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 …

  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


      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

        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

            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. Anonymous Coward

      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

          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

      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

          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

    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.


            A grayling always evaluates to 0

            as in 0 trains

            or 0 ferries

          2. Clunking Fist

            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

        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

    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. ( 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

      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


    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

    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

        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! ;-)

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      That's why I like hardwired networks. It'll have to be at least as large as an RJ45 socket.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure thing America, just try it and see what happens when the UK closes your spy bases on their land, and bans your navy from its ports, and your military aircraft too!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The US will just relocate to Ireland - replace one tin pot little client state with another

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not Ireland

        Unlikely to move to Ireland as they're not even in NATO. Plenty of other options within NATO though, and most are closer to the people the US would like to listen in on.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Not Ireland

          I don't think the the US special security relationship with the UK is based on the size of its navy - so much as its willingness to roll over and do whatever its masters in Washington demand

          I'm sure Ireland could learn to adopt a similarly compliant attitude.

        2. Afernie

          Re: Not Ireland

          "Plenty of other options within NATO though, and most are closer to the people the US would like to listen in on."

          The only problem is, the other NATO states were the ones GCHQ was spying on for the Yanks. Funnily enough they weren't terribly amused by that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure thing America, just try it and see what happens when the UK

      UK will?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Then we really will be on our own.

  12. Chris G
    Black Helicopters


    Well if the US stops sharing intelligence, perhaps the UK will develop a more balanced and informed view of the world.

    The UK should also allow the indigenous people back onto Diego Garcia and tell the yanks to piss off.

    Who exactly has the most to lose here?

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: BIOT

      It's a power struggle within the UK government. Quite a few of them see Blighty as a satrapy of the US. Which is also why we need brexit, so we can abandon EU food and farming standards and adopt US ones, this being their Red Line for a big trade deal.

      In at least some of their minds, a Huawei ban is now tied in with that trade deal. Which, given that the US farming and agri-tech lobby has no interest in Huawei, isn't going to affect their red lines, only ours.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: BIOT

        >It's a power struggle within the UK government.

        Whilst there is a power struggle going on within the Conservative party, given the US were tapping the German Chancellery for decades, it is quite feasible that the 'leak' originates from US surveillance of UK government internal communications...

        I suspect Steven Swinford I broke the Huawei 5G story is reflecting on just how much he wishes to protect his source and just what was the motivation of his source in disclosing the details of the meeting to him.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: BIOT

      >Who exactly has the most to lose here?

      Might be advisable to review that agreement to lease a brand new aircraft carrier to the American's - suspect a bout of forgetfulness and selective deafness may arise when it is due to be returned..

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: BIOT

        >Who exactly has the most to lose here?

        Ironically America's farmers.

        Sanctions against Chinese kit are a tax on US exporters to China which goes toward subsidising Huawei's Taiwanese competitors

  13. DrBed

    5G of mass destruction

    Henry Jackson Society, I am wondering why that reminds me of non-existing "weapon of mass destruction" in Iraq?

    Probably because of incoming friendly fire but hey, what are friends for?

    There was that movie, "In the Loop" (remember "an assisted suicide"?)... Nothing changes since then.

    Speaking of security risks, according to Mueller report, the most peculiar one is Donald himself.

    1. Loatesy

      Re: 5G of mass destruction

      This whole thing reminds me of the Film "Wag the Dog"

      Brean: What's the thing people remember about the Gulf War? A bomb falling down a chimney. The truth: I was in the building where we shot that shot, with a one-tenth scale model made out of Legos.

      Stanley Motss: Is that true?

      Brean: How the fuck should we know? Take my point?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wondering if...

    ...the US can't hack Huawei's 5G kit?

    1. Sanctimonious Prick

      Re: Just wondering if...

      Without any proof (and hey, who the hell needs it?) I suspect you are correct.

      NSA to WhooHoo: hey, before you install that equipment here, we need to add some of our own features.

      WhooHoo to NSA: P155 0ff idiot!

      NSA to World: Don't trust WhooHoo; they're a security risk!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off topic but the phone shown here is a Samsung Galaxy A7 in Midnight Black.

    On topic: This is getting Trumpian (ridiculous). Unfortunately the US can do that kind of cheap tactic. Their data is their own and I doubt any Gov't can sue them just to get their data again.

