UK government panel issues inconclusive Huawei security report

Huawei’s had a rough go of it here in the States, after concerns around ties to the Chinese government have left the company scrambling to gain a commercial toehold. Over the past several years, top U.K. security officials have also put the company under the microscope over potential security concerns. 

A new report issued by a government panel with the straightforward name “Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre” this week presents some fairly inconclusive findings.

“Identification of shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunication networks and long-term challenges in mitigation and management,” the report notes, early on. “The Oversight Board can provide only limited assurance that any risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated.”

Sure, it’s not as damning as the time the FBI, CIA and NSA issued a bold proclamation against buying from the company, but it certainly leaves the door open for further scrutiny. For its part, Huawei actually seems pretty pleased with the report.

The company offered TechCrunch the following statement in response:

Huawei welcomes the Oversight Board report. It confirms the collaborative approach adopted by Huawei, the UK Government and operators is working as designed, meeting obligations and providing unique, world class network integrity assurance through ongoing risk management. The report concludes that HCSEC’s operational independence is both robust and effective. The Oversight Board has identified some areas for improvement in our engineering processes. We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.

The report flags a pair of issues relating to testing and third-party software used in some Huawei hardware. The U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says it is working with Huawei to address the concerns.

Trump invites Putin to Washington despite U.S. uproar on Helsinki summit

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Yelp partners with event management startup Gather to make planning your next party easier

Event management software company Gather today announced the introduction of its Gather Booking Network, and inaugural partners Yelp and EVENTup. The network is designed to help party goers, venues and event planners connect more easily and start celebrating sooner.

Gather was founded in 2013 by CEO and co-founder Nick Miller, Alex Lassiter (SVP of Sales) and Tom Merrihew (VP of Engineering) after their experience organizing corporate events for a consulting group led them head-first into the dark, mostly disorganized world of event planning.

“We kind of fell into and uncovered what is a manual and disorganized process,” CEO and co-founder Nick Miller told TechCrunch. “On both sides of the table. For both the person planning the event but also for the folks who work at the restaurants and venues. We set out to fix the problem.”

Since its creation, Gather has teamed up with more than 12,500 venues and restaurants across the United States and expanded its three-person team to 95 Atlanta-based employees. The company helps coordinate a wide range of events, from corporate gatherings to full-blown weddings. As part of its expansion and to refine its services, Gather raised a $2.5 million Series A round in 2016 led by Ryan Floyd of Storm Ventures and a strategic investment and partnership with Vista Equity Partners in 2017.

Now, the company’s sights are on growing its booking network to provide a one-stop shop for event planning needs.

After the company acquired the venue and event space company EVENTup in June — a move that more than doubled the number of venues and restaurants in its roster — the announcement today of its collaboration with Yelp is bringing its services to the average party-goer as well.

“The Gather partnership gives Yelp users a single destination to search and book restaurants and venues, no matter the party size or timeframe,” Chad Richard, Yelp’s senior vice president of Business and Corporate Development, told TechCrunch in an email. “Diners on Yelp have been able to book reservations weeks in advance or snag a table at the last-minute using Yelp Nowait, but to date we haven’t had a solution for diners looking to reserve for large groups or special events.”

As Gather continues looking forward, Miller says that the company has plans in the coming weeks to announce further partnerships for its booking network, as well as work to develop more efficient services for the platform, including real-time booking.

Top Senate Democrat says Trump shouldn’t meet with Putin again

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U.S. consumer watchdog slashes fine in payday lender settlement

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Days after Helsinki summit, Russia shows off Putin’s ‘super weapons’

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U.S. lets Somali immigrants stay 18 more months

The Trump administration said on Thursday it would allow some 500 Somalis to remain in the United States for at least another 18 months under protected status given violence in their home county.