back to article That's a hell of Huawei to run a business, Chinese giant scolds FedEx after internal files routed via America

In addition to mistrusting foreign technology companies because of the risk of IP packet diversion, nation-states may also have to shy away from foreign shipping firms for fear of package diversion. US-based shipping giant FedEx on Tuesday apologized following a Reuters report that two packages addressed to Huawei in China …

  1. FuzzyTheBear
    Black Helicopters

    the real enemy

    The real enemy to ANY country's security is not China .. it's the USA .

    1. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: the real enemy

      There's always room for more than one enemy...

      1. iRadiate

        Re: the real enemy

        In which case you take the lesser of 2 or more evils. The US has the dubious honour of being at the top of the list

        1. Tomato42

          Re: the real enemy

          as much as I like to bash Murikkka, you have to hand it to them, they don't use government agents to "silence" critics*

          something China has no problems what so ever doing

          * and if you think otherwise, because "Clinton", "Benghazi" and "butter emails", I have a bridge to sell, it goes right over the edge of the flat earth, you undoubtedly think we live on

          1. AdamWill

            Re: the real enemy

            Uh, Chelsea Manning might like a couple of words.

            1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

              Re: the real enemy

              ...thereby proving the point: Manning _can_ have a couple of words should she so choose to have them.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: the real enemy

                ... "May I have some daylight?"

          2. John Jennings

            Re: the real enemy

            The US doesnt need to use governments for this - thats Kinetic - they can do it with business instead.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: the real enemy

            I've heard some rather credible stories about voter suppression in the US. So, not true either?

    2. Kernel

      Re: the real enemy

      The US has to get hold of 5G technology somehow, least they be left (further) behind the comms infrastructure of developed countries.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the real enemy

      and it's going to end VERY badly for the US.

      We are currently in the process of removing all US dependencies from our product, as we wish to continue to sell to China (including Huawei)...

      I guess that's not what the Trump administration wanted, but that's the result..

      1. Peter X

        Re: the real enemy

        Trump doesn't care.

        I could be wrong, but I think his MO is simply to put himself in the middle of two parties so people have to negotiate through him. He'll make it work for him either way. If China bends a bit, he'll claim victory. If not, he'll claim he's putting America first and claim victory. Either way, someone, somewhere, will be moving money, and Trump / associates will make a cut from that.

        1. Tom 7

          Re: the real enemy

          Your assuming he has a clue as to what he's doing. Several bankruptcies and being worth less than if he'd left his inheritance in a trust suggest he doesnt.

          And when he opens his mouth...

      2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: the real enemy

        Umm... I don't see that as particularly bad. I mean, I would certainly prefer that you do US business than Chinese, but that's the way of the world. As I've been thumping here for years, China has determined to function as an enemy of the US. US ignores this behavior at our peril.

        What I find really, REALLY bizarre is that folks here claim that the US is doing anything even remotely comparable to what the Chinese are doing to the Uyghurs. Or their "social credit" system.

        Maybe the Chinese government feels farther away than the US to you personally, so you feel more directly affronted by US behavior than Chinese, but you need to look at the end goals of these respective governments.

        Would you rather live in China than the US?

        1. Swarthy
          WTF?

          Re: the real enemy

          What is the objection to "Social Credit"? Every one I've talked to about China mentions it, but no-one can (or bothers to try to) explain why it's bad. "It's Communist!" is about as clear a response as I get.

          Considering that a lot of the issues in the US is people with power/money breaking social contracts and then buying favorable coverage to get no blow-back. Something like Social Credit may be an equalizing force.

          Oh, that is communism.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: the real enemy

            Equalising force is not a thing that's going to happen. The poor and defenceless will take the pointy end like normal; while anyone with sufficient money or power will have the cheat codes.

            You the peasant and a random bureaucrat take a dislike to each other - you can guarantee it's not them that's going to get their travel rights curtailed.

          2. Nathar Leichoz

            Re: the real enemy

            The only thing I heard was that a person was unable to purchase train tickets (bus tickets were fine) because they had a poor social score because they stopped paying off their mortgage.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the real enemy

          I would prefer to live in China than the US. I have lived and worked in both for long term stints.

          The US ilhas very little going for it. It's fortune that so fee travel or live outside it's borders, that they don't know how controlled the land of the free is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Sometimes I declare shenanigans upon some ridiculous thing(s), then the die-hard USAians I know and see in person typically roll out the opposite of what you just said. "I've BEEN other places, it is always worse, this is the best [everything] you could ask for". I'm so tired of it. It's kinda like they grew up in a cult. Oh, right. They did.

            1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

              And just how many people are forcing their way into YOUR country?

              The populace has been voting with its feet for a very long time. If you prefer the "worker's paradise", I really don't know what to say.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                > And just how many people are forcing their way into YOUR country?

