Wireless

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
china, evidence, protectionism

Companies:
huawei, verizon



Verizon Folds To Government Pressure To Blacklist Huawei Without A Shred Of Public Evidence

from the blacklisted dept

Earlier this month, AT&T cancelled a smartphone sales agreement with Huawei just moments before it was to be unveiled at CES. Why? Several members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees had crafted an unpublished memo claiming that Huawei was spying for the Chinese government, and pressured both the FCC and carriers to blacklist the company. AT&T, a stalwart partner in the United States' own surveillance apparatus was quick to comply, in part because it's attempting to get regulators to sign off on its $86 billion acquisition of media juggernaut Time Warner.

But Verizon has also now scrapped its own plans to sell the company's smartphones based on those same ambiguous concerns:

"Verizon Communications Inc. has dropped all plans to sell phones by Chinese manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co., including the new Mate 10 Pro, under pressure from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter... Huawei devices still work on both companies’ networks, but direct sales would’ve allowed them to reach more consumers than they can through third parties."

The problem? There's no publicly-available evidence that Huawei is spying for the Chinese government after more than a decade of hunting for it. Similar breathless hysteria over Huawei's connection to the Chinese government surfaced in 2011, prompting numerous investigations into the claim. One 18-month investigation found absolutely no evidence that Huawei was spying on American citizens for the Chinese government. One source at the time explained the investigation this way when asked about it by Reuters:

"We knew certain parts of government really wanted” evidence of active spying, said one of the people, who requested anonymity. “We would have found it if it were there."

Again, while it's possible that Huawei helps the Chinese government spy, a decade of hunting has resulted in zero publicly-available evidence proving it. And the evidence that does exist tends to suggest that this is little more than the same kind of protectionism the United States frequently accuses China of. And much of the hysteria surrounding Huawei's role as a Chinese spy tends to originate with companies like Cisco which simply don't want the added competition, as this 2012 Washington Post Report observed:

"What happens is you get competitors who are able to gin up lawmakers who are already wound up about China," one source told the The Washington Post. "What they do is pull the string and see where the top spins."

It's apparently easy to get cash-compromised or just plain gullible lawmakers all hot and bothered on this subject. Ignored of course is the U.S. government's own bad behavior on this front, whether we're talking about using AT&T to hoover up every shred of data that touches its network in violation of the law, or the NSA's own attempts to hack into Huawei, steal source code, then embed backdoors into Huawei gear. Similarly ignored is the fact that Chinese hardware already exists in everything from U.S.-made network gear to poorly-secured internet of things devices, creating ample surveillance opportunities already.

Again, that's not to say that it's impossible Huawei aids the Chinese government, but despite a decade of breathless face-fanning there's been little to no hard evidence that justifies this kind of blackballing. And what evidence that does exist indicates that Cisco, AT&T, Verizon, the NSA, and most of the folks beating the drum to blacklist Huawei have less than zero credibility when it comes to determining who's trustworthy in the first place.


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  • icon
    Dan (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:37am

    Evidence, schevidence

    Technically, there is also no public evidence that the NSA intercepts and modifies shipments of Cisco routing equipment either. But I seem to remember some photographs...

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/photos-of-an-nsa-upgrade-factory-show-cisc o-router-getting-implant/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:38am

    Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

    And in any case, "free marketers" like minion here are always for undercutting American corporations / workers and importing from Chinese slave labor.


    Now, watch: it's certain that I'll be called a corporate shill for even vaguely saying this is good. Standard tactic here is to just fling accusations at any dissent. It's easy to be a fanboy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:46am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      Awwww - poor baby.
      Here, have a cookie, you'll feel much better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:07am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      What the fuck is your point?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ryunosuke (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        Give Grandpa his nap time, he's ranting about the how the Cold War was great and that unregulated capitalism is the best, no, ONLY form of government.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:17am

          Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          Not sure I buy the OP's narrative. However, the people that have responded to it have done ZILCH to undermine it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:48am

            Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            Perhaps because it's so incoherent?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:19am

            Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            Undermine what exactly?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              An Onymous Coward (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

              He insulted the article author and then (accurately) predicted a barrage of hateposts. There's really nothing to undermine here as he didn't say anything relevant to the article content.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        He don't know.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:16am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      US companies are already undercutting US workers, by outsourcing all labor intense manufacturing to China and elsewhere. All that is you are really arguing is whether a product carries a US company badge or an Chinese company badge.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:15am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      And in any case, "free marketers" like minion here are always for undercutting American corporations / workers and importing from Chinese slave labor.

      Damn straight!

      I, for one, am still waiting for the 45% tariff on Chinese goods, as promised by the Dear Orange Leader. I'm hopeful he will also impose said tariff on all Chinese parts used by "American" manufacturers. Fuck those commie-supporting pigs - we should deport them too, while we're at it!

      And if the cost of goods rises exponentially, well fuck yeah! The extra $20 in our paychecks will more than offset that rise!

