back to article It's been one day since Blighty OK'd Huawei for parts of 5G – and US politicians haven't overreacted at all. Wait, what? Surveillance state commies?

Yesterday it was decided that certain "high-risk" vendors, cough, cough, Huawei, will be permitted to contribute components towards the UK's 5G network in a limited way. The move provided great relief to Huawei, and caused some dismay in the US. Perhaps the strongest words came from junior Republican senator for Nebraska Ben …

    1. hammarbtyp

      "Congress should pass a bill calling for an all out United States effort to develop better technology at lower cost to defeat Huawei on 5G worldwide by simply outcompeting them and driving them out of markets,"

      Maybe they could have a 5 year plan. call it the "great leap forward" or something

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One in the eye for Trump - no - make that BOTH eyes!

    It's about time the good ol' boys (NOT) comprising that shambles they call a government administration across the pond learned to keep their noses out of another country's business. Trump will no doubt throw his toys out of the pram and wet his nappy (diaper to you Yankee folk) but the USA does NOT rule the world - especially with that pig-ignorant, chauvinistic, obstructive, lying orange apparition in the chair.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: One in the eye for Trump - no - make that BOTH eyes!

      Wait, wait: are you actually trying to say that America's Good Ol' Boys Redneck Network isn't the center of the known universe??

      Say it ain't so!!

  2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    Who dines at the top table?

    Simple answer: The USA, China and the EU.

    The UK, at 5th in the pecking order IIRC, gets to wait at that table, not sit at it, so who the UK should suck up to depends on what political flavour you prefer:

    rapacious no-quarter-given capitalism, a surveillance state disguised as communism, or technocrat-directed Europe.

    Speaking personally, the more I look at those three, the less I like the first two.

    1. YARR

      It's pointless worrying about "pecking orders" since we are destined to relative decline as the developing world grows. Reducing dependence on other nations is a better policy, in particular avoiding singular dependence on any one nation or trade block.

      We should avoid trade deals that involve political compromise - a trade deal should be purely about trade.The electorate decide what sort of country we will become, not foreign governments. Also trade agreements that give corporations the right to claim against governments must be avoided, the rights of ordinary people must come first.

      Most trade deals aren't advantageous to the UK since we are a net importer of nearly everything. We should be mindful about what trade deals we commit to since they will determine in which industries we can be competitive.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "The electorate decide what sort of country we will become, not foreign governments."

        ROFLMAO.

        The sort of country we become depends on reality. What the electorate decides merely affects what bit of reality we bump into and how hard.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Reality is the present. The sort of country we become is the future. The electorate decides our path from the present to the future.The electorate haven't consented to any of the above three, nor are they likely to vote for any kind of dependence again.

          1. SonofRojBlake

            "The electorate haven't consented to any of the above three, nor are they likely to vote for any kind of dependence again."

            Indeed. Which is why they will never, EVER be asked again.

    2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Who dines at the top table?

      > UK, at 5th in the pecking order IIRC,

      Nope, currently 6th

  3. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    A reply from Sparta

    "If the United States offers better logistics supply chain, better technology and lower costs virtually the entire world outside China would shift away from Huawei," tweeted Gingrich.

    If.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: A reply from Sparta

      If American laws didn't force us to pay even close to a living wage, as near-slave wages to compete with third-world Asian interests should be good enough; if we didn't ask our corporations to pay their way in society and instead gave them a completely free pass to use their money towards yet more lobbying; and if only we didn't pay attention to pay disparity and allow our wealthy to recreate the Gilded Age and stopped those bleeding-heart liberals who have the nerve to have a problem with "poverty" and "working-class poor"...

      we'd be able to sell $1 items to the world and still have enough left to pad our golden parachutes"

      FIFY

    2. mevets

      Re: A reply from Sparta

      More like Not Even If; Newt is a very smart and savvy politician(*); he knows that simply isn't true as the US has few friends, and even those are distrustful. While the various camps want to place the blame for that solidly on the other camp; I am sure it is the oscillation that causes the distrust. The policies of the earnest are undone by the disingenuous and vice versa. You can only trust the US so far, where "so far" means less than 4 years.

      (*) Sascha Cohen made many very smart people look like fools; and good on him. Newt was not one of those. If you watch the Ali-G interview you see Newt figure it out 15 seconds in, then he treads carefully to make sure he leaves no idiotic soundbite behind. Although I personally despise the ideas that Newt caters to, I gained a healthy respect for the mans BS detector.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: A reply from Sparta

        Wiley politicians rapidly develop fine BS detectors. It is just that their egos get in the way much of the time.

  4. Detective Emil
    Black Helicopters

    U.S. engaged in pot-kettle blackness dispute

    This reminds me of Alice's Restaurant:

    "Sergeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug."