                And there we have it... That stereotypical "whataboutism" thrown out by those insecure Americans (thankfully, very few of them here) who can't handle any outside criticism of their country without resorting to school playground tactics: "My dad's bigger than your dad", aka "we #1, kick yer ass"

                As an aside, loads coming here matey - you may have heard of brexit?

                Still, welcome to The Register, Mr. President.

        3. Fazal Majid

          Re: the real enemy

          They are not talking about human rights. They are talking about security. If I were Airbus, for instance, I would be far more concerned about government-abetted industrial espionage from the US than from China. That doesn't mean China isn't also a threat, just that the US is a bigger one. This is nothing new, Bill Clinton is the one who added "economic intelligence" to the NSA's missions.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: the real enemy

            A nation that is not secure from its own government is not secure. And yeah, I'm not exactly thrilled with my own government on that account.

            But still, its a matter of degrees. In the US today, it is far, far easier to get shadow banned than to be sent for reeducation. Not so much in China.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: the real enemy

              Those are good and fair points.... Just a shame you had a wee tantrum in your other post!

      3. Aitor 1

        Re: the real enemy

        Not a good idea to do that.

        They might still claim you have dependencies, and.. they might forbid companies dealing with you.

        this includes amazon, microsoft, IBM, intel AMD.. and the company you use to connect to the internet.

        good luck!

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "This instance is not indicative of the exceptional service our 450,000 team members provide on a daily basis around the world as they work continuously to live up to each of our customer’s expectations."

    Translation: The NSA isn't interested in most packages we carry.

  3. el kabong

    "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

    FedEx's disdain for our collective intelligence just reached epic proportions, the very least they should do is give us a little respect.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

      This seems to be typical of managerial thinking in general. I've never quite worked it out.

      Do we put it down to them being so stupid they actually think it? Or do they know it's wrong but they're so stupid as to think it's credible? Or do they just not care? With a few other gradations in between.

      1. Tomato42

        Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

        no, we put it to their statements being crafted by legal to ensure the least "litigability"

      2. Stork

        Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

        Yes, it is all the way up there with "left according to mutual agreement" when colleagues saw the guy being escorted off site.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

        They don't care whether we believe them or not, or whether their excuse seems the least bit credible, it's an ass covering exercise. They can't admit they did it on purpose and they can't admit a 3 letter agency told them to do it. On the other hand, to have a completely traceable set of documents from Huawei Japan going to Huawei China moved through the US at this time is certainly suspicious and perhaps unfortunate. Makes me wonder if Huawei, internally, didn't suggest there were important documents moving between Japan and China to see what would happen and that would be the smart thing to do. It's entirely possibly they had more than one set of documents on the move from different sources to see which would be picked up and help them learn who's "double agent(ing)" them. Spy games :)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

          It's possible this could be a Concordski type of operation on their part.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

      I'm not buying the "inadvertence" either, but they do manage to inadvertently misdirect other packages (not them specifically, just the general class of package delivery companies) often enough that they've probably had this statement sitting on a shelf for a while.

      1. Mark 85

        Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

        Indeed they do somehow f*ck up shipments. I've had packages from a city a couple hundred miles a way get routed all over the country. Truly is a WTF moment when wonder where my parcel is and see where it's been. Very tempting to pack myself in a box and get to travel all over the country.

        1. Tom 7

          Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

          I can easily imagine algorithms routing items of low worth (to FedEx) via various low cost routes that dont quite lead to the savings they were hoping for - indeed I've helped write similar algorithms that try and reduce costs by trying to shift things to bulk carriers on longer distance routes that may or not make the connection and as a result go round the houses a bit.

          However I find it very hard to imagine that FedEx routing algorithms could send stuff from China to Japan via the US on the off chance of them saving some cents on bulk carriers without them having gone bust long ago.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

            Yeah, FedEx doesn't use bulk carriers to save pennies... They are an airline all to themselves. They and UPS truly have huge operations the world over. UPS does use Kalitta Air as a sub contractor (i.e. if they have an extraordinarily large load that would need two planes whereas Kalitta happens to have a 747 in the area that can handle everything in one gulp), FedEx for the overwhelmingly large part does not contract out.

            It's DHL that's the courier company that has a lot of partner/contractor airlines that provide metal in DHL colours to shift parcels around the world. They're part of Deutsche Post (have been for a while), and they're happy to not have overwhelmingly large infrastructure around when others have it already and it can be contracted for the appropriate capacity.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

      I bet it was simply like what might happen to checked luggage - occasionally, it goes onto a different plane, and when that happens, might go to timbuktu before arriving at your destination. If they get it right, you will never know it happened...

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: "Inadvertently misrouted." Wow, that's what I call a spectacular display of contempt.

        If they get it right, you will never know it happened...

        Very unlikely they get it right in time, delayed luggage is a problem I experienced too often.

