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Huawei Using NSA Scandal To Turn Tables On Accusations of Spying

timothy posted 1 year,3 days | from the innocent-whistling dept.

China 183

Nerval's Lobster writes "Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant banned from selling to U.S. government agencies due to its alleged ties to Chinese intelligence services, is trying to turn the tables on its accusers by offering itself as a safe haven for customers concerned that the NSA has compromised their own IT vendors. 'We have never been asked to provide access to our technology, or provide any data or information on any citizen or organization to any Government, or their agencies,' Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu said in the introduction to a 52-page white paper on cybersecurity published Oct. 18. Huawei was banned from selling to U.S. government entities and faced barriers to civilian sales following a 2012 report from the U.S. House of Representatives that concluded Huawei's management had not been forthcoming enough to convince committee members to disregard charges it had given Chinese intelligence services backdoors into its secure systems and allowed Chinese intelligence agents to pose as Huawei employees. But the company promises to create test centers where governments and customers can test its products and inspect its services as part of an 'open, transparent and sincere' approach to questions about its alleged ties, according to a statement in the white paper from Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei. Can Huawei actually gain more customers by playing off the Snowden scandal?"

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It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173763)

The bigger a nationally sponsored corporation becomes, the more obviously it becomes an asset. It's like choosing between corrupt police and the mob.

Just because the NSA spies doesn't prove Huawei doesn't. This line of reasoning is guaranteed to fool a few morons and nobody else.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173801)

The bigger a nationally sponsored corporation becomes, the more obviously it becomes an asset. It's like choosing between corrupt police and the mob.

Just because the NSA spies doesn't prove Huawei doesn't. This line of reasoning is guaranteed to fool a few morons and nobody else.

Unfortunately, it leaves those morons with a semi-conscious or unconscious choice between being spied on by A (and possibly others) and being spied on by B (and possibly others). The wise person, on the other hand, merely faces a conscious choice between being spied on by A (and possibly others) and being spied on by B (and possibly others).

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173841)

what's important is that chinks are funny strange people who eat octopus and jellyfish and all kinds of other weird things

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174753)

Muslims say you are funny and strange that you eat pigs! Indus say the same about the cows!

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173931)

How about an international treaty that bans all forms of cyberspying during peace time ? I'm sure both the US and China would protest against it in the security council but at least the choice between A and B would be conscious for everyone.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174209)

EVERY honest nation would protest, and every nation that went along with it would simply be lying.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174681)

Then that simply shows that corruption runs deep and isn't limited to just a few countries. Obvious, but something that many people who blindly trust their government don't realize.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173953)

If Huawei has compromised their equipment for the benefit of the Chinese government then it should be no trouble for the US government to offer proof of that. After all, it's their job to alert US citizens of threats to their privacy. Oh wait, but if they do that then the Chinese might go public with what they know about compromises to US manufactured equipment. So the answer is... keep quiet and sick some xenophobic Congressmen on Huawei, because those leaders have never needed niceties like actual evidence to whip up their low information followers (who spend most of their hours at work playing "Farmville" on Facebook).

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174225)

Or simply show the proof to a number of our western allies that we trust, who you will notice now prohibit that equipment in their network.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174769)

and why not show those proof or at least one of them to public to prove the case?

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174201)

Or use open source like juniper does and develop your own hardware. For you and me that is expensive. For a nation, that is dirt cheap. Interestingly, it also allows them to upgrade their phones cheaply.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174795)

Isn't Junos a proprietary open source? I guess others could not use it. Am I not right?

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175155)

It would be reasonable to assume the reason the NSA is badmouthing Huawei is because they wouldn't spy for the NSA. You play ball by their rules or you don't play at all. This doesn't mean Huawei isn't spying for china, however. Given the prevalence of state sponsored/ordered spying it is almost certain they do.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (4, Insightful)

johanw (1001493) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173803)

Nope, but assuming both spy, whose spying would you care the most? As a home user, the Chinese government has no interest in me. I have no contacts with the Dalai Lama. The US government probably has, since I'm hurting their sponsors by downloading the latest movies.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173879)

Nope, but assuming both spy, whose spying would you care the most? As a home user, the Chinese government has no interest in me. I have no contacts with the Dalai Lama. The US government probably has, since I'm hurting their sponsors by downloading the latest movies.

