back to article UK MPs fume after Huawei posts open letter stating: 'Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice'

An open letter from Huawei about the UK's 5G strategy in light of COVID-19 has provoked outrage among several key politicians in the country's ruling Conservative Party, who have denounced it as "hubristic" and "arrogant". The letter, penned by Huawei VP Victor Zhang, urges the UK to avoid taking any steps that would remove …

  1. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Joke

    ...one-time leader (and current MP for the London suburban district of Chingford) Iain Duncan Smith, who accused Huawei of using the current pandemic as an opportunity to "promote Huawei's interests in the UK."

    He added the UK should "ignore Huawei's untimely special pleading" and "stop kowtowing" to China.

    .

    He speaks for England !

    1. Jonathon Green

      Presumably we should only be accepting special pleading from across the Atlantic and start kowtowing to the USA...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Iain Duncan Smith speaks for his bank account. I don't want to get The Register into trouble so I won't write what I think of him. (In English law there is a maxim "the greater the truth the greater the libel".)

    3. fajensen

      And 'England' is the loyal, work for scraps only, ultimately disposable, attack-poodle of the USA.

      When Donald Trump finds that there is no-one left to blame, bully, threaten and sanction then the UK will get the shaft also because nothing is ever the fault of The Orange Oracle.

  2. Ragarath

    Still alive!

    I remember having an Imagination graphics card back in the day. They're still going then? I had not thought about them in many a year.

  3. DavCrav

    "Last week, it emerged the owners were planning to radically shake up the Imagination's board of directors, prompting the resignation of Steve Evans, chief product officer, and John Rayfield, chief technology officer."

    You missed out a couple of key details there though, right? The takeover was only allowed as the company was regulated under US law, and under the condition that China cannot move the technology. The company then moved to the Caymans and then the Chinese government (well, some Chinese government company) tried to overthrow the board and move the company to China. You know, agree to some document with the British government and then rip it up and throw it away.

    Kind of like with Hong Kong.

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    The problem with China...

    The problem with China is that they are so good at what they do, that it's making us stop doing what we do and become dependent on them. Actually, that's our problem. Just because someone can do something complicated for half the price, possibly thanks to state subsidies, doesn't mean that we should give up doing it ourselves. Just because someone can produce some plastic tat for pennies in a sweatshop on the other side of the world, doesn't mean we should buy tons of it and shower it upon our children as presents, and upon our land and seas as waste. And just because a monolithic and wanton regime has eventually become very powerful and rich on the back of all these misguided transactions, doesn't mean that we should continually kiss their arse in the hope that some pennies will fall out to fill the pockets of our politicians and businessmen.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: The problem with China...

      There is a lot that it good about globalisation, but there are bad things as well - as you point out.

      One benefit should be that you don't wage war on countries that sell you stuff, (one of the ideas about the EU), but it also makes you wary about upsetting them too much and so avoid complaining about human rights abuses, etc. It also makes for a more fragile supply chain & the loss of local jobs.

      But a lot of this is driven by the desire for short term corporate profits by managers who do not care a jot about things like human rights. I would like to say that this is where politicians should step in to encourage the right thing - but most of them only pay lip service to the issues that they should care about.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: The problem with China...

        "But a lot of this is driven by the desire for short term corporate profits by managers who do not care a jot about things like human rights."

        I think it is also driven by the desire for people to have as much of the "stuff" they want as they can afford. This leads them to buy the cheap, Chinese-made tat rather than the expensive, UK-made tat, which leads to the UK tat industry closing down and there being no option for tat but China.

        Yes, there is a drive for corporate profits, but there is also an inherent greed in society. People will not normally think about the moral implications, they'll see 2 near-identical items on the shelf next to each other, one for half the price of the other and suddenly at a price they can afford...

  5. Klimt's Beast Would

    IDS=???

    Irritable Duncan Syndrome?

    I'm also quite shocked that a Chinese company dares play politics. Who does Mr. Zhang thinks he is?

    BTW, is China still keeping its 30% allowed stake (and kidney) in the Hinkley Point C mega project? For strategic reasons, UK Gov should buy it out.

    /sarc (obvs)

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "'stop kowtowing' to China"

    How exactly is buying a product from a Chinese company "kowtowing to China" ?

    So if you're buying Cisco you're kowtowing to the USA ? Oh, silly me, stupid question, of course you are.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The obvious move for Huawei would be to start a rumour that their equipment prevents 5G from causing coronavirus.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have seen considerable amounts of source code from both Cisco and Huawei (as well as others).

    Huawei 4G code was about as "professional standard" as Cisco 3G code. But bear in mind that 3G code has been running for years, with bugs present from all parties and nobody has complained.

    So the real objection is ideological rather than technological. Perceived threat from government pressure in China, vs proven TLA pressure in USA?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Huawei horror story!

    Even though nothing has been proven, I can understand the desire to not have Huawei deeply involved in your national wireless network infrastructure. Let's face it, the Chinese Communist Party are not nice, moral, ethical guys. If the thought of using Huawei as a trojan horse to gain access to data traveling through some wireless network has not yet occurred to the CCP, most of us reading this believe that it soon will, and that lots of members of said party will come down in favor of realizing that thought.