  4. rcxb Silver badge

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

    In fact FedEx's answer seems quite plausible, because I know a bit about how they fly. Memphis is their "Super-Hub" which is the fallback destination for any packages that don't have a direct route. Any failure to match a more direct route, defaults to sending the package there. Of course it should have gone to a local hub instead, but it's a fairly minor error. Now if it had been routed to Langley, VA, I'd pop out my tin hat, tool

    See:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3qfeoqErtY

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go ahead. Down-vote away if it makes you feel better.

    One question for you. If this is some super-secret NSA spy op... Why did FedEx show the route to Memphis right in their package tracking information? Do you think maybe that might tip-off the Chinese? There's a huge military base right in Japan, so how is the reroute necessary or even desirable?

    1. el kabong

      I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

      I promise.

      I wish I could say the same about FedEx's action but I can't, I really can't, no matter how hard I try I can't, FedEx's action cannot be attributed to incompetence, NO WAY. It looks like a duck, it swims like a duck, it quacks like a duck, its mother and father are both ducks. I'd say FedEx's action is probably a duck, most certainly a duck.

      1. Jim Mitchell
        Facepalm

        Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

        If it was competent malice, then Huawei would never noticed any diversion. Ergo, even if malice was involved, so was incompetence.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          I disagree. It could just as much be contemptuous malice, the "Yeah, watchacha gonna do about it!" kind. It not only gives the spooks a look at the docs, but creates trouble and uncertainty for Huawei - who are probably now wondering what stunt the USA are going to pull next.

          To anyone with at least two communicating brain cells, this is a very clear provocation. So far, Huawei's response has been totally above reproach, a fact that must infuriate the USA.

          1. el kabong

            Huawei "above reproach," I'd say most victims of bullying are above reproach

            The US is pretty much the bully here, as it usually is almost everywhere, a powerful bully; Huawei is pretty much powerless against such a powerful opponent, there's not much Huawei can do, behaving in a unapproachable way and keeping quiet is their best shot at survival.

            1. rcxb Silver badge

              Re: Huawei "above reproach," I'd say most victims of bullying are above reproach

              Powerless, huh? They just created a highly publicized international incident out of two packages being misrouted.

              Somebody stole a package of mine a few days ago, which secretive government agency do you suppose did it? Where do I go to get Reuters to write up a paranoid story about my missing box? At least Hauawei got their packages back...

            2. eldakka

              Re: Huawei "above reproach," I'd say most victims of bullying are above reproach

              The US is pretty much the bully here

              Yes, the US is a bully.

              But so is China, an emerging bully.

              What we are witnessing is the established bully fighting back - bullying - the emerging bully for control of the playground. The rest of the countries are picking sides, or are keeping their heads down and trying nonchalantly walk through the playground without being dragged into it.

              The rest of us, the consumers, are just acceptable (in the bullies opinions) collateral damage.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

            "Yeah, watchacha gonna do about it!"

            Send another package with some mysterious white powder in it and see who panics.

            1. Sgt_Oddball
              Big Brother

              Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

              No, send "secret" documents with individual flaws in them. And see where the flaw pops up.

              That's how it used to be done (Buran, SST etc, etc)

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

                Have you considered the possibility that this might be just such an operation. There's nothing to say they couldn't do that and make some publicity capital out of it.

          3. rcxb Silver badge

            Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

            Can't help but admire conspiracy theorists. The evidence that disproves their first crazy theory becomes the foundation for their next crazy theory. Keep trying again and again, until you have an elaborate conspiracy that kinda fits, and can't be conclusively disproven. I don't even put that kind of effort into my full-time job.

            1. Reg Reader 1

              Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

              but...conspiracy theories can be so much fun

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

              Can't help but admire conspiracy theorists. The evidence that disproves their first crazy theory becomes the foundation for their next crazy theory. Keep trying again and again, until you have an elaborate conspiracy that kinda fits, and can't be conclusively disproven. I don't even put that kind of effort into my full-time job.

              I'd agree with you if it had remained theory. It becomes problematic when these theories turn out to be accurate enough to predict the facts that start to emerge.

              With respect to the US we now know they cannot be trusted through plenty of evidence, initially through the unearthing of covert things such as what Edward Snowden et al told us, but increasingly through a ramp up of what appears to be Trump-induced belligerence of "So? You can't do anything about it." events.

              My personal perspective is that I don't trust anyone, but if I must make a choice I prefer a party that doesn't pretends one thing and then does the complete opposite, and that seems to be fully intent to screw over anything or anyone that gets in the way with zero regards for both short term and long term consequences.

              The Huawei vs US supply chain debate is an excellent example of that. Those who have been paying attention have noticed that Huawei submitted their gear in Europe for independent testing, yet there was no such activity volunteered by US providers. This means there is one Chinese party we have a handle on by means of a factual risk assessment whereas the competing US party (let's not forget the competitive bias in all of this) has as yet to produce anything but smoke and bullying.

              That's why Europe is not so keen to believe the Americans, it feels like Europe would end up replacing a possible or alleged Chinese intercept problem with an actual, proven US one. Current political responses thus amount to well deserved, polite variants of "f*ck off".

