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Huawei Using NSA Scandal To Turn Tables On Accusations of Spying 183

Posted by timothy
from the innocent-whistling dept.
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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Huawei Using NSA Scandal To Turn Tables On Accusations of Spying

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  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @08:43AM (#45173801) Journal

    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).

  • by johanw (1001493) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @08:44AM (#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.

  • by johanw (1001493) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @08:48AM (#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.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @08:50AM (#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.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @08:57AM (#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. :)

  • Doubtful Tactic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:04AM (#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.
  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:04AM (#45173879) Journal

    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.

  • drivers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:06AM (#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.

  • by contrapunctus (907549) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:18AM (#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!

  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:48AM (#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.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:19AM (#45174209) Journal
    EVERY honest nation would protest, and every nation that went along with it would simply be lying.
  • Re:drivers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:31AM (#45174293) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:55AM (#45174507)

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

    Well, yes.

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

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