back to article Only buy Huawei or ZTE if you like being SPIED ON - US politicos

Huawei and ZTE, China's top makers of telecoms kit, should be locked out of the US market because their technology poses a security risk, a US House of Representatives group said today. The Intelligence Committee believes there is a threat of Chinese state influence on the two companies that would make them a liability in the …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I imagine US kit has similar backdoors.

    1. Miek

      Do you mean the "US kit" that is also manufactured in China ?

    2. William Boyle

      It would make sense to me, given our security services' past activities installing trojans and spyware on our perceived enemies' gear. As I understand it, we installed some compromised chips in an Iraqui network printer before the first Gulf War in order to spy on, and compromise their command and control systems. Apparently, from what I read, it was a VERY successful operation...

      So, let's not allow the pot to call the kettle black, shall we?

    3. LarsG

      As most phones are made in China, what's the chance of your phone spying on you?

      Ans: they all do, google does, bing does, amazon does Microsoft does...

      Somewhat is the difference?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      PROTECTIONISM say no more.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The UK are happy to sell BAE systems, our only defence industry to the Germans and the French.

      Hitler needn't have invaded Europe, he only needed to encourage taking up a joint currency, the Euro and he'd own the continent without firing a shot.

      1. eurobloke

        Re: YET

        Considering we do a lot of defence work with our fellow European partners, one thing I would say is « Niquer ta reum ».

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is McCarthyism

      Rearing its ugly head again?

    7. kiwimuso

      Free Trade - American styrle

      See title!

      1. kiwimuso

        Re: Free Trade - American styrle

        Styrle???? -----> Style!!! Damn spell checker - me!

  2. Matthew 3

    Have I got this right?

    If I have, then there's no proof any backdoor in the products or some other kind of illegal shenanigans but the House of Representatives says you shouldn't buy from these firms anyway.

    I thought that trying to distort the free market philosophy was considered anti-American. But it seems that being able to sell it cheaper than a US firm is the 'crime' they're moaning about here. Incidentally, what country do Cisco use to have their products assembled?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have I got this right?

      It's a Congressional hearing. They usually go like this:

      Congressman: My opinion blah, blah, rant, rave. Do you agree?

      Accused witch: No.

      Sometimes the Congressmen ramble instead of rant. Those ones are clearly just useless and probably piss all the other committee members off as much as they piss me off.

      The greatest irony of it all is that lying under oath to Congressmen is a criminal offence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have I got this right?

      It depends on the product. If it is a security product, it is NOT made in China. Take the ASA, not made in China but Mexico. Alcatel-Lucent telecom gear is also from Mexico, NOT China.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have I got this right?

      Not really. The problem is elsewhere.

      When you sit down across the table to discuss the matter with a team from a "normal" company you can ask everyone present exactly to who they report, what is their command chain and what is their role in influencing the decision and at what level will they influence it.

      Try that one with these two (especially with the non-public one). Look at the results from the perspective of someone who is paranoid "by job description".

      By the way, a lot of UK (and to a lesser extent US) companies will fail that test too and should be treated the same for government contracts.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are the sweatshops that manufacture Apple's products located? Surely that makes fruity technology equally suspect?

  4. alanturingslefteyebrow

    The Economist speaks

    The Economist published a good article on this a few weeks ago. In it, Ross Anderson makes the point that pretty much all kit has some China-sourced components, and not buying from Huawai or ZTE would provide a false sense of security.

    Article is here:

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Economist speaks

      Doesn't matter where Cisco gear is made, the software is not written in China nor are the chips designed in China. It is WAY more difficult to insert backdoors when you are just putting together parts ala iPhone manufacturing. If on every product manufactured you add some extra chip or even replace one chip with something that looks identical which is a clone+spy it can't escape notice.

      Now if you knew that a certain batch of routers was destined for somewhere you wanted to spy on you could just modify those alone, and maybe no one notices. So perhaps not a good idea to direct ship to customers from China, but instead ship from China to the US and then on to the ultimate destination.

      When you preorder iPhones I wonder if they get shipped direct from Foxconn to the end user? If they put a shipping label on there showing it as being sent to someone in Congress, that would be a good one to add the spy chip to...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And MS windows ?

    The Pentagon can read as you type. Probably the same with Apple, Google, Intel, IBM etc

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward 101
    Thumb Up

    This will be highly inconvenient for the Chinese government

    They will have to put security backdoors on Cisco and HP equipment made at the far end of the big factory - it's five minutes walk away.