              "Bullshit" is not a Chinese word, it is English.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

        "I wish I could say the same about FedEx's action but I can't, I really can't, no matter how hard I try I can't, FedEx's action cannot be attributed to incompetence, NO WAY. It looks like a duck, it swims like a duck, it quacks like a duck, its mother and father are both ducks. I'd say FedEx's action is probably a duck, most certainly a duck."

        Much as I'd like to agree with you, without some sort of statistics regarding how many times FedEx misroutes, and especially how often it happens from the specific hub, there's no way to tell if this was just a regular occurrence and it happened to be a Huawei package in this instance. I've been dealing with various couriers on a daily basis for many years now and it's not unusual for there to be customers there looking for parcels or the staff on the phones dealing with misrouted parcels whenever I'm there collecting mine. I've even suffered from it myself three or four times over the years

        And has also been mentioned, if this was a soopa sekrit interception, why would FedEx display the real and actual routing on the tracking data visible to the customer?

        1. vir

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          I overnight many packages to our facility in Montana. About a quarter of the time, the "next day" delivery gets turned into 2- and 3-day delivery because the package goes through Memphis and gets stuck. Packages from Minnesota go through Memphis on the way here (1300 miles longer than a direct path). Packages from California go through Memphis on the way here (2000 miles longer than a direct path). Obviously international shipping is different (and yes, I get that they need a hub-and-spoke system) but Memphis does seem to be Fedex's great attractor.

        2. Richocet

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          To put this in perspective:

          This distances between Japan and China are 1,000 to 4,000km. It's most likely to be a close to the 1,000km end of the range due to China's major industrial cities being near to the coast.

          The additional distance it traveled due to the misroute was over 21,000 kilometers.

          1. Sgt_Oddball
            Pirate

            Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

            In fairness at least it got to where it should be (eventually) and all without a Wilson in sight...

            Where's Tom Hanks when you need him?

            (icon because pirates got shipwrecked too)

          2. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

            Huawei's HQ is in Shenzhen, which is about 3000km from Tokyo

            They have a branch office in Hong Kong, which is next door to Shenzhen (opposite side of the Shenzhen River) and one in Beijing, which is about 2000km away.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

            The additional distance it traveled due to the misroute was over 21,000 kilometers.

            21,000 km? Pfah. I had a small parcel from Montreal to Ottawa (the road distance between 180 and 260 km, depending on which part of either city you choose), which was sent by the parcel arm of the glorious Canada Post through Wellington, New Zealand. That's a misroute of 40,000 km, even as a crow (or in this case more likely a pointless albatross) flies.

            On the way out, they stuck it on a boat, too - so it was very slightly delayed. (The NZ post had the decency to return the parcel by air.) Of course, they apologized profoundly, because my business is important to them. There was no extra charge, thankfully; with Canada Post you really never know.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          There's the hightech way and the lowtech way;

          Option 1, US agency uses super secret backdoor into FedEx supply chain systems to identify and re-route the Huawei packages then Mission Impossibles someone through the skylight. FedEx innocent and unable to explain the event.

          Option 2, US agency asks minimum wage employee, possibly ex-serviceman, if he'd like to make a few hundred by re-routing the packages then denying everything...

        4. Mo'Fo B'dass

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          Plausible deniability.

          IF the package was deliberately re-routed for intel purposes you might think they'd cover up that fact. However, if the cover-up was detected then the chinese would KNOW it had been tampered with (the US couldn't deny it). If you leave all the tracking info on there it could be passed off as a genuine Fedex fail (which is the current claim). In the spy world there is so much smoke and mirrors it is difficult to know where the truth is (which is, of course, the point of all the smoke and all the mirrors).

          Is it all BS? Is some of it BS? Is it all true? and all the shades of truth/BS in between. It's the same with UFO's and Roswell and all that (there's so much BS flying around that if the truth stared us in the face we couldn't see it for what it was). As in Churchills words "...in wartime the truth is so precious it has to surrounded with a bodyguard of lies" - probably a misquote but you get the gist. The spies are always at war...

        5. Kiwi

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          And has also been mentioned, if this was a soopa sekrit interception, why would FedEx display the real and actual routing on the tracking data visible to the customer?

          Now you got me wondering about some of mine that've been stuck in a depot for a couple of days! :)

          That said, a mate has a brother who is a courier driver. From him I've learned that sometimes residential packages or less valuable commerical packages (ie "this company only sends stuff every now and then so NOT a priority customer") can be left behind if they're pressed for time that day or expecting a large pickup from a more favoured customer.

          Also mis-handling of packages meaning they get put on the wrong truck/van is fairly common, whether through mis-labelling, mis-handling (forklift operator picking up wrong pallet or van driver parking in the wrong bay), mis-reading (someone scans "Havelock" and puts it in the pile for "Havelock North" which is on a different island) or sheer incompetence (a manager works on the floor for a bit). Yet, when handling those numbers of items mistakes will sometimes happen - even if it's 1 in 1,000,000 that'll still be quite a few packages going astray each day.