    So here's how it's going to end:

    - Do exactly what the US wants

    - Don't and lose access to their data.

    Nobody can do anything about it because it's USA. No politician will ever consider siding with Huawei.

  16. Bitsminer Silver badge

    nice try

    While El Reg is working hard at "higher-level" viewpoints on issues, such as what the F* is 5G really, this article, while doing very well at outlining some evidence, in my view misses a couple of useful points.

    Some basics: "risk" is about the future. So any extra words/adjectives that modify that word are basically advertising the ignorance/inexperience/floundering of the writer. I've seen "potential risk", "future risk", "unwanted risk", and, here, "theoretical security risk". As if risk were never practical. Ha!

    No. The real issue with Huawei kit is the tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of lines of code. No planned backdoors are needed since there are hundreds of accidental ones. Or maybe thousands.

    And yes, the real issue with Microsoft Windows is the tens of millions of lines of code, with dozens of known defects discovered every month. Month after month. Year after year. Remote Execution bugs. Does the "core" of UK national security rely on Microsoft Windows? Hello hello?

    If the UK (and Canada and...) want to reduce their "theoretical" risk, and next month's risk, and the month after that, they should ban Microsoft Windows the same day they ban Huawei network kit.

    There are many options available to decision-makers when faced with "potential" risks. None of the articles in El Reg or Wapo or NJ^h^hNYT mention them. Mitigation, avoidance, overboarding, denial, redundancy, or firewalling. To mention a few.

    1. Jonathon Green

      Re: nice try

      “The real issue with Huawei kit is the tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of lines of code. No planned backdoors are needed since there are hundreds of accidental ones. Or maybe thousands.‘

      Remind me, which company[1] is it which recently made its source code and engineering practices available for review.. Yes there were issues, and questions over engineering practices but at least there was the opportunity for scrutiny, and I’m not seeing any of the potential alternatives make the same offer...

      [1] Begins with ‘H’

      1. Bitsminer Silver badge

        Re: nice try

        You have a point -- their competition hasn't been subject to a similar public review.

        But such a review does not have much influence on the number of exploitable defects in the systems. All 5G systems will have exploitable defects. Just like Linux, Windows, and typical IoT devices.

        It might come down to: which vendor might be quicker or slower to fix them.

  17. NATTtrash

    Why would that be bonkers?

    On the other hand, it is an extraordinary thing to consider, bonkers even: that the US intelligence services have infiltrated the UK government at the most senior levels to the extent that cabinet ministers would put foreign interests ahead of their own government.

    Bonkers? Really? Why would that be so extraordinary?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Why would that be bonkers?

      Here's an Oxford Six, NATTtrash, whose interests ahead of their own government would make for an interesting read ...... David Cameron/ Jeremy Hunt/ Philip Hammond/ Michael Gove/ Boris Johnson/ William Hague.

      Do spooks, by natural wise default, ensure 24/7/365 active secret covert investigation of both past and current serving government officers and prominent parliamentarians? That's where all the massive hooky crooked action is surely at?

      It would certainly be bonkers to discover that there was any sort of gentleman's agreement which allowed anyone to escape deep and dark webbed scrutiny ...... and, coincidentally render intelligence services heads and supporting troupers/hicks/hacks complicit in the madness and truly unfit for popularly perceived good purpose and greater future operations.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why would that be bonkers?

      Don't need Cabinet Minsters to be involved... NSA tapped German Chancellery for decades...

  18. big_D Silver badge

    putting Huawei or any other untrustworthy vendor

    But once you've removed Cisco, HP, Dell, Juniper et al and other untrustworthy vendors from your list, there aren't many big iron vendors left....

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: putting Huawei or any other untrustworthy vendor


      1. big_D Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: putting Huawei or any other untrustworthy vendor

        Yes, but the USA wants us to buy NSA infested kit from US manufacturers...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US threatens to cut UK

    lol, so much for the special relationship. Nevermind, perhaps India will give us the bestest trading terms instead...

    1. GrapeBunch

      Re: US threatens to cut UK

      > lol, so much for the special relationship. Nevermind, perhaps India will give us the bestest trading terms instead...

      Canada will give Britain all its love and trading terms. Except we are already China's cow. The previous gov't signed a China-Canada FIPA (Foreign Investment Protection Agreement), and the current Prime Minister (who was then Leader of the Opposition) supported it. They didn't even pretend that it was a switch Canada could ever turn off. Now China's getting picky about which Canadian exports they want to allow ....

