. It’s unlikely to be Huawei, though. That’s because Microsoft was asked to hand over the emails of two “low-level employees in one business unit of a multinational, publicly listed Microsoft customer.” Huawei is not publicly listed; its private ownership has, in fact, been the subject of much speculation. Though it claims to be owned by its employees, academics have suggested that’s misleading.

The prosecutor, Solomon, is also leading a case against Chinese professor Bo Mao, who has been accused of stealing technology from a California company for a Chinese company, reportedly Huawei. Mao has pleaded not guilty on a single charge of wire fraud.

Huawei hadn’t responded to a request for comment on the above cases. Microsoft also hadn’t provided comment. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Microsoft’s fight with the U.S.

But Microsoft had a lot to say in court filings and a blog post about the government’s attempts to completely silence the maker of the Windows operating system.

It argued that 20 years ago, the government would go directly to the company that controlled the data, not its cloud-based tech supplier. Microsoft said it was “disturbing” that governments were now going to tech companies instead. And it therefore should be allowed to at least tell employees at an affected company about a government data grab, as long as it wouldn’t jeopardize an investigation. “The government cannot justify such a total ban on Microsoft’s speech,” the company’s lawyers said.

Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel, said the company would “continue to stand up for the principle that our customers are entitled to know when the government obtains their data.”

“Absent extraordinary circumstances, government agents should seek data directly from our enterprise customers, and if they seek our customers’ data from us, they should allow us to tell our customers when demands are made,” Stahlkopf added.

“We believe strongly that these fundamental protections should not disappear just because customers store their data in the cloud rather than in file cabinets or desk drawers.”

Microsoft has also been vocal about restrictions on American companies doing business with Huawei. Company president Brad Smith recently said the U.S. should revisit the ban preventing Microsoft and others from letting Huawei run American software.

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I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and BBC.com, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at TBrewster@forbes.com, or tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com.

Source: Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to British Columbia Supreme Court on September 23, 2019 to fend off her extradition case. At the hearing, attorney Richard Peck alleged that Canadian authorities delayed Meng’s arrest in an effort to collect evidence for U.S. authorities, conducting a “covert criminal investigation” in the process. Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://goo.gl/lP12gA Download our APP on Apple Store (iOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cctvn… Download our APP on Google Play (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… Follow us on: Website: https://www.cgtn.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaGlobalT… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cgtn/?hl=zh-cn Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGTNOfficial Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CGTNOfficial/ Tumblr: http://cctvnews.tumblr.com/ Weibo: http://weibo.com/cctvnewsbeijing Douyin: http://v.douyin.com/aBbmNQ/

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Apple Just Did Something Remarkable And It’s Very Good News For Its Customers

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No one likes to admit when they’re wrong. That’s true for you and me, and it’s especially true for big companies like Apple. The thing is, when you’re willing to admit when you made a mistake, it goes a long way towards building trust. And trust is, by far, your brand’s most valuable asset.

Today, Apple apologized for how it had handled recorded snippets of users’ voice interactions with Siri, the company’s digital assistant. In a statement, the company said that  “we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize.”

You might remember that Apple, like pretty much every other tech company, recently admitted that it used contractors to listen to, and transcribe these recordings in an effort to improve the artificial intellience-powered service. Making matters worse is that fact that the company hadn’t disclosed this practice, and contractors often heard false-activations that revealed personal information and other private conversations.

Earlier this month, Apple paused its review program and ended its relationship with the contractors involved. Now, it appears to be taking the next step, which started with an apology.

That’s actually pretty remarkable. It’s not often that companies say, “I’m sorry. We messed up.” Sure, they sometimes say a lot of words that vaguely sound like “I’m sorry,” but rarely are they this direct. Apple basically called itself out, saying that it wasn’t living up to its own standards, and that it owed customers an apology for a problem it caused.

