back to article Federal bans aren't stopping US states from buying forbidden Chinese kit

Only a "handful" of US states have stopped buying Chinese technologies deemed by the government to pose security threats, according to a report from a Washington policy research group. The Georgetown University think tank paper, published this week, says that "thousands" of public officials are still purchasing prohibited tech …

  1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Perhaps the buyers

    think the biggest source of vulnerabilities is good ol' apple pie American companies like Microsoft and Cisco. Maybe they didn't have problems with Huawei, but they still now today being clobbered with holes in MS and the like.

    1. razorfishsl

      Re: Perhaps the buyers

      That is incompetence ,not malice.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps the buyers

      Whatever you say wumao. Another bit of "whataboutisism"

      There is a difference of having security issues in your hardware/software due to mistake than the CCP forcing you to put in vulnerabilities.

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    Getting a bit old

    The "threat to national security" notion has been wearing a bit thin lately because members of the Administration now openly state that the purpose of their restrictive measures is to kneecap Chinese competition. So what's a procurement person to do? Go without or pay extra for kit of dubious provenance (which may well be re-badged and significantly marked up Chinese kit anyway) or just carry on with what they were doing anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting a bit old

      We all just saw how depending on Russia to source gas and other goods was plainly stupid. Relying on Chinese devices is stupid as well. If possible, they **will** be used against US and Western states if the need arises. Moreover, it's plainly stupid to send them more and more money to be used one day against you. Xi made clear what it aims for.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Getting a bit old

      No its because if you look into the history, you'll find the CCP with Xi have their fingers in every pie. Xi was bought in because they believed he'd be neutral and keep the country open to the world. But alas he's become another Mao, is closing China off and becoming a North Korea. And breaking all agreements regarding them being given control of Hong Kong.

      The only point you make that is valid is cost. Because China uses slave labour, everything is cheaper. So despite me not wanting Chinese kit, we're still stuck with their CCTV cameras cause they are cheaper than the competition.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Getting a bit old

        Made in China is a turn off for me. Hard to avoid of course. But by preference I’d take something made almost anywhere else first.

        Chinas new middle class boom is of course built on Chinas export industry. Without it they’d be back to subsistence farming overnight. Xi knows this, and that middle class realising there are better ways to govern than just lapping up the consumer goods from the teat of a dictator is the biggest threat/opportunity to get China some good government of its own.

        Again. Xi knows this, and it’s why sabre rattling with Taiwan is on the cards. No better way to stoke up a dictators ego than a good war.

        1. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: Getting a bit old

          Made in China is a turn off for me. Hard to avoid of course.

          Made more difficult if buying online where the source of products is often not mentioned. I want to make an informed decision when spending my cash. If I choose to shop locally rather than abroad, I ought to be able to actually do so.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Getting a bit old

        >China uses slave labour, everything is cheaper.

        That's an old saw. A lot of countries that make our stuff use what we regard as sweatshops, they're mainly smaller contract manufacturers that make clothes, toys and the like. Electronics is made in factories that are the equal of any in the west.

        The reason why they can produce stuff cheaper is because their overheads are a lot lower. Our society's set up so that anything productive that anyone does is immediately fed off by an army of parasites (ask any small business owner in the UK about what happens if they employ someone -- then there's permits, taxes, rent, utilities -- its difficult to make a profit and pay decent wages). We can't admit that we've got the balance wrong, the only way we know how to balance the books is by screwing the workforce so naturally 'they' have to be doing it even more.

        1. VicMortimer

          Re: Getting a bit old

          That's not "an old saw" when China is using literal slave labor.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how posts about Huawei always attract flies to the forums.

    Our usual apologists show up to post the usual empty objections about sanctions against them and the other big Chinese telco and networking players.

    Bonus points for working in the usual noise about how the us are hypocrites and Cisco and the US brands are just as bad as far as supply chain issues.

    The world most of the rest of us live in plays by different rules. Yeah, if you are a Chinese running cisco gear i'd take a close look at it as well as your outbound network traffic. Ditto for Huawei or ZTE gear on other jurisdictions. Even if the box was fine when it left the factory it could have been messes with before it got to you. A bigger and more likely risk is that in the looming conflicts that the supply and support of gear for either could be cut off with little or no notice. As a company I don't want to be saddled with gear that may never receive another essential update, has no support or warranty, and may be at higher risk of "to who it may concern" attacks on whole brands and classes of gear once open electronic conflict flares up.

    Even if these things aren't compromised today, are you equipped to audit the updated that come out in the future? I appreciate that risk management is part of my job, and that has a part to play in the bottom line, especially for essential services. So there are vendors I am avoiding solely becuase the money saved, or access to a few bells and whistles, isn't as important as something I can set up and park in the corner without losing sleep over for few years.

    And for those that have been whingeing about this solely on the basis of "Choice" or economics, there is a bigger picture to this conflict including ethnic cleansing, genocide, and forced sterilizations. So if they are slapping sanctions on these companies it came from somewhere, and I am not putting that low a price on my conscience either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny how posts about Huawei always attract flies to the forums.

