US Blocks Chinese Company From Contract Bid: Worried China Might Spy On US Just As US Spied On Others

from the what's-sauce-for-the-goose-is-sauce-for-the-gander dept

Preserving national security is obviously crucially important, but that concern is hardly the preserve of any one country. The US government seems to have forgotten this in banning Huawei from bidding for a major US telecommunications contract:

Worried about potential spying, the U.S. government has blocked a bid from China?s telecommunications giant Huawei to help build a new national wireless network for first responders such as police, firefighters, and ambulances.

Huawei ?will not be taking part in the building of America?s interoperable wireless emergency network for first responders due to U.S. government national-security concerns,? Commerce Department spokesman Kevin Griffis told The Daily Beast.

What’s the fear here?

Griffis declined to elaborate on those concerns. But current and retired U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast the longstanding concern about Huawei is that the company?s chips, routers, and other technical equipment will be bugged in a way that gives China?s government a cyber back door into sensitive information networks.

The technique of bugging equipment or writing software in such a way as to allow undetected access has also been used by U.S. intelligence agencies in the past to gain a window into the communications of other foreign governments.

So, in effect, the US government is worried that the Chinese might do to it what the US has done to other governments.

That’s a perfectly reasonable fear: by now, the Chinese intelligence agencies doubtless have the technological capability to do so. But China actually has rather more grounds for concern when buying US communications technology or software: after all, the US has already carried out spying in this way.

This latest move just gives China the perfect excuse for blocking US companies bidding for “sensitive” Chinese projects in the future. When the US complains ? as it surely will ? the Chinese will simply point back to this episode, noting the symmetry of the situation, and their own worries about national security.

Wouldn’t it have been wiser to come up with better tools for detecting attempts to introduce back doors into hardware and software? That would have raised the US’s general readiness in this area against all such threats, not just those from China, and would not have given China or any other country a pretext for shutting the US out from their markets.

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Comments on “US Blocks Chinese Company From Contract Bid: Worried China Might Spy On US Just As US Spied On Others”

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Blake (profile) says:

The choice against Huawei is quite likely to be more about spying than they admit.

Not only would the US Govt be worried about China putting in back doors on their turf. The US Govt would want whichever US company that builds the network to put in their own back doors so that the US Govt can spy on it’s own people.

With Huawei involved, the US Govt wouldn’t be able to keep that secret. Not that it’s a huge secret with all the warrantless wiretapping going on.

Ryan says:

The Chinese are so innocent though right?

Yet you fail to mention how the Chinese have hired countless hacking groups in their country to hack, infiltrate, steal company secrets all in the name of their government…So they should just listen to your article, blame the US and let the Chinese spy on our networks which would in fact happen. I would love to live in this naive Disneyland esque world you live in.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Chinese are so innocent though right?

> So I find it amusing that the US is all high
> and mighty about this now, when it’s probably
> been an issue for many years.

I find it amusing how deeply naive so many people here seem to be.

Yes, the US tries to prevent foreign nations from spying.

Yes, the US spies on foreign nations.

Welcome to the real world. EVERY country does this. It’s how the intelligence business works and has done for centuries.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Chinese are so innocent though right?

Exactly. The childish ignorance of this article is impressive. Every country spies, every country tries to stop others from spying on them. That’s how it works, that’s how it has always worked, that’s how it should work.

The notion that there is something hypocritical about that is, well…hypocrisy is irrelevant to international relations. As it should be.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i fail to see why. Other evil empires can’t screw over your day to day life. yours can. other evil empires aren’t affected if you know what they’re up to, yours is, and so on and so forth.

then again, ‘trust’ can mean many things. (trust someone to be honest, trust them to be predictable, trust them to have your best interests as a primary objective, trust them not to be an idiot…) some are more dependant on the availability of data and past actions than on actual trustworthyness, i guess.

aikoaiko2 says:

Re: Meh

I’m no fan of China, but it is perfectly fair to compare the US’s record of human rights violations to China’s. The US incarcerates more people, per capita, then any other country in the world, we run our own goulog (Gitmo), and have started to export our laws by attempting to prosecute foreign nationals. China has no love for its people, but the US seems to be holding ots own.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is one case where I do agree with the US government, and if other countries did this I agree with them too.

And the fact that the government is willing to risk a trade war over it just may put some value into the words of those people, you are risking something, this is not something that comes easy.

I don’t think any government in the world should trust a third party with their infra-structure this is something every country in the world should strive to get it done at home.

This is why the US has little saying when it comes to GPS competitors that sprung up all over the world nobody will put their own missiles in the trust of the American controlled system, not the Europeans, not the Chinese, not the Russians and not even the Japanese, these are all the countries that have their own GPS like constellations of satellites, with only the Europeans the only other group who will have global coverage.

And yes this is a form of discrimination and most probably is a trade violation, and it is good that people make noise about it and all that so it doesn’t become the rule and it starts to be used a lot, but I will look the otherside on this one.

btr1701 (profile) says:


> So, in effect, the US government is worried
> that the Chinese might do to it what the US
> has done to other governments.

Yep. That’s the way the intelligence business works. You do to them, then guard against them doing it to you.

Just like we do everything we can to keep foreign intelligence agencies from spying on us, while at the same time operating a group you may have heard of called the CIA, whose sole mission is to do to other countries exactly what we don’t want them doing to us.

Uncle B says:

The Dance

All part of the dance between Asian super-intelligentsia and communist central planning committee the year plans and America’s four year scramble for who’s boss next! It does not really matter much, as Asian technologies pull ahead of American technologies, as Asians show a scientific flexibility where Americans show ruts, dug in corporations, sunk money corporately protected, legacy inertia, and “hardening of the arteries” where even ‘muscle cars’ are foisted on a population needing bullet trains,cheap and effective public transportation for workers, and foreign oil consumption maintains the “status quo” even after decades of knowing full well the Prairie Wind Corridor wastes more Btu’s than America consumes, the South Western America Solar losses exceed even this! All Domestic (no “parasite” oil nation support required)all cheaper, paybacks calculated in terms of decades,and yet America turns her back on the final economic solution to her dilemma! no! This time around war will not resove the economic depression! Israel must not play the American war card for America by engaginf with Iran! Iran os China’s “Gasoline Tank” is so well defended, and the Chinese will simply “suggest” that American Military ‘Stand Down” as they obliterate Israel from the face of the earth, leaving only glazed earth there as a reminder to all, and a place as a footnote in history. America, on pain of losing her U.S.Dollar will quietly obey! What “counter-offer has Israel? Can Israel destroy the U.S.Dollar? Can Israel wage war against all Asia? China? even north Korea? Can the u.S.A.? Without “Conscription” and “pogroms” like in Europe once upon a time, of bitter hatred breaking out in the U.S. ? Bet the u.S, tends to its gaping horrors at home before advising the rest the world on ‘how it should be”. Time to withdraw, consolidate, recuperate the forces, heal the wounds, tend the battle-fatigued, and gain strength for at least a generation.

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