Along with the apology, maybe the even bigger news here is that Apple announced a series of steps it plans to take moving forward, including:

  • The company will no longer retain recorded Siri interactions, but will use computer-generated transcripts instead.
  • Apple will allow users to opt in to having their audio samples included in the company’s efforts to improve the product. Users will also be able to opt out at any time after that.
  • Apple will only allow its employees (not contractors) to listen to audio samples, and will delete any “inadvertent trigger,” of Siri.

This is a big deal for a lot of reasons, but mostly because Apple will now allow users to ‘opt in.’ This is exactly how it should work.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons why Apple would want to listen to recorded snippets of Siri interactions. That’s one of the only ways it can really know how accurate the AI is at understanding user requests and providing the right information for a human to review and correction. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t agree that that’s reasonable.

But Apple is changing the default assumption of an unspoken ‘opt in’ to one where people are given the choice to participate, instead of simply offering some opaque way of opting out. Companies offer opt out because they know most people won’t go through the trouble of changing whatever the default setting is, meaning people stay in whether they really want to or not.

Every tech company handling sensitive data should do exactly this. Don’t just let people opt out, or delete their history, or make a request to no longer be recorded. Make the default position the thing that’s best for the user, even if it makes your job a little harder.

Then, make your case for why your practice is worth it to the customer, and let them decide to participate or not.

By: Jason Aten

 

Source: https://www.inc.com/

At its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off iOS 13, which will be coming to iPhones this fall. Some of the new features include a dark mode, an overhaul for Maps, and the ability to swipe to type. Here are the best features Apple showed off. The event took place at the San Jose Convention Center, not Cupertino as mentioned in the video. Tech Insider regrets the error. MORE IPHONE CONTENT: 23 iPhone Tricks To Make Your Life Easier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U52mI… $479 Pixel 3a XL VS. $1,099 iPhone XS Max https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ddAY… Lifelong iPhone User Switches To The Galaxy S10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3wb… —————————————————— #Apple #iPhone #TechInsider Tech Insider tells you all you need to know about tech: gadgets, how-to’s, gaming, science, digital culture, and more. Visit us at: https://www.businessinsider.com TI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techinsider TI on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tech_insider/ TI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/techinsider TI on Amazon Prime: http://read.bi/PrimeVideo INSIDER on Snapchat: https://insder.co/2KJLtVo The Best Features Apple Just Announced Coming To The iPhone

New Billionaire: Dean Stoecker’s 22-Year Journey & The Software That Makes Almost Anyone A Data Savant

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Sun Tzu meets software in mid-August at downtown Denver’s Crawford Hotel. The floors are terrazzo. The chandeliers are accented with gold. And Dean Stoecker, the CEO of data-science firm Alteryx, has summoned his executives for the annual strategy session he calls Bing Fa, after the Mandarin title of The Art of War. “Sun Tzu was all about how you conserve resources,” says Stoecker, 62. “How do you win a war without going into battle?”alteryx

Stoecker knows something about conserving resources. He cofounded Alteryx in 1997, when the data-science industry scarcely existed, and spent a decade growing the firm to a measly $10 million in annual revenue. “We had to wait for the market to catch up,” he says. As he waited, he kept the business lean, hiring slowly and forgoing outside investment until 2011. Then, as “big data” began eating the world, he raised $163 million before taking Alteryx public in 2017. The stock is up nearly 900% since, and Stoecker is worth an estimated $1.2 billion.

“People ask me, ‘Did you ever think it would get this big?’” he says. “And I say, ‘Yeah, I just never thought it would take this long.’ ”

Alteryx makes data science easy. Its simple, click-and-drop design lets anyone, from recent grads to emeritus chairmen, turn raw numbers into charts and graphics. It goes far beyond Excel. Plug in some numbers, select the desired operation—say data cleansing or linear regression—and presto.

There are applications in every industry. Coca-Cola uses Alteryx to help restaurants predict how much soda to order. Airlines use it to hedge the price of jet fuel. Banks use it to model derivatives. Data analysis “is the one skill that every human being has to have if they’re going to survive in this next generation,” says Stoecker. “More so than balancing a checkbook.”

