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Huawei Threatens Lawsuit Against Czech Republic After Security Warning




PRAGUE — In an attempt to push back against attempts to limit its reach in Europe, the Chinese technology giant Huawei threatened legal action against the Czech Republic if its cybersecurity agency did not rescind its warning about the risk the company poses to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

As nations across Europe take the first steps to reconfigure the systems that control the internet, Huawei’s threat was the latest salvo in the escalating war over who will control the hardware that will underpin the new 5G, or fifth-generation, networks.

For more than a year, the United States has been engaged in a global campaign aimed at limiting the reach of Chinese telecommunication firms, contending that they pose a threat to security.

While American officials have not offered specific details to support their concerns, they have pointed to China’s National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017. They say the law requires Chinese companies to support, provide assistance to and cooperate in Beijing’s national intelligence work, wherever they operate.

That law was one of the factors that led the Czech cybersecurity agency, Nukib, to issue a formal warning in December about the risk posed by Huawei and another Chinese technology firm, ZTE.

The warning, which carries the force of law, requires all companies in the Czech Republic that are deemed critical to the nation’s health to perform a risk analysis that takes security concerns into account.

It has already led several large companies and government ministries to distance themselves from Huawei, including barring the company from bidding on new projects.

On Friday, the Czech newspaper Dennik N published excerpts from a letter from Huawei to the head of the Czech cyber agency, Dusan Navratil, and Prime Minister Andrej Babis threatening legal action.

“Huawei cannot represent a cybersecurity threat as stated in the warning,” the letter said. “Huawei, according to the Chinese law, does not have any obligation to install backdoor or spyware into their products, and the company would never agree to such a request.“

Radoslaw Kedzia, Huawei’s chief representative in the Czech Republic, wrote that the cyber agency had failed to provide any specific evidence of wrongdoing and failed to explain its analysis of the Chinese law.

“As consequence of the warning, Huawei has already suffered losses and faces many difficulties,” he wrote in the letter, dated Feb. 1. “For example, it was excluded from public procurement, even those that do not concern critical infrastructure.”

“Retail activities have been harmed and the brand damaged,” according to the letter. The company called on Czech officials to rescind the warning, adding that if they did not receive a reply by Feb. 14, they would take the matter to court.

Officials at the cybersecurity agency acknowledged receipt of the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, but declined to comment.

The pushback by Huawei was part of a broader campaign by the company to defend itself across the continent.

Huawei sent a letter to the British Parliament this week defending its track record and claiming that any malicious activity on its part would “destroy its business.”

The embattled company, which was founded by a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, claimed that the attacks against it were unfounded.

“The governments in some countries have labeled Huawei as a security threat, but they have never substantiated these allegations with solid evidence,” Ryan Ding, the president of Huawei’s carrier business, wrote in the letter to the British lawmakers.

The United States, Australia and New Zealand have already barred the company from participating in the building of the new 5G networks.

In the coming months, countries across Europe are expected to begin to put in place infrastructure that would allow for the superfast, widely connected networks.

Which companies will lead that effort remains an open question. But as Huawei’s threat of legal action demonstrates, the Chinese firm has no intention of ceding the lucrative market.


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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton




OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training




Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test




While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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