    However, I don't see a reason to get upset about this letter, which just seems to be rather standard corporate promotion. I have no problem with Huawei claiming that excluding them from a 5G project would be a "disservice" to the people served by that project. Any good company would say that. Hopefully the leadership involved in Britain's 5G network can make a clear-eyed, considered decision on what is the best thing to do in this situation, whether that decision includes or excludes Huawei's technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huawei horror story!

      "Let's face it, the Chinese Communist Party are not nice, moral, ethical guys."

      And the Trump government which through the NSA has considerable power over US IT companies does consist of nice ethical guys? Or our own government?

      Unfortunately there isn't much of a New Zealand or Costa Rica IT industry we can get behind for our 5G implementation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Huawei horror story!

        Unfortunately, the reach of these sigint agencies and their associated powerful politician-clients is powerful enough that I would not blindly trust some telecoms backbone vendor if they were from some non-aligned country.

        FOR EXAMPLE, New Zealand is part of the "Five Eyes". How much do you want to bet that if there was a world-class telecoms equipment provider in New Zealand, that they wouldn't already be under at least polite pressure from the Kiwi government to help out "the good guys" in some manner, for the greater good of New Zealand and it's Five Eyes compadres.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Huawei horror story!

      "Even though nothing has been proven, I can understand the desire to not have Huawei deeply involved in your national wireless network infrastructure."

      Huawei has cooperated with HMG to the extent of allowing a special unit to inspect their source code. AIUI the outcome was that although there were concerns about code quality there were no indications of malicious intent. This seems to me to move the situation from "nothing has been proven" to "accusations have been dis-proven".

      They are the only telecoms vendor who have had their code inspected in this way. Now does this make them a more dangerous or a safer vendor for our network?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Huawei horror story!

        They are the only telecoms vendor who have had their code inspected in this way.

        .. as opposed to, say, 100% of US sourced gear. I find the disparity more revealing than anything else and it suggests it has really zip to do with security, more of protection of another kind.

        The kind we really can do without.

        1. Paul Smith

          Re: Huawei horror story!

          Nice try, wrong conspiracy. There are no US telecoms vendors of worthy of the name. Swedish Ericsson is number two, Finish Nokia is quite a distant number three and French Alcatel-Lucent is the token forth place player.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Huawei horror story!

            I thought "Finish Nokia" was Microsoft's instruction to Elop?

            We're talking Internet rather than POTS here. Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Qualcomm, BLOB drivers, no access to source code.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I think I've worked out what's upset them. They're worried Huawei will be able to spy on the Cabinet's Zoom meetings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Being able to is not the same as wanting to. I imagine any translator expected to deal with the output of A B de P Johnson, Patel, Hancock, Raab and the like would be volunteering for the salt mines or the rice harvest within a few days.

    2. You aint sin me, roit

      Zoo's "end-to-end " encryption (actually client to server, but who's counting?) renders Huawei's involvement, or that of any intermediary, moot.

      Curious that Zoom is a Chinese company transferring data to Chinese servers, but is considered secure enough for cabinet communication (even though we know its crypto is substandard), while Huawei is an existential threat to western civilization.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Zoom doesn't make products which are a threat to Apple.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent news

    If it gives IDS and / or John Redwood sleepless nights, I'm all for it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot, kettle....

    Conservative Party, who have denounced it as "hubristic" and "arrogant"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What short memories.

    Accusations without evidence that China might be doing what Snowden proved that the US has done for years. HMG inspected Hawaii code and found poor quality control, our cousins redirected Cisco routers being delivered to domestic and foreign customers and *changed* the code. I wonder how many of those routers are still in core HMG systems?

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What short memories.

      The reason hat HMG inspected Hawaii code was just so they could go surfing and wear oddly shaped, luridly printed, shorts.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the future. Perhaps operators should clearly label "Chinese" services and give customers the ability to opt out if they want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surely you can tell because the 1s and 0s look as if they've been drawn with a brush?

  16. Big_Boomer

    Corruption

    This seems to be the norm these days. The company I work for has to prove that it operates ethically, and yet all these other companies seem to get state sponsorship so that they can get away with bribery, backhanders, political interference and so on. It smacks very much of one rule for me and other rules for everyone else, all for the worship of the almighty dollaryuaneuro.

    And before someone starts on about Chinese this and that, our lot and the Yanks are FAR worse and have been doing this protectionist crap for hundreds of years. It's just part of the power struggle as China takes over as the worlds leading economy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Corruption

      Part of the British problem, though, is that our government doesn't support industry in any way whatsoever (though Johnson did offer to have sexual intercourse with it, if I understood him correctly.)

      The last time was had a Conservative government that supported industry, it was Major with Heseltine at the DTI, and the economic improvement was obvious - so much so that Labour inherited a much healthier economy in 1997 and then frittered it away. But the present lot just want to play with their hedge funds, and if that means loading companies with debt and then pulling the rug from under too bad.

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