back to article Britain should have binned Huawei 5G kit years ago to cuddle up with Trump, says Parliamentary committee

The British government should rip out Huawei's 5G mobile network equipment regardless of the facts because doing so would curry favour with Donald Trump's US, Parliament's Defence Committee has said in an extraordinary new report. The Conservative-dominated committee said in this morning's report, The Security of 5G, that the …

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  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Cozying up to The Orange One is not a reason to make a political decision.

    1. EricM

      While I fully agree that this should theoretically not be a valid reason, based on the isolated international situation the UK has brought itself into with an unregulated Brexit upcoming, cozying up to literally anyone/anything it can find may well be a practically very valid reason for political decisions ...

      Expect more of this kind of "decision making" in the near future...

      What was that slogan again? "Take back control"? Well ...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      That would be a political decision. It's not a basis to make a technical one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      National interests vs Trump interests

      Yeh, its foolish, Trump wanted to cut a deal with Xi anyway, you can see from the Bolton book:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-asked-chinas-xi-to-help-him-win-reelection-according-to-bolton-book/2020/06/17/d4ea601c-ad7a-11ea-868b-93d63cd833b2_story.html

      "President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 U.S. election, telling Xi during a summit dinner last year that increased agricultural purchases by Beijing from American farmers would aid his electoral prospects, according to a damning new account of life inside the Trump administration by former national security adviser John Bolton."

      If Xi & China had done "Trump a favor though", then Trump would have done a quid-pro-quo. Xi and Trump would be best buddies, they would be on the wrong side of Trump.

      Alternatively, if UK wants to curry favor with Trump (as Cotton is suggesting they should), Trumps's broke, and that golf course in Scotland is pissing away money. They could "do him a favor though" and receive a nice "quid pro quo" in return, nudge nudge wink wink. Am I right Tom Cotton?? Nudge nudge wink wink.

      Best to just make choice in the best UK interests, me thinks.

    4. AMBxx Silver badge

      He'll be gone soon enough. Probably by January. At most, 4 years time. We need to work to longer time horizons that 4 years.

    5. SundogUK Silver badge

      But cozying up to the US definitely is.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "But cozying up to the US definitely is."

        Basically UK policy (stated or unstated) since Suez went pear shaped in 1956

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: "But cozying up to the US definitely is."

          "since Suez"

          Much longer. Since mid-1940 when the UK ran out of gold and was saved by the US lend-lease program(me). Suez was just a reminder.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            " Suez was just a reminder."

            Suez really was the turning point where Isreal, France and the UK learned who was really in charge of the New (post WWII) World Order

            And it wasn't them.

            Interesting about the downvotes though.

            Do you not believe me or not like the UK's position in the world? Not according with your fantasy perhaps of "Taking back control"?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bad news: if Trump loses and the Democrats win, they definitely don't see it as "cozying up to the US".

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    In June Cotton described the Chinese company as "a criminal organisation" to the committee during a Parliamentary hearing, belligerently asking Labour's Kevan Jones MP: "Why would you be so eager to use this technology?"

    I'm sure Cotton will be well aware that in his legislature it's the committee's job to ask questions and the witness's to answer them. He seems to have some difficulty in grasping that the same thing applies here.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    D10 The top ten democracies is an interesting concept. Godd luck with finding ten good democracies.

    Both Ellwoid and Cotton are the worst kind of rabid conservatives. Parliamentary Committees are only advisory and often seem to be a base touching exercise with lobbyists of one kind or another.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Blue sky thinking?

    The UK Government and mobile service operators should continue investment in OpenRAN technology and work to make the UK a global leader, not just in technological development, but also in production.

    More like cloud-cuckoo land. Where, apart from a massive subsidy bucket, is the incentive of operators to invest? For years customers have been voting with their wallets, which has kept revenues well below expectations. Huawei and others have working kit now in which the UK government's own agencies cannot find any backdoors.

    The UK doesn't have an electronics industry anymore so it's not going to start producing radio kit. And the government doesn't have anything like the cash needed to set one up, apart from the fact that it's also busy spaffing cash that is doesn't have on other pet projects. And this is supposed to be government by a party known for its financial responsibility.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Blue sky thinking?

      "And this is supposed to be government by a party known for its financial responsibility."

      It got taken over.

  5. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wait a minute...

    Some actual honesty over the decisions instead of vague waffling and lame duck reasoning.

    2020 is continuing to be a year of surprises.

    Oh.... Then there's mention that somehow we can all do it ourselves and be world leaders. Normal delusions have resumed.

    As you were.

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Joke

    While we're at silly excuses

    > The British government should rip out Huawei's 5G mobile network equipment [...] because

    ...it causes Covid-19!

    1. schmeckles23

      Re: While we're at silly excuses

      I have my tinfoil hat fastened, am I ok?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: While we're at silly excuses

        That depends. Are you also wearing your tinfoil facemask?

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: While we're at silly excuses

          Don't forget your tin underwear.

      2. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Tinfoil hat

        Don't forget the H-field. You'll also need a mu-metal helmet.

  7. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Pirate

    Remember...

