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

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

  1. DJ
    Coat

    It isn't like

    the Chinese have a history of intellectual property theft or trying to break into government systems, so why all the fuss?

    Mine's the one without so much sarcasm in the pocket...

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: It isn't like

      >the Chinese have a history of intellectual property theft...

      ...and before the Chinese it was the Japanese, or Hong Kong, or wherever.

      The problem we have to face isn't 'intellectual property theft', its the fact that Huawei owns about 60% of the patents needed to implement 5G. We turned our engineering efforts into rentier operations, content to hold "IP" and milk it indefinitely while leaving the work and investment needed to develop new technologies to others. It made us lots of cash in the short term but in the longer term its made us consumers, second tier. Complaining that its 'no fair' just won't wash.

      The UK doesn't have any cell infrastructure industry to speak of. Neither does the US these days. You are a consumer - you take what you can get and if you don't like it then just go without.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It isn't like

        "and before the Chinese it was the Japanese, or Hong Kong, or wherever."

        The wherever included the US. Only when they'd got their industries firmly established did they become interested in protecting IP.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: It isn't like

          That's basically the entire patent and copyright history in a nutshell.

          This is true in every major economy in the world, whether we are talking the Roman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, British Empire, Venice, and every other one, this is how it has always worked with respect to intellectual property rights. There are none until we develop of lot of good stuff - on the backs of others inventions/research who's rights we don't recognise - then we suddenly care about copy/patent-rights.

          1. whitepines Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: It isn't like

            Cough ... Disney ... cough.

            If US corporations were doing it a scant 100 years ago, surely they're complaining a bit too loud without their own house in order?

            1. phuzz Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: It isn't like

              There's no word for 'irony' in American.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: It isn't like

                Yeas, made abundantly clear by the those same US commentators conveniently forgetting that their own Patriot Act requires the same government access that it is claimed the Chinese do of their companies. Something that I've not seen pr heard mentioned much or at all in the popular media outlets.

      2. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: It isn't like

        The UK doesn't have any cell infrastructure industry to speak of. Neither does the US these days. You are a consumer - you take what you can get and if you don't like it then just go without."

        In recent days some UK politicians have talked about a "home grown" alternative, as if you could run one out of an estate in Peckham. They don't seem to understand the resources required to rival world leaders in this kind of industry. It doesn't help that we seem to be quite good at selling off the companies that do attain that status, Arm Holdings and Cobham being good examples, and AstraZeneca nearly becoming another.

        1. TimMaher Bronze badge

          Re: It isn't like

          An estate in Peckham Rodders?

          In Nelson Mandela house perhaps.

          Oh... wait... that knocked that down.

          1. Loatesy

            Re: It isn't like

            Or rite Dave?

            1. Scott 26

              Re: It isn't like

              'rite, Trig

      3. Jaybus

        Re: It isn't like

        "...its the fact that Huawei owns about 60% of the patents needed to implement 5G."

        Really? Are we sure about that?

        https://www.twobirds.com/~/media/pdfs/news/articles/2019/determining-which-companies-are-leading-the-5g-race.pdf?la=en&hash=8ABA5A7173EEE8FFA612E070C0EA4B4F53CC50DE

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: It isn't like

      "or trying to break into government systems"

      Sadly, the same politicians who are wringing their hands over Huawei are the ones those think end-to-end encryption should be banned. Perhaps they are now nearly at the point where they will appreciate what the rest of us have been trying to explain to them for several decades.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: It isn't like

        They won't. That's only a problem for us proles. Politicians will expect high-strength end to end encryption for themselves.

  2. Steve Todd

    Interestingly the US has a history

    Of intellectual property theft also. When they were a new nation they refused to acknowledge European patents and outright stole much of the IP that got them started as an industrialised country.

    In this case there has been much posturing and wringing of hands, but little to no proof of their allegations. That combined with a failure to offer a viable alternative has landed them where they are now (with most of Europe coming to the same conclusions), looking like bully boys into the bargain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interestingly the US has a history

      Jay Leno told them in one of his Youtube videos that in the early 19th century Americans were kept away from British steam engines, then the most advanced in the world, so they could not steal the designs.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Interestingly the US has a history

        Charles Dickens went on reading tours of the US to try to recoup some of the losses incurred by US publishers selling pirate copies of his books.

        1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: Interestingly the US has a history

          Yeah, but now they are the land of the free. Wait, what's that you say? Europe has a stronger free market than the US?

          Thomas Philippon’s The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up On Free Markets

          Well it's lucky we are still a member of the EU...

          Oh shit...