      3. T. F. M. Reader

        Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

        @el kabong: I am not downvoting you, partly because I also think that Americans could plausibly have a motive to look at Huawei's technical documents. However, your argument is that spying is much more plausible than incompetence, but the post you are replying to does not mention or imply incompetence on FedEx's part. Rather, it says it's SOP.

        I agree that this looks like SOP before it looks like malice. All shipping companies route through hubs. I had a package delivered from Leiden to Cologne by DHL. It went through Brussels - that's a third country - because Brussels is DHL's hub. It was explained to me by a relative who was a DHL employee and knew how things worked.

        Besides, the route that looks weird might be faster and/or cheaper even though it takes the parcel all the way round the world. FedEx own planes may have been readily available from Japan to Memphis and from there to a place in China close to destination. China is huge (and so is Japan), and the schedules may be such that waiting for either a FedEx plane or for a commercial opportunity could be longer, and if a different local point was involved a longer overland route could be needed.

        Real IT angle: sophisticated though the routing algorithms may be they may not cover every possibility. Your routing tables for IP packets ("when in doubt use the default gateway"), especially BGP, work the same way. Where QoS plays a role - even more so. Create a multihomed system without providing very extensive routing - your packet may go out of a "wrong" interface and make lots of hops to the destination.

        Point is, I don't think I have enough data to call routing through Memphis incompetent, let alone suspicious.

        I suppose one may specify routing requirements to FedEx or DHL, at cost. No one says Huawei did, in this case.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

          "Besides, the route that looks weird might be faster and/or cheaper "

          Cheaper but seldom faster.

      4. Voidstorm
        Joke

        Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

        Remeber that even if "It looks like a duck, it swims like a duck, it quacks like a duck, its mother and father are both ducks" it could *still* be a bloke in a dress.

      5. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Joke

        Re: I will not attribute your post to malice, never.

        I'd say FedEx's action is probably a duck, most certainly a duck."

        Not really. If it fooats, is a witch.

    2. PhilipN Silver badge

      Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

      Just "Edinburgh". WE know where it is.

      1. Kernel
        Trollface

        Re: Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

        "Just "Edinburgh". WE know where it is."

        I'm sure you do - but the difference between you and the rest of us is that WE know there is more than one 'Edinburgh' in the world.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

          By all means put their country names after them when referring to a place other than Old Reekie but the original is just that, the original..

          The same goes for all the other places that 'merkins find hard to locate.

          London (Where are the Big Ben and Tower Bridge replicas then?)

          Paris (does Paris Texas have a replica of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre?)

          etc etc

          Strange that they don't add the country to places like Las Vegas or New Orleans, or Miami. I used to infuriate my colleagues (not coworkers!) when working in the USA by deliberately adding the State to all places that were being mentioned that were out of the state we were currently in. As we had offices in two states but only 20 miles apart, it drove them mad. But I was only getting my own back on them.

          1. T. F. M. Reader

            Re: Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

            does Paris Texas have a replica of the Eiffel Tower[?]

            It seems it does (scroll down, look for the picture), and so does the Russian town called Parizh. You don't really think a town called Paris can do without one, do you?

            Just for a chuckle...

          2. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

            I used to infuriate my colleagues (not coworkers!) when working in the USA by deliberately adding the State to all places that were being mentioned that were out of the state we were currently in.

            You could infuriate them further with your Frank Sinatra impression by breaking into song whenever referring to New York, New York.

      2. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Youtube link - NOT "Edinburgh, Scotland", thank you.

        Perth is a bit ambiguous though, with all those Aussies around.

    3. Dagg Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

      True, so true. Just remember the universe is finite, human stupidity is infinite...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think it wasnt Malice, but just Alice, and we all follow the White Rabbit.

    5. Reg Reader 1

      I expect that you are correct but I like my idea about spy games much better. It's way more fun :)

    6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

      They're actually not mutually exclusive..

    7. oiseau
      Facepalm

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

      Hmmm ...

      If things really are as they have been reported (big if) you cannot help but to think where exactly the incompetence lies: with FedEx or Huawei?

    8. fredesmite2
      Mushroom

      All the DOWN voters are Alex Jones followers

      A conspiracy in every pizza shop that are meeting spots for pedophiles looking to buy children .

    9. Nick Kew

      Agree. On balance of probabilities, Fedex is innocent of espionage here.

      In principle, this could be tested. Take a sample of totally uncontroversial, non-sensitive Japan <--> China (or indeed miscellaneous Asia <--> Asia) shipments: how many of them get shipped via the US?

  5. PhilipN Silver badge

    SD Card

    Already doing its own “Not SD” card :

    https://consumer.huawei.com/uk/accessories/nm-card/

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: SD Card

      I was hoping they'd forget about that, because the last thing we need is another competing storage card format when we almost had a standard that everyone uses. I guess that's a lost cause now. Do you think the SD people would take this as a convincing argument to let Huawei back in? I'm willing to sign it and send it to their headquarters in California, and it shouldn't take that long to bounce there from Memphis.

