The UK government is set to review Huawei's cyber-security practices (opens in new tab), after concerns were raised by a recent Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report. The ISC believes that the Chinese firm could pose a significant threat to the UK's telecommunications industry, if activities continue unchecked. The fears stem from the fact that the Oxford-based Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (the Cell) – which is tasked with ensuring Huawei does not pose any security risk to the UK – is run by Huawei itself. "A self-policing arrangement is highly unlikely either to provide, or to be seen to be providing, the required levels of security assurance," said the IDC report. A Huawei spokeswoman responded to the news by saying that the Chinese company fully supports the decision to conduct a review.
Microsoft this week hit back at a recent story from the Guardian that accused the software giant of "helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption." "There are significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked government documents reported in the media last week," Microsoft said in a blog post, which outlined how it complies with federal requests for data across products like Outlook, SkyDrive, and Skype. The Guardian's story was based on documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden. It suggested that Microsoft worked with the NSA to allow the agency easier access to user data. In response, Microsoft outlined how it handles requests for data, arguing that information is only turned over to the feds when they make lawful requests (opens in new tab). They cannot access it whenever they please, Microsoft argued. As it relates to Outlook.com, "we do not provide any government with direct access to emails or instant messages. Full stop," wrote Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith. For the full story, follow the link above.
The growth of fibre optic broadband may have received a knock, after a new standard of super fast broadband that can be delivered through existing copper telephone wires received first stage approval by the UN telecoms regulator. Named G.fast, the standard is designed to deliver super fast downloads up to a distance of 250m, eliminating the need of installing fibre optic cables between distribution points and people's homes. The UN body which approved the standard, the International Telecommunications Union said that G.fast promises speeds of up to 1Gbps. BT's fibre optic broadband currently advertises a speed less than a tenth of that at 76Mbps (opens in new tab). "G.fast is an important standard for service providers globally," said Tom Starr, the chairman of the group which oversees the G.fast effort. "Service providers will be able to deliver fibre-like performance more quickly and more affordably than with any other approach."
HTC has officially launched the One mini, a pint-sized version of its critically acclaimed One smartphone (opens in new tab), as it takes direct aim at rival Samsung and the Galaxy S4 Mini. The 4.3in HTC One mini offers marginally scaled down specifications compared to its sibling, featuring a 720p screen (vs the HTC One's 4.7in Full HD display), 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor (vs a quad-core Snapdragon 600 configuration clocked at 1.7GHz), 1GB of RAM (vs 2GB), and 16GB of on-board storage (vs 32GB or 64GB). Like its big brother, however, the HTC One mini sports a 2um-'UltraPixel' rear camera (roughly equivalent to 4-megapixels), which is complemented by a 1.6-megapixel front snapper (a slight step down from the 2.1-megapixel auxiliary snapper of the One proper). With regards to design, it's a similar proposition to the HTC One, featuring a predominately metal chassis with key measurements of 132 x 63.2 x 9.25mm and a weight of 122g - much lighter than the 143g One, it's worth noting. For further phone details, pricing and release dates, follow the link above.