back to article BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly agreed to a plan that will entirely cut Huawei equipment from the nation's 5G networks within the next three years. The word from Britain late on Friday, strategically via the Guardian and Telegraph, is that Johnson has caved after months of pressure from the backbench of his …

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    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: What a plonker. Couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery springs immediately to mind.

      Grim old gent, wasn't he ?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cooper_Penrose-Fitzgerald

      .

      Apparently his nickname was 'Rough'.

  1. ThinkingMonkey
    Stop

    We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

    The U.S. has some huge balls to accuse somebody of spying 2 days after the articles were printed outlining the move by the government to allow FBI surveillance of web users data (presumably via ISPs) and without warrants. Add to that the actions of the illustrious NSA, who has people pulling their laptops apart and looking with magnifying glasses to see if any suspicious-looking chips are present and we have a populace who's so used to being spied on, they don't give one rat whether Huawei joins in.

    1. Chris the bean counter

      Re: We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

      Whataboutism -

      USA a democracy, saved UK and West 3 times in last century.

      China a tyranny

      As Orwell nearly said

      " It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of acknowledging help of USA than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-American.”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

        USA is not a democracy. Only the rich can afford to participate at the top levels.

        They also did not "save" the UK and the West, and especially not out of altruism:

        - The UK only finished *paying* the US for it's 2nd World War "help" in 2006.

        - The US were late to the party on both occasions (which is fair enough given they are not in Europe, but nevertheless remains the case).

        - The UK, Russia, and the various Europeans who fled to the UK and joined up, had already done a lot of the work by that time.

        - US companies supported (materially) *both* sides of the war until the US actually joined in.

        - The US remains the only country to use nuclear bombs on civilian populations, and nobody seems to remember the massive firebombings of Japan in the days leading up to those bombs - truly evil.

        I'm not particularly left or right leaning, quite middle really, but I absolutely detest the way our country (UK) is moving away from a rule-of-law relatively fair European model to one based on money, ignorance (the rulers not necessarily the citizens), profit, and the abandonment of the poor (no healthcare, no hope, no future). The American Dream was always a lie.

        Obviously China is not a good alternative. Russia is not what people think it is (try reading the Putin interviews by Oliver Stone), but is also not a model to aspire to. The only hope we had was the EU keeping us from going all-in on the American Way, and now we have Brexit and nobody to keep our home-grown politicians in check.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

        Awww sweet, someone still believes the "patriotic" bullshit history we were taught in school.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

        The vote count on the bean counter post demonstrate the accuracy of the Orwell statement, the irony lost on the down voters whose cognitive dissonance is resolved as Orwell predicted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

          The mere fact that you refer to Orwell who merely wrote a (very good) story as opposed to Jeremy Bentham who designed the actual theory that Orwell based his book on shows that your "insight" is not much more than superficial.

          Not that that is unique, but sometimes it's worth to look at something in depth to fully understand the picture. I recommend you do too, but I must warn you: knowing the detail of what is happening may make a lot more worrying.

  2. Must contain letters

    Another great opportunity for our tech savvy overlords

    To bluster that us Brits can build our own build a world beating 5G equipment, just like a replacement for Galileo, the dead end contact tracing app, and all those successful guvment IT projects. Don’t get me wrong on this, we’ve got great engineers and scientists, and we make good stuff, I just despair when lazy leaders have a good idea.

  3. 45RPM Silver badge

    I don’t know whether Huawei kit is safe from spying, I think that question is better answered by more expert heads than mine but…

    …I thought Brexit was all about taking back control? If we ‘take back control’ from the EU, an alliance in which we had a say and a vote, and then do exactly what the Americans tell us to do in order to get a trade deal, any kind of deal, we’ll bend over for you deal, what exactly have we gained?

    Seems to me that we’ve gone from being an executive member of the board, if not the actual CEO (which we had to share on a rotating basis) to being the office dogsbody.

    Thanks Brexiteers. Ya muppets.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Post-Brexit sovereignty. We're free from EU influence so we can do exactly what the US tells us to do.

      Just wait until the US trade talks start.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        re: just wait until the US trade talks start.