  8. Grikath

    *goes off to check on his tinfoil stock portfolio*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just make sure it's natively manufactured tinfoil otherwise it may be deliberately thin and ineffective.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Zhu Jinyun, senior VP for North America and Europe at ZTE, insisted that the company was the "most transparent publicly owned telecoms company in China".

    That's like saying the battered marsbar is the healthiest battered confectionery sold at my local chippy... I want a battered mars bar.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To be honest, I trust China more than I trust America.

    The US is going to war on all foreign manufacturers and service providers either via court cases or political pressure. Simply to improve profits in America and try and keep other countries from getting so well off.

  11. Justice

    Reds under the Bed.

    Those whacky Republicans... still not trusting the commies after all these years.

    Here's hoping another Cold War not on the horizon.

    1. Lance 3

      Re: Reds under the Bed.

      If those loony Democrats trust the commies so much, explain the bay of pigs or the Cuban embargo? Look at what president was in office when that transpired?

  12. Tom 35

    It's obvous

    The US make US telcos spy on the public and give them a get out of jail free card when they get caught.

    And the US government is WAY better then the Chinese so you can just imagine what they are up to.

    And even worse they can't make the Chinese companies install secret back doors for them.

  13. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Might be perfectly true ... But

    "Huawei is entirely owned by its employees. No third party - including government institutions - has any ownership interest in Huawei," he said. "Huawei’s success has not been based on favouritism or subsidisation by the Chinese government."

    But that doesn't rule out that Huawei does whatever the [Chinese] Government asks. It's certainly interesting to see who has been sold what for how much in Africa and what China gets out of it.

    Some non-Chinese companies are no different and even do it for highest bidder.

  14. chrisf1

    Lets try a though experiment and play this quote out in a Chinese context:

    'the companies didn't hand over all the documents requested, including information about their relationships and regulatory interaction with the Chinese government.'

    So they'd expect say Google, Microsoft, Apple and CISCO to detail all their dealings with the US government - a customer and a regulator - if those companies were asked by a Chinese politician? And that would be just fine by the US then?

    1. xperroni
      Big Brother

      My son, you seem to ignore the ways of the World.

      When AMERICA asks you to cough up whatever information you have, they're doing it only in the interest of preserving Freedom ©! And you can be just as sure they won't misuse it in any way, because they said so!

      In contrast, when those godless COMMUNISTS so much as ask you the time of the day, you can be certain they're plotting nothing short of destroying you, defiling your woman and corrupting your children!

      So don't ever be fooled again, for there's not only good and bad corporations, but also good and bad government probes. They're easy to tell apart: those that hail from THE FREE WORLD are the good ones, and the others are the bad.

  15. MrT

    "Intelligence Committee"...




    Nope, still can't tell if that's something from a Saturday Night Live sketch...

  16. Chronos

    Pot... kettle. Kettle, this is pot. You both seem to absorb all wavelengths of light to a similar degree.

  17. Graham Wilson
    Black Helicopters

    As sure as eggs, the espionage will happen.

    "Huawei and ZTE, China's top makers of telecoms kit, should be locked out of the US market because their technology poses a security risk...."

    That's true, and if Huawei and ZTE et al are locked out of the US market then it won't be for long, so espionage will happen as sure as eggs.

    Irrespective, espionage will happen until the Chinese have milked the US dry. Except for some noisy rhetoric a la the article's story, the English-speaking West no longer has the will or gumption to even bother to fight back.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    So Google, CISCO, Microsoft, IBM etc won't implement a backdoor if the NSA or some other US gov dept tells them to.

    Unless they have found some ZTE or Huawei kit that under lab conditions has tried to contact back to some anon Chinese server where does this proof come from that they are less secure than US made kit?

  19. JaitcH

    Americans protecting America from American greed

    Just the American government fighting off the competition, such a wonderful upholder of the WTO trade agreements. NOT

    What are they going to use instead? Made in China Cisco products? They need to get real, the greedy Western companies sold out IP rights and handed them to Chinese manufacturers in return for the opportunity to reap outrageous profits.

    Look at Apple. It couldn't get Americans to assemble iCrap, only Asian skills can.

    The US government uses commercial blackmail to promote American products. Don't buy GM seeds, or we'll block your food product shipments.

    Buy Chinese aircraft and you'll have trouble getting FCC approval.

    Look at the rare earth industry. The US had the world's nuts in it's hands and the the automobile company that owned it sold the outfit to China. Now the US has lost control it is using every 'diplomatic' to lever the Chinese into selling it more.

