Huawei, Intelligence Backdoors and Encryption

Jeremy Hunt may well be right here. But he’s more right than he might be comfortable thinking about:

Huawei is legally-obliged to co-operate with Chinese intelligence services, Jeremy Hunt warns

Chinese law may well say that. We’ll run with the idea that Hunt has been so informed at least.

Britain should be cautious about allowing Huawei to help build Britain’s 5G network because it is legally-obliged to co-operate with the Chinese intelligence services, Jeremy Hunt has warned. The Foreign Secretary, seen as a front-runner for the Tory leadership, became the first Cabinet minister to publicly express concