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Mark Zuckerberg Discovers Privacy.

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With the swelling confidence of a colonial power happening upon a long-settled distant land, today Mark Zuckerberg discovered the concept of privacy.

In a ballooning 3,225 words — a roughly average word count for the terminally verbose Facebook founder — Zuckerberg informed his miserably loyal 2.3 billion plus subjects that his company has happened upon a concept known as privacy, and, in doing so, it sees an opportunity. But can Facebook reform its 15-year legacy as devourer of all things private with a single sweeping, underedited screed from its copycat visionary and dark-pattern technocrat?

Fuck no, of course it can’t.

In articulating his vision, all 3,225 words’ worth, Zuckerberg predictably failed to own the fact that his company singlehandedly created the modern concept of social media as a cash-printing machine that mines our innermost thoughts, desires and connections. The whole thing is a self-parody so on the nose it’s almost boring. And it’s a bummer, because “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking” could be a compelling declaration (please deliver us!) from nearly any company that isn’t Facebook.

“I believe there’s an opportunity to set a new standard for private communication platforms — where content automatically expires or is archived over time,” Zuckerberg wrote, thinking about privacy for the third time. “…This philosophy could be extended to all private content.”

Unfortunately, no company can build anything interesting in the social media space because Facebook’s well-established wildly aggressive stance toward competitors means that the game is over before the game even begins. If the big blue acquirer doesn’t capture, it kills.

Regulation looms
Surely it’s pure coincidence that Facebook’s sudden interest in privacy comes as the company faces an ever-cresting tidal wave of public backlash and heavy breathing from thirsty regulators in Congress. Sated after sopping up all of the ad dollars drifting around the wreckage of a soul-crushingly monetized social web, Facebook realizes it’s probably time to chart a different path forward. Luckily, it picked up some brands people hate less along the way.

Milking Facebook’s stewardship of WhatsApp for all it’s worth, Zuckerberg was intentional about pitching his new centralized yet private future for Facebook around the model of the encrypted messaging app, a platform so antithetical to Facebook’s broad mission that its founders left in disgust after cashing their checks.

In recent years, the company realized that it’s easier to just to let someone else innovate, build a product and attract users than doing anything very interesting itself. Facebook’s contemporary role in the tech landscape is to either build a functional facsimile of it or swoop in and buy that innovation and keep it at arm’s length from the core Facebook brand for long enough for users to get sort of complacent (users are very good at this).

It’s different with privacy. Privacy is about philosophy. It’s about how you handle things from the start. Facebook effectively stole a whole bunch of shit over a long period of time, relying on intentional obfuscation, legal muscle and user ignorance to pull off the heist. Now, the company is trying to make it out of the store with all that contraband stuffed under its shirt before the security guard ambles back. Unfortunately for Facebook, its hands are stained with a decade and a half of data wrung out of a now cumulative 2.3 billion users.

That’s a lot of exploded fucking ink tags.

This is a company that can barely give us a straight answer about what happens when someone wants their data deleted. One that waited 15 years to introduce something that lets users clear traces of their history, except by most accounts that tool won’t even wipe those records from its servers.

WhatsApp and encryption are still good
But what about WhatsApp, you (Facebook PR) might gasp, mawkishly. What about that? WhatsApp is the world’s largest encrypted messaging platform — and that’s great. More encryption is good, no matter who owns the wiring. Even Facebook!

Facebook hasn’t killed WhatsApp or hamstrung its encryption and that’s been good too. Still, we don’t owe Facebook anything, least of all our faith that the patron saint of personal data strip-mining does anything good for reasons beyond simply buying up goodwill or getting caught red handed.

In declaring that “people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room,” Zuckerberg senses no irony in the idea that people might not want more privacy within Facebook — they want more privacy because Facebook. Namely, because the company laid waste to the concept of user privacy so thoroughly before apparently flitting off just now to refashion itself into “a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform” and stuffing users into the WhatsApp-branded life rafts.

Thus, Zuckerberg stumbles out of his great boat, awful blue flag limp on a breezeless shore. All of this is ours, he mutters, gesturing to all of it.