This analysis is probably breaks down somewhat for persons of particular interest - their data would be traded. For instance, China might trade your downloading history and identity to the US in return for some dirt on activities of one of the Dalai Lama's acolytes. Neither of these has much direct value to the spy who has it, but it has rather more value to the other. The analysis breaks down more generally for monitored persons in third countries. For instance, if one is in France or Egypt or Brazil, one's data is of interest to both of these protagonists, mostly for trade to third parties in return for other data.

No spying at all (or no sharing of such data with other agencies) would be preferable for most of us.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174171)

That's an extremely paranoid, borderline tin foil hat, conspiracy theory. Given recent information that has helped people determine the veracity of such wild eyed ideas, there's a very good chance you're right.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173881)

The US government probably has, since I'm hurting their sponsors by downloading the latest movies.

Exactly. Or perhaps your upset with trillion dollar bailouts to the banks while more and more of the middle class slip into poverty so you decide to democratically voice your concerns - only to be picked up the spy dragnet [startpage.com] and harassed, fired, put on no-fly and do-not-employ list's (yes, all these things have already happened to key OWS leaders). How long before your crime may be as simple as expressing your dissatisfaction with our ruling elite on forums such as Slashdots. Going by current trends, I would be surprised if it is not already happening.

Spying by your own goverment is the much greater threat.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

contrapunctus (907549) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173921)

One of the reasons I like slashdot is that I learn stuff that has nothing to do with the topic.
I did not know about startpage.com, thank you!

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (0)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174241)

yeah, and Chinese gov. has no interest in your 401 or bank account or other items. Hey, you might consider the idea of moving to China.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174531)

you might consider the idea of moving to China

The GP isn't saying that the Chinese government is better than the US government. As an American, no matter how critical I am of the US government, I think such ideas are absurd. All the GP is saying is that China doesn't really care about Joe Average American. Why should they? Some powerful or influential people, those with access to important classified or proprietary information, sure, but not Joe Average.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175183)

You would be surprised how many people have access to proprietary or classified information.

The numbers are so high, and there is so much of it I've reached the conclusion that the only rational explanation is that it's an attempt at obfuscation.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175177)

The government of china has a vested interest in hurting the economy of the USA (and you), in order to replace them as the (only) super power. They might not care about YOU, but they still wish you harm.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173827)

Well of course it does not. But one thing is at least certain, the chance that Huawei hands over everything and everything you give them to the US government is lower than Google doing the same. In return, your chance to be betrayed by Google when it comes to keeping secrets from China is higher.

In other words, you can essentially choose between the Chinese government knowing everything about you or the US government doing so.

And now ponder which country your country is more likely to hand you over to.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173839)

In other words, you can essentially choose between the Chinese government knowing everything about you or the US government doing so.

How about neither? There is no such dilemma.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174411)

If you think that your country wouldn't instantly bend over and ask kindly for some kind of lube (if it's not too much of a burden) if the US gets in the mood, you're delusional.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174553)

THAT was probably his whole point....

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175247)

You are assuming your country is being coerced to follow the domineering USA, but that's just a smoke screen. This is a multi-country partnership, not a dictatorship. The USA might be getting all the blame but all the western countries are in this together, including the spying and suppression of dissent.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173855)

I think i can guarantee that Huawei does not hand over anything to the US government, as the US refuses to use their kit :)

Maybe, and this could be a bit of anti-conspiracy theory here, that the reason the US refuses to use their kit is not because of the usual financial protectionism, nor of some vague bull about sending all your packets to china, but simply because they do not send any packets anywhere - even to the NSA, hence the reason they are banned from use. :)

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174423)

25 years ago you'd have gotten a lot of recommendations for how to decrease your tinfoil hat's pressure on your cranium.

