Category: Tech News

Appeal court finds ‘digital phone tapping’ admissible in criminal trials

Judges have decided that communications collected by French and Dutch police from the encrypted phone network EncroChat using software ‘implants’ are admissible evidence in British courts.

Police have made more than 1,000 arrests in the UK after the EncroChat phone network was compromised by French and Dutch investigators.

UK law prohibits law enforcement agencies from using evidence obtained from interception in criminal trials.

But three judges found on Friday [5 February] that material gathered by French and Dutch investigators and passed to the UK’s National Crime Agency were lawfully obtained through “equipment interference”.

“Today’s verdict implies that intercepting, or “tapping” – copying other people’s live private calls and messages – has no clear meaning in the digital age,” said Duncan Campbell, who acted as a forensic expert in the case for defendants, speaking after the verdict.

“If upheld, the ruling appears to mean that tapping is only now tapping if a radio, cable or optical signal is split and copied, but not if data is copied from temporary memory. The consequences from this will be significant,” he said.

Computer Weekly is able to report legal arguments around the case for the first time today following the removal of some previous

RAN returns strong growth but Nokia prepares for challenging year ahead

Even though Nokia delivered a solid Q4 to end 2020, which was at the high-end of its Outlook range, the leading global comms tech supplier has admitted 2020 was a year of incredible change where personal resilience, as well as technology, has been tested like never before, and that a tough 2021 lies ahead.

For the quarter ended 31 December 2020, Nokia reported net sales of €6.568bn (£5.75bn), slipping back 5% compared with the same time in 2019, primarily due to mobile access, as declines in network deployment and planning services were partially offset by growth in radio access products.

Core networks technology revenue slipped back by two percentage points more to reach €5.04bn (£4.41bn) while software sales actually rose 5% on an annual basis to €864m (£756m), and Nokia Technologies revenues rose 2% to €382m (£334m). Q4 enterprise net sales were up 1% in reported and 5% in constant currency. Overall operating profit for the quarter was €1.09bn (£950m), a fall of 4% compared with Q4 2019.

For the full year, total sales amounted to €21.867bn (£19.13bn), down 6% annually, with core network sales slipping back 7% over the year to total €16.865bn (£14.75bn). Yearly software revenues also slipped

Let’s build on the innovation shown by UK tech during pandemic

The past year has been hugely challenging as the Covid-19 pandemic caused lives to be lost and put the UK’s economy under massive strain. The government’s response has been significant, even if it has been frequently criticised. But whatever the debates, we mustn’t lose sight of the incredible innovation rooted in technology that the UK has shown – and it is vital that we find ways to maintain and build on this as we move forward post-Brexit.

There were many ways that technology proved its essential value through the pandemic – remote working, Zoom and Teams, shared collaboration platforms. One other key area where tech really came of age in 2020 – and in which the UK has really led the way – has been in medical and scientific research, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data to drive innovation and discovery in the real world.

The use of AI has been crucial to the development of the vaccines against Covid-19, such as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – upon which all our immediate futures now depend. Machine learning systems and computational analyses helped researchers understand the virus and its structure, and predict which components will provoke

EE 5G mobile usage increases by 40% over last quarter of 2020

In its latest Mobile network index report, EE claims that as it rolls out the 5G network to more places, it is clear that customers are starting to use it more and are making the most of its faster speeds and increased reliability.

The bottom-line findings of the study reveal that usage on EE’s network has shown an increased appetite for the latest mobile technology, with 5G traffic growing more than 40% month-on-month between October and December 2020, and more than doubling across the three months.

YouTube, Facebook, Netflix and Instagram retained the top spots as the most popular apps and services on the 5G network, and month-on-month have seen traffic grow by at least 30%. Perhaps not surprisingly, three of EE’s 5G launch cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester – are the top three for 5G usage on EE’s mobile network in the UK. In Scotland, Glasgow topped the list for 5G usage, and in Wales it was Cardiff.

With large groups unable to gather over the festive period in many parts of the UK, people took to technology to connect with family and friends in a way they did in their working lives. On Christmas Day, there was

Enterprise 5G network slicing to carve out $20bn revenues over next five years

Noting that 5G deployments are now in a state of proliferation, analyst firm ABI Research expects the importance of network slicing for the enterprise domain to grow, with demand for 5G slicing propelled mainly by heavy industry verticals.

ABI says there are three predominant business drivers for 5G slicing. First, it notes that new services can be deployed with little or no disruption to existing services and that with today’s networks, service agility is a challenge because the introduction of new services necessitates reconfiguration of underlying networks.

Second, ABI believes verticals can optimise network efficiency with potentially lower costs, suggesting that a shared network infrastructure used across multiple slices promotes better resource utilisation and can, in theory, reduces integration scope and complexity.

Third, ABI says 5G slicing can enable vertical partners to bring to market a wider range of services based on customised service-level agreements.

As a result, according to ABI Research’s 5G Network slicing and industry verticals market data report, 5G network slicing will generate revenues of more than $20bn by 2026. The analysis says much current discussion focuses on how various industry verticals can alleviate the operational complexity of doing business with 5G network slicing.

Drilling

5G to the fore as Ericsson beats expectations in financial year

Modest quarterly and annual sales have translated into strong profits in both the fourth quarter and 2020 calendar year for communications technology provider Ericsson, with network sales and 5G making healthy contributions.

For the fourth quarter of the year, sales adjusted for comparable units and currency were SEK69.6bn (£6bn) growing by 13% on an annual basis, driven by sales in Northeast Asia, Europe and North America. Gross margin excluding restructuring charges inched up just over three percentage points from 37.1% to 40.6%, with margin improvements in all segments. Operating income excluding restructuring charges improved annually by 80% to SEK11bn, while reported net income was SEK7.2bn.

For the full year, sales grew by 2% annually to SEK232.4bn, with reported operating income almost trebling in a year to SEK27.8bn. Reported net income was SEK17.6bn, growing significantly from the SEK1.8bn reported at the end of 2019.

Looking at highlights for the year, Ericsson noted that network sales grew organically by 20%, reporting a gross margin of 43.5% for the fourth quarter. It said this reflected continued high activity levels in North America and Northeast Asia, and also in Europe where it further increased market share.

The gross margin at the digital services division