      I like to see such a post the 3rd one.

      Not so many flies it seems but the usual rant by NSA paid cowards :-)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funny how posts about Huawei always attract flies to the forums.

        I am no coward!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Funny how posts about Huawei always attract flies to the forums.

          You are!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Funny how posts about Huawei always attract flies to the forums.

            Am not!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    vicious circle

    So much easier to ban US companies selling to China than limit Chinese imports in any way shape or form.

    When those imports are limited, prices will rise - inflation. The Fed will raise interest rates to fight inflation, which will reduce demand for all goods.

    That will contract the economy making companies unwilling to invest in plant (in the US or elsewhere outside China) just when they should be doing exactly that.

    I know this is about security - not balance of trade, but the economic motivation is the same.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Psssst...hey buddy?

    Over here. I got the goods, man.

    *looks around, opens trenchcoat*

    Wanna buy some quality Shenzen rubber dogshit? I'll even throw in a tiny screwdriver!

    *hears sirens*

    Shit, the fuzz. Listen, I gotta go...if you change your mind, I'll be back next week. I'm expecting a shipment of RGB windmills and those sticky little men you throw at the wall...and of course...tiny screwdrivers.

  6. Tron Silver badge

    The government you should trust the least is your own.

    quote: Each piece of covered equipment represents a potential entry point into users' networks, regardless of its cost.

    McCarthyite 'reds under the bed' BS. Iffy Microsoft updates do more damage.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The government you should trust the least is your own.

      And secondly your closest allies.

      Russia spying on the PM is only a risk in the event of war, and even then it's not clear what advantage the enemy in a world war gets from having your bitchy tweets about a cabinet colleague.

      But during a trade negotiation with your closest military ally, having access to their negotiators phone/email might be of more direct use.

  7. Lordrobot Bronze badge

    Right wing think tanks says what? Who cares....

    First and foremost, there has NEVER been a single instance where Chinese hardware has been shown to have been spying on Muricans or sending your wife's nudie selfies to someone other than her boyfriend. Bloomberg did a number of stories on rice chips in Supermicro server boards intended for and shipped to Apple and Amazon. Apple and Amazon both denied the story with full page ads in the NYT, Supermicro denied the story but Bloomberg continued to make the claim and NO EVIDENCE supported that claim. Yellow journalism from an NSA plant. Pathetic.

    As for the organization of the Federal Laws in the US and it's States. There is no Federal Police Force. Thus to enforce Federal edicts like stupid Executive Orders and FTC regulation crap, the Federal Gov has to offer a carrot since they have no stick. A simple example is enforcing a 65 MPH speed limit on Federal Highways. States get Highway funds with the attachment that the State Police will enforce the speed. Again THERE ARE NO FEDERAL POLICE in the USA. Thus, what a state buys or does not buy is unenforceable. It is banned by the 10th Amendment.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    National Security is a flat tire by now. The tread is gone and the hematoma bulging if not blown out. It is the Chicken Little Story... one btch too many and never a scrap of evidence to back it up. For the right wing and far left in Murica, evidence is irrelevant. Trump claims a stolen election, 64 Federal and State Court cases maintain Trump is FOS. Has that stopped Trump's false claims? NO. Nor has the notion that China builds hardware to spy on you... Facts are irrelevant. Evidence is irrelevant.

    As far as the Federal Gov boycotting Huawei hardware or ZTE, who cares. The 10th Amendment prohibits the Federal Gov from asserting authority without Constitutional Approval. Remember the recent Court Case taking down ROE v WADE... application of the 10th Amendment. Abortion is not a Constitutional grant, whether you agree or not is irrelevant.

    As for equipment, states have contracts and they will honour those contracts. They can't claim force Majeure over some lame executive order or ENEMY LIST. The NSA doesn't control states in the USA.

    Meanwhile, the US Gov meddling in Trade has cost US Semiconductor Companies roughly $100 billion in losses of business to China with the silly Trump-Biden Sanctions and Boycotts. Earnings are down across the board. China uses this to garner the support of its workforce to change buying habits. China now has 28 nm litho machines of their own design. Just a year ago that machine was 86 nm. So China is moving fast. With a homegrown 28nm you can do three passes and get to 7nm. This Trump Biden Trade war crap is going nowhere. All it is doing is harming the US Semiconductor businesses. And the only company agreeing with sanctions is INTEL which is being destroyed in the marketplace. When you are on the wrong side of economics it is suicide. Not one other US Semiconductor firm supports the US Gov hounding Chinese firms or blocking China Tech trade. But if you are a redneck or socialist then facts don't matter, economics is for eggheads, laws are to manipulate others to needle and taunt.