        What do we really want to import from the USA? (That is made in the USA)

        {not a lot really}

        Still we are over a barrel. The USA is a big bully and will demand that we take all sorts of crap US food that we could produce here at better standards but that will count for zilch, nada, zero. We will do what Trump says and that's the truth.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        re: Just wait until the US trade talks start.

        Erm. They've already started.

        Apparently we're not going to allow the import of chlorine washed chicken, even though we'll continue to import chlorine washed vegetables from Europe.

        I find it all very confusing.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "We're free from EU influence so we can do exactly what the US tells us to do."

        Even more than previously. I honestly feel very bad, as a french, for you guys in Blighty ...

        I was all over the place when Sarkozy adhered to NATO commandment, meaning our ops would be over-sighted by the US ...

        Now, you're in a worst place ...

    2. jeffty

      Even if you aren't convinced by the potential spying threat from China through Huawei kit, there are other problems associated with their use as a vendor, namely their worrying habit of copying source code from rival manufacturers.

      Quick example - Huawei used Cisco source code to implement EIGRP, a Cisco-only proprietary routing protocol in their kit - https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10485560675556000

      They only stopped selling kit with this functionality when Switchzilla sueballed them.

      Assuming for sake of argument that they'd continued to sell it, and a flaw was uncovered in EIGRP that allowed for DoS or information to be leaked from a target device (like this - https://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20051220-eigrp ), Cisco would patch their code and their devices, but you've got no guarantee that Huawei would have access to the fixed code, nor that they would fix it themselves, as they've obtained the code by copying the original source code (which I can only assume was leaked or obtained via questionable practices, and you can't guarantee that mechanism to grab the afffected code is still open to them).

      If they have previous for copying code just to support a proprietary protocol used by a competitor, we have no guarantees that the rest of the code running on their devices isn't copied from elsewhere, and we have no assurances that they'd patch upstream fixes for vulnerabilities found by these rival vendors, or even that they've realised their own devices are at risk to an exploit affecting someone elses switch and associated source code.

      I'd be less concerned if they were licensing code from other vendors and using it with commercial support in place, then they'd be tracking the versions properly, they'd entitled to see the fixed code and would apply it themselves.

      1. Al fazed
        Facepalm

        Of course

        A good old fashioned capitalist outfit like Apple (insert company name) would never dream of nicking someone elses ideas or source code for use in their own products, would they ?

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Of course

          When I worked for Burr Brown they reverse-engineered an Analog Devices VMEbus board. But that was okay because it was Red White & Blue on Red White & Blue violence.

          The Chinese are proper dodgy though. There was a Scottish wave generator being developed, the Chinese ambassador was given a tour, two days later their offices were burgled, one year later they went out of business, two years later an exact clone was being sold in China.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            True, or they just read the patent

            @"There was a Scottish wave generator being developed..."

            I was skeptical, but appears true:

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/10/mysterious-factory-break-in-raises-suspicions-about-chinese-visit

            Or they just copied it from the patents, e.g.

            https://patents.google.com/patent/US9018779

            Why do a complex breaking, when you can simply read a patent and apply it in China because the company doesn't hold a patent in China!?

            Obama's trade agreements were about locking out China from markets with products like this. Trump cancelled those.

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: True, or they just read the patent

              "Why do a complex breaking"

              You mean a complex break-in? Pretty simple break-in. Why ignore all the other goods on offer, including in the different company on the ground floor unless it was targetted? The Chinese thieves will have saved years in development by gaining detailed plans and years of testing data. Occam's Razor. It walks, quacks, and tastes good in orange sauce - it's a duck.

              Thanks for providing the link though, lately I've been forgetting some of the things I say sound extraordinary and require supporting links.

              Joke:

              How do you get a bike in Amsterdam? Wait for cyclists to pass then shout, "Oi, that's my bike!"

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Misuse of Occam's Razor

                Who would break in and steal valuable laptops? Thieves. Occam's Razor

                How would the Chinese copy the design? They'd simply read the patent filing where the workings are described so that anyone skilled in the art can recreate the invention. Occam's Razor

                1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                  Re: Misuse of Occam's Razor

                  Like I said, the copy of the design is not what this is about, it's about the supporting test data.