    2. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Interestingly the US has a history

      And when Cisco was a new company they borrowed intellectual property from Stanford University. Pot, meet kettle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interestingly the US has a history

        The Cisco story is a complex one from a different time - here's some background

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Interestingly the US has a history

      Even better : when The West was won and Hollywood established, it made a point of not respecting East Coast IP and stole everything it could and the kitchen sink.

      Kinda resets the whole "Land of the Brave" thing.

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Interestingly the US has a history

      they refused to acknowledge European patents and outright stole much of the IP that got them started as an industrialised country.
      More than industry and patents. This is also how Hollywood started, by ignoring others copyrights until they had a body of work big enough to start enforcing their copyrights.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

    Good. It is time Trump hit one into the water. But he'll pretend it never happened and his ball will magically appear 2ft from the hole.

    He and his Veep are living in some fantasy world where everyone licks their boots and does everything they want without question.

    So far BoJo has stood up to the Bully. I wonder how long this will last?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

      "I wouldn't rule out some sort of punitive action in the form of delaying trade negotiations," Waldron said. "The current administration has repeatedly embraced using economic tools such as tariffs or trade deals as political signals to indicate their displeasure." ®

      Yeah, well that would be a blessing, if the UK can't dive straight into a one sided trade deal with the States it will give the gov' time to explore other avenues that may be more advantageous and less tied down than a transatlantic deal would be. Europe is still the UK's closet geographic trading partner and still offers the potential of a large market, aside from Europe being out of the EU allows Britain to have a go at the rest of the World unfettered.

      So feck 'em let them do their worst.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

        being out of the EU allows Britain to have a go at the rest of the World unfettered.

        Hey, maybe we could start getting our lamb and butter from New Zealand again.

        Oh, except that we abandoned them in the 70s, devastating their sheep and dairy industries and leaving farmers bankrupt.

        But I'm sure they won't hold that against us - bygones be bygones in this Brave New World of total freedom for the UK, eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

          Oh, except that we abandoned them in the 70s,

          Yeah, because we joined the common market, and it stopped us importing so much NZ sheep meat.

          These days China is NZ's biggest export market.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

            well , the other side of the planet is not the most environmentally friendly place to buy your meat from.

        2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

          > Oh, except that we abandoned them in the 70s, devastating their sheep and dairy industries and leaving farmers bankrupt.

          Trivia: the EEC rules around dairy imports were written very tightly - so much so that cream imported as cream was subject to tariffs but cream imported as 'spray-can cream' wasn't. And lo, a new product loved by cheap restaurants everywhere and loathed by people who prefer real whipped-cream, was born.

          Cheese puffs and cheese biscuits are another food abortion created in an effort to avoid Common Agricultural Policy milk production quotas. As long as it wasn't sold as 'cheese' then it didn't count against the quota.

          [Icon - looks a bit like one of those cheese triangles]

      2. Jedit Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "it will give the gov' time to explore other avenues"

        No, it will mean that the deal the Yanks demand will be even more one-sided. For instance, going from preferential status in NHS procurement to being involved in the decision-making processes.

    2. HmYiss

      Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

      We haven't fscked them anywhere near hard enough.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: So we'd FSCK'd the USA?

        They've definitely got some integrity problems...

  4. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    "being out of the EU allows Britain to have a go at the rest of the World unfettered"

    Which of the world would that be? I'm sure we could get a great deal with Nauru, but I'm not totally convinced that it would make up for the lost trade with Europe....

    1. Not also known as SC
      Angel

      Maybe this is the first step to a trade deal with China?

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Trade deal with China

        That's not a joke, there - with the rest of the world making deals that excluded Trump's "Make America Great Again!" concerns, El Cheeto Jesus has managed to make America less important throughout the world. So a British trade deal with China? Who knows, in some future to come?

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      What makes you think Nauru is the only place that would be interested in trade with Britain, what was the second biggest economy in the EU?

      Russia and China definitely would go for a deal, then there is Canada, one of the national security threats to the US with it's steel and aluminium prices. The biggest limitation to trade with the rest of the world is those countries that are already tied to the US as the yanks won't like Britain treading on their toes. As for Europe, now is the time to negotiate, it is hardly lost to the UK, they still need the UK as a market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Canada

        The UK already had the CETA free trade deal with Canada by being in the EU (similarly Japan, much of South America, etc, etc).

        The Canada deal took 7 years to negotiate. You think the Canadians will rush into a new deal with the UK, especially one that gives the same terms as the one the country is voluntarily leaving? The EU had the output of most of the continent to offer including German manufacturing in exchange for a deal.

        The UK has a much weaker negotiating hand. Why would the Canadians feel inclined to offer the same terms if they can push back to get a better deal for themselves while extracting the maximum concessions from the UK?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Canada

          > The Canada deal took 7 years to negotiate.