    2. Reg Reader 1

      Re: SD Card

      Real question here:

      Is it because Huawei doesn't want to pay to use an existing patented technology and has a functional R&D department?

      ...and, of course, SPYING!!!!

  6. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    And that, ladies and gentlemen...

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you always place an eyelash in between pages 46 and 47. If the eyelash is missing, then you know that your document has been intercepted.

    Another trick is to include, with your shipment of sensitive documents, a report that Midway Island's desalinization (or water purification) plant has broken down again. Because THAT would be funny.

    1. John Jennings

      Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

      You have been reading Smileys People again.

      Lot you can learn from it.

      1. Reg Reader 1

        Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

        I loved that series of books. The TV mini-series was quite good too :)

    2. Voidstorm
      Trollface

      Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

      Of course, that means your DNA is now in the hands of whatever unscrupulous bastard fiddled with the package

      1. Alien8n

        Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

        And the DNA of the person who fiddled with it. Though I'm not sure I'd want to be testing THAT DNA.

      2. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

        He said eyelash, not any other small hair.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

          No difference. Any hair has a root and that root has cells and those cells have DNA and all the DNA in all your hair root cells is alike (give or take the occasional somatic mutation).

        2. Alien8n

          Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

          I was on about the fiddler, not the owner of the eyelash. And fiddling is a euphemism for more than just financial impropriety...

      3. Nick Kew
        Holmes

        Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

        Your DNA? Why?

        On the Internet, noone knows you're a dog. But when your eyelash turns up in a package ...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

          So use your dog's eyelash instead.

    3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: And that, ladies and gentlemen...

      Not funny. Hilarious! The spooks would be passing that one around for decades...

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In other news, we really really like oxygen. The only thing we like more than having lots of oxygen is actually breathing it.

  8. W4YBO

    FedEx SmartPost

    I recently ordered some new QSL cards (a postcard used to verify a Ham radio conversation) from a company about 300 miles from my home. The company shipped via FedEx SmartPost, a service that ships via FedEx to the local post office for delivery. FedEx sent them on a 3000+ mile odyssey that included six states, and took almost two weeks.

    1. Richocet

      Re: FedEx SmartPost

      'SmartPost' should have been your clue to what was about to happen.

      Companies giving their services ironic names is very fashionable.

      I currently live in the "smart state" BTW.

      1. Semtex451

        Re: FedEx SmartPost

        Boston MA - Wicked Smaht!

  9. fredesmite2

    To be clear ...US gave China the technology

    US corporations have been spoon feeding China manufacturing for decades with technology ..Every technique they use US firms gave it to them .

    1. Schultz
      Stop

      "... US gave China the technology"

      You should make an attempt to get out of the US a bit more. There are billions of non-US people out there, many with quite productive professional careers, and some developing technology. Some of those might even be Chinese.

      So stop spewing absolutist nonsense.

      1. Tomato42

        Re: "... US gave China the technology"

        there's a difference between saying that the "US the best, nobody can match" and saying "China copies everything from everybody and, in comparison, spends minimal resources on original research"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "... US gave China the technology"

          You mean the U.S. government had already has 5G tech. on hand? use your brain pls., if so why they want to ban Huawei so aggressive? they have nothing on 5G tech. at all !! so what do they really have on 5G to give to Huawei? except bullshit.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: "... US gave China the technology"

        >Some of those might even be Chinese.

        I've worked at a number of companies in California over the last few decades. As a member of a development group the typical make up will include a number of Chinese, some Iranians (often ex-Armenian) plus a varied bunch from the UK, Europe in general, Russia and even South America. Occasionally you'll also have a born in the USofA colleague who may ethnically be from pretty much anywhere (California, remember?).

        I don't do military work but occasionally where I've worked has got development contracts for specialist bits of gear from the usual aerospace suspects. The last one was a tricky piece of hardware. The only engineers able to do it were a Chinese person and a Russian. Its more a reflection of the lack of engineering talent these days than the idea they're leaking secrets to the old country -- the pure 'merkans like to write (applications) software & hold meetings.

      3. fredesmite2

        Re: "... US gave China the technology"

        Look at the bottom of ANY electronic device in your home, or work .. and list how many DO NOT have "made in China " and post that list of equipment here .

        I dare you

        1. Sgt_Oddball
          Holmes

          Re: "... US gave China the technology"

          How about the 'made in the uk' stamp on a number of Raspberry Pi's? I've got some power tools that state 'made in Germany'. Even my car denotes it was built in Japan.

          My main music amp states made in Japan and my record deck has made in the UK underneath too.

          I've got CPU's floating around with 'made in Malaysia' and hard disks with made in Thailand.

          Now my kettle and toaster yes, say made in China... Your point?

