back to article It's official: UK telcos legally obligated to remove Huawei kit

The UK government has issued formal legal notices to teleco operators instructing them to remove Huawei technology from the country's 5G networks by the end of 2027, though some interim deadlines appear to have been tweaked after operators claimed they needed more time. This latest move follows the government's decision in …

  1. Tom7

    It's official

    UK publications obliged to stop using the stupid Americanism "obligated".

    1. JimmyPage
      Stop

      Re: It's official

      It was burglarized from somewhere.

      1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

        Re: It's official

        That is one of the very worst invented words I have ever heard. I have no problem with the invention of new words, but not stupid words.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's official

          Worse than “irregardless?”

          1. nobody who matters Bronze badge

            Re: It's official

            I think 'normalcy' has to be the absolute worst that I have come across. If anyone actually uses it to my face, I think I will actually hit them!

            I have no time whatsoever for the invention of new words where there is already a perfectly adequate word that does the same job.

            1. Tron

              Re: It's official

              'Harms' is just awful. It's use affects my wellbeing.

            2. MrReynolds2U

              Re: It's official

              I'll see your 'normalcy' and raise you 'learnings'

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: It's official

                That's a big ask.

              2. R Soul Silver badge

                Re: It's official

                I'll go all-in on behaviours. Momentarily.

                1. Smeagolberg

                  Re: It's official

                  >I'll go all-in on behaviours. Momentarily.

                  The best one I heard of this was on a US to Heathrow flight on which the captain announced, "We will be landing momentarily".

                  This icing on the cake was largely US passengers bursting into applause as though landing at all was a novelty.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It's official

                    For me, it was the safety briefing on United flights to the US - "we'll be taking off momentarily".

              3. Oh Matron!

                Re: It's official

                I'm all in with "Trainings"

              4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                Coffee/keyboard

                Re: It's official

                I can't wait to see your face at the next "onboarding"!

                (Vomit icon required).

                1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: It's official

                  Will there be 'learnings' ?

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                    Gimp

                    Re: It's official

                    Of course. Failure may incur a disciplinary.

              5. FirstTangoInParis

                Re: It's official

                @MrReynolds2U how about “decomplexify”? One of our seniors came out with that they other day …..

                1. MrReynolds2U

                  Re: It's official

                  I think maybe they need to look up what an oxymoron is and tone down their coffee intake.

                  Or you could use Bullshit generator and play them at their own game.

          2. myithingwontcharge

            Re: It's official

            "Worse than “irregardless?”"

            That's a perfectly cromulent word.

            1. nonpc

              Re: It's official

              'Competencies' anyone?

          3. shah27

            Re: It's official

            Never thought there would be a word which is not worth the letters used to spell the word.

          4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Re: It's official

            Unirregardless of whether irregardless is a word, the worstness of a word is difficult to quantify, depending as it does on the variationisms of language uttered by the speakist at the time. I.e. the most englishnessist of the English proseologists may scream at misuseisms of a word whereas GWBush, whilst willfully demonstrating more opportunisticisms, would probably be actively encourageist in the use of multiple other derivations.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: It's official

              Whilst I applaud your effort, the most scary thing about it was that I understood the meaning.

          5. Alex Stuart

            Re: It's official

            Or 'winningest' ?

        2. localzuk Silver badge

          Re: It's official

          All words are invented...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's official

            No .. inventionized

          2. Smeagolberg

            Re: It's official

            >All words are invented...

            ... but some words are more invented than others.

          3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: It's official

            And then after they have been invented they can then be inventorized by a process of re-inventorization

        3. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: It's official

          On that note, the very worst saying is "to be honest" what? So you're not normally honest? I know someone who said it frequently at the end of his sentences. Really used to annoy me.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's official

      Right: verb is "oblige", and as with many latinate verbs, is regular making the past tense "obliged", from which the noun "obligation" and adjective "obligatory" was derived. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to see yanks derive verbs from the nouns. But this is precisely why these words feel wrong and even ignorant (well, sometimes it really is), even when we accept that all languages change over time and nothing is worse than trying to hold on to the form or meaning of the countless loan words in our languages. I believe there's even a magazine devoted to that.

      1. Smeagolberg

        Re: It's official

        >it's not uncommon to see yanks derive verbs from the nouns

        As they say over there, there's no such thing as a noun that can't be verbed.

        1. R Soul Silver badge

          Re: It's official

          There aint no verbs that can't be nouned either.

      2. Willy Ekerslike

        Re: It's official

        "obligate" (to put under legal obligation) is also listed in the Oxford Dictionary, so it could be argued that "obligated" follows the rules; it isn't a word I'd focus on to highlight American corruptions of English.