          I seem to recall one small province of Belgium holding things up. I'm sure the Canadians were rather more speedy.

          1. WillCunningham

            Re: Canada

            As a Canadian, it would seem the only thing our government is "speedy" with these days is acting on whatever the latest demands from the UN on refugee/migrant placement is.

            Or blocking our Western provinces from actually utilizing their energy/oil potential, then getting it from China instead.

            I'm not entirely certain a "Canadian" government really exists anymore. Trudeau considers us a "post national state". He seems to particularly resent our British/Anglo origins, so I'm interested to see how this would actually play out.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        No country is going to seek a trade deal with "Go It Alone" UK if it jeopardises any deal they have with the larger EU market. The UK now has little to offer a potential trading partner that can't be beaten hands down by larger trading entities.

        But at least we have "Got Brexit Done" tea towels to make us the envy of the more affluent world

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which of the world would that be?

      The bit which includes the 158 countries not in the EU?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        The bit which includes the 158 countries not in the EU?

        About half of whom have a GNP barely matching that of Norwich.

        It's the countries we already have trade deals with through the EU which are the most immediate concern, with about two-thirds now covered by continuity deals and representing about three-quarters of our non-EU trade. Japan, for example, is a significant omission, alongside the US. They're not expected to agree to simple continuity deals. It's taken three years to get the easiest ones done, the ones where we do have either advantage or parity.

        When the continuity deals we do have start to run out (after the transition period ends in June 2021, or six months sooner if BoJo throws his toys out the pram) we should indeed find some worthwhile gains after longer renegotiations, but countries like South Korea and the Southern African union will be well-placed to take advantage of our relative weakness outside the EU. It's going to be an interesting* decade.

        *Hopefully not in the Chinese curse sense.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          About half of whom have a GNP barely matching that of Norwich.

          And the other half includes the United States, China, Japan, India, Brazil, Canada, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. And that's just looking at who's in the top 20.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            And how many of those do you think we're going to end up having a better deal with than we have at present? What about the seven EU countries in the top twenty? Are we in a position to get a better deal from them than we already have as part of the single market?

            No economist (other than the blinkered ideologist Patrick Minford) thinks the UK is going to benefit. They think it'll take decades to get back on an even keel, and during that time what will the social impact be when there's less money for schools and hospitals and the social security safety net? People will suffer entirely unnecessarily, and there's no coming back from that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              No economist thinks the UK is going to benefit.

              That's very prescient of them, since none of the trade deals has even been discussed yet, let alone signed.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          About half of whom have a GNP barely matching that of Norwich.

          If we are completely fair about this, one of the reasons that many poorer nations are poorer is because the entire developed world has hidden behind groups like the EU, NAFTA etc which are primarily import barriers to prevent external countries from supplying into their markets. This leaves the poorest nations screwed because while they can buy from advanced economies, they are effectively barred from selling to us. This prevents a balance of trade and prevents them from growing their economies.

          In other words, they are poor because the worldwide trading system has been setup in a way that makes the poorest countries perpetual colonies on an economic basis. If we were to trade directly and fairly with these countries then they would quickly become rather good customers since they want to sell things that we want to buy that we can't make effectively in an advanced economy (basic materials and produce) and want to buy things that we generally make, such as modern industrial and agricultural equipment and how to use them (which we make, and education is one of our strong points).

          So there is actually scope for productive and mutually beneficial trade with the poorer countries that may not stay poor with a good trading partner.

          Mind you, i'd rate the chances of any British politicians managing to end up doing anything useful as pretty much zero, so we're probably screwed.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    But I thought the free market economy they all believed in would have already made this happen years ago?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure it has been developed but they are all suing one another over who gets to use it.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Yes that'll work well.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Well that is something I can accept. That is the actual American Way. Just pull up your sleeves and do better, and prove that you can.

      Oh, I forgot, America is just holdings and IP trolls now. Oh well, too bad. Let's go to Starbucks to complain then, eh ?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "But I thought the free market economy they all believed in would have already made this happen years ago?"

      It has...hence Lucent, Marconi, Nortel, Alcatel are all names from the past and many of the survivors have moved out of telecommunications altogether leaving only a few remnants in Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens and Samsung. The market couldn't support so many suppliers and they either consolidated or died.

      How did Huawei and ZTE prosper in this environment? There are many answers and most rumours have some truth (i.e. they have benefited from Chinas closed telecoms market and Chinese economic policies) but they have also invested significant resources in the equipment they have developed.

      We've now reached the stage that the free market has been affected by Chinese state intervention AND some western governments would like to correct that before the remaining western companies are no longer able to operate.