    2. fredesmite2

      Re: To be clear ...US gave China the technology

      So many DOWN votes - I must have hit a nerve.

      I dare any down voter to list a piece of modern equipment in their sphere of life that is NOT MADE in China . Crawl under the dashboard of you car and look there too . I'd include looking at the packaged food in your kitchen too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be clear ...US gave China the technology

        First-gen Moto X - Made in Texas

        Galaxy S8 - Made in South Korea

        Pixel XL - Made in Taiwan

        Want more?

        1. DaddyHoggy

          Re: To be clear ...US gave China the technology

          You mean Taiwan ROC (where ROC stands for Republic of China)?

          1. Alien8n

            Re: To be clear ...US gave China the technology

            Taiwan ROC is not China though. Taiwan is a democracy, China is a Communist state.

            Saying Taiwan is China is like saying North Korea and South Korea are actually the same country. Sure they once were, but they most certainly aren't now. Shall we go further and say India is actually part of Great Britain?

  10. AdamWill

    pun violation

    "That's a hell of a Huawei to run a business"

    surely this violates El Reg's internal pun guidelines (the most important doc in the newsroom bar none). It should be "That's a hell of Huawei to run a business", no?

    1. Jorge_The_Custard_Stripper

      Re: pun violation

      no

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: pun violation

      It works either way.

      C.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: pun violation

        The original was a bit better as far as PUNishment goes

    3. Kubla Cant

      Re: pun violation

      the most important doc in the newsroom bar none

      Should that be "the most important doc in the newsroom bar"?

      1. AdamWill

        Re: pun violation

        newsroom/bar , maybe?

  11. Allan George Dyer
    Coat

    Check the label...

    Does the 'CN' look like 'TN'?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Check the label...

      after a few of these, sure

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry

    The documents were only resting in our Tennnesee account

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip, use your local or national post/package service.

    1. storner
      FAIL

      No way. The Royal Mail equivalent around here (Denmark) takes minimum 5 days to deliver any letter or package. I suppose they need to ship them via GCHQ to make sure the t-shirts I ordered haven't been infested with some evil RFID chip...

      They're clever enough not to have the rerouting show up on the tracking page, though.

      (Yes I will go take my anti-paranoia pill now, don't worry).

      1. khjohansen
        Joke

        Incompetence =|= Malice

        That would be because it is NO LONGER the "Royal Mail equivalent" - It has been privatized & is now cheaper & more efficient!

  14. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Trollface

    glass house, stones

    "use your local or national post/package service."

    heh, then they definitely WILL open it up to have a look.

    There's something to be said about Huawei being inside of a glass house, throwing stones

  15. 0laf Silver badge
    Gimp

    Spies R Us

    Interception of mail and diplomatic message bags is one of the oldest forms of espionage around. But incompetence is pretty plausible as well.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We value all of our customers who entrust more than 15m packages a day with us,"

    There's no way I could send that many packages in a day.

    FedEx won't give a shit about me.

  17. Kubla Cant

    Dead trees?

    Doesn't it seem odd that a tech company is sending documentation by FedEx? Surely they don't have documents that didn't originate on a computer? Why not just use some kind of secure file transfer?

  18. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Still waiting for the proofs...

    ... that Huawei is the hellish company as the US claims.

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge
    Trollface

    What an excellent idea to sow some disinformation. Courier some "highly technical and sensitive" documents from Pointe A to Pointe B, and hope that Pointe C will happen in between with some sneaky lifting and copying of said "highly technical and sensitive" documents.

    Then climb on your high horse and cuss the courier responsible out for the mess, to make it look more authentic.

    Then sit back and bask in a Jobbe Jolly Well Donne.

    trollface, coz that's what I'll do to sow disinformation amongst my enemies. Muhuhahaha.

  20. Caffeinated Sponge

    Glass Houses...

    As many here, I’m not particularly surprised that a US based parcel carrier ‘inadvertently misrouted’ several packages belonging to a company their President is currently trying to browbeat the rest of the world into abandoning “because it spies for its government”.

    I seem to recall a few years ago, the ‘Patriot Act’ had most companies in countries that aren’t America scrambling to ensure nothing online touched US based companies basically for the same reason, which caused quite a problem as Cloud based infrastructure was just really taking off. Unsurprisingly this doesn’t feature in the media narrative of ‘bad Huawei!’

  21. Frumious Bandersnatch

    probably apocryphal

    I doubt this is true, but I remember a story that one of my school teachers told us in class, that somewhere in China, they named a city "Sheffield" so that they could stamp it on the cutlery that they wanted to export around the world. Perhaps there is a Busan, Tennessee that sometimes, inadvertently gets added to the routing slip?

  22. JimmyPage Silver badge

    The Dark Game ....

    I - for one - would be astounded if those packages were any more than a couple of boxes of blank A4 paper (or whatever would be needed to look juicy and interceptworthy).

    Huawei knew they would be "inadvertently" rerouted - or had very good reasons for believing so.

