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Huawei Fires Employee Arrested in Poland on Spying Charges

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BEIJING — The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has fired an employee who was arrested in Poland on charges of spying for the Chinese government, saying in a statement late Saturday that the worker had brought “disrepute” to the company.

Huawei said that the alleged actions that the employee, Wang Weijing, had been accused of had nothing to do with the company.

“In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labor contract, we have made this decision because the incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute,” a company spokesman, Joe Kelly, said.

The Polish authorities announced the arrests of Mr. Wang and a Polish telecommunications worker on Friday. That move came at a time of growing concern among the United States and its allies about Chinese technology suppliers, and after the December arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder.

Huawei’s equipment is used in mobile phone and internet networks around the world. But American officials have for years considered the company to be vulnerable to efforts by Beijing to spy on Americans or sabotage their communication systems.

Huawei denies that it operates as an extension of Beijing. Still, as the company has grown to become the world’s top supplier of telecommunications gear, the United States government has worked to discourage American mobile carriers and consumers from buying its equipment. Washington has shared its security concerns with allied governments in Europe and elsewhere.

On Dec. 1, Meng Wangzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States. American investigators have accused her of deceiving financial institutions about Huawei’s business in Iran, causing them to inadvertently violate United States sanctions. The Canadian legal authorities have not yet decided whether Ms. Meng will be extradited to the United States.

Diplomatic tensions between China and Canada jumped after Ms. Meng’s arrest, with Beijing detaining several Canadians in what were seen as tit-for-tat arrests. Among those still being held in China are Michael Kovrig, an experienced diplomat and Sinophile who had spent years investigating sensitive subjects like the human rights of minority groups in China; and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur with high-level contacts in North Korea.

The second person arrested by the Polish authorities this past week was an employee of Orange, the French telecommunications company. Orange’s office was raided, and the employee’s belongings were seized. Polish officials did not offer more details about what the two men were accused of, but said that they would be held for three months while the investigation continued.

Poland is Huawei’s headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordic region.

Huawei made the announcement about the firing of Mr. Wang at an unusual time — on a Saturday night China time. Though Huawei appeared to try to distance itself from the allegations made against Mr. Wang by the Polish authorities, he was working for the company during the time he is accused of spying.

A LinkedIn profile for Mr. Wang showed he has been employed by Huawei’s Polish division since 2011 and previously served as attaché to the Chinese general consul in Gdansk from 2006 to 2011, according to Reuters.

Europe has been an important market for Huawei. Largely shut out of the United States, the company has found many eager customers in Europe, both for its smartphones and for its telecommunications equipment.

As cellular providers around the world prepare to build networks using fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology, Huawei has tested new equipment with a number of major European carriers.

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Putin wants his own private internet

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New Russian laws could soon isolate the country’s Runet from the rest of the internet as it seeks to tighten its grip on the information that flows in and out of the country.

A new bill, backed by President Vladimir Putin and Moscow lawmakers, is currently being pushed through parliament which would create a single command post from which local authorities can manage and even halt information flowing across the internet in Russia.

The country’s so called “Sovereign Internet” bill is being portrayed by Putin as a defensive response to the Trump Administration’s new cyber strategy that would allow the US to launch offensive measures against Russia and any other nation states known for committing nefarious activities online.

Andrei Soldatov, author of “The Red Web: The Kremlin’s Wars on the Internet”, told Bloomberg that he thinks the law isn’t aimed at foreign threats but at quelling civil unrest, saying:

“This law isn’t about foreign threats, or banning Facebook and Google, which Russia can already do legally. It’s about being able to cut off certain types of traffic in certain areas during times of civil unrest.” 

Sovereign internet

The law, currently in draft form, was co-authored by KGB veteran Andrei Lugovoi who’s wanted in the UK for the murder of a renegade agent, is actually a mixture of several bills, some of which have been in development for years.

According to Putin, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the Runet continues to function in the event that the US tries to block Russia from accessing the rest of the internet.

If the bill does pass, the country would install special boxes with tracking software at the thousands of exchange points that link it to the rest of the web. These units would feed data into a central nerve center from which regulators could analyze web traffic and reroute traffic that they do not deem appropriate for the Russian populace.

Russian censorship has grown stronger in recent years and if Putin has his way, the country’s internet will soon resemble that of China’s where access to the outside web is blocked by the Great Firewall.

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The Internet Has Become A ‘Completely Out-Of-Control Monster,’ Warns Successor Of Man Who Created It

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Nearly 30 years ago a group of scientists at a Swiss physics institution came up with a novel idea to share data and work between themselves across the globe. The groundbreaking concept was the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, whose vision for a “decentralized information management system” eventually gave birth to the world wide web.

Fast forward three decades and the internet has invaded all corners of the globe and governs all areas of life. It has become a power without equal. Some have suggested it has become a Frankenstein’s monster which needs to be reined in, and fast

One such person is Francois Fluckiger, the man who would become Sir Tim’s successor at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The Daily Mail reports that Fluckiger believes fake news, privacy threats, and online bullying have all conspired to turn the internet into a “completely out-of-control monster.”

When Sir Tim left CERN’s web team in 1994, Fluckiger picked up the reins. He has since retired, and although he has hailed the web as one of the three major inventions of the 20th century, he believes it has morphed into something almost unrecognizable from its early days.

“One has to ask oneself if we did not, in the end, create a completely out-of-control monster,” said Fluckiger.

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Bali’s silent day: No flights, internet on New Year

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Bali’s airport will close for 24 hours, the internet will be turned off and streets emptied as the island in Indonesia observes its New Year with an annual day of silence.

‘Nyepi’ begins at 6 AM on Thursday, clearing beaches and all public spaces of people except for special patrols to ensure silence is observed. For the second year, phone companies will turn off the mobile internet on the island, home to more than four million people.

Balinese will stay indoors, covering windows and keeping lights off for the day of reflection.

“A day of silence to mark Saka (Balinese calendar) New Year for us is an opportunity to restart life with a pure heart,” said Wayan Gota, a hotel manager in Kuta, one of the island’s tourist hotspots.

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