back to article Huawei, Huawei. Huawei, Huawei. Feeling hot, hot, hot: US threatens to cut UK from intel sharing over Chinese tech giant

Fallout over a leaked decision by the UK government to allow equipment from Chinese manufacturer Huawei into Britain's "non-core" 5G networks has continued into a second week. On Monday, deputy assistant secretary at the US State Department Robert Strayer told the press that as far as America was concerned there is no …

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  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    NSC hacked?

    Whose telecoms gear do they use?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reasons

    Stock holding in other US 5g equipment manufacturers with inferior tech...

    This is all about greed and agendas not about Huawei at all...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC ... Re: The real reasons

      Nope.

      There is a real reason why the US is doing this.

      And in terms of 'inferior'.. tell me what is 5G these days? I mean 5G as in 5G 5GE etc...

      Sort of like buying those wireless routers who claimed to be compliant to an IEEE spec, but the spec itself wasn't yet finalized. They used an earlier release that was almost approved but not yet approved.

      1. DeKrow
        Thumb Down

        Re: @AC ... The real reasons

        I love when people do this:

        "There is a real reason why the US is doing this."

        And then don't go on to explain it. Because all they're doing is blowing hot, smelly air.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: @AC ... The real reasons

          Well, what we can say is that there might be a real reason why the US is doing this.

          The Chinese government (along with many others) spend a lot of time and effort trying to hack into useful governments' and companies' computers to either get intel, IP or info on dissidents. And so it's not unreasonable to think that Huawei might be a risk in helping them to do this.

          The UK government and intel services supposedly have a handle on this, as they set up that lab in Blighty to look at Huawei's code and hardware and see if ti was on the level or not. Though I've no idea how well that works.

          So there's been talk of this as a national security worry for at least a decade - which predates Trumpy-wumpy and his "easily winnable" trade wars.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC ... The real reasons

            The Chinese government (along with many others) spend a lot of time and effort trying to hack into useful governments' and companies' computers to either get intel, IP or info on dissidents. And so it's not unreasonable to think that Huawei might be a risk in helping them to do this.

            The last sentence of that is where it all comes off the rails. Huawei has offered access to its gear and the code, and has gone through several rounds of evaluation. Efforts, one notes, that US gear has as yet not been exposed to, and I for one would like to know why because unevaluated kit IS the risk, irrespective of origin. The Americans should not get a free pass here.

            Rewinding a bit, it is also worth noting that the US government has infested the planet with offspring from its various agencies and even has a global intercept capability already in place called Echelon - so that is OK then? Who controls that? The UK is not even first recipient of the intel gathered at Menwith Hill, so I'd turn the tables on these idiots: if they don't want to share intel, that's fine. We'll just pull the plug at Menwith Hill and other places where we have this rather one sided agreement to "share".

            Last but not least, a number of development have shown that US itself has cause to gear up intercept and spy activities on China, because China now has IP itself that *severely* threatens US control of the global economy and in a brutally ironic twist, the Americans will have no option but to try and obtain it through spying as licensing that IP would be politically unacceptable. That's why I absolutely do not trust the US arguments: too light on facts, too heavy on hidden agendas. Ditto for the whole Kaspersky charade - the one vendor who has throughout its entire existence consistently refused to whitelist government spyware. That cannot be a coincidence.

            This also has other impacts. I am dealing with a number of people who have put a hard stop on any investment that has linkage with the US in physical location, company or funds - they will brook none of that in their projects. The arguments are financial, legal, political and indeed the protection of IP.

            Don't trust the Chinese, don't trust the Americans. Trust facts.

            1. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

              Re: @AC ... The real reasons

              "Don't trust the Chinese, don't trust the Americans. Trust facts."

              Exactly. I was waiting for someone to say this. I would go further though and say "Don't trust anyone". Sometimes, I don't even trust yourself and will 'devil's advocate' my own judgements and rationale.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @AC ... The real reasons

                Exactly. I was waiting for someone to say this

                This may come as a shock, but you could have said it yourself instead of awaiting our wisdom, oh ye grasshopper.