    We have always been at war with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran.

    Rearrange and add to as circumstances dictate. I expect the EU will be added to the list come January.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Remember...

      "I expect the EU will be added to the list come January."

      For a substantial part of the current HMG it's been on their list for some time except, of course, when they're looking for somewhere to go on holiday.

  8. James 47

    Is 5G that good? I'm using 4G for home broadband and it's totally sufficient for all my internet needs. I've never had Netflix buffer

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      It's not just speed. There are other benefits too (not my bag TBH).

      Personally, I'd be happy to have 3G at home!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Technically, 5G is 4G with bells and whistles. 5G was coined to help market sales by creating a demand for something new.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And 4g is 3g with bells and whistles. And 3g is 2g with bells and whistles. And 2g is 1g with bells and whistles. And 1g is a backronym for cellular mobile telephones. And cellular mobile telephones are just radiotelephone with bells and whistles. And radiotelephone is just voice mode radio with bells and whistles. And voice mode radio is just radiotelegraphy with bells and whistles.

        It's all just radio at the end of the day.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          And 4g is 3g with bells and whistles.

          Not really, LTE switched from a connection-based approach still used in UMTS to TCP/IP. So, it's not about how the radios work but the processing the signals the radios send and receive. Packet switching didn't make much sense before about 2010 as the vast majority of traffic was voice that wouldn't tolerate the latency that this would involve.

          Switching to TCP/IP was designed to make future upgrades of the stack much smoother with no need to run parallel infrastructure or force people to buy new devices – by this point the networks had realised that they don't benefit from people buying new shiny things.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "And 1g is a backronym for cellular mobile telephones."

          Your 1g is, in fact, the first GSM mobile telephone system. It wasn't the first cellular system; that was TACS. And TACS wasn't the first mobile system. Back in the mid-80s the bit of BT that eventually became part of O2 still had a product called System 4 running alongside the newly introduced TACS.

        3. katrinab Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          1g is analogue, 2g is digital. 2g provided a massive improvement in audio quality in calls.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            1g was analogue Vodafone and Cellnet (not part of BT)

            2g introduced digital, circuit switching, billed per second, added one2one and Orange(Hutchinson)

            2.5g was GPRS, packetr switching, started billiing by data usage (one2one became T-Mobile, BT Bought Cellenet)

            2.75g was EDGE, basically faster GPRS

            3g was CDMA, added 3 to the mix (Hutchinson who sold Orange to Vf->MM->FT) (BT Sell O2 to telefonica)

            3.5g was HSDPA

            3.75g was HSDPA+

            4G is LTE - ads MIMO (T-Mobile and Orange Become EE)

            4.5G is LTE-A -multiband

            5G is 5GNR - tri band support with posible Gb/s Speed and variable speed cells (BT Buy EE)

    3. Caver_Dave
      Coat

      TBH the main difference is the number of devices per cell.

      So, the upgrade is really only needed to support all those lovely IoT devices we are all placing everywhere and will do more in the future.

      My local street light supplier is already talking about 5G enabled lamp posts. I swiftly pointed out that we don't even get 3G!

      Actually, 2G used by Smart Meters, still only works in half the village, so half of us still have to manually read our electricity meters (no gas in most small villages) and then send it in!

      Coat icon as I need to go outside to read the meter.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Coat

        I hope we can upgrade our septic tank to 5G!!

    4. Archivist

      Mark my words

      Once 5G becomes more available they'll slow down the 4G and you'll have to switch - and pay more.

      1. James 47

        Re: Mark my words

        Ha! My Vodafone SIM and router already support 5G, I just have no signal yet

    5. schmeckles23

      4G has bandwidth limitations, whereas 5G in the future could provide up to 10Gbit/s.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        > whereas 5G in the future could provide up to 10Gbit/s

        "Could" is the catchword here: It could, but most likely wont in the vast majority of places, simply because you can legally claim "5G coverage" with about any bandwidth. Just say the magic word "up to".

        (Besides, slowing it down allows you to speed it up a couple years later and sell it as "5G+", in an attempt to delay as long as commercially possible having to invest in 6G.)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    National Cyber Security Should Investigate Government Systems

    Government privatised IT systems are far worse than Huawei and wasted more money. The companies runnng these need more investigatiion, but there are far too many consultants commisions involved to influential advisors.

    BT and previous governments were largely responsible for destroying UK telecomms industry by handing over contracts and Intellectual Property to Huawei. (this in addition to Marconi directors's financial greed and incompetence)

    Any other European country would have protected the industry but this country has always been controlled by bankers and investors only looking at short term cash in their pockets.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: National Cyber Security Should Investigate Government Systems

      "handing over contracts and Intellectual Property to Huawei."

      Would that be the Huawei that has a large number of telecoms patents of its own? Or the Huawei that was about to establish an R&D base in Cambridge? Or was it the Huawei which, alone of the telecoms equipment providers, made arrangements to have its software open for examination to UK security*?

      At the very least we should demand any alternative equipment providers be as open as Huawei has been compelled to be. Who knows - if that were the situation we could actually make informed decisions on the basis of technical merit.