      China has learned Colonialism from Europe, then Communism from Russia, and finally Capitalism from the USA. They were hard lessons, affecting billions of Chinese individuals, but China appears to have learned well. Unlike, hey, why is my finger pointing towards my own chest??

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What US 5G kit, exactly?

    The 5G market is basically Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson. Obviously US firms like Qualcomm make components, but I see very little justification for El Reg declaring that "Huawei kit being cheaper than American products, and as good as if not better in terms of features" as a supposed justification for the US trying to get Huawei kit banned.

    And if the NCSC are correct, the NSA would love lot of Huawei kit in place since it's easy to hack!

    I suspect the real reason is that the NSA are perfectly au fait with how easy Huawei are to penetrate and figure that this is not just incompetence, it's creative incompetence. Which is actually their public stance as well. So why not take it seriously then?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huawei or no way !

  22. StuntMisanthrope

    He's chipped it short of third-man.

    I'd have a word with the OEM's, in this heady atmosphere, a bit of long term planning never goes amiss. #itscalledabowler

  23. StuntMisanthrope

    A bit over there.

    #hisilicon Not out! Looks like a long ball in the corridors of uncertainty, Geoff.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are properly secure routers out there...

    ...not from any of the names listed above, but it is an incredibly niche, small and expensive market. Also because of inherent faults in a number of standard protocols, these are not supported, and so the products do not conform to some/most of the purchasing check lists.

    Many governments have their own secure networks with proprietary protocols and cryptography that they use for communications with, for example, embassies abroad.

    Sadly, there are some home routers that are less vulnerable than some 'secure' routers that are sold to the US DoD!

    Very anonymous, as I have pen tested and cracked open many of these commercial systems, while designing and testing properly secure networks.

  25. mhenriday

    Tongue firmly ensconced in cheek ?

    On the other hand, it is an extraordinary thing to consider, bonkers even: that the US intelligence services have infiltrated the UK government at the most senior levels to the extent that cabinet ministers would put foreign interests ahead of their own government. But this is the era of Brexit Britain and anything is possible.


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't outsource.

    If you outsource your manufacturing capability just to make production costs lower, don't be surprised when eventually you have outsourced profits, control and direction.

  27. Ben1892

    So they SMS text message the intel from their mobile phones?

    I would have though there was something better that could be used to transfer secret info - you know, with encryption and stuff. My point being; don't you have to treat any comms network as compromised? What could Wuahei do with the 5G radio stations? I suppose they could turn off/cripple the network using Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X in a specially crafted packet, but still doesn't correlate with a security-based withdrawal of intelligence collaboration.

  28. ukgnome

    So basically the USA want the spying rights?

  29. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    So the US say we shouldn't use Huawei kit even though they haven't yet presented any credible evidence that Huawei have carried out any espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.

    What's the alternative?

    Oh that's right, they want us to buy kit from US manufactures. You know that would be the same USA that has a track record of spying on its allies.

    And of course the fun part is that much of that "American" kit is manufactured in China.

  30. JaitcH

    Tell TRUMP and the US High Tech Industry to Work; Not Depend on Trade Blackmail

    The fact is the USA's premier position in development and manufacturing has faded.

    Many countries boast facilities as good as those in the USA. Witness how much US electronics is manufactured outside the USA.

  31. Fabrizio

    UK independence?

    From the Huawei editorial:

    The UK's independence now seems weaker than its former colony India

    That hurts!

  32. ArildVollan

    The 5G nett from Nokia and Ericsson is also Chinese

    Boycotting Huawei will simply lead to employees and expertise leaving one Chinese company for another.

    Even if Europe opts for Ericsson or Nokia, it will still use Chinese 5G products. All technology companies have one thing in common, much of their equipment is produced in Chinese factories.

    By Arild Vollan, Managing Partner, Arctic Development

    Nokia and Ericsson have 12,000 employees in China for the production of the companies' 5G networks. In addition, they have cooperation agreements with many Chinese factories for delivering components to the companies' 5G networks.

    American inspectors have probably not called in at Nokia Shanghai Bell or they would have realised that Nokia is, in a real sense, a Chinese company. Most 5G components are produced in China anyway, so it is puzzling that the US insists Europe cannot use Huawei technology.