Alteryx’s numbers support that forecast. The company, based in Irvine, California, generated $28 million in profit on $254 million in revenue in 2018, and Stoecker expects to hit $1 billion in annual sales by 2022.

Stoecker grew up the son of a tinkerer. His father built liquid nitrogen tanks for NASA before quitting his job to sell “pre-cut” vacation homes in Colorado. He made them himself. “It was literally just him nine months of the year, and he would cut wood for 50 buildings,” Stoecker recalls. As a teenager he joined his father, and by the time he arrived at the University of Colorado Boulder to study economics, he was able to pay his own way.

After graduating in 1979, Stoecker earned his M.B.A. from Pepperdine, then took a sales job in 1990 at Donnelley Marketing Information Services, a data company in Connecticut. There he met Libby Duane Adams, who worked in the firm’s Stamford office. Seven years later, the pair founded a data company of their own, which they cumbersomely named Spatial Re-Engineering Consultants. (A third cofounder, Ned Harding, joined around the same time; Stoecker, who came up with the idea, took the lion’s share of the equity.)

SRC’s first customer, a junk mail company in Orange County, paid $125,000 to better target its coupons. “We were building big-data analytic cloud solutions back in 1998,” says Stoecker, when many businesses were barely online and terms like “cloud computing” were years away.

SRC was profitable from the outset. “We didn’t spend ahead of revenue. We didn’t hire ahead of revenue,” says Adams, sitting in a remodeled 1962 Volkswagen bus at Alteryx headquarters, theoretically a symbol of the company’s journey. “We never calculated burn rates. That was a big topic in the whole dot-com era. We were not running the business like a dot-com.”

In 2006, as part of a pivot away from one-off consulting gigs, SRC released software to let customers do the number-crunching themselves. They named the software Alteryx, a nerdy joke for changing two variables simultaneously: “Alter Y, X.” Stoecker made Alteryx the company name, too, in 2010.

The market was still small. To grow revenue, “we just kept raising the price of our platform,” Stoecker says. In the beginning, Alteryx sold its subscription-based software for $7,500 per user; by 2013 it was charging $55,000. The next year, as Stoecker felt demand growing, he slashed prices to $4,000. Volume made up for the lower rate. Today Alteryx has 5,300 customers. “We immediately went from averaging eight, nine or ten [new clients] a quarter to north of 250,” he says.

Although data mining and data analytics is a long-established field, encompassing a slew of startups as well as giants like Oracle and IBM, “we see almost no direct competition,” Stoecker insists.

“It’s a pretty wide-open field,” says Marshall Senk, a senior research analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading. “The choice is you buy a suite from Alteryx or you go buy 15 different products and try to figure out how to get them to work together.”

Inside Alteryx’s offices, Stoecker pauses in front of a time line depicting his first 22 years in business. “The good stuff hasn’t even occurred yet,” he says. “I’m going to need a way bigger wall.”

 

I’ve been a reporter at Forbes since 2016. Before that, I spent a year on the road—driving for Uber in Cleveland, volcano climbing in Guatemala, cattle farming in Uruguay, and lots of stuff in between. I graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in international relations and Arabic. Feel free to reach out at nkirsch@forbes.com with any story ideas or tips, or follow me on Twitter @Noah_Kirsch.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

You’ve disrupted the status quo, dissolved data conventions and altered everything we knew about analytics. This year, we invited you to put your groundbreaking insights on the main stage at our annual user conference. Revisit the fun in Nashville as we celebrated the game changing stories that educated leaders and motivated a community of data experts to shatter more barriers than ever before. This year was all about You.Amplified.

How This Former MIT Professor And Google Engineer Used Holograms To Build A $28 Million Startup – Lauren Aratani

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A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater. Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh……..

 

 

 

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Volvo’s Plans To Grow Trucking Industry Involves Better Fridges, Autonomous Tech – Sebastian Blanco

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Turns out, a better refrigerator and autonomous driving technology have something in common. They are both features that could help increase the number of semi truck drivers on the roads in the U.S. Because people like Malcolm Bryant don’t come around that often. I recently visited the Volvo Trucks Customer Service Center in Dublin, Virginia the day that Bryant (not pictured above) was honored by Volvo Trucks and Southeastern Freight Lines for a career that has lasted more than 50 years – and his spotless safety record with zero accidents during that time………….