                  You know, I hate to claim expertise, but I've spent some time chatting in police cells and have a reasonable idea about what thieves steal, and it's the easiest and quickest. They don't miss out an entire floor of goodies just to target a few laptops upstairs.

                  By your anonymous comment it appears the Chinese are back to steal Occam's razor.

                2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Misuse of Occam's Razor

                  "They'd simply read the patent filing where the workings are described so that anyone skilled in the art can recreate the invention."

                  The patent probably doesn't specify materials, stress loads, and all sorts of other stuff that might take a lot of time and experimentation to resolve when you can just steal the data.

                  We've all seen cheap Chinese knock-offs of products made with cheap plastic instead of the proper materials, both because they didn't know which material to use or simply to make it cheap and nasty to compete with the original, more expensive version. In this instance, they were not looking at cheap knock-offs but to make something as good or better than the original prototype to put into local production.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Misuse of Occam's Razor

                    Cheap Chinese steel products labelled to higher standards than they are, are a very real problem. People die because if it when stuff breaks.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: True, or they just read the patent

              Reminds me of when cisco supplied one of two advanced prototype routers with extra new features to BT for analysis and testing, and it was stolen from B48 onsite testing datacentre that also had Huawei kit in the same room being managed by accompanied Huawei staff. The thieves cut a hole through the security perimeter fence near to b48's fire door entrance, forced the fire door (who's alarm mysteriously failed to alert) and broke into the server room itself using the actual access code for the door and stole *just* the experimental router. A few months later, Huawei had their own router with the same features. Magic. There is no proof it walked across the road from the Adastral Park main entrance to barack square, where Huawei have a dorm/office though.

              I really wish I could find a online source from this, but you'll have to have it first hand from someone who was there, anonymously posted of course.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course

          Have Apple actually done this? I am genuinely curious, since I don't follow this stuff as closely as I once did.

          IIRC Mr. Jobs proved that MS stole the Apple MPEG code and extracted a pretty penny from Bill G for that transgression, something that surely contributed to Apple's continued existence at the time.

          What other companies have actually been caught? I didn't know about the Cisco thing until this minute, so assume a blank slate on the subject.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Huawei used Cisco source code?

        Then there *are* backdoors in their software after all... straight back to the NSA!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How braindead must you be to confuse a membership of an international political body with whether or not we buy our network technology from a company which is controlled by the CCP.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

        or from a company secretly owned by the CIA?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I didn't know FaceBook sold any products

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pressure?

    Pressure from the "great" orange one? More paranoia.

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Being too lazy to investigate the supply chains

    Can I just say we will be buying pretty much the same product just re-branded by a non Chinese company?

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Being too lazy to investigate the supply chains

      Designed :: not in China

      Assembled :: not in China

      Components :: made in China

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Disgusting

    Well, I was never especially proud of being British, but it never occured to me I'd get to be ashamed of my nationality.

    1. Al fazed
      Happy

      Re: Disgusting

      Join the 40 year old club, you are welcome

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Disgusting

      The brexit bullshit did that to me about a year or so ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disgusting

        You are a child.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

    and America was threatening to cut off intelligence to the British and pull out military assets if Huawei wasn't given the boot.

    Only one of those is in any way practically possible and immediately obvious to anyone threatened and who has more than just a modicum of intelligence although both are counter-productive and extremely damaging to that simple kind of Uncle Sam Bully, methinks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

      Without US intelligence would we have to Google for our own dodgy dossiers?

      Fine, the UK leaves NATO and reduces its military spend, it keeps nukes just in case Belgium threatens to invade but otherwise avoids all those American offers to bring peace and democracy to any middle east country that threatens the Saudis.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

        In case you missed the memo, and to be fair, unless you follow the energy market you'd be clueless, the USA no longer needs or wants the Middle East or their oil.

        DJT was the "peace candidate" and has started no wars and the probability of him starting one is somewhere close to zero - his opinion on these matters hasn't changed that much.