Today, I can't help but consider it an actually plausible reason.

Re: It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175039)

+1. No mod points today, so I might as well add a comment:

As a German, this is an insane situation:

You brought as democracy and freedom of the press. Now my country is less of a police state than the US. Yes, despite what you hear in ghe US media, this is the case, even though the collaboration between German intelligence services and yours try to circumvent the boundaries we have in place.

And while your freedom is trashed by overly broad laws that allow sexting teenagers or pissing men to be marked for life as sex offenders, au pairs denied entry and pooping dogs prosecuted using anti terrorist laws, we learn that using any US IT product eaquals handing ALL OF OUR DATA to the NSA.

Some slashdotters here find that perfectly all right, missing the point that we have the choice to use ownclowd or transfer the cloud to a more trustworthy place, like Germany itself. Yes, I know, not ideal, but better and not on the same scale than the atrocities done by the US. Look at posteo.de, for instance. My next phone might be a nexus were I flash a more trustworthy version of android, leaving all google services out. I could use a european map service with lesser chance for the agencies to track me everywere.

And if I have the choice between huawei and US products, were one states they were not building back doors and the other states that they can not speak about it, well... And even in paranoid mode, great-parent is right: The chance of obtained information to be used against me as a critic of the actual western society is smaller when the information is in the hands of western agencies than in the hands of the chinese agencies.

On a rational level it makes sense to prefer the chinese surveillance state over the american one.

Going back to the beginning of my post.

To be more afraid of the american government than of the chinese government is a really bad joke. It betrays the honor of the armed forces that saved the world from us and the soldiers that saved us from being taken over by stalinists.

This absurd situation should not stay.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174463)

Huawei not handing anything over to the USG is kind of the point.

Lets say you've got political views that both the PRC and the USG consider a threat, and you get flagged up by both as a result.

If H hands anything about you over to their government (the PRC), how could that affect you personally? Chances are, it can't. China has no official jurisdiction over most slashdot readers, and it's unlikely that you'll deal directly with a chinese firm unless you work in imports or manufacturing. Those who have most reason to be concerned are those who handle trade secrets or security related secrets that would be profitable for chinese firms; other than espionage, there's not much they can do.

If a US company hands something about you over to their government (the USG), how could that affect you personally? Most slashdot readers are either based in the US, or live somewhere with extradition treaties with the US, making it relatively easy for them to get their hands on you if they can find any dirt. On top of that the USG can apply extra-judicial pressure, as many of the payment processors the western world relies on are US-based. Consider that Wikileaks had their funding cut via a simple letter - not due process.
Combine that with manipulating credit reporting agencies and other US firms (eg, sending an NSL to a supplier demanding they drop a contract with your business) as well as manipulating friendly law enforcement agencies (Eg, the New Zealand raids on Dotcom) and there's a lot more potential for information a US firm has about you to bite you in the arse.

All of this of assumes that someone's become a big enough target to be worth the hassle. If the 'hassle' involved is mitigated, then more people become targets.

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (3, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174507)

Just because the NSA spies doesn't prove Huawei doesn't..

Well, yes.

buuut one of them has been caught doing so....

Re:It's not mutually exclusive. (1)

johanw (1001493) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174879)

Why conquer a country when you can do buisiness with them? Throughout history, the Chinese have not been expansionalist during millenia. That's not what can be said from the European invaders whose offspring make up the current US population.

"We have never been asked..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173767)

We just comply

Prepare for Slashdotters... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173769)

Prepare for Slashdotters to tell us how America is now worse than China when it comes to spying, privacy and human rights.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1, Insightful)

johanw (1001493) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173823)

It is. The Chinese government isn't very interested in meddling in the internal affairs of other nations as long as they can do buisiness with them. The US government tries to force their sponsors opinion about artificial scarcity (aka "intellectual property") on the whole planet, and would prosecute me when I download things the US companies would not want me to.