        However, I'd like to put forward the theory that many American spellings were introduced as a result of an ink shortage caused by their war of independence. The impact was lessened by leaving letters out of words (e.g. "color" instead of "colour", "aluminum" instead of aluminium" or "program" instead of "programme") or changing to letters requiring less ink (e.g. "tire" instead of "tyre").

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: It's official

          The OED lists words in use and there's no doubt that "obligate" is in use, even if it's unnecessarory. No doubt it will soon be mandatorated!

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: It's official

            You will be obligatorized to use it

            1. MrMerrymaker

              Re: It's official

              I could Care Less!!

    3. Bliar003

      Re: It's official

      It ISN'T an Americanism Tom7. It's an English word.

  2. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge
    Joke

    China or the US?

    Do you want your cat pictures and bad FanFiction looked at by Chinese Intelligence or US?

    In other news 5G telecoms equipment is now rebranded as 4++G equipment....

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: China or the US?

      Neither, Global Britain will use proper British telecoms equipment made from Bakelite at Dollis Hill.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: China or the US?

        Untrustworthy telecoms equipment from Johnny Foreigner will have a red triangle sticker on it. That'll learn 'em.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: China or the US?

          >Untrustworthy telecoms equipment from Johnny Foreigner will have a red triangle sticker on it. That'll learn 'em.

          We can have out BT approved 300baud modems again !

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: China or the US?

        Bakelite was a Dutch invention. We can't have any of that dodgy foreign stuff in our phones. That'll show Johnny Foreigner who's boss. We've taken back control, haven't we?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China or the US?

          No, it was a Belgian invention... or at least a Belgian who invented it while, I think, in the US.

          1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

            Re: China or the US?

            One (the?) Bakelite factory in the UK is in Y Barri (Barry for Englishers) by where the Y Barri powerstation used to be.

  3. Tridac

    About time as well. Whie gchq and security agencies may have been able to verify the source code for backdoors in the original kit, there's no way the regular firmware updates could all be verified. Sup with the devil, use a long spoon etc...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >whie gchq and security agencies may have been able to verify the source code for backdoors in the original kit,

      That doesn't mean the backdoors weren't there.

      I mean GCHQ and MMB weren't able to find WMDs in Iraq either

      1. R Soul Silver badge

        To be fair to the chaps from the TLAs, it's hard to prove a negative. There were no WMDs in Iraq.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > That doesn't mean the backdoors weren't there.

        There is a legal requirement in most countries that large communication systems must be able to support legal interception (usually as an optional feature). Mayhaps the Huawei kit does not provide enough tap points for mass surveillance, which would be ironic on so many levels.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There's a difference between authorised and controlled backdoors and things hiding in the code with the same function but not controlled by the operator.

          Now, can anyone point me at Cisco gear that has had the same level of evaluation? No?

          Yeah, thought so. Predictable. Crypto AG, anyone? It's why we have a standing order that nothing travels on a wire unencrypted - no hard shell, soft centre for us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            While GCHQ haven't looked at Cisco, plenty of other less official folk have. And found lots of back doors.

            If this was really about risk, Cisco would also be on the high-risk vendor list.

            1. steelpillow Silver badge
              Holmes

              This is about political risk not technical risk. When China was passive and left Huawei to get on with it, backdoors didn't matter so much. Now that China is cranking up its cyberwar and legally requiring backdoors, they do matter. Had Trump won his second term, the Five Eyes might well have had an identity crisis and Cisco joined Huawei on the Great British Naughty List.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                I don't think that the software is anything as much of a risk as becoming dependent upon the supply chain. If all the networks roll out kit from the same supplier then, for whatever reason, all the networks are at risk if there is a problem with supply. Spying is easier done per device rather at the network level, but the networks are sensitive to disruption. But, as was demonstrated last week in Germany, causing network disruption is as easy as cutting a few cables. Or, as happened a couple of decades ago in Manchester (and possibly elswhere, this is just one incident I happen to know about), having some scrotes drop wheely bins on fire down access chutes. Good job the back lines were in the same access chutes…

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I think the only reason that didn't happen with Trump in charge is because there's no viable network supplier of Russian origin..

                If that guy isn't sponsered or controlled by the Kremlin he does a very good job of giving the impression he is.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Crypto AG, anyone? It's why we have a standing order that nothing travels on a wire unencrypted "

            So, you have a policy of encrypting everything because a crypto vendor sold kit that had been nobbled to make it easier for the cyphertext to be decrypted. That's nice. But how can you know if your crypto vendor isn't doing that too?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Nope. By using AMD chipsets instead of Intel we waste fewer cycles keeping firmware backdoors shut, which are now spent on software encryption that we can replace in a second because they're open source.