    Ericsson has six R&D centers in China, with totally 5000 R&D engineers. 90% of Ericsson product involved five Chinese R&D center. Nanjing Ericsson Panda has developed into the world's largest supply center for Ericsson. 40% of Ericsson's global shipments come from here, and the localization rate of products is close to 100%.

    For Nokia 7,000 employees in China focusing on customers, service, R&D, manufacturing and supply chain. Nokia has six R&D innovation hubs and three manufacturing facilities. If Europe boycotts Huawei, Nokia has the plans ready: Adding 2500 new Chinese employees.

    The price for US’ Huawei boycott may be too high

    The 5G network is an extension of 4G. If Huawei is not used, the existing 4G network must first be dismantled, and this would be a huge undertaking, costing enormous sums of money.

    Norway currently has 14,000 Huawei base stations, and the cost of dismantling a Huawei 4G base station and replacing it with a Nokia or Ericsson base station is about NOK 600,000 (US$70,500) per base station.

    Vodafone UK recently issued a strong warning: if the UK wants to stop using Huawei, the roll-out of 5G will be seriously delayed, at enormous cost to the UK. And ultimately it is British subscribers who will have to foot the bill for boycotting Huawei.

    Why should Europe pay the costs, take the risks and gamble with their economic development and growth?

    Blindly following the US will have enormous consequences for European business. It will delay the development and deployment of artificial intelligence and the next generation of wireless services, just to support the US’ new-found policy of protectionism.

    During the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, US President Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted the US to win markets for its technology “through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies”. The president has pointed out that the US would not boycott Huawei if he got a good trade deal with China…

    Huawei is being used in America’s trade

    His words reveal what this is really all about – Huawei is being used as leverage in America’s trade war against China.

    The US is locked in a struggle over who gets to control two technologies: artificial intelligence and the next generation of wireless services, like 5G.

    So far, the US has not managed to produce any evidence that Chinese 5G technology poses a security risk, and Huawei is now taking legal steps against the American administration as a result of the way it has been treated.

    This is a matter of digital trust

    The United States’ main argument against Huawei is that Chinese law obliges individuals and companies in China to cooperate with the Chinese state. But most countries have similar legal requirements, including the United States, which in certain circumstances imposes far-reaching obligations on its own citizens and companies. I have yet to see representatives of American companies in Europe being confronted in the media about how American law might force their European subsidiaries to break European laws to fulfil their obligations to the United States government.

    It is strange, then, to cite Chinese law as the reason why the United States needs to ban Chinese 5G technology. But for American and Chinese companies alike this is a matter of digital trust; it must be taken seriously.

    The United States may think Huawei an easy target, but according to Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty, this is a dangerous path to tread. He reminds us that no company can ever prove they are 100% secure; there are risks everywhere. We ought rather to be discussing how to properly assess the risks entailed in using various companies. In Norway, for instance, Telenor’s 4G mobile network does not use Huawei components in their inner network. The mobile network is controlled by American technology; only the radio network uses Huawei. And the Americans have not yet managed to find and prove the existence of backdoors in Huawei products.


    Arild Vollan is a Norwegian commentator and partner in Arctic Development. A company that is engaged in business development in the High North.

    Read my article in SCMP:

    This is the US political thesis:

    "To gather national strength, just create an enemy."

    In Europe, the Americans are doing this daily on many levels, from small businesses to countries and the continent itself. It is apparent from the media coverage last year that China has been designated “the great danger”. Please see here:

  33. Dr.Flay

    What happens if they do add backdoors ?

    Considering we must assume that all top secret traffic between security agencies will be encrypted and sent via a VPN, what could the Chinese Gov collect ?

    Well just ask the NSA how their project to collect all the encrypted data flows, in that massive and flammable data centre has worked out for them.

    Would GCHQ, NSA or the CIA really be using unencrypted communication over their mobile phones, or use landlines and encryption ?

    If there was an issue it would (or should) not effect them as long as they don't do things they currently should not do.

    The Kaspersky case is a good comparison. The CIA operative took classified work home, and didn't think about all good modern AV will upload unknown files.

    Maybe their concern is exactly this situation, that their dozy operatives will lead to China getting hold of secrets.

    They seem to have not noticed there are several decent AV tools from China that are used all around the world. If the threat is credible, why not warn us all off using Chinese AV and security tools ?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like