    Guess they will have to wait for the Japanese to dig up more in northern VietNam before things improve.

    The US doesn't like it when they are on the wrong side of a problem. Too bad, they are so of the asleep at the wheel.

    The US has an employment problem. And whose fault is that - the Romney types who sold the American jobs to China so he could make more money.

    And on and on.

  20. Arthur 1

    "We have proof, we swear, you're not allowed to see it but we have it..."

    Presumably said proof is in the same binder as the list of communists in congress.

    Seriously, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Huawei is getting generous (direct or indirect) help from the Chinese government to undercut foreign firms; but the rest of this requires some pretty solid evidence and none is forthcoming. Huawei, and China in general, love the dollar way too much to jeopardize their massive bottom line over a stupid stunt like spy switches unless there's a compelling reason to do so and a low chance of being caught.

    Given the number of places their kit is deployed and the number of network admins looking, you'd think the risk-reward isn't really there. And it gets really tiring hearing a government which is known to be protectionist and of very low credibility on such issues hide behind 'we can't provide one shred of evidence because national security' all the time. If there's really enough evidence for an reasonable case to be made, surely there's at least a small piece that can be dangled out there to help convince the public. Otherwise the US's ulterior economic protectionism motives for discrediting Huawei loom much larger than China/Huawei's desire to spy on us.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The US has an employment problem"

    Sure does. And a financial problem too - how much US debt is funded by Chinese money these days?

    But the US powers that be and their fellow travellers will still try to tell you that Communism doesn't work.

    Well, from here it looks as though communism of the Chinese and South Korean style won World War III, without a single bomb being dropped, while Bush and followers were and still are fighting a phoney "war on terror" and "war on drugs".

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "The US has an employment problem"

      Uh.... communism of the South Korean style? Something is wrong here.

      But I gotta agree - Crony-Capitalism of the US kind seems to have problems in relation to Crony-Capitalism of the PRC kind. Fat moviemakers with baseball cap may think the problems are due to absence to tax-and-spend schemes, but that's not it at all.

      Capitalism - a good idea that should actually be tried again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The US has an employment problem"

        We tried it a bit in the 19th century but the middle class grew and got comfortable enough that they had time to look around. When they did and noticed that they'd been shitting on the working class all these years, they decided that unfettered capitalism was actually not that pleasant and a few rules wouldn't go amiss.

        The USA isn't the PRC because people can vote. I don't pretend that the results are entirely positive, but that's people for you.

        1. Arthur 1

          Re: "The US has an employment problem"

          Russia's economy looked awesome in the '60s too.

          Take a look at some of the analysis of what China is doing to keep their economy where it is. Constructing roads that don't go anywhere, demolishing them, constructing them again. Building ghost towns that nobody ever has any intention of living in. The list goes on. The infinite money from Beijing to keep industry over-stimulated will dry up, and the economy will be sharply checked at that point, already the municipalities are having loans that they can't possibly service ready to be called in just a few months from now and are relying on the central government to cancel them or bail them out. Not to mention the ridiculous levels of speculation in their real estate market, homes and condos get turned over every couple of /weeks/ at continually higher prices. These kind of things make American bubbles look tame by comparison, and even in a planned economy they can't be held in check forever.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The USA isn't the PRC because people can vote"


    If allowing the plebs to vote could actually change anything worthwhile, it would be banned. It's already been rationed to once every five years on the RHS of the pond.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We expect the Chinese government never to make such a request of ZTE. If such a request were made, ZTE would be bound by US law.""

    Hard to enforce a US law when the people that violated it are in China and China wouldn't turn them over, arrest them or even question them. If people in China were afraid of US law, all that piracy and IP theft wouldn't exist there.

  24. El_Fev

    Jesus christ...

    Anyone who thinks that the chinese would not try to put a backdoor into equipment that might make up the american defence infastrature is a grade A fecking moron! Of course they would..WE WOULD .... Jesus the anti yank crap on this site is staggering.

    As a brit it scares me shitless that all our major network infrasture is bascially supplied by the chinese , dur to the usual , they are cheapesy so its ok government line being pedalled. Yeah good idea right up to the point when your fecking network goes off line!

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Jesus christ...

      When tendering for infrastructure of national importance, if a vendor isn't willing to submit all firmware for analysis, such as by the CESG in the UK, then don't buy from them.

  25. Sparx
    Big Brother

    doesnt the patriot act

    Mean that any us hosted cloud service is subject to being spied on under the banner of Protecting Freedom ?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022