              That's not to say they don't have their own problems at times (OpenSSL springs to mind), but at least there's a degree of independence in their evaluation. There is some debate about looking for open source HSMs but I have no idea how far they have gotten yet. Maybe we design our own or sponsor whatever project looks most promising.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Lookup "Greek watergate" where the authorised and controlled taps where not installed nor licensed but hacked and used to spy all of the entire Greek government including the military. All software that could possibly be used to report back that anything was happening were modified to show everything was normal.

            A backdoor is a backdoor, and sometimes the operator is not in control of what they think they are when everything is software controlled and lies.

        2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Devil

          > "verify the source code for backdoors"...

          Exactly. They verified the backdoors. They're probably concerned about the other backdoors, but they've checked the ones that they wanted are written correctly.

      3. Tridac

        Correct. To verify just one set of firmware against supplied source code would be very time consuming, but possible, but you would need build info, complier settings etc. Updates a few a year for several different pieces of kit would be very difficult, if not impossible in terms of manpower. Iirc, Nokia also built 5G kit, so not just stuck with US built, and probably others as well. Well documented theft of IP, firmware and complete designs means some players are not playing by the rules and we should not be dealing with them...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          some players are not playing by the rules and we should not be dealing with them

          Ironically, the whole IP theft thing doesn't fly in this specific 5G case as it does not add up logically. What on Earth would the Chinese steal if they were years AHEAD with 5G as Huawei was universally acknowledged to be? It's almost as if the US wanted Huawei code to be inspected to it could be "borrowed" via their friends, i.e. doing exactly that what the then Trump government specialised in: projection of their crimes on others.

          I'm not a fan of either, but I do absolutely hate being lied to and there was *way* too much BS flying around against hard facts. I need gear that does the job, not something that is rammed down my throat because it's politically supported because that kills innovation. And it has.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I mean GCHQ and MMB weren't able to find WMDs in Iraq either

        That's because there weren't any, there was no credible evidence whatsoever. That's why WMD expert David Kelly "committed suicide", he refused to support that blatant lie they needed as an excuse to invade Iraq.

        That invasion was a US ploy for an entirely different reason: the US was responsible for installing Saddam in the first place, but had not counted on him discovering that selling oil for Euros was far more profitable then dollars, and they could not afford that idea to spread in the Middle East. Hence the whole, well, marketing campaign eagerly supported by Tony Blair, it was a punitive action.

        Worse, I see this whole game restarting in the nuclear industry with China, and it's going to get ugly. Again.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          The Yanks didn't install Saddam. Like Syria, Iraq used almost entirely Soviet kit. In fact, the Yanks had be cosying up to Saddam in an attempt to weaken the Iranians. Then along came "the war on terror" and the Prince of Darkness' (Negroponte) paper "Rebuilding America's Defences" with the crank idea that buy invading Iraq, the Americans would be able to put more pressure on the main funders of international terrorism: Saudia Arabia.

          Fast forward twenty years, and while the Yanks finally seem to have given up on that particular game, they haven't given up on the theory.

      5. Spazturtle Silver badge

        "I mean GCHQ and MMB weren't able to find WMDs in Iraq either"

        Er but they did fine WMDs in Iraq, they found huge stockpiles of chemical weapons stored underground, the ones which Sudam had claimed to have destroyed.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      In many ways the most damning thing about GCHQ's analysis of Huawei kit over the years was the piss-poor standard of software coding and software process management. The cynic would argue they don't need to insert back door when many windows are hopelessly insecure!

      But the flip side of that is it does not prove that other vendors are any better than Huawei in terms of security, as they have not has the same scrutiny. Given the number of high-profile CVE disclosures for big names like Cisco and Fortinet, we can form our own depressing conclusions...

      1. MrReynolds2U

        Very true. I don't recall the NCSC releasing reports on Cisco or Juniper kit and there are plenty of CVE entries filling up the database there.

        It seems that most of the bigger vendors prefer security by obscurity. It's a sad state of affairs but the kit most of us rely upon to police our networks could very well be full of holes having never been given the kind of scrutiny that has been afforded to Huawei kit,

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There was no need to report on the vulnerabilities in Cisco or Juniper kit because these were already installed in Huawei's kit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Cute, but if your own industry reports a company to be well ahead in technology that logically suggests they are the innovators, not the IP thieves.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              IMO, the claims that Huawei are well ahead in technology are bullshit. It's PR lobbying for protectionism from companies that can't compete on price.