As for respect for human rights, both governments are comparable bad. Both countries have high numbers of executions and torture prisoners one way or another. At least the Chinese don't try to invade countries throughout the world, they were content with Tibet.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

Zemran (3101) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173971)

Telling the truth about the US is seen as trolling by the plebs :) you should know that in order to keep good kharma you have to wave the flag and advocate Linux :)

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174323)

telling the truth about USA? Give me a break. I wish that I had NOT posted on this and instead had used my mod points on this story. I would have modded him down further. He is a PURE troll.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

johanw (1001493) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174851)

Troll? If you are offended by the fact that the population of other western countries starts to see the US as enemy rather than ally, then you whould thank the actions of your government for that. We thank your grandparents for kicking the Germans out in WW2 and your parents for keeping the Russians out during the cold war but that doesn't mean you can do anything you like.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173995)

Dunno why this was labelled troll. If I had mod points I would mod up rather than down. I guess the mods are just not feeling terribly objective today.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

j35ter (895427) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174105)

Why does this comment get modded as a troll?

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174953)

Because a sizeable fraction of the Slashdot audience is American and many of them are not very objective when it comes to their country.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45175047)

Because a sizeable fraction of the Slashdot audience is American and many of them are not very objective when it comes to their country.

Ummm... Objective, is that something edible?

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174211)

At least the Chinese don't try to invade countries throughout the world, they were content with Tibet.

Give 'em time. Wars are expensive, so they've been developing their economy. They've been pretty belligerent about various islands, big and small.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174295)

wow. Just wow.
You HAVE to live in either America or Europe. You obviously have no knowledge about Asia.
Why do you think that vietnam is cuddlying up with USA these days? Why do you think that EVERY ASIAN NATION except China, North Korea, and sometimes Russia wants USA in on meetings for those areas?
What do they know that an ignorant person like you does not know?

Perhaps they know that China has invaded ALL of asia over and over. Perhaps they know that China threatens just about all of them NOW, and says that they want control of areas that was not theirs in a minimum of 100 years and in some cases, over a 1000.
Perhaps they are watching China put DIVERSIONARY dams on the headwaters that go to south east asia, as well as lower asia (i.e. India).
Perhaps it is the economic warfare that is being conducted while they manipulate their money against the other nations.

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (0)

X.25 (255792) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174333)

wow. Just wow.
You HAVE to live in either America or Europe. You obviously have no knowledge about Asia.
Why do you think that vietnam is cuddlying up with USA these days? Why do you think that EVERY ASIAN NATION except China, North Korea, and sometimes Russia wants USA in on meetings for those areas?
What do they know that an ignorant person like you does not know?

Interesting.

I've lived in Asia for 15 years, I'd really like to read more of your fiction stories.

Because, in all honestly, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Am I living in the right Asia? Or do I need to live in one located inside your imagination?

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174579)

Because, in all honestly, I have no idea what you are talking about.

HTH HAND [wikipedia.org]

Re:Prepare for Slashdotters... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174311)

oh, one last thing. If the Chinese gov is so wonderful for downloads, then you should go ahead and copy Chinese made movies to DVD and try selling them in China. I am sure that you will have a BLAST with your last vision.

Suuuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173775)

Yes, i'm suuuuuure a company with ties to the Chinese government will provide us all with a safe haven from government spying.

Spy Vs. Spy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173783)

Spy Vs. Spy [wikipedia.org] only it's not funny and it's real.

Bizarro world (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173819)

Imagine you had told someone 25 years ago that China offers you a safe haven from being spied on by the US and possible repercussions because of it...

Re:Bizarro world (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173929)

If you lived on a latin american country, that statement would simply make sense at any point in time.

Re:Bizarro world (1)

Threni (635302) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173947)

Exactly. When 9/11 happened I'm sure I wasn't the only one to peel back that day's window on my 365 day American Foreign Policy advent calendar to reveal another atrocity.

Although the idea that you can trust Chinese companies to not reveal info to their government is simply laughable.

Re:Bizarro world (1)

X.25 (255792) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174297)

Although the idea that you can trust Chinese companies to not reveal info to their government is simply laughable.

