Huawei to be accused of stealing trade secrets

The story of Huawei over the last year has been unpredictable, to say the least. The U.S. government has long banned the use of Huawei equipment in its own departments, but very little has been revealed about why that is, other than vague discussion of trade secret theft.

Today, the Wall Street Journal says that the Department of Justice is pursuing a criminal case over actual trade secret theft from companies like T-Mobile:

The investigation grew in part out of civil lawsuits against Huawei, including one in which a Seattle jury found Huawei liable for misappropriating robotic technology from T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Wash., lab, the people familiar with the matter said. The probe is at an advanced stage and could lead to an indictment soon, they said.

That case is wild on its own: Huawei employees hid T-Mobile's testing robots and took an array of photos of it, and another employee even went as far as stealing the finger of a robot designed for tapping phone screens, taking it back to headquarters in a plan to replicate the robot for the company.

We don't know what other companies are involved in the probe, but it's likely to come out soon, with the report today saying it's nearing an indictment. When I read the headline this morning, I had assumed this was about stealing information via Huawei software on devices, which many have suggested may happen, but there's no evidence of.

Instead, it looks like Huawei has been playing dirty to get ahead and the U.S. is tired of it, as are other countries. On top of this, Polish authorities arrested an executive and charged him with conducting espionage for the Chinese government, so Huawei fired him.

Governments around the world are still trying to come to terms with this, and many have or are considering a ban on Huawei equipment. For those wanting a next-generation 5G network, however, that makes life difficult. But, it might help them stop a trojan horse in its tracks.

Slack gets a new logo and people react as you'd expect


We're pretty close to Slack going public, so it's cleaning up its image: the company unveiled a new logo last night that looks familiar, while trying to portray a more grown-up persona. But, with such a strong brand already, people wondered why.

Design Critic Twitter came out in full force, with people genuinely upset about the change and struggling to understand what the point of all of this is. Some wondered why Slack's new logo looked like a big-pharma brand mark, or something from a second-hand store, others were amused that the new logo was sold as 'simpler' while introducing much more complexity.

I don't hate the new logo personally, but I too reacted with disdain at first: Slack has such an iconic, playful brand and this seems to be miles away from that. What I realized, however, is that Slack is doing this because it wants to move away from that playful, friendly persona you know: it's a work tool, and it wants people to understand that.

That's also why I believe people are so upset about the change: Slack used to be considered fun, rather than work, and this logo screams the opposite.

For its part, Slack says that this is "not change for the sake of change" but that it is inevitable, and that a "good reason to change a logo is that it’s not doing the job you want it to do." And, in that pursuit, all of its materials, colors and entire website will be updated to match.

Ah, the privilege of being moments away from a multi-million dollar IPO. I look forward to everyone forgetting about this in a week's time.

Tab Dump

A monster 773 million details were published in a new breach
This morning I received an email from the haveibeenpwned service, which helps keep track of breaches on any of my email addresses, and sighed, because yet again there's a big new data dump. Luckily it's largely a rehash of existing breaches, squished into one, but it's a genuinely terrifying scale.

Microsoft pledges $500 million to help Seattle's homeless
Seattle has been desperately searching for a way to address its growing homeless population, but has struggled to do much because companies like Amazon continue to squash any new law designed to help. Microsoft, however, is volunteering millions of dollars to help build affordable housing, which is a nice change of pace from the usual story that it's someone else's problem.

Google raises G Suite prices for the first time in ten years

The RAZR flip phone is coming back for a cool $1,500
Technology nostalgia is just becoming a profit grab, and this is going to continue.

Good read: tech choices the team at (acquired by Github) regrets