Facebook, Google stocks fall on imminent antitrust probes

Censored Chinese search project is “terminated,” Google rep testifies

(credit: Sam Churchill / Flickr)

Google has ended all work on its censored Chinese search engine, a company representative testified on Tuesday.

“We have terminated Project Dragonfly,” said Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The secret project was first revealed by the Intercept a year ago. The new search engine would have initially been offered as an Android app, and it would have reportedly blacklisted “websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest,” according to the Intercept.

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Apple moves Mac Pro production from Texas to China

Apple moves Mac Pro production from Texas to China

Enlarge / An inside view of the new Mac Pro. (credit: Apple)

Apple is manufacturing the new Mac Pro in China, marking a change from the previous Mac Pro that was made in the US.

Apple made the previous Mac Pro in Austin, Texas, beginning in 2013. But with the new Mac Pro unveiled this month being made in China, Apple is “shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the US as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing,” The Wall Street Journal reported today.

“The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai,” according to the Journal’s sources. “Quanta’s facility is close to other Apple suppliers across Asia, making it possible for Apple to achieve lower shipping costs than if it shipped components

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Huawei cancels MateBook laptop launch because of US export ban

Huawei cancels MateBook laptop launch because of US export ban

Enlarge / The Huawei Matebook 13, which was released in January 2019. (credit: Valentina Palladino )

Huawei was planning to announce a new MateBook laptop this week, but an executive confirmed that the company cancelled the launch because of US sanctions against the Chinese company. It’s not clear when—or whether—the laptop will be released.

The US has banned sales of technology to Huawei, which uses Intel chips and the Windows operating system in its MateBook PCs. Huawei “planned to unveil the new Windows laptop at the CES Asia 2019 trade show in Shanghai this week” but “indefinitely postponed” the launch because of the US export ban, The Information reported yesterday.

Huawei consumer division CEO Richard Yu subsequently confirmed the cancellation to CNBC. “We cannot supply the PC,” Yu said, calling it “unfortunate,” according to CNBC.

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China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options

China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options

Rare earth oxides. Clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. (credit: Peggy Greb, US Department of Agriculture)

On Wednesday, Chinese newspapers ran commentaries warning the United States that escalating trade tensions would result in China cutting off its rare-earth-minerals trade with the US.

China is the dominant supplier of rare-earth minerals around the world. The minerals are used in all sorts of advanced materials and play a prominent role in the operation of electric motors, wind turbines, and military-related material.

According to Reuters, China’s official People’s Daily ran an article saying: “Undoubtedly, the US side wants to use the products made by China’s exported rare-earths to counter and suppress China’s development. The Chinese people will never accept this!”

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Huawei argues congressional ban on its equipment is unconstitutional

Huawei argues congressional ban on its equipment is unconstitutional

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Huawei is asking a federal judge in Texas to strike down federal legislation passed last year that banned Huawei—by name—from selling telecommunications equipment to the federal government. Huawei argues that the legislation violates the Constitution’s rule against bills of attainder, laws that single out particular people for punishment.

Congress passed the most recent National Defense Authorization Act last August; Huawei launched its legal challenge against the law in March. The company filed a motion for summary judgment in the case on Tuesday. This is a motion that asks the judge to rule on the legal merits in the case prior to the discovery phase, when the two parties get to demand documents from one another to help them build their cases. Huawei hopes to avoid discovery because it could drag on for many months while Huawei is frozen out of competing for federal

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Australian rare-earth ore processor wants to build a plant in the US

Australian rare-earth ore processor wants to build a plant in the US

Enlarge / Construction takes place at the site of Lynas Corp.’s Advanced Materials Plant in the Gebeng Industrial Zone near Kuantan, Malaysia, on Thursday, April 19, 2012. (credit: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This week, two rare-earth mineral-processing companies announced a new joint-venture whose aim will be to establish a rare-earth ore processing plant in Hondo, Texas.

Lynas Corp., an Australian rare-earths processor, and Blue Line Corp., a chemical company which is already based in Texas, agreed to a partnership to “see that US companies have continued access to rare-earth products by offering a US-based source.”

Rare-earths minerals are found in consumer electronics, military equipment, electric vehicles, and wind turbines and solar panels. China sees rare-earths metals as a potential wedge in current trade talks with the United States, because it mines and processes the majority of the rare-earths used around the world.

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Trump tries to shut Huawei out of US market with executive order

Trump tries to shut Huawei out of US market with executive order

Enlarge / Customers purchase mobile phones at the Huawei Experience Center on May 16, 2019 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. (credit: Getty Images | VCG/Long Wei)

The Trump administration yesterday took two actions that could effectively prevent Huawei from buying US technology and prevent it from selling products to US companies.

An executive order issued by President Trump and a separate action taken by the US Commerce Department could “cut the Chinese telecommunications giant off from American suppliers and ban it from doing business in the US,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.

The order doesn’t mention Huawei or China by name, but it was widely seen as targeting Huawei and other Chinese companies such as ZTE. Huawei is the second-biggest smartphone vendor in the world, according to IDC, and it sells a large amount of network equipment to telecom providers and other companies.

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A mysterious hacker gang is on a supply-chain hacking spree

A mysterious hacker gang is on a supply-chain hacking spree

Enlarge (credit: Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A software supply-chain attack represents one of the most insidious forms of hacking. By breaking into a developer’s network and hiding malicious code within apps and software updates that users trust, supply-chain hijackers can smuggle their malware onto hundreds of thousands—or millions—of computers in a single operation, without the slightest sign of foul play. Now what appears to be a single group of hackers has managed that trick repeatedly, going on a devastating supply-chain hacking spree—and the hackers have become more advanced and stealthy as they go.

Over the past three years, supply-chain attacks that exploited the software distribution channels of at least six different companies have now all been tied to a single group of likely Chinese-speaking hackers. The group is known as Barium, or sometimes ShadowHammer, ShadowPad, or Wicked Panda, depending on which security firm you ask. More than

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Bloomberg alleges Huawei routers and network gear are backdoored

Bloomberg alleges Huawei routers and network gear are backdoored

Enlarge / PORTUGAL – 2019/03/04: 5G logo is seen on an android mobile phone with Huawei logo on the background. (credit: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Vodafone, the largest mobile network operator in Europe, found backdoors in Huawei equipment between 2009 and 2011, reports Bloomberg. With these backdoors, Huawei could have gained unauthorized access to Vodafone’s “fixed-line network in Italy.” But Vodafone disagrees, saying that while it did discover some security vulnerabilities in Huawei equipment, these were fixed by Huawei and in any case were not remotely accessible, and hence they could not be used by Huawei.

Bloomberg’s claims are based on Vodafone’s internal security documentation and “people involved in the situation.” Several different “backdoors” are described: unsecured telnet access to home routers, along with “backdoors” in optical service nodes (which connect last-mile distribution networks to optical backbone networks) and “broadband network gateways” (BNG) (which sit between

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