Huawei has been in the news rather a lot lately with the United States urging it allies to stop buying it’s equipment, the GCSB rejecting Sparks bid to use it on the rollout of the New Zealand 5G network, Google banning apps from its phones, and on and on.
The problem with this is that there has been no proof brought up that there is a malicious technological concern with Huawei’s equipment.
The GCHQ’s Dr Levy described them as having “shoddy” engineering practices but then went on to say “we don’t believe the things we are reporting on is the result of Chinese state malfeasance”. Grsecurity went into detail about some of the findings and called the GCHQ’s analysis of the code examples to be, “superficial to the point of irrelevance“.
Microsoft researchers discovered a flaw in the Huawei Matebook laptops that could have been used to take over the computers but then went on to say that there was no evidence that it was malicious handy work by the company. Furthermore, if you read the blog from Microsoft they say that when told of the flaw Huawei “responded and cooperated quickly and professionally”.
Security researcher Felix Lindner pointed out that Huawei’s routers have security flaws. “I’d say it was five times easier to find one in a Huawei router than in a Cisco one,” Lindner is quoted as saying and that is very concerning but the article then goes on to say that he believes that the, “vulnerabilities appeared to be the result of sloppy coding and poor procedures, rather than any deliberate attempt at espionage”.
So here we have a company being investigated all over the world and yet no proof has been found that they are maliciously including back doors for the Chinese government.
Perhaps humorously, there is proof that Huawei has been hacked by the United States. The New York Times revealed in 2014 that the NSA had hacked into Huawei’s products and created backdoors while obtaining information on products and monitoring the conversations of its top executives.
Which leads to the possibility that Huawei is being shut out as it may interfere with the West’s ability to spy, with one commentator in New Zealand being quoted as saying,
“The advisors assessing #Huawei are looking (for the public’s benefit) at backdoors that the Chinese might introduce; but what if the #GCSB‘s concern is with Huawei interfering with GCSB’s (& US NSA’s) own backdoors? The assessors may be looking at the wrong things…”Stephen Bell (@stevebwriter) February 20, 2019
It is also possible that when New Zealand’s GCSB opposed the Telecom 5G network upgrade using Huawei’s equipment because they were taking our economic well-being under consideration. This is the third objective of the Government Communications Security Bureau.
The principal objectives of the intelligence and security agencies are to contribute to—Intelligence and Security Act 2017
(a) the protection of New Zealand’s national security; and
(b) the international relations and well-being of New Zealand; and
(c) the economic well-being of New Zealand.
Curiously, Andrew Little (Minister for the GCSB) has denied that the November decision was altered by the United States or Australia but unfortunately for him the New Zealand Herald reported that Five Eyes had met in Canada to discuss security concerns about Huawei and China in July.
In the end, this whole thing leaves me in a state of confusion. My Government is telling me that Huawei is bad, but not so bad that I can’t buy it. Almost every media outlet is intimating that Huawei is an arm of the Chinese Government and/or spying for them, but none of them have any proof. Multiple investigations have found nothing. I wouldn’t trust the Chinese government as far as I could throw them, but I don’t actually know anything about them. I do know, however, that my government’s ally has been spying on Huawei.
It is racism? Is it nationalism, indoctrination or fear mongering. Is it just enough to keep consumers from buying Huawei so American companies can play catch up. Is it a mix of all of them. Yet again, I don’t know. We appear to have, yet again, thrown out the rulebook in order to achieve an agenda. Except this time, instead of illegally spying on our own citizens, we are going to help destroy a foreign companies reputation for what looks like the economic gain of others.
Ask yourself this. If the Chinese Government is so bad that we cannot trust its goods then why did we sign a free trade deal with them and why do we continue to increase trade with them? Have we become that hypocritical? Espousing human rights and protecting ourselves against foreign spies and then downgrading human rights for money and spying on others.
I can’t help but get the idea that it doesn’t matter what Huawei do, they will be guilty even if proven innocent.