                :)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC ... The real reasons

            Might want to read the BBC article that's full of FACTS about Huawei. There is little evidence of anything when it actually comes to things...

            Sorry to ruin your party...

        2. TheVogon

          Re: @AC ... The real reasons

          "There is a real reason why the US is doing this."

          So you have to buy US manufacturer kit with NSA preinstalled backdoors in it of course.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: @AC ... The real reasons

        There is a real reason why the US is doing this.

        Probably the same reason the US doesn't like Nordstream 2 (and is sanctioning German companies building it and also is strongly suggesting US gas as a substitute) and also wants all NATO members to up their defence spending (and, by the way, the US offers advantageous loans for defence procurement contracts).

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: @AC ... The real reasons

          Loads of governments object to Nordstream 2. As it's Germany's way of saying "I'm alright Jack!" to it's supposed allies, while setting up to bypass Ukraine and Eastern Europe for its gas supplies. This was how Germany still got gas ten years ago, when Russia cut off Ukraine's access to gas in Winter, in order to blackmail them into renewing the lease on the Crimean bases subsequently used to invade their country. The side-effects of this hit countries like Poland rather hard, because their gas also came via the Ukraine pipeline - the question being whether Russia would have acted the same way if it would have had to cut off Germany in order to get the upper hand in those negotiations.

          Now the EU has since sorted out its energy market rather better, and there are interconnects in the gas network going both ways. But the Germans have still failed to explain how this isn't going to end up with Russia trying to bankrupt Ukraine, and sending all its gas via Germany now. To the short term advantage of German business perhaps, but probably to the long term strategic disadvantage of all of Europe.

          Even the European Commission is somewhere between against and ambivalent to Nordstream 2.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: @AC ... The real reasons

            Really? So we're "objecting" to a supplier deciding which route they're going to take to deliver a product to their customers?

            Look at this rationally. The old pipeline delivered gas to Western Europe via Ukraine. Ukraine is now actively hostile to Russia, for obvious reasons. Therefore it's a risk for Russia to route their gas through a hostile country. Ergo, they're building a new pipeline which goes around the potential problem.

            So, we (as the West) are objecting to Russia avoiding sending their gas through Ukraine, to the point of threatening sanctions against the companies involved. Pardon? This is a bit like objecting when a country reroutes its shipping to avoid a potential trouble spot - would it be rational to impose sanctions on a country/companies for doing that? What's the rationale here?

            As for "Russia trying to bankrupt Ukraine" - yes well maybe they'd like to, but a country is under no obligations to sell anything to another. So are we saying that Russia should be forced to sell gas to Ukraine? And meanwhile saying to Iran that it's not allowed to sell its oil to anyone (of course we wouldn't be trying to bankrupt Iran...)? So is selling stuff good or bad then???

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: The real reasons

      I honestly don't know how much of this is A) a genuine concern that Huawei's products are actual security/espionage risks and B) let's stick it to China as a part of the Trump Administration's efforts to get China to reform it's trade policies.

      I can accept that the risk that there may be a backdoor in Huawei gear is a monumentally serious downside, and that it is hard to completely ignore that possibility in this post-Snowden age. However, when you consider the commercial motives for the U.S. to go after Huawei, then the whole thing turns into this important-yet-shabby exercise.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: The real reasons

        About 100% B) I'd say; it's generally known as a trade war.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    We have Huawei kit on the current 3G/4G networks so why are the US withdrawing sharing their intel now for fears of the China government spying?

  4. Mike Lewis

    Pot meet kettle

    The sharing goes both ways.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Pot meet kettle

      I doubt the US thinks like that. They'll expect to keep getting what they're getting now.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Pot meet kettle

        I agree with that - I'd be very surprised if the US thinks that it goes both ways. I would expect that the UK would be told that the US will still be getting everything as per the five eyes and UKUSA agreements, but won't be getting anything in return and woe betide the UK government if it even looks like thinking about doing the same.