        The Saudis are shitting their pants because Iran, the USA under DJT couldn't give two figs about whether Iran invades Saudi or Yemen nukes Syria. Aside from an historical interest in support of Israel, there no longer appears to be any compelling argument for one US soldier to be deployed in the Middle East. Russia, on the other hand has issues which are real and present in the ME.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

          So, why has this "peace candidate" (LOL) sent more troops to the Middle East than he's pulled out of Afghanistan?

          https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/03/04/ending-myth-trump-ending-wars

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

            I don't think you understand how much of a Hawk HRC is. If you're not wired into US politics, you ma have missed it, but her time at State should provide a clue.

            DJT was very definitely the "peace candidate", this is not an assertion, it is a hard fact.

            That he hasn't yet been able, or perhaps completely willing, to extricate the USA from the entire ME is more a reflection of military inertia than any real geopolitical need on the US's part.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

              Oh geeeze. Another one who assumes that anyone who criticises Trump must love Hillary or Obama etc... Why do you have to be so one-dimensional?

              HRC is a war hawk. I agree. Trump CLAIMED to be anti-war pre election, that is true. But he also said he was going to drain the swamp, give everyone healthcare, etc.

              Anyway, it should have been obvious from the context, I wasn't against the assertion that out of the two, he was the self-described "peace candidate", but commenting that your so called "peace candidate" has pumped more soldiers into the middle east than he's removed. He's almost started wars with Iran, and North Korea, and now he wants a war with China, to deflect from his crappy domestic handling of coronavirus.

              He's also been responsible for trying to overthrow the Venuzualian government.

              On top of that, he's intentionally pitting American vs. American, so for you to still call him "peaceful" is laughable.

              Oh, and as for no need to reduce military activities (if so, why did he promise it) say that to the soldiers risking their lives every day; the ordinary americans who can't get healthinsurance because their tax dollars goes to the millitary complex; and the countries whose stability is continually compromised.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A Custer's Last Stand-like Bluster.

                I didn't make the false dichotomy HRC-DJT. That is a misreading. The dove-hawk dichotomy exists and is uncontentious.

                "almost started wars with Iran, and North Korea". You read too many comics, and since no war happened, your argument is effectively that POTUS' actions were successful in averting war. As for ME, military inertia and residual need. Afghanistan is going to the Taliban, it's just a matter of timing now.

                One thing is empirically certain. The USA no longer needs the ME. Europe and Asia (incl. China) absolutely require the ME for their oil. They are shit scared that the USA will sail the 5th fleet home, and they should be. The combined sea power of Europe and Asia can't protect the oil supply lines for 5 minutes. The US doesn't need oil from the ME and can let it burn (whether they will is a different matter as it would be hard to contain to the region). There won't be any more US "oil wars" in the ME because "US oil supply interests" - that is now officially ended. The US interests in Asia's (aside from the CCP and NK) and Europe's well being will probably keep the fleet in the gulf for now. Long term, it is an open question.

                "now he wants a war with China". Trump's position on China is unchanged since long before he was POTUS. If by "war" you mean a "hot war", then you really are clueless. There are much easier ways to topple China, and the CCP know it as well as anyone else watching the data.

                An important thing going on in the China space is that the entire world is getting red-pilled about dependence on a communist regime for manufacturing due to the SAR-Cov-2 outbreak from China. What is more important, is that China is now via its official representatives, very actively torching their diplomatic and trade working relationships with just about every country in the world - you won't read that much in the USA, but it's everywhere. The CCP are not answering the phone to anyone these days.

                The CCP knows they let SARS-Cov-2 out of the bag, and part of their counter response to the West's real questions is unwinding otherwise tolerable relationships. Australia is "gum on a Chinese shoe" for example. This is a domestic policy issue for the CCP because the crash of their economy is coming and they need to align their citizenry for the CCP and against the west. Otherwise, when the Chinese start starving again, it will get ugly real quick.

                I doubt the Venezuelans have the ability to overthrow their dictatorship. It's what happens to unarmed populations when dictators assume power. DJT doesn't want a war with Venezuela, he wants another reliable trading partner on the same continent, which was what existed prior to Chavez. Using Venezuela to support you "hawk" portrayal of Trump is really stretching logic and reality. Supporting the overthrow of the current Venezuelan regime is an honourable position.