What info? What is it that they can 'reveal'?

Are you aware of some backdoors in Huawei equipment which allow Huawei (or/and Chinese government) to remotely gain access to equipment + data? Otherwise, what is it that they can 'reveal'?

Share, please. I'd like to know about those backdoors too.

Re:Bizarro world (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174591)

Are you aware of some backdoors in Huawei equipment which allow Huawei (or/and Chinese government) to remotely gain access to equipment + data?

I doubt he is. I also doubt he's aware of any specific backdoors in Cisco equipment either. However, we're not talking about a court here. If you think absence of proof is enough reason to trust something, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Re:Bizarro world (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173993)

Imagine you had told someone 25 years ago that China offers you a safe haven from being spied on by the US and possible repercussions because of it...

It would only be a genuine "safe haven" if both the Chinese government didn't spy (which it will) or the US government couldn't (which there is no real guarantee).

I do find your views bizarre.

Re:Bizarro world (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174465)

I do not say that it's not that way. I only say that 25 years ago such an "offer" would be met only with ridicule and belittlement towards the Chinese company. As you might have noticed, it's not the case today anymore.

And yes, I think it's a big problem that a company hailing from a country where privacy is virtually unheard of can advertise as being a better data haven than a company in the US, citing privacy concerns.

Re:Bizarro world (1)

russotto (537200) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174729)

I do not say that it's not that way. I only say that 25 years ago such an "offer" would be met only with ridicule and belittlement towards the Chinese company. As you might have noticed, it's not the case today anymore.

It should be, though. The revelations of American spying haven't changed China one bit. And it's not like the NSA wouldn't be above finding out about backdoors put in by Chinese companies and using them itself.

Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (5, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173861)

There was a Snowden brief a short while ago that showed that one of the major switch vendors had given NSA a direct backdoor into their products. One of the people covering that story said something like, "I can't tell you that it's Cisco, but it's Cisco". The real problem with this situation is that we really don't know which of these things is true.

Back when the USG banned the use of Huawei products, most people assumed that it meant that there was spying functionality in it that had been discovered. However, in light of Bull Run, it's definitely worth asking if what might have happened is that they refused to install spying technology and the USG report was meant as a way to discredit the company and prevent its market penetration.

Re:Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173911)

There are very interesting artifacts in Huweii silicon. Even more interesting is what you find in Cisco knockoffs.

Re:Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173941)

Source: ?

Re:Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (2)

Tom (822) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174325)

Back when the USG banned the use of Huawei products, most people assumed that it meant that there was spying functionality in it that had been discovered.

Uh, no? Over here in Europe, a lot of people assumed it meant the US vendors had had a nice chat with their government, complaining about the cheaper competition and promising campaign contributions.

Not that we weren't afraid of chinese backdoors. I was in the telco industry back then and the discussions were fierce and not exactly short about whether or not to use their stuff. But the US banning them just as they were gaining market share like crazy? That was such an obvious protectionist move.

Re:Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174359)

The 'owner' of Huawei is a top person within the communist party. He was a long time officer with their military. For CHINESE employees only, he gives them ownership. No others.
And you think that it is NOT laden with backdoors? Really?

Re:Did Huawei Rebuff the NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174509)

The 'owner' of Huawei is a top person within the communist party. He was a long time officer with their military. For CHINESE employees only, he gives them ownership. No others.

And you think that it is NOT laden with backdoors? Really?

"For CHINESE employees only, he gives them ownership. No others." You mean, just like how the Google IPO is restricted to US-only?

And you think Google is not sending ALL of your data to the US Govt? Really?

maybe Huawei was banned because (1)

FudRucker (866063) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173869)

they did not include the US Govt approved NSA backdoor in their products

Re:maybe Huawei was banned because (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173925)

Sad to say but banning them because they refused to open a back door for the NSA, or because of a fear that Huawei would report the request to the Chinese government (and thus confirm that vendors were being compromised), is consistent with the way these agencies seem to operate. As part of the US DoD, the NSA is under the same command structure that "lost" paperwork recommending an award for bravery by a soldier in Afghanistan who had the temerity to question the decision by some of his superiors to deny his unit air cover during a pitched battle. Clearly these people are all about one thing: covering their own sorry asses.