    Now the whole world can make up it's mind. I suspect FedEx will quietly be dropped by some customers as a result.

    This is all based on what I would do if I thought there was some jiggery pokery going on, and by the fact we know for a fact that intelligence agencies of all countries have pulled stunts like this in the past.

    For those of a certain bent, "Operation Mincemeat" relied on the Nazis intercepting a package.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The Dark Game ....

      Not blank pages. That would be a wasted opportunity.

  23. FXi

    Funny after they claim they are "no danger to internet routing security"

    I find it quite ironic after they have claimed that their internet equipment would pose no security risk that they are so heavily concerned with where their documents get routed. And given their heavy history in industrial espionage (numerous cases settled out of court), perhaps they are so sensitive because they know full well how easily they could fall victim to the very tactics they have used on others?

  24. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    Know Your Courier . . . Intimately

    My employer has to, on occasion, transmit documents to Europe. Our inquiries showed that most of the couriers route packages through their home countries.

    The UK Passport Office sponsors DHL - which means UK passports go to Germany THEN to their destinations. The chosen routing is variable and has no relationship to the weight. SaiGon >> London, UK is an air distance: 6,341.34 mi (10,205.40 km). Yet on occasion packages are routed via an distance: 12,948.04 mi (20,837.85 km) that goes via North America then London.

    We have found mid-sized regional couriers will follow routing instructions whereas small international couriers simply toss your package on to their favourite bigger brother.

    Of course, using false addressees (names and/or addresses) is one answer to HuaWei's challenge as well as avoiding anything American.

  25. Cynic_999

    I don't believe it was deliberate

    If the diversion had been deliberate, FedEx would have ensured that it did not show up in any of the logs. Which would have been very easy to achieve - the abstracting agent intercepts it and puts it inside a box/envelope addressed to the US. Once the US had done what it wanted, it is put it inside another box addressed to the FedEx agent who originally abstracted it - the agent then takes out the original package and pops it back in the system at the same point where he took it. All records would show that it passed through all the expected routing nodes - albeit with a delay at one of them.

  26. Cynic_999

    Future precautions

    I see a market for a small device that obtains position information and records it. People sending sensitive goods can place the device in with the goods they ship in order to know exactly where it has been and for how long at each place. GPS would probably not be a good way to get position information as many packages would be shielded from GPS signals for most of the journey. But for coarse position information a cell tower ID would suffice - and/or log the SSID of every WiFi hotspot it encounters and/or record RDS data of any FM radio stations within range.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Future precautions

      How is a package shielded from GPS not shielded from cell towers?

      1. Kiwi

        Re: Future precautions

        How is a package shielded from GPS not shielded from cell towers?

        Well.. Where I am sitting in my lounge room my Wifi is the strongest signal. Next is the cell tower - nearly full bars on my phone. Way down the list is the GPS which is marginal on my tablet (where I significantly improved the antennae) and non-existant on other people's phones or tablets. I do live half-way up a range and only get GPS coverage for less than 1/4 the sky.

        Often when I am in the city the buildings cause issues for some GPS units but plenty of cell towers around. GPS also seems to have trouble penetrating metal enclosures (such as trucks/shipping containers and vans) whereas cell signals and WiFi usually do a better job (not that I've tried a mobe inside a closed shipping container).

        Of course, if these became popular then all it'd take is "Our vans have been upgraded to have "safety cages" that keep our staff safe by making sure nothing can accidentally fall or move. Ignore the fact that they look suspiciously like Faraday cages!".

  27. sanmigueelbeer

    In other words, according to FedEx, yes, some packages went "the wrong way"

    There, FTFY.

    Remember, the FIRST Rule about doing something dodgy: DON'T GET CAUGHT!

    1. Kiwi
      Angel

      In other words, according to FedEx, yes, some packages went "the wrong way"

      There, FTFY.

      Remember, the FIRST Rule about doing something dodgy: DON'T GET CAUGHT!

      Ackshually.. Sometimes getting 'caught' is the best defence. You can claim you were innocent of any intentional wrongdoing 'because if I was truly up to no good I'd've legged it!' or 'Sorry, I thought the building was abandoned and I was lost while tramping and looking for somewhere to wait out the storm' etc (as rather poor examples but I'll let others think of better ways to make this claim :) )

  28. tallenglish

    Proof, or it didn't happen.

    Where is the proof, or I call bullshit.

    Hauwei is a pawn in some political game, since USA can't beat them fairly, the just remove them from the playing field. How many western companies are going to get hit with fallout from this mess.

  29. Bluto Nash

    Fedex diverts tech docs through US?

    Nooo, that's not fishy. Not fishy at all.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > But a leaked NSA spying tools catalog shows the agency has a close relationship with Amazon that allows them to divert, and then subvert, the packages it wants.

    So, are we outside America now going to follow Americas example, and put a total ban on any company buying/selling/dealing with Amazon?

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