Huawei and the West

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  • #2882

    Cyber attacks and espionage officially sanctioned by the Chinese government have become a matter of national security for a number of Western nations in recent years, but issues with Huawei’s expansion – particularly its 5G mobile networks – have shown that Beijing’s private sector is also potentially a risk factor.

    This is not simply due to the fact that Huawei products are being used by large Western corporations, as well as governments; using technology provided by a company headquartered in a nation which is (at a conservative estimate) an economically aggressive rival, may not seem at all prudent, but it is deeply concerning when its dealings are (by necessity) tied to that nation’s government. In 2017, Beijing passed its National Intelligence Law, which dictates that Chinese organizations “must cooperate with and collaborate in national intelligence efforts”.

    This has already led to a number of Western bodies reviewing their use of Huawei equipment, with some withdrawing it from use completely: the American government, concerned that Huawei could use its extensive access for espionage purposes, has banned the company’s products in federal agencies, which has led to a lawsuit launched by Huawei on the grounds that the move is unconstitutional. In support of their claim, the Americans have also highlighted founder Ren Zhengfei’s military background; before founding Huwai in 1987, he served as an officer in the People’s Liberation Army.

    This worry, however, has been dismissed by some, including Professor Qing Wang of Warwick University. “Yes, Huawei founder Mr. Ren Zhengfei once served in the People’s Liberation Army,” Professor Qing told The Verge. “As we know, serving in the army was one way of getting out of poverty for people in the countryside, which is where Mr. Ren is from. His time in the army was a short one and he was not in any important position.”

    Professor Wang went on to dismiss any concern over Huawei constituting any form of security threat. “Is Huawei a security threat? There is no hard evidence to support this notion, and some of the reasons put forward for this notion are weak… For someone like me who has studied emerging market enterprises for decades, Huawei is the textbook case of a great company in the making; unfortunately, it has fallen victim to the anti-globalization policy and sentiment of the US and the ongoing trade war with China.”

    Perhaps there is indeed no hard evidence to support the West’s concerns at this time, but this does not wholly invalidate them; indeed, since China’s National Intelligence Law was passed only two years ago, and 5G is a something of a recent technological innovation, dismissing American and European worries may well be seen as (or even amount to) some sort of bias.

    Western worries over Huawei’s future intent are likely to have been made even worse over Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of the company, and daughter of Ren Zhengfei. Wanzhou was wanted by US authorities for allegedly directing the company to attempt to interfere with US sanctions on the Iranian government. Professor Wesley Wark of the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs told The Guardian “the Canadians will take a beating throughout this whole process” from China. “I suspect the Trudeau government is desperately hoping that the Americans reach a deal with the Chinese.”

    Ottawa’s decision to begin extradition procedures to the United States has caused outrage in Beijing, with two Canadians subsequently arrested allegedly due to the national security concerns, and sentenced another Canadian man apprehended for drug smuggling to death.

    The UK, however, has approved Huawei’s involvement in the establishment of Britain’s 5G network, despite concerns raised by its security council. Although the Chinese company will be barred from operating within ‘sensitive’ areas of the network and will instead work on projects such as antennas, the risk that back-door programs could be built to disable British communications remains.

    London’s decision has caused ire in Washington, leading to the United States expressing future reluctance to share sensitive intelligence and information. Robert Strayer, the deputy assistant secretary for cyber at the US State Department, said: “If other countries insert and allow untrusted vendors to build out and become the vendors for their 5G networks we will have to reassess the ability for us to share information and be connected with them in the ways that we are today.”

    The UK cannot afford to sour its relations with the United States due to its increasingly turbulent relationship with the European Union; indeed, one might argue that President Trump and his foibles would not have been tolerated by Therea May’s predecessors to the same degree. Like Canada, Britain is now walking a political tightrope between Beijing and Washington.

    Developing countries, too, should perhaps also watch the proceedings with interest, particularly those in Eastern Europe who hope to benefit from Chinese investment while fostering closer ties to the West. Attracting Chinese money and seeking to join bodies such as NATO and the EU are currently compatible, but recent events suggest that this will not last indefinitely.

    How Western governments deal with each other over their dealings with Huawei will remain a point of contention for some time, as will how the company acts itself; this matter will certainly not be settled any time soon, and so deserves continued scrutiny.

    #2889
    #3074

    What I found amusing is that the Americans always try to find something about China to attack and put sanctions on the Chinese, that just showed me how scared the US is of China to be the next power house in technology. I would suggest that the US should concentrate on improving its own resources and companies rather than pointing fingers every time some countries get ahead.

    When it comes to the security of cyber space we still have lots of ground to cover, and raising awareness is one of the most crucial elements of the equation. Companies should train their staff to the highest level of the importance of cyber security.

    thanks for the topic….

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by ta89.
    #5759

    Who knows what to believe and what not to believe. What is for certain though, is the fact that these phone companies all have ways of keeping tabs on us! So the truth remains as such, that we must take it upon ourselves to make every  necessary arrangement so as not to fall pray to their prying noses.

    #5763

    This is why I think that President Trump should crack down on the Chinese hard and make America great, and more importantly is the fact they are already prolific for their hacking and tech abilities. What is to stop them installing shady programs in our computer, and compromising us  through these programs? None of them are to trusted,

    #5778

    Believe you me, it’s not like the Americans are doing exactly the same. In fact, the Americans have a way of committing every single act they accuse other people of, and finding a way to justify that act through reasoning, that is often very unreasonable. Huawei is not the only compromised phone, they all are. Wake up!

    #5932

    Go east, go west, Huawei is the best. Lol. All jokes aside, trusting anyone in the tech industry is liking placing your foot in a snake pit expecting not to get bitten. Sooner or later, the viper will rear its ugly head and strike. Hence why to this day, I still store very sensitive personal information on paper and hide it under lock and key. Hack that!

    #5982

    Re. making America great again and cracking down on the Chinese – how do you see that happening exactly? America is fairly dependent on a stable economic relationship with China, so an overly-aggressive stance might only make bad worse. I do see your point, though, there has to be some sort of response beyond public statements of outrage, which demonstrably don’t work as any sort of deterrent.

    #6008

    I think public statements of outrage are what Trump are what Trump is most well versed in beyond anything else, haha. Yet, on a serious note, it is true that a balance should be found, since if an overly aggressive stance is assumed, it may surely backfire on them.

    #6017

    I can’t stand all smartphones honestly. There is so much headache involved in all of it. You have to charge them far too frequently, they break easy, the government can tap it, among other people. Not only that, but they’re crazy expensive. I just miss the old Nokia with a lightbulb that you could throw out of a building. Those days were far more pleasant.

    #6031
    AAM

    The US is at war with China, this war is being fought in cyber space. The stance amongst the US intelligence community is that China wishes to destroy Western alliances through bits and bytes, not bullets and bombs. Huawei as the world’s largest maker of telecoms equipment is well placed to be in the front line of this cyber war. One wonders if measures taken agaimst Huaewi are purely cosmetic, or will have more of an impact on the Chinese economy than on the course of this cyber war. Clearly the Chinese are way ahead in this battle, however the US is not to be underestimated. The 1st cold war taught us that long distance runners often do better than sprinters. The question is which of the two adversaties is the sprinter and which is the long distance runner?

    • This reply was modified 10 hours, 5 minutes ago by AAM.
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