Re:maybe Huawei was banned because (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174959)

Or maybe the firmware was so buggy the NSA got tired of having to patch it for every update release.

Re:maybe Huawei was banned because (3, Funny)

Carewolf (581105) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174971)

Perhaps, but I still count on the saying: "A thief thinks every man steals".

The US assumes there are backdoors in Chinese equipment because they themselves put backdoors in all American equipment.

Doubtful Tactic (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173877)

I'm an I.T. manager for a non-western company that has non-western defense contracts, one of those sort of conglomerates that does every activity under the sun. I doubt their ploy will actually work, we don't trust the US or the Chinese. It's a matter of "pick your poison". Still, anyone foolish enough to buy Huawei (Their firmware universally sucks, from modems to enterprise/service-level network and backhaul equipment) might be foolish enough to believe they're safer. In reality though, you're more at risk from the security exploits from Huawei's lazy half-assed programmers. I fear their coders more than any possible shadowy relationships.

Re:Doubtful Tactic (1)

X.25 (255792) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174259)

I'm an I.T. manager for a non-western company that has non-western defense contracts, one of those sort of conglomerates that does every activity under the sun. I doubt their ploy will actually work, we don't trust the US or the Chinese. It's a matter of "pick your poison". Still, anyone foolish enough to buy Huawei (Their firmware universally sucks, from modems to enterprise/service-level network and backhaul equipment) might be foolish enough to believe they're safer. In reality though, you're more at risk from the security exploits from Huawei's lazy half-assed programmers. I fear their coders more than any possible shadowy relationships.

And yet, there are hundreds of massive networks having Huawei equipment in core network. Imagine that, their networks actually still run very well, but of course their "firmware" sucks line is certainly very convincing.

You probably haven't even seen a Huawei enterprise switch.

Re:Doubtful Tactic (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174273)

we don't trust the US or the Chinese

Don't blame you. As an American, I also don't trust either.

you're more at risk from the security exploits from Huawei's lazy half-assed programmers

At least when you find a backdoor in Cisco products, you know it was meant to be a backdoor.

As an American I'd like to believe the Huawei programmers are incompetent. OTOH it would be very clever to disguise a backdoor as a bug, or turn a bug into a backdoor. Hold it, Microsoft/NSA has already used the latter approach. Damn Chinese just copy our ideas.

Re:Doubtful Tactic (2)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174861)

DEFCON 20: Hacking Redacted Routers [youtube.com]

Huawei has so many bugs that I don't buy anything other than incompetence.
I've linked to the conclusion of that video so you can see a nice list of how bad they are.

Re:Doubtful Tactic (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175317)

When japan first made cars the quality was terrible. It is to be expected that early Chinese IT will have poor quality.

drivers (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173887)

Dear Huawei chairman,

open source all of your drivers and firmware, then we'll be forced to agree that your equipment is safe for use.

Re:drivers (1)

richlv (778496) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173905)

exactly :)
while it would not provide full confidence (nothing ever can, reflections on trusting trust), fully opensourcing all code that runs on their hardware would be the only way to inspire trusting them. current initiative is kinda aimed at some governments (and maybe large companies), but the barrier to entry is insanely high (individual researchers or any random person can't participate)

Re:drivers (4, Funny)

Flytrap (939609) | 1 year,3 days | (#45173945)

Dear gbjbaanb,

We will gladly do so... as soon as you also ask the following competitors to do the same:
- Juniper Networks
- Cisco
- 3Com
- Teledata Networks
- Netgear
- Alcatel-Lucent
- :

After all, the back doors we have in our switches are the same back doors we inherited from their code when we stole it a few years ago.

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174207)

Stole, or was it given to them when all those companies decided it would be cheaper to manufacture in China?