                The hard left swing of the Democratic party is not a product of DJT. The divisiveness that really got going in the 60's has reached a logical crescendo. It is not the fault of DJT or Barrack Obama, it started back in the 60's and has been rolling along to its current position. The Democratic party is a party of factions that have no cohesive policy other than their hatred of each other and of anyone not in "their tent". Their "diversity is strength" mantra is the shade they use to gloss over this fractiousness.

                They are unified only in their definition of their enemy. It has been thus for decades, it's just a little more obvious now to outsiders since 80% of the MSM has been weaponised more successfully on their behalf. Middle America is not WaPo or the NYT. To the extent they see those papers, they wrap fish in them rather than read them. The melting pot and shared ideals that made the USA exceptional and aspirational started to separate over two generations ago. No one knows where this will end, but a lot of very bright people have some compelling arguments about it - most of them are not sanguine.

                As for health care. Universal health care and other luxurious social programs are expensive and can be afforded by nations who live in the umbrella of global trade paid for and guaranteed by the USA since Bretton Woods after WWII. The USA decided to foot the bill so that European militaries are each rather powerless, having only any usefulness when united in NATO, but 70 years later, the need to foot the bill is far, far less. Subsequently, Europe's social program profligacy with borrowed money under the US protective umbrella is eventually going to collapse and deconstruct their societies. It is ugly already and will get uglier. The "guns v. butter" dichotomy is going to get real, quite soon.

                I get it, you don't like the guy.

                I don't particularly care for him personally. But my antipathy for the person DJT or the person BO is irrelevant. The global political and demographic shifts are there for all to see who are looking.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: global trade paid for and guaranteed by the USA

                  This is so funny.

                  You do realise that having the dollar as a reserve currency effectively means the rest of the world is paying for pretty much the entire American lifestyle - military and all?

                  I suspect you haven't got a clue :(

  8. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Pirate

    Anone surpised?

    It was always clear that brexit was predicated on securing an American trade deal and, to get that, we would have to jump however high America told us to. And that will be pretty high with Trump pursuing his America First agenda.

    I always believed the only reason Johnson had allowed Huawei ibvolvement was to pretend we weren't already America's bitch and he would soon fold on that. Just as he'll fold on food standards and everything else Trump wants.

    The brexiteer elite, the alternative establishment, have always wanted us to become a Vassal State of America. They convinced the gullible and self-claimed 'not stupid' that it was 'freedom from the undemocratic EUSSR', and that's exactly what we are getting.

    Not in my name.

    1. Al fazed
      Thumb Up

      Re: Anone surpised?

      If people read deeper into IR35 they would see a parallel with the tax regime in USA. Now that's what I call strange.........., but I am not surprised at all

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Anone surpised?

        Wasn't IR35 concieved when Tony Blair was PM? I think that predates the US Tax law.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Anone surpised?

          Yes, but so was the change from Open Source to "it must all be Microsoft" after Blair cozied up to Gates in the same way that Trump cozies up to dictators (I note with interest that that visit has been carefully scrubbed off the Net - a good thing El Reg still had it archived).

          I'm not sure it proves much.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anone surpised?

            "Trump cozies up to dictators"

            Sadly, dictators exist. If nuking them is off the table, talking to them is the next best option.

            I am not a fan of talking to the Taliban at all, but to get out of Afghanistan, we need to cede the country back to them - millions will suffer horrible lives (especially women and children) and die miserable deaths because of it - so be it. Why should anyone now care what low IQ morons do to each other in Allah's name? Those who won't be saved can't be saved and people with an IQ of 70 aren't really amenable to abstract thinking. Freedom is an abstract concept.

            Rocket man (is he back from the salon yet or did he die?) is a ticking bomb, but is defused for the moment, no thanks to the 3 previous POTUS'. Talking to him is easier and less bloody than nuking him for the time being.

            I'm glad POTUS "cozies up to dictators" while carrying a very big stick.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Anone surpised?

      The Trade Bill going through Parliament at the moment removes the role of Parliament in the negotiation and review of trade deals... Not the sort of taking back control envisaged by many of those who voted Leave...

      1. mevets Bronze badge

        Re: Anone surpised?

        I doubt envisaged properly captures the visions that those dupes were experiencing.

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