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Pot meet kettle

          Bullying is not cooperation.

          If the US do that the spys never get anything they dont know already.

          As we know, UK does "full take" on US citizens for them. Not sure they would line to loose that.

    2. Nick Kew Bronze badge

      Re: Pot meet kettle

      And will continue to do so. Note all the conditionals in those US threats: we "might have to review ...".

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        They should definitely review

        Go right on ahead and review. Cut yourselves off, I dare you. I am sick and tired of all the sharing that you have going on anyway. Let's stop sharing, let's stop handing over every snippet of even the most insignificant stuff simply because Uncle Sam wants it.

        The US wants to bully the world into obeying it ? I'm French : I'll do the contrary just out of spite.

        1. Nick Kew Bronze badge

          Blame Lafayette

          It was you French who supported those rebels in defeating their Government, and installed local warlord George Washington as their leader. And look where that led ...

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: Blame Lafayette

            Yeah, well, you know what they say about hindsight . . .

            Besides, at the time, it seemed like a good idea - and maybe it was after all.

  5. Beau
    Trollface

    Quite right too.

    Britain will soon be safely out of Europe, and away from all it's bad influences. The sooner it learns to behave its self, and knuckle down to doing as its told, by the best, and greatest country in the world. A country that has now been blessed by god, to have the greatest President that has ever lived. Then the better it will be for all the little Brits, maybe?

    1. Frank Oz

      Re: Quite right too.

      Yup ... as soon as Britain leaves Europe it will find its true place in the world. I think there's a lot of disillusionment coming.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quite right too.

        Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:

        "Britons never will be slaves..."

        p.s. pretty choppy waters today, fellows, I say. And, by the way, did anyone bring the compass.? Jenkins?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite right too.

      Britain soon be out of Europe??? Have you been watching the news at all? Brexit is tatters, and cancellation of article 50 is the only viable path. The only thing up for grabs still is how and when it happens.

      With brexit costing us 1.3bn a week, it will be sooner rather than later.

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Quite right too.

        With brexit costing us 1.3bn a week...

        ...Readers should be told that you are within +/- 1 Dianne Abbot of the correct value

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quite right too.

          >..Readers should be told that you are within +/- 1 Dianne Abbot of the correct value

          What is that in Grayling hours?

          1. a pressbutton

            Re: Quite right too.

            Inexpressible.

            A grayling always evaluates to 0

            as in 0 trains

            or 0 ferries

          2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Quite right too.

            Dunno, but it's about 10 Olympic sized swimming pools and reaches about 6 football fields and up to 15 double-decker buses stacked one of top of the other.

    3. TheVogon

      Re: Quite right too.

      How is Britain going to change continent? That's an awful lot of land to move.

      1. Nick Kew Bronze badge
        Coat

        Re: Quite right too.

        It's not so much changing continent as just incontinent.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite right too.

      Of course! Whilst the EU are standing firm, the US thinks an isolated Britain will crumble... And they're probably right.

      We "take back control" (whatever the hell that is meant to mean... successive governments have always done what they want - it's just that they blame the EU fo their own cockups, and unbelievably, too many voters believed them) and hand it to the US ten-fold.

      Think we aren't in control? Think we are already Americas bitch? You ain't seen nothin' yet!

  6. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Why the focus on 5G? How much Cisco kit is running the internet? Should everyone be worried about the Americans?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    2. uncle sjohie

      Yes very, since Snowden provided proof of the american NSA doing exactly what they claim Huawei is supposedly doing. (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/photos-of-an-nsa-upgrade-factory-show-cisco-router-getting-implant/). So there is proof the Americans are, or at least were, doing it, yet they insist American hardware is safe for their allies, and not that of Huawei?