 

 

 

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How A Mysterious Tech Billionaire Created Two Fortunes & a Global Software Sweatshop – Nathan Vardi

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From an office suite on the 26th floor of the iconic Frost Bank Tower in Austin, Texas, a little-known recruiting firm called Crossover is searching the globe for software engineers. Crossover is looking for anyone who can commit to a 40- or 50-hour workweek, but it has no interest in full-time employees. It wants contract workers who are willing to toil from their homes or even in local cafes. The best people in the world aren’t in your Zip code,” says Andy Tryba, chief executive of Crossover, in a promotional YouTube video. Which, Tryba emphasizes, also means you don’t have to pay them like they are your neighbors. “The world is going to a cloud wage……………

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2018/11/19/how-a-mysterious-tech-billionaire-created-two-fortunesand-a-global-software-sweatshop/#37705bc86cff

 

 

 

 

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China’s Ping An Insurance Firm Partner With Sanya City Authorities to Build DLT-Powered Smart City – Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel

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Ping An Insurance Group, a highly reputed China-based insurance corporation has joined forces with the Sanya municipal government to develop a “smart city” that would be powered by blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies,” according to a local news source, People’s Daily on November 14, 2018. Per sources close to the matter, in a bid to contribute its bit to urban development in China, Ping An Group has reportedly inked a strategic agreement with Sanya Municipal People’s Government to construct a “Smart City” run entirely by innovative technologies including the revolutionary blockchain technology, big data, artificial intelligence, and others…………..

Read more: https://btcmanager.com/chinas-insurance-dlt-powered-smart-city/

 

 

 

 

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How Kara Swisher Is Holding Tech Titans Accountable – Moira Forbes

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“You don’t get a medal for not doing a good job,” says Recode’s executive editor, Kara Swisher. Known as much for her brutal honesty as she is for breaking big news, Swisher is outspoken in her ongoing scrutiny of Silicon Valley, adamant that leaders there could and should be doing better when it comes to moving the needle on diversity, on and off their platforms. “They have a quantum amount of money, a huge amount of power and impact and influence. If you want to live in those worlds, you have to take responsibility,” says Swisher……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/moiraforbes/2018/11/08/how-kara-swisher-is-holding-tech-titans-accountable/#26cf3eb64583

 

 

 

 

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Fruit, Veg & Family Life Why Spaniards Are Living Longer – Sam Jones

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The Mercado de Maravillas lives up to its name. Should you ever find yourself in Madrid and desperate to buy half a kilo of pigs’ ears, a pair of fluffy slippers, a whole beef heart, a poncho, a jar of Peruvian chilli sauce and a bottle of good, strong bleach all under one roof, the stallholders of the Market of Wonders will be happy to oblige. Its most life-enhancing marvels, however, may lie in the piles of neatly stacked fruit and vegetables, the bags of nuts and in the treasuries of fish reclining, dead-eyed but odourless, on beds of ice. Markets such as the Mercado de Maravillas – which have long flourished across Spain……..

Read more:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/19/spaniards-living-longer-researchers-credit-diet-lifestyle-fruit-veg-family-life

 

 

 

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Exploring Strasbourg’s Petite France: The Prettiest Town In Europe – Geoffrey Morrison

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It’s like a fairy tale. That’s my first thought. The sort of picturesque buildings and streets you’d see on a postcard… except it’s building after building and street and street of photo-worthy spots. It’s called the Petite France quarter of Strasbourg, in northeast France. It’s like stepping into a different world. I spent a few days exploring and relaxing here. Here’s what it’s like and a few spots to check out…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2018/10/16/exploring-strasbourgs-petite-france-the-prettiest-town-in-europe/#7d4e57f365b5

 

 

 

 

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