      Murica! We can't math.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:19am

        Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        Chinese factories have been notorious for grossly unacceptable labor standards for some time now. Clearly you are fine with all of that and pro-labor rhetoric only applies for US citizens. The only thing that matters is that you can get your cheap crap for less.

        The race to the bottom is not all roses and sunshine.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:24am

          Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          "The race to the bottom is not all roses and sunshine."

          No, it actually is. Everyone is doing it.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74BzSTQCl_c&t=10s

          The only people bitching about it are the ones losing the race... as usual!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            "The only people bitching about it are the ones losing the race... as usual!"

            That would be 99% of the population.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:36am

          Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          The only thing that matters is that you can get your cheap crap for less.

          Correct.

          And I'm sure it matters just as much, or even more to the nearly 41 million Americans living at or near the poverty level. What do you tell them? I mean we've told them to "get a job (or two, or three)," "we're not paying for your health care," and "minimum wage is plenty high enough."

          Now we're going to tell them they need to pay a premium because we need to subsidize American workers through ridiculously high tariffs? That sounds an awful lot like government meddling in the free market.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          Chinese factories have been notorious for grossly unacceptable labor standards for some time now.

          How's that related to Huawei specifically? Almost all phones come from Chinese factories.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Feb 2018 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        Murica! We can't math.

        That would be why our Chinese overlords are grinning in their glass-clad towers, waiting for their time to...

        ...it's here!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:21am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      TD is NOT a "free market" website.

      TD is very much a pro government regulatory cheerleader. Just because they use free market rhetoric to whine like bitches does not mean anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        I'm sure it will come a s shock to you when you realise that effective regulation is actually necessary for a free market to exist, given that without it you get monopolies, collusion, price fixing and all the other things that prevent a free marketplace.

        But, your misdirection and obsessive whining with zero actual input value have been noted.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          discordian_eris (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          "I'm sure it will come a s shock to you when you realise that effective regulation is actually necessary for a free market to exist, given that without it you get monopolies, collusion, price fixing and all the other things that prevent a free marketplace."

          Ah, you mean what we have now, eh?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            An Onymous Coward (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 10:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            No, he said "effective" regulation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 2:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

              That is called a cop out where I come from.

              None of our regulations are "effective" but when we bitch about that, folks like him defend them like they are, but still uses that language when defending them because PaulT is not American and too stupid to know we don't give a fuck about his regulations because they don't apply to us over here in the USA.

              He has it better than us because they do seem to have better and less corrupt politicians regulating things over there if he is being honest about things, so he is just here to troll like a little bitch about it.

              Here in America the system just works different and PaulT lacks that knowledge.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2018 @ 1:54am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

                "None of our regulations are "effective" but when we bitch about that, folks like him defend them like they are"

                Sorry, did I expose your ignorance again?

                I don't tell you that *your* regulations are effective, I merely correct you when you claim that no government regulations can be effective. If the problem is not that your regulations are ineffective, but that you have elected a corrupt and useless government who do not apply them effectively, that's a different point. But it's one that still needs to be pointed out when you claim that your public utilities need to be handed over wholesale to private corporations because you don't like the government you elected.

                A shame you have to spend so much time obsessing over me and lying about what I'm saying rather than accept a few simple home truths, but that's your choice. I still have the right to point out that you've made the wrong choice, even if your xenophobic nationalist tiny brain can't take criticism from people outside of your sheltered borders. I'll still have the right to criticise you, even as your ISPs reduce your free access to the internet because you opposed allowing your government to regulate them effectively.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              discordian_eris (profile), 3 Feb 2018 @ 12:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

              That was my entire point, that the regulation we have in the US is supremely ineffective. Should have added a sarcasm tag I guess.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2018 @ 1:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            Exactly. Because Americans are weirdly afraid of their own government, even as they try to export that same government system to every other country, you're left with something that's other than a free market in these industries. Effective regulation is required to create a truly free market, and that is not what you have.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Feb 2018 @ 7:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

              Being weirdly afraid of government on principle stops them from trying to regulate it by holding politicians to account. Why try to manage something you believe is irreversibly corrupt?

              Hence the anti-government rhetoric... from people in government.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

          "I'm sure it will come a s shock to you when you realise that effective regulation is actually necessary for a free market to exist, given that without it you get monopolies, collusion, price fixing and all the other things that prevent a free marketplace. "

          Just like the ones we got WITH your regulation?
          Ahh... I see you are using the qualifier "effective" now why did the "politicians" think of that.

          Look, I know you are dumb as a box of rocks but what you ASK for and what politicians GIVE you are two different things.

          Also, "effective" regulation is NOT necessary for a free-market to exist, but I will agree that "effective" regulation sure helps to keep monopolistic interests from taking hold.

          In a free market, the weak and ignorant "government save me people" could band together and form a boycott. But lets be honest here... people like you don't have the "strength of character" to go without long enough to actually provide a regulatory effect to keep monopolies from forming.

