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  2. <html newsdate="2019-05-20">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>Three conclusions to draw from Google denying Huawei access to software</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>
  8. Three conclusions to draw from Google denying Huawei access to software
  9. </h1>
  10. <p newsteaser="yes">Google denies the Chinese IT giant Huawei access to
  11. Google's proprietary components of the Android mobile operating system
  12. which threatens IT security. This highlights the importance Free
  13. Software has for technology users, public bodies, and businesses. The
  14. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) presents three essential lessons
  15. from this case.</p>
  16. <p>Following the U.S. administration's decision to effectively ban
  17. American companies from trading with with the Chinese company Huawei,
  18. Google suspended all business with the company. This affects all
  19. software which is not covered under Free Software licences. In
  20. practice, Huawei's upcoming and potentially also current phones will no
  21. longer get support and updates for the Android operating system. They
  22. will also not have access to the proprietary Google apps and services
  23. like Gmail and Google Play. Although proprietary software should be
  24. avoided in the first place, especially the latter will put future
  25. Huawei users at risk because without access to the default app store on
  26. most stock Android phones they will miss important security updates for
  27. the apps installed through it.</p>
  28. <p>Google offers only a base version of Android under a Free Software
  29. licence but bundles it together with proprietary apps and services. The
  30. non-free components of most stock Android devices have numerous
  31. downsides for users, as the <a href="">FSFE
  32. has documented since 2012</a>. Now, the current case demonstrates that
  33. even tech giants like Huawei face similar dependencies and vendor
  34. lock-in effects as those of any individual users if they rely on proprietary
  35. software.</p>
  36. <h2>Three Conclusions</h2>
  37. <p>The following lessons can be drawn from this case:</p>
  38. <ol>
  39. <li>The FSFE urges <strong>users</strong> to use Free Software
  40. operating systems and applications on their computing devices. With
  41. proprietary software, they are on the receiving end only and vendors
  42. may deny them access to crucial security updates if the vendor or a
  43. government changes its strategy. Free Software enables control of
  44. technology, and the more important that technology becomes in our
  45. daily lives, the more relevant Free Software becomes for users. For
  46. Android, the FSFE helps users to regain more control with its <a
  47. href="">Free Your Android
  48. initiative</a>.</li>
  49. <br />
  50. <li><strong>Governments and especially the European Union</strong>
  51. should invest more resources in Free Software to gain independence
  52. from large enterprises and other states. The current case highlights
  53. the lack of influence the EU has on outside technology providers.
  54. Instead of waiting for a future European IT monopolist to enter the
  55. stage, the EU and its members states should <a
  56. href="">invest in Free Software development</a>
  57. and focus on supporting local Free Software organisations as well as
  58. businesses. This would effectively foster the inner-European market
  59. and enable independence for European citizens and the EU economy.
  60. This step is essential for avoiding exposing European infrastructure
  61. to shutdowns controlled by external factors.</li>
  62. <br />
  63. <li>The FSFE urges <strong>companies</strong> to use as much Free
  64. Software as possible in their supply chains. Proprietary software
  65. makes a company dependent on its vendor and that vendor's government.
  66. The current case shows that the US was able to force Google to stop
  67. delivery of its proprietary products – but could not stop delivery of
  68. the Free Software components of Android. Had Huawei invested more
  69. resources in Free Software apps and services, the US strategy would
  70. not have hit them as hard. Although the current events are linked to
  71. the scrutiny the Chinese company is under right now, it is obvious
  72. that this could happen to any other company based in any other
  73. country as well.</li>
  74. </ol>
  75. <p>The earlier allegations against Huawei already showed that <a
  76. href="/news/2019/news-20190205-01.html">code for all critical
  77. infrastructure should be published under a Free Software licence</a>.
  78. The latest episode of the Huawei affair illustrates that the same
  79. applies to apps and services. Just days before the European Elections,
  80. this should be a wake-up call for the next constituent Parliament to
  81. ask the European Commission for European directives that foster
  82. independence of European technical infrastructure and that build on
  83. Free Software, starting with the <a href="">demand
  84. to release publicly funded software as public code</a>.</p>
  85. </body>
  86. <tags>
  87. <tag>front-page</tag>
  88. <tag content="IT Security">security</tag>
  89. <tag content="Public Code">pmpc</tag>
  90. <tag content="Huawei">huawei</tag>
  91. <tag content="Free Your Androud">fya</tag>
  92. </tags>
  93. <discussion href="" />
  94. <image url="" />
  95. </html>
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