Source: TechCrunch.com

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Huawei Responds To Android Ban

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Fresh off the sledgehammer blow of having its Android license revoked by Google in response to US government demands, Huawei has issued its first, limited response, which leaves more questions open than it answers. In a statement emailed to The Verge, Huawei underscores its contributions to the growth of Android globally — which most recently saw the company’s Android phone sales growing by double digits while every other leading smartphone vendor was shrinking or stagnant — and reassures current owners of Huawei and (subsidiary brand) Honor phones that they will continue to receive security updates and after-sales service. That promise also covers phones that are already shipped and in stock at stores globally, but no additional promises are made beyond that.

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.

We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Google has already said that owners of Huawei phones will retain their access to the Play Store and continue being able to update their apps. The big thing that’s being written out of their future, however, are further Android OS updates from Google. To get those back, Huawei phone owners and fans will have to hope for a resolution in the US-China trade dispute, which has been the trigger for Huawei’s current blacklisting by the US government.

For its part, Huawei has been making preparations for an eventuality of losing access to software from US companies like Google and Microsoft, and it has been developing an in-house operating system alternative to Android. That may be what the company hints at in the final paragraph of its statement when it says it will “continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem.” Sustainable being the key word.

Source: The Verge.

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NCA Unveils Plan To Ban All Fake Phones.

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Mobile devices that enter the country will now be tested for their authenticity before being released onto the market.

This follows the completion of a state of the art laboratory by the National Communications Authority to test such devices.

The NCA, together with other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry, has on a number of occasions lamented the effect of substandard mobile devices have on service delivery.

Speaking at the celebration of World Telecoms Day in Accra, Deputy Minister of Communications George Andah said the Ministry will do all it can to maintain high standards within the country’s telecommunication industry.

“The NCA has acquired the state of the art type approval laboratory capable of testing all electronic communication devices to ensure that they are up to standard”

“To the NCA, I request that you kindly liaise with mobile network operators to determine the level of potential risk with regards to the prevalent substandard mobile devices on the market”.

Ghana joined the rest of the world on Friday, May 19, 2019 to observe the 2019 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day under the theme “Bridging the standardization gap”. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the celebration since its inception in 1969.

The day was observed to raise awareness on the importance of the theme as well as encourage the implementation of international standards in Ghana’s communications sector in the bid to bridge the digital divide

Source: CitiBusinessNews.

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Google And Android System Start To Cut Ties With Huawei.

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US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world's smartphones, said Sunday it was beginning to cut ties with China's Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

The measure targets Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant in Washington's sights that is listed by the Commerce Department among firms with which American companies can only engage in trade after obtaining the green light from the authorities.

The ban includes technology sharing.

"We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications," a Google spokesperson told AFP.

The move could have dramatic implications since Google, like all tech companies, must collaborate with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available -- meaning Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android, a source close to the matter told AFP.

Huawei will no longer have access to Google's proprietary apps and services, such as the Gmail email service.

Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that "We have not done anything which violates the law," adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

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Rigworld, Maritime University Partner To Train Students On IMO Regulations.

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Rigworld Training Centre (RTC), an indigenous Ghanaian company has signed an accreditation partnership with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) to train personnel on International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.

Under the accreditation partnership the two parties will collaborate for the training of people on IMO mandatory short courses hence issue two certificates; one jointly signed by RTC and RMU and secondly solely signed by the Ghana Maritime Authority, certificate of competency from Ghana Maritime Authority.

The partnership, which was signed by Prof. Elvis Nyarko, Vice Chancellor of the RMU and Kofi Amoa-Abban, Director of the RTC.

Among some of the courses that would be offered as part of the training program include Elementary First Aid, Personal Survival Techniques, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities as well as Basic Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting.

Others are International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, Oil/Chemical Tanker Familiarization, Efficient Deck Hand, Lifeboat, Proficiency in Survival Craft Rescue Boat, Radar/ARPA Simulator Training as well as International Safety Management.

The RMU is an international institution owned by the Republics of Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone under the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA). The overall objective of the RMU is to promote regional co-operation in the maritime industry focusing on the training to ensure sustained growth and development in the industry.

The RTC on the other hand is an indigenous Ghanaian company accredited by various international bodies to train people and students in safety and survival skills in the oil and gas industry here. Enditem

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