    5. hammarbtyp Silver badge

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

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

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

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

    1. Snake Silver badge

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

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

      Say it ain't so!!

  7. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    Who dines at the top table?

    Simple answer: The USA, China and the EU.

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

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

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

    1. YARR

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

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

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

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

        ROFLMAO.

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

          1. SonofRojBlake

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

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

    2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Who dines at the top table?

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

      Nope, currently 6th

  8. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    A reply from Sparta

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

    If.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: A reply from Sparta

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

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

      FIFY

    2. mevets

      Re: A reply from Sparta

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

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

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: A reply from Sparta

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

  9. Detective Emil
    Black Helicopters

    U.S. engaged in pot-kettle blackness dispute

    This reminds me of Alice's Restaurant:

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

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

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Academics

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

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Academics

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Academics

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

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

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Academics

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

    4. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Academics

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

      1. Chris King Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Academics

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

    5. Sanctimonious Prick
      Happy

      Re: Academics

      (HCSEC) Oversight Board

  11. J.G.Harston Silver badge

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

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

      1. whitepines Silver badge

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

    2. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      reflections on trusting trust - Ken Thompson 1984

    3. WonkoTheSane
      Big Brother

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

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Alert

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

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

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

    4. iron Silver badge

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

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

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

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

  12. AndyFl

    Who to believe

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

    Back doors in Chinese Huawei equipment? Probably

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

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

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Who to believe

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

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

      1. Old'un

        Re: Who to believe

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

        1. Sanctimonious Prick
          Devil

          Re: Who to believe

          You got it!

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

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Who to believe

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

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

    1. John McCallum

      Pompeo :-

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

  14. Joseba4242

    Puzzled

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puzzled

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

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puzzled

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

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust no one

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

    Social media anyone?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

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

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

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

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, still don't get it ...

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

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

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

      Let's be clear about this:

      1. The US has form for shipping spyware.

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

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

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

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

    2. BigSLitleP Silver badge

      "lack of political diversity."

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

      Glass houses, bud.

    3. First Light

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

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: China's global future

        I disagree with your disagreement ...

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

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

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

        You reap what you sow.

  18. Adam Inistrator

    E2E anybody?

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

  19. Franco Silver badge

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

  20. MrKrotos

    UK's special relationship with the US

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

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

  21. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Holmes

    "government intervention to create an alternative to Huawei"

    State sponsored industry - isn't that the actual definition of Socialism?

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: "government intervention to create an alternative to Huawei"

      State sponsored industry - isn't that the actual definition of Socialism?

      nah, that would be free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare and such. What's being described is crony-capitalism. The best kind as any fule kno.

  22. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Lets be clear

    The US "problem" with Huawei and other vendors has got little to do with 5G security.

    It has a lot more to do with the fact that US spooks may not be able to compromise them.

    It has even more to do with the restrictive trade practices that SCROTUS wants to implement. He has been made aware of just how far the US is behind China, particularly Huawei. He wants to use security as a way of getting round WTO rules about protectionism and tariffs. He hopes that we are gullible on this because of the "really amazing" trading deals he can give us. Perhaps if we cooperated, it might convince others that there really is a security angle.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Lets be clear

      "He has been made aware of just how far the US is behind China, particularly Huawei."

      I heard a comment yesterday (BBC radio news??) that Huawei have 80,000 employees ust in R&D and that was stated as more people than the entire UK armed forces. If true, that's a lot of people, and even if they are not all that bright, there must still be a significant number of very bright R&D staff. That's a lot to compete with. I don't think even Bell Labs was every that big.

  23. Danny 5
    Mushroom

    Maybe

    If there hadn't been so many either false, or unsubstantiated claims coming from the US, European countries would still have believed them on their word. They did this to themselves, so if they want to blame someone, they should take a long, hard look in the mirror.

    Wasn't the last big spying scandal that the US was spying on its allies? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I applaud the UK for having the balls to do what other countries in Europe should also be doing, reducing their dependence on the US. they have proven to be an untrustworthy partner on too many occasions and it's only going to get worse as long as the orange baby is in charge.

  24. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Go

    Homebrew 5G

    Congress is yet to pass a law earmarking funding for new 5G infrastructure R&D. Even if it did, any new products would take years to come to fruition and would require vast sums of money.

    Unless we hacked Huawei and stole the IP, of course. Thoughtful raptor meme goes here.

  25. AndersH

    What percentage of previous gen (2G, 3G and 4G) mobile network kit is already Huawei in say the UK or US?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Basically....

    ....the question is, who do you trust more, America or China... or maybe that should be who do you distrust least

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