    He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Academics

    Instead of breathless "reporting" about what the politicians are babbling about, how about some actual analysis of whether and how much Huawei actually represents a surveillance threat. You know, from people who actually (GASP!) know what they're talking about?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Academics

      Any big subject has lots of aspects. We need articles on all of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Academics

      "how about some actual analysis of whether and how much Huawei actually represents a surveillance threat"

      Well, there was the one about the Pentagon denouncing the security concerns earlier this week, and the one last year about GCHQ denouncing the security concerns. I'm a little surprised that they're not linked, but they have at least been previously published (maybe it's assumed people have read them)

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Academics

      Huawei does not actually represent a surveillance threat, there have been many articles to that point in the last year or so that DMCS have been preparing their report so that is not news. The decision and the US reaction to it are news. BTW this is a news website.

    4. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Academics

      After all, Cisco would never get involved in any nasty hidden backdoor shenanigans would they?

      1. Chris King
        Facepalm

        Re: Academics

        Nah. Why bother building in secret back doors when they've already got things like this to play with ?

    5. Sanctimonious Prick
      Happy

      Re: Academics

      (HCSEC) Oversight Board

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    There seems to be a lot of FUD going around over this. People keep talking about Huawei "being involved" in building the UK's 5G network. Why? Just buy the damn kit and the install and manage it ourselves, we don't need the Chinese coming over here and installing it, let along running it. I install Dell computers in the NHS. Dell aren't runing the NHS, we just buy the kit from them. And the first thing I do with it is install a new BIOS, and the second thing I do is wipe the hard drive and replace the operating system and applications, so even if the kit was supplied full of spy-wear, it's gone before it's in use. That should be exactly the same with 5G kit - just but stuff from suppliers, whoever they are, and *we* build and use it as *we* see fit. I buy bread from Fletchers, that doesn't mean Fletcher's are running my life; Post Office Telephones bought Strowger switches, that didn't mean Strowger were running the UK telephone network, British Gas bought pipes from British Plastics, that didn't mean British Plastics were running the gas network.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Surely if it were that simple the whole thing could be done with your Dell boxes. Surely the whole point of this is that these systems are software defined. So once you've wiped your Huawei box what are you going to load it up with?

      1. whitepines Silver badge

        And, once you've wiped your Huawei box, even if you had software of your own to load, did Huawei (quite rightly) copy Silicon Valley and require a Huawei signature for any loaded software to actually start up?

    2. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      reflections on trusting trust - Ken Thompson 1984

    3. WonkoTheSane
      Big Brother

      Maybe you should read up on the "Intel Management Engine"

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Alert

        Maybe you should read up on the "Intel Management Engine"

        And lest we think AMD has put their poor consumers first, the "AMD Platform Security Processor" is another mandatory funbox.

        If it's from Silicon Valley, it's probably violating your privacy and your rights under the GDPR, and there's nothing you can do about it (aside from recycling it). Ironically a lot of cheap Chinese kit is more resistant to this since it's usually secured so poorly that you can load open software on it instead of the factory bloatware.

    4. iron Silver badge

      And who do you get that clean Dell BIOS from to replace the Dell BIOS you wiped? Dell perhaps? LOL

      I think you dropped your copy of "Fly Fishing".

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        True, I do depend on NHS IT ensuring that what they supply to us at the coal face is properly vetted, but that's true of everything in life.

  7. AndyFl

    Who to believe

    It is a sad reflection on the current times that I believe things said by the USA White house occupants slightly less than the Chinese.

    Back doors in Chinese Huawei equipment? Probably

    Back doors in US routers (Cisco, Juniper etc)? Probably.

    Loyalty used to be a two way street, not to be confused with grovelling to the current president. How on earth did we end up in this situation?

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Who to believe

      Back doors in US routers (Cisco, Juniper etc)? ProbablyDefinitely.
      FTFY.

      Both Cisco and Juniper have had backdoors discovered in them in recent times, and the US intelligence agencies have a proven history of intercepting Cisco devices in transit (while inside the US postal/courier systems) between Cisco and the end customer and modifying them physically.

      1. Old'un

        Re: Who to believe

        Quite - I suspect the problem here isn't that the US is concerned that China will spy on us, so much as that if we're using Chinese kit, the US won't be able to spy on us through their kit.

        1. Sanctimonious Prick
          Devil

          Re: Who to believe

          You got it!

          And nor will WhooHoo let the US make any modifications to their kit. Sucker-punch! :D

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Who to believe

      "Back doors in Chinese Huawei equipment? Probably" Possibly, but not yet proven or discovered..

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Apparently Pompeo is coming over here. Why not take him to the HCSEC and get him to point out these back doors in the code. He obviously understands this stuff so much better than the guys doing the code audit.

