This Week In Tech And Telco: Blockchain And Blocked Tech

Welcome back to this week in tech and telco. What have you missed?

Is Facebook fighting a losing battle with Libra?

The announcement of Facebook’s proposed digital currency, Libra, was originally met with controversy; governments didn't seem impressed regardless of the fact there was buy-in from big names like PayPal.

Last week, squirming under the spotlight that comes with launching a mainstream cryptocurrency, it was revealed that some original investors are considering leaving.

Two Libra founders told the paper they were worried about the regulatory spotlight that the cryptocurrency was attracting, while at least three early backers privately discussed separating themselves from the operation.

Doubt in the project comes only a few weeks after the company admitted to investors that increasing regulatory scrutiny could mean that Libra may never launch.

Nonetheless, Facebook is gearing up. The tech giant has just hired a lobbying firm to focus on “issues related to blockchain policy”.

If you use this photo on your site, I would be very appreciative if you would please credit in the caption or meta to "".Model: @Austindistel @breeandstephen
Will Libra ever launch? Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

Huawei’s next phone ships without built-in Google

Huawei is set to reveal its next flagship smartphone, the Mate 30, in early September. However, due to current sanctions on sales to Huawei, it’ll launch without Google Play Store or any other Google app services.

A Google representative told Reuters that the smartphone “cannot be sold with licensed Google apps and services due to the US ban on sales to Huawei”, as the recent extension to a temporary reprieve only covers existing products.

Samsung Galaxy - Will tech play fair?
Is that it for Google and Huawei? Photographer: Rami Al-zayat | Source: Unsplash

US attempts to block a new undersea cable paid for by Google and Facebook

...because the companies have also partnered with Huawei.

US Department of Justice is looking to block an undersea cable backed by Google, Facebook and Huawei, citing national security concerns. There is worry that the data link has ties to the Chinese Government via Huawei.

The national security review could rewrite the rules of internet connectivity between the US and China, people involved in the discussions told The Wall Street Journal.

Millions of dollars have already been spent, and more than 8,000 miles of cable have already been laid.

Is that it for Facebook and Google's new cable? Photographer: Alex Haney | Source: Unsplash

China Telecom release whitepaper on blockchain phone

Phone operator China Telecom has released a whitepaper on a blockchain-based 5G phone.

Outlining the benefits of applied blockchain, the whitepaper states people can master their own digital assets, while “regardless of data volume, data varieties and data dimensions, data assets will grow geometrically”.

Existing blockchain powered phones are few and far between, however, China Telecom believes this is because mobile phone manufacturers have used blockchain in order to speculate on market hotspots rather than to bring the actual power of the technology to the industry.

The major telecom provider believes its blockchain will solve major issues in operating mobile networks, including fraud, harassment, loss of data and crimes related to identity theft.

What else we’re reading:

  • The Swedish data regulator has served country’s first GDPR fine — amounting to almost €19,000 (200,000 SEK) — for using facial recognition technology to monitor the attendance of students in a Skellefteå high school. (The Next Web)
  • Apple has apologised for humans listening to Siri audio, and has adjusted its privacy policy going forward. Humans will still listen, but they will only ever be Apple staff, and only when you’ve opted-in to sharing samples. (The Verge)
  • For other snippets of telecoms news, check out Telecom Ramblings’ Thursday round up. There’s news from Juniper, Epsilon, Cold and ADVA. (Telecom Ramblings)
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