    3. iron Silver badge

      There is no need to worry about Cisco and the Americans, we know without a doubt that they are spying on us. But, we're not sure about the Chinese so they might be spying on us too!

    4. sal II

      Yes, but the Americans, are not worried about the Americans, so it's all good

    5. Nick Kew Bronze badge

      JP Morgan - whose interest is in Cisco as an investment without reference to what they actually produce - made that connection. Banning Huawei won't affect the US much because they never deployed much of it in the first place, but they expect it to do well for Cisco kit in EMEA and Asia-Pacific-ex-China markets.

  7. Crazy Operations Guy

    Irony

    The US will avoid Chinese manufactured equipment because it might be compromised but will outsource administration of their kit to Chinese firms in a heartbeat.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Irony

      Or complete manufacture & assembly of 'US' kit. With opportunities to exploit it all along the way.

      But any sane operator does not outsource administration, ie managing the control plane of their network. Which should be done seperately to the data plane, and logged, monitored and generally a close eye kept on it. Which also extends to any vendor access, ie processes for monitoring any remote access, or conducted by vendor engineers.

      Which sadly isn't always the case, so stuff gets leaked by the outsourcers. Which is the issue with the Huawei FUD. IMHO, it's a case of put up or shut up, so release a nice paper explaining exactly how China would exploit any well-designed and implemented 5G network.. Or the core DWDM, SLTs, or even NIDs. Without an operator noticing.

      I guess one way to do it would be if you could sneakily add some form of 'superuser' NID or phone that could then try and snoop traffic, without that device or traffic being noticed. And if it's sensitive traffic, it should be encrypted anyway.

      (And a cynical me might suggest that the ban on intelligence sharing would mean no intelligence because the US can't compromise Huawei kit like they can with their own vendors.)

  8. alain williams Silver badge

    This only shows to not trust USA intelligence

    If they blab this probable bollocks about Huawei how much trust should we give to anything else that they say ?

    What have we had: hacking from North Korea, Putin meddling in USA elections, Kaspersky Labs spying for Russia, ... ? I offer no opinion on any of these, but I down rate what the USA claims.

    Of course, they say nothing about: Cisco routers tampered by the NSA and don't ask questions about what Microsoft telemetry is really about.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago I remember reading a printed article (prior to WWW) about a Diplomatic Message system supplied by a US manufacturer to the Swiss Government. Some years after it had been in use it somehow crept out (a upset employee I think) that there was a back door straight into the CIA. So for years the US had been reading Swiss Diplomatic messages.

    I have no reason to believe that the US has changed it's ways and so only want's to block Huawei in order to get it's own snooping kit into the worlds 5G systems. My view is that Trump's has jumped on the CIA 'security issues' and added protectionism to the equation.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      An enigma, wrapped in a mystery..

      I think post-war, Enigma machines were re-branded and sold.. And it was kept quiet that they were exploitable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US supplied Swiss Message system

      > Many years ago I remember reading .. about a Diplomatic Message system supplied by a US manufacturer to the Swiss Government. Some years after it had been in use it somehow crept out (a upset employee I think) that there was a back door straight into the CIA. So for years the US had been reading Swiss Diplomatic messages.

      It was Crypto AG Ciphering Machines and it was Pres. Regan who revealed such as evidence of Libyan and Iranian attacks on US interests. ref ref

  10. cb7 Bronze badge

    The downside to miniturising circuits til you can't see them any more. You can't tell what the fuck they do

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      I seem to recall that was a plot point in at least one Dr Who story some time in the 60s. Seems nobody was listening...

      1. Peter X
        Trollface

        I'm sure no one can forget William Hartnell saying precisely that;:

        The Doctor: The downside to miniaturising circuits until you can no longer see them?

        Susan: Tell me Grandfather

        Doctor: You can't tell what the fuck they do!

        Sadly, this was one of the episodes that got wiped! ;-)

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