    1. John McCallum

      Pompeo :-

      couldn't point out the back door in a set of long johns.

  9. Joseba4242

    Puzzled

    I'm genuinely puzzled what this is all about. Huawei has been in 4G networks in the UK for a long time, with no apparent or even bemoaned "loss of sovereignity".

    There are many cries of China getting access to "data" but in almost all cases nowadays data transfer uses TLS so that's of little use. Other forms of data like location have been available in 4G already. So what's different with 5G? That there are potentially more devices (assuming someone finds an actual use case)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puzzled

      "I'm genuinely puzzled what this is all about."

      American protectionism. Reports from the Pentagon and GCHQ/MI5 state that there are no real security concerns (although GCHQ weren't exaclty complimentary about the standards of competancy exhibited by the source code). Go back far enough in his tweet stream, and you'll even find Trump saying it's about trade.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puzzled

      The suggestion has been made that Huawei or the Chinese intelligence services might have included some sort of remote kill switch or other mechanism that would allow them to sabotage networks. I'm inclined to be sceptical of this, since GCHQ are supposed to have been over Huawei's source code with a fine-tooth comb, but I guess you can never be entirely sure you haven't missed something. Personally, I still believe this has more to do with commercial self-interest on the part of the yanks than any security threat.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust no one

    Always assume that when you are on the net, you are being tracked, collated or spied upon.

    Social media anyone?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      When the Free Market Economy Model Works Well, Quality Should Rule Every Time Anywhere/Everywhere ‽

      Trust no one Always assume that when you are on the net, you are being tracked, collated or spied upon. ...... Anonymous Coward

      Sound advice, AC. And be prepared if you are doing anything tasty and testy to be one of those persons of interest one invariably never gets to hear about which cost a system an absolute fortune to own ...... as in have them play nice for the home team rather than starring as a supreme leading striker in the competition and opposition.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, still don't get it ...

    surely the first rule of espionage is to assume your own side is compromised. Once you start from that point, is it really such a big deal if you are ? Look at any operation of WW2 and you'll see how nothing was ever assumed to be "clean". You start with codenames and work your way up.

    Not that I believe for a second the US has the UK or any other countries best interests at heart over this.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A ton of small minded anti US rhetoric in the comments. If you think the US is bad, just wait until the Chinese get their fingers into us. The Anglosphere is UK's future. Get a grip on reality. Chinese monolith cannot overtake the West long term because of its lack of political diversity.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I see. That would be the US that totally didn't slip spyware into Cisco boxes being shipped abroad.

      Let's be clear about this:

      1. The US has form for shipping spyware.

      2. Huawei have been obliged to have their code audited by GCHQ with a secure site being set up specifically for this purpose.

      3. The audit complained about code quality but didn't find any evidence of what the US is claiming.

      4. This is a trade dispute dressed up as security issue by a particularly aggressive POTUS.

      5. Our rhetoric towards the US is dependent on its actions towards the rest of the world. If you think this is currently anti-US you should reflect on why and on the extent of making good his successor will be faced with.

    2. BigSLitleP Silver badge

      "lack of political diversity."

      What, you mean like the US with it's right wing party and it's even more right wing party?

      Glass houses, bud.

    3. First Light Bronze badge

      I do agree with you that people bitching about the Americans now will look back fondly at this period as the good old days.

      However I disagree about China's global future. They have form at being Imperial overlords - they have honed and refined the concept of Empire over 2200 years. I don't see it being a problem for them to take over globally, eventually they will. The US and Britain are at the beginning of a long, slow, painful decline. I mean, BoJo as PM? That's a sign of how far down the crapper your country already is. Ditto the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: China's global future

        I disagree with your disagreement ...

        Whilst I admit the Chinese aren't a particularly pleasant regime. the same could be said of the US c. 2019. Bearing in mind it's appalling record on civil rights is still within living (and lynched) memories.

        It's not China that has fought innumerable long distance conflicts since 1945.

        And if we have complaints about China, we need to look back into history and see which countries were arrogant enough to prod the sleeping dragon. Oh, look, it's the UK and US.

        You reap what you sow.

  13. Adam Inistrator

    E2E anybody?

    We could use any shiiity kit if we have E2E broadly used. UK and US politicians are all on Signal now I think. They might not even get much of the metadata if onion routing takes off.

  14. Franco Silver badge

    Wonder if it was Huawei kit that helped the NSA tap Angela Merkel's phone?

  15. MrKrotos

    UK's special relationship with the US

    Hahaha what a pile of shit! Means nothing...

    Can you really say that you trust Cisco more than Huawei? https://www.tomshardware.com/uk/news/cisco-backdoor-hardcoded-accounts-software,37480.html

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