          You just bend right the fuck over, and for you with regulations... you at least get fucked with lube and that is fine for you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 6 Feb 2018 @ 2:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

            I thought you people were afraid of collective action, hence the characterisation of unions (people who band together to bargain for work rights, pay, etc.) as "thugs."

            Believe me, any attempt to organise a boycott that proves any way effective will get the same treatment.

            You're also assuming we have but one choice: boycott or bend over. Well didn't you know that "government" is what happens when people band together and make regulations to maintain order in their society?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 5:49pm

        Re: Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

        You sound triggered.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 10:02am

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      Corporate shill? Not a chance, unless you're saying that being a conservative government apologist makes you a corporate shill. The two overlap, but they're not the same.

      Being a communist state says nothing about whether they're spying for the government.

      Just like someone who works for NASA is not a US government spy just because they helped run a launch on Russian soil.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:09pm

      Re: Hauwei IS Chinese gov't owned. They ALL are. It's a COMMUNIST state.

      But look, Google! Oh, wait... you apparently don't criticize China when it's an article criticizing China for exporting their surveillance technology. Because that's not worth your criticism, fuck knows why.

      (Actually, fuck knows exactly why, your entire point is to be a contrarian cunt no matter how dumb it sounds.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:40am

    But we were told they were bad guys by these nice companies who give us modest amounts of cash to tip the scales in their favor!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:55am

    Maybe it's more about potential spying

    Huawei phones may be secure today, but it's only an update away from being turned into the ultimate, highly targetted surveillance device. If anybody knows that, it's our government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:22am

      Re: Maybe it's more about potential spying

      "If we're doing it to American phones, they must be doing the same to theirs."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:21am

      Re: Maybe it's more about potential spying

      With all of our manufacturing being offshore, it's all suspect really. It doesn't matter what nation's logos are on the device. They're all coming out of the same Chinese factories.

      That's the funny thing about overpriced Apple devices. Same crap, different logos.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: Maybe it's more about potential spying

        "It doesn't matter what nation's logos are on the device. They're all coming out of the same Chinese factories."

        This more than anything else is what makes the Huawei blacklisting so nonsensical. It's blatant anti-China fearmongering with no basis in reality.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:04am

    sounds to me like Huawei isn't playing the backdoor surveillance game, at least for the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:16am

    While the reasons are poor, I'm glad more companies are cutting out this piss-poor manufacturer. There's a reason Google ran the hell away from them and towards HTC for their phones.

    Yeah I'm just a little salty with Huawei over the Nexus 6P fiasco.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      While some of what you say is true, there's a massive difference between the free market making a choice and the government mandating that choice. Verizon making the choice themselves is one thing, getting the same result this way is quite another, even if you agree with the choice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Christenson a, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re:

        Just why is it VERIZON’s choice???
        Free market. My foot!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re:

        I'm not a free-market capitalist, so we'll have to agree to disagree there. While I am no fan of the current...circus of a federal government, I do not have a problem with disincentivizing certain products on security grounds, regardless of any "but we do it too!" whinging. Furthermore, their corporate espionage is particularly flagrant.

        I have no love lost for them. I only wish I knew what I know now back when I purchased my old phone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:16am

    Huawei is to China what AT&T is to America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 1:17pm

    aNYONE?

    There is something NOT mentioned here..
    Its not because of the cellphones. Its the SERVER equipment they Make, is contest with CISCO.
    WOW, a competitor?
    Lower costs, Prices..NOT IN THE USA..

    There are only a few reasons for this to happen.
    Corp espionage.. or a Corp take over..
    The USA is a large market.
    And for SOME reason, we are closing up the market..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 1:29pm

      Re: aNYONE?

      ANYONE WILLING TO drop ALL Corp protections and let the little guys FIGHT BACK??

      When you DONT restrict the small companies, they CAN take over PARTS of the system.. AND improve it..then SELL back or Keep the system.
      The ORIGINAL SYSTEM was installed by others, NOT the current companies..which means it should be OPEN to any competitor..NOT SOLD as a whole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2018 @ 9:19am

    There's no evidence that Huawei is spying for the Chinese government

    1. I'm a Huawei customer for some non-US networks.
    2. I've visited Huawei HQ & met some of the same folks that Verizon has been talking to, and had tea with them.

    Huawei HQ has its own freeway exit.

    Huawei HQ looks like a combo of Bell Labs & NSA rolled into one.

    Huawei HQ is part university campus, with many folks living on site.

    Huawei is a "national champion", just as Nokia was for Finland. Just scale up by the ratio (China/Finland), and you'll get the idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2018 @ 10:50am

    Whether a company is spying or not, every single handset from Verizon contains its OWN spyware anyway.

    They have the ability to remotely turn on microphones and cameras, record audio or video and then send it onwards when the device has been idle for a few hours. They can grab any document as it's opened. Because this is done via internal means, data is decrypted ON the device by whatever app and is fully accessible to Verizon at all times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    otakucode (profile), 9 Feb 2018 @ 5:55pm

    They don't care about China

    Sure they might not spy for China. That's not the problem. The problem is that they don't spy for the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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