              Huawei is however well ahead in the technologies that support the authoritarian and all-pervasive surveillance policies of XI Jingping's Chinese Communist Party.

              1. martinusher Silver badge

                >the claims that Huawei are well ahead in technology are bullshit.

                I think they had about 60% of the patents needed to implement this technology. These would go into a pool for the standards, obviously, but it indicates they had a bit of a head start in shipping 5G kit, especially for base stations. (At the time Hwuawei became the Bad Guy it was reckoned they were at least two years ahead in shipping product.)

                As we all know, legislators are far cheaper to buy than development engineers.

        2. Aitor 1

          Us kit

          Also us kit is known to have backdoor, at least for the us government.

          In the reg we could see a few of them..

        3. uro

          This weeks CISA Vulnerability Bulletin has 16 seperate vulnerabilities in Cisco software and firmware, out of all the network vendors I frequenty see Cisco in CISA Bulletins, Juniper less so, no idea about Huawei as I haven't seen any items reported by CISA on them for a while, they may have even stopped reporting on them due to the US sanction regimes in place.

  4. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Slave nation

    -> It is also widely acknowledged that the UK government has come under sustained political pressure from the US to ban Huawei

    How do you like your orders? In writing or in yelling?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Slave nation

      Haven't they heard, Britain is now a rule maker not a rule taker

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Slave nation

        Would these rules we are making be made out of cheese by any chance?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Slave nation

          Prime porky worky.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slave nation

        So not in metric but imperial?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Slave nation

          Not sure we can call it imperial anymore with a straight face.

          Perhaps we need spanners marked 'metric' or 'failed-state'

    2. Bliar003

      Re: Slave nation

      There were no orders you idiot. The US is a former British colony. THIS comment is the actual voice of truth; the UK intel community has been advocated banning Chinese tech for years, not "pressure from the US".

  5. Tron

    Political games.

    Doing what Washington tells them still won't bag them that 'slam dunk' US trade agreement we apparently should have had some time ago.

    I don't trust GCHQ spooks or Truss's half-baked regime any more than Huawei or Xi. None of the above have our best interests at heart. Only their own.

    Maybe we can have one of those referendum things: Should the state be obligated to remove Truss from government and have less than 35% imbeciles in the cabinet before Sterling dips below the Dollar, with full removal of imbeciles before an IMF bailout. Yes or No?

    It could be 'non-binding', so of course it would be binding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Political games.

      "I don't trust GCHQ spooks or Truss's half-baked regime any more than Huawei or Xi. None of the above have our best interests at heart. Only their own."

      This is undoubtedly true. However only one of those regimes puts its opponents in re-education camps or puts a bullet through their head, cheerfully enabled by Huawei products and services.

      Dizzy Lizzy is nowhere near that level of competence. She couldn't even sort out our cheese trade. And that is a disgrace.

    2. Bliar003

      Re: Political games.

      "Doing what Washington tells them still won't bag them that 'slam dunk' US trade agreement "

      They not doing anything Washington tells them you moron. This is from UK intelligence agencies. Bit deluded about America aren't you?

  6. that one in the corner Silver badge

    So conflicted over Huawei telecoms kit

    The best broadband (hah!) we can get is base line ADSL from a green cabinet with a BT logo on it. A few metres down the same street they get swanky stuff like ADSL2 fed from a better-looking green cabinet with Huawei embossed into it.

  7. chololennon
    Facepalm

    Lapdogs...

    "It is also widely acknowledged that the UK government has come under sustained political pressure from the US to ban Huawei equipment from its telecoms networks because it is a Chinese company"

    The evidence is overwhelming your Honor.

    1. khjohansen
      Black Helicopters

      your *Honor*

      The Honor sub-brand was officially sold off from Huawei to state enterprise Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology in the 2020 ;)

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Me Me Me Me

    Can I have the old stuff please?

    What's happening with it? If sales of it are banned then can I have it for free! Or does it just go back to weewah?

    I imagine it will somehow end up in Africa to cement their takeover of the continent!

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Me Me Me Me

      Came here to post the same. It would be pretty cool kit to play with.

      Don't worry, it's a countrywide thing, so there'll be plenty to go around...

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    All of the telco hardware must be NSA approved. Period.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  10. Bliar003

    "It is also widely acknowledged that the UK government has come under sustained political pressure from the US"

    No it isn't Dan since this has been advocated in the UK for YEARS.

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