      * Who seem to have found poor coding standards but nothing malicious.

      1. ARGO

        Re: National Cyber Security Should Investigate Government Systems

        Putting other vendors through the same assessment as Huawei was actually suggested in this report. Seems like the only technically rational bit of the report TBH.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: National Cyber Security Should Investigate Government Systems

      National Cyber Security is a Phantom Wish Quango, AC, a Ponzi Wannabe Sinecure. The Informative IntelAIgent Space one imagines it has been set up to police and micromacromanage has neither secure impenetrable walls nor vaults nor fences behind which to contain unseen and secret, almighty destructive, sensitive proprietary intellectual property for the exclusive enriching of failed executive administrations.

      It is just as one of those cold comfort blankets which dodgy systems give out for one to pull over one's head as more rotten toxic cans and rusty explosive canisters are kicked further on down the road you are following to nowhere good and not worth going to.

      And it's also a massive black hole money pit for every guarantee of stellar secure performance is impossible to deliver and therefore a fraudulent transaction that just churns through flash cash. I wonder if that makes it attractive as a money laundering facility/utility or is such a crime?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    45* is going to be out of the White House and on the path to prison in a bit over three months.

    Cozying up to him is an incredibly stupid move. At this point, it would well behoove the English government to start cozying up to Biden.

    *Illegitimate because of his collusion with Putin, among other things. And he lost the election by 3 million votes. Forever impeached. NOT MY PRESIDENT.

    1. StrangerHereMyself

      In hindsight we'll see that Biden never really stood a chance against Trump.

      Biden is a frail old man whilst Trump is a street fighter who'll do literally anything to win.

      1. Speckled Jim

        Wrong side of the pond.

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        But he's right. Trump has no shame, no honour, and will do anything to cling to the power he has. His opposition has no effective means of countering him or that.

        I don't believe Biden is as frail as made out but being the nice guy isn't enough. And I do feel the right-wingers are correct when they say Biden's attempts to appeal to the centre is alienating some on the left - More so outside the US where "left" actually is left of centre, not the moderate right.

        But it doesn't matter anyhow. America has become so polarised and divided that it's now simply a vote for one tribe or the other. It's so polarised that I can't believe there is anyone with a cluon who did not make up their minds a long time ago which tribe they belong to and who they will be voting against.

        It's now a numbers game. Which tribe has the most members, how many will vote, how many votes will simply disappear.

  11. Blackjack Silver badge

    This may become hilarious in hindsight....

    If Trump loses, the guy is literally killing his voters and makes Nixon look honest.

  12. DS999

    Admitting that now

    Gives them cover for reversing the decision should Trump lose the election, which is looking increasingly likely as his poll numbers sink.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Admitting that now

      The committee wants the UK to align with US demands made allegedly on security grounds. This isn't the same as aligning with Donald Trump, that is The Register's interpretation.

      Having said that, I don't expect US relations with China generally or Huawei in particular to become suddenly cordial under a new President. Scepticism about Huawei's good faith is a British and American position by default anyway, and with the damage having been done already by the Trump administration, President Biden isn't going to reverse it in a hurry. He would lose face by doing it which is important, he would look like the traitor that Trump has been calling him since probably 2008, and if the decision was followed by any undesirable consequence whatsoever - say, a quarter of the Internet taking Chinese New Year day as a holiday for half an hour - Biden would be excoriated.

      It can be imagined that the World Trade Organization would adjudicate that the US is unfairly discriminating against a Chinese business, but President Trump is no fool and he doesn't give a toot about that argument, so President Biden won't have to, either.

      Now when it comes to the Tiktok thing, Trump looks like a child having a tantrum, even to supporters.

      1. DS999

        Re: Admitting that now

        US/China relations won't do a 180 if Biden is elected, but he isn't a man child who thinks Twitter tantrums and sudden policy reversals without telling his state department are clever negotiating ploys. He wants to set things up so that all negotiations have to go through him, because he doesn't care in the slightest about what is good for the country or the world, only what is good for him personally and politically.

        So Biden will send out state department people to negotiate, and they will be empowered to agree to things within the boundaries that his administration sets, without worrying that Biden will suddenly tweet something that pulls the rug out from under them and things that had previously agreed upon have to be taken back.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Flame

    Well done, Cotton

    Way to openly declare that UK Government is ready and willing to bend over and take it every time Washington gets the urge.

    Oh, and if you're worried about "overseas technology", well guess what ? The USA is overseas from you too.

    You cannot hype an unproven, undocumented issue from country A when you are promoting dealing with country B instead, which has been proven and widely documented to do the exact same thing you are shrieking country A might do.

    This whole thing is bullshit and is starting to seriously annoy me.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Well done, Cotton

      Your last paragraph - could not agree more. But it’s worse than that. Go to the House of Commons website (and please, pretty please, El Reg provide links when you refer to this kind of report) the opening words are :

      “ The UK Government wants to be a global leader in 5G”.

      What does that even mean? The “U.K. Government” (sic) wants to be a leader ..... not the U.K? But not in production .... in usage? Which cloud cuckoo land are they inhabiting?

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