Re:drivers (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174281)

After all, the back doors we have in our switches are the same back doors we inherited from their code when we stole it a few years ago.

At least American technology is still ahead.

Re:drivers (1)

X.25 (255792) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174279)

Dear Huawei chairman,

open source all of your drivers and firmware, then we'll be forced to agree that your equipment is safe for use.

I guess you don't use Cisco equipment either.

What do you use, actually?

(let me guess - you run m0n0wall on Soekris, right?)

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174557)

Soekris firmware is not open source.

Re:drivers (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174293)

Nonsense, and dangerous nonsense at that.

First, having the source code doesn't tell you the binary running on the device was actually built from the source code you have in your hands.

Second, even if you validate the build chain, you don't know what the compiler, linker and other parts of the toolchain have inserted. This is really, really old knowledge, we're talking at least 30 years.

Third, even if you are sure about the software, you still don't know if there's trickery in the hardware.

You're certainly better off if you have the source code, but don't ever think that alone solves anything.

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174299)

I'm not sure why you think that all backdoors have to be in software. Even if they gave you source for some firmware used in their products, who is to say there isn't a backdoor in some custom hardware or a small, hidden processor running from ROM. Are you going to xray the chips they use and try to work out what they might not have told you about? Your comment seems naive at best.

Re: drivers (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175193)

Please consider opportunity costs. I doubt that it would be affordable to actually use those backdoors on joe average. The US approach was different:

- make encryption weak by forcing US based companies to weaken the enryption so that the sent data could be considered to be transparent

- store and analyse the information sent and received from customers of every american company on a regular basis so that those analyses tell them more about these people than they know about themselves

I tend to trust opportunity costs to make it possible for me to keep more information secret when huawei open sources its drivers and software even if a backdoor is installed on the hardware level than currently.

Slowly moving away from any US closed source products in my opinion increases my privacy even if I assume that huawei built in a backdoor on the hardware level.

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174383)

Couldn't they build a backdoor into the die?

Re:drivers (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175331)

Dear Huawei chairman, Open source all your drivers and firmware, And we'll fix it. ftfy.

Maybe? there is no maybe, at least inside China (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173903)

Huawei is already getting a lot more business inside China itself. Mostly, they're getting ex-Cisco customers, but Juniper is worried as well.

Spins everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45173907)

Upfront, i do trust neither. But the articles text i think is so... typical.

- forthcoming enough to convince committee members to disregard charges it had given Chinese intelligence services

Well... for that, concrete charges would be necessary. Otheriwse its like proving that something we dont really know doesnt exist. Show a malfunction, it can be fixed. If a user says SOMETHING doesnt work, and he cant tell us what, we cant help him. And if you dont have that, what made you think of it in the first place?

Request to committee: be forthcoming to convince us to diregard charges that US networking companies have given US intelligence services access to traffic

- playing off the Snowden scandal

Its not a Snowden scandal. Its an NSA / GCHQ scandal.

Re: Spins everywhere (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | 1 year,3 days | (#45175213)

Amen to that. It's not a Snowden scandal, it's a NSA/GCHQ scandal!

Of course (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174043)

Can Huawei actually gain more customers by playing off the Snowden scandal?"

Of course they can. In fact, I suspect they already have.

One of the Cisco et al. selling points was "you can trust us with your data, can you trust Huawei ?" Now that is gone. Loosing a selling point like that, in a competitive market, means that sales will go to the companies it was directed against.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174139)

But is the NSA really using backdoors in the hardware or are they collecting the data upstream so doesn't really matter what hardware you are using?

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174549)

But is the NSA really using backdoors in the hardware or are they collecting the data upstream so doesn't really matter what hardware you are using?

It matters if your upstream is not located in the US, i.e., most of the rest of the world.

Re:Of course (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174305)

I think that you can trust Cisco with your data, at least in the US. Why build backdoors into the equipment when service providers give the NSA open access anyway. It'd be like getting lock picks when they'll just open the door for you.