    This NANCY KERRIGAN Kneecapping strategy is a loser... Unlike the vapid spew of the Xenophobes out here, China has an almost endless cycle of beating any sanction ever imposed. And the US sanctions are so petty. The US didn't send their politicians to the China Winter Games. Oh how sad for China. Will anyone remember that childish slight? No. It was just dumb. Then there was Obama blocking China from buying INTEL CPUs for a fully disclosed supercomputer. 15 months later China had built their own RISC chips and got the title of fastest Supercomputer at the time. Over and over this cycle repeats. and the Chinese use this to great effect. You dopes are not stopping China.

    When it came to the Trump Trade war, they bounced Trump like a soccer ball. Those Trump Tariffs have destroyed the US supply chain, and you are headed into a Smoot Hawley styled recession with massive inflation. Every time the politicians strike China, they get clanged on the head and the US economy takes a beating. Does this matter to rednecks? No rednecks are generally unemployed and have no marketable skills. To them China is the cause of all their failures, not their dropping out of school. In the US 65% of college enrols are women. Men are falling on their faces. There is now a whole new violent underclass of rednecks in the US. Like the loser that attacked Paul Pelosi.

    China doesn't have your vices. There is no violent male underclass. Everyone works, the safety net is thin. I can walk the streets of China at any time day or night without any concern for my safety. Try that in NYC or Chicago or Liverpool or London.

    Read some of the adversarial posts out here complaining about employers, always with a subversive passive-aggressive tone. You don't see or hear that in China. China is fast-moving and upbeat; it is a culture of work. The Ameican Culture is lazy. There is an account of a Railroad Scout working on the TransContinental Railway... he kept a diary. In the diary he said of the Chinese workers,"They are muscle and sinew, work from sunrise to sunset, eat and drink next to nothing all day, and lay three times more track than any Amerian team." He went on to say the Chinese would have to go home to China because they would never fit in with the lazy relaxed tempo of Americans.

    And to those of you that think this is Pearl S. Buck's China, you are way off the mark. China is a culture like no other on earth. It is a society of endless industry. In 2013 Bill Gates noted that China used more Concrete in the previous 3 years than the US used in the 20th Century. The US used 4.5 Gigatons over the 100 year period and China used 6.6 Gigatons over three years. If you think you are going to beat China with Petty swipes and insults, you are in for a rude awakening redneck.

    It is not just in this space of semiconductors... it is across the board. China produces 1000 million tons of steel a year. the port of Shanghai handles 500% more cargo than all US ports combined. It is a culture of work. What do you have? A culture of misfits that want to attack the US Capital, that wants to attack a Speaker of the House and her husband with a hammer.

    As for Huawei attracting attention on the Register, it does so for several reasons. 1) It demonstrates the depths to which the US goes when they get destroyed in the marketplace. The US failed at 5g. All the claims of superiority and the US falls on its face, just as it did with COVID, just like it did in Afghanistan and every one of its forever wars. 2) But with Huawei the kidnapping of the Founder's daughter was a low never achieved before, a low like attacking the US Capital, so off base and so incredibly grotesque that it draws attention and should draw attention to the decay of the US moral conduct.

    For the same reason, the Vietnam war turns the stomach. The Bully USA starts the war over a false flag in the Gulf of Tonkin. They attack North Vietnam, blowing off like they have lost their minds and they lose and crawl away without paying war reparations or apologizing for this unconscionable conduct. It is anti-Asian Racism. And you necks are outnumbered.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Right wing think tanks says what? Who cares....

      >NEVER been a single instance where Chinese hardware has been shown to have been spying

      That's how good they are! While of course being mere asiatics with tiny skull measurements - they are nevertheless infinitely in advance of our own technology and able to conceal undetectable tracking devices in every grain of rice.

    2. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Right wing think tanks says what? Who cares....

      Lord robot, find your meds and take a look at Shodan.

      There are endless compromised devices broadcasting back to China.

      Our recently installed network control centres has video conferencing hardware within scope. And within about 30 mins of the office going live, they detected traffic attempting to go back to China.

      The supply chain is screwed; if you want zero espionage then don’t use the internet. Accepting the NSA and MI6 use the same tactics; at least they are on the right side (mostly).

  8. crayon

    "That is incompetence ,not malice."

    Do you have a link that even hints at Huawei's malice?

    "There is a difference of having security issues in your hardware/software due to mistake than the CCP forcing you to put in vulnerabilities."

    So far there is zero evidence that the CCP is forcing Huawei or any other Chinese company to put in vulnerabilities. But we do know that US Govt officials have put in backdoors in Cisco gear. If they can do it once, they can do it twice. And if they can do it twice they can keep doing it.

    "So despite me not wanting Chinese kit, we're still stuck with their CCTV cameras cause they are cheaper than the competition."

    Bloody hypocrite?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ok, wumao.

      1. crayon

        Thank you troll for your contribution.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    I asssume this is just over costs... huawei switches are much less expensive than cisco, and huawei and zte radio gear is far less expensive than Motorola. in addition, if they already have huawei or zte radio hardware in place, if it follows P25 standards (we don't use TETRA in the states...) then the handheld radios and base stations will interoperate independent of brand, but it's much less likely the huawei, zte, and motorola base stations will work with each other (to hand off radio calls from one to the other and so on.)

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