Tit for tat from China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174051)

IBM's hardware revenue from China collapsed 40% in the 3rd quarter.

Give up on that company No Huawei! (1)

skepticle (2931641) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174133)

Lol. Selling my Huawei U8100 smartphone (Wind Mobile). No really. Anybody want it? It's in good shape! $30 in the GTA. I know you all love Android 2.1 and 3G data speeds. Heck, I've actually managed a positive score playing Counter-Strike 1.6 from my PC over 3G service, wireless tether, and server pings of 110ms! It's a beast! It's more powerful than a Pentium 2! Runs 16 bit emulators passably well! Maybe it spies on you, who the heck cares? We all know you only use it as a toy or a 2.1 test bed anyways. Let Chinese intelligence watch in awe as you play the Final Fantasy 1&2 remake for the Gameboy Advance! On turbo speed! Huzzah! Take that, Garland!

I trust China more than the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174251)

This "terrorist watchlist" is awful comfy, thanks NSA.
But seriously, by typing that I likely have been put on some watchlist now because obviously anyone that supports China is a spy, terrorist, murder or dictator-in-the-making. Banned from USA, on instant-arrest watchlist at every airport, etc.
You used to be cool USA. I actually used to respect NSA. Not now. There is doing things "illegally" within reason, then there is just straight-up abusive levels of illegality that they are presently doing.

Now that China are finally growing up, I actually respect them far more.
If only they got that whole censorship nonsense away. Isolationism is never a good thing.
China would benefit hugely by opening up more since they are a huge influence in many markets.

USA still seems to be stuck in the 60-70s at the government level.
Not that that is any better than the UK, they are still stuck in the dark ages, and they just discovered a time travellers computers.
God damn the IT in government is embarrassing for the most part. The sad thing is my friend couldn't get a job for years when he specifically could have fixed the stupid crap they had been doing with networking, AND they were "punishing" him for not finding a job through that terrible DWP system (which I suffer from as well due to illness, obviously everyone that is ill and isn't drooling from the mouth and have FIVE legs missing is a total lying junky that just wants free money)
Now he has a great job in a company that manages many varied clients and I've even done a bit of work for them here and there now.

Re:I trust China more than the USA. (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174441)

Banned from USA, on instant-arrest watchlist at every airport, etc. You used to be cool USA. I actually used to respect NSA. Not now. There is doing things "illegally" within reason, then there is just straight-up abusive levels of illegality that they are presently doing. Now that China are finally growing up, I actually respect them far more.

Why? Because at least they never claimed to be the land of the free? However bad the US is, China is worse (or if not, they're working on the tech). It's just that I hold my own country to a higher standard.

People think China is potentially some bastion of openness because it's better than when Mao ran the show. That's a pretty low bar. And heck, the Tiananmen square massacre was 24 years ago. They've changed so much - might as well be talking about the Qin dynasty, right?

If only they got that whole censorship nonsense away.

If only the Chinese government wasn't the Chinese government.

China would benefit hugely by opening up more since they are a huge influence in many markets.

The same is true of the US, and we've actually had experience doing that. It's just that things have been retrograde for the last decade or so.

Bias and negative wording (2)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174263)

You shouldn't be asking "Can Huawei actually gain more customers by playing off the Snowden scandal?", but rather if American vendors can keep their customers in light of the NSA scandal.

Good for them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45174755)

That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do and a good opportunity for them.

False accusations? (1)

Fuzi719 (1107665) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174759)

Perhaps the reason for all the congressional/government banning of Huawei equipment was really not because there was any proof of Chinese government spying, but because there was no way for the NSA to get THEIR backdoors into Huawei equipment. The NSA could not allow US government and telecommunications companies to begin using equipment they could not hack.

There is no point in asking Huawei for backdoors (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | 1 year,3 days | (#45174913)

There is little to no effective difference between an intentional backdoor and a backdoor created by incompetence and shoddy workmanship. Huawei has code quality problems it still needs to work thru.

I have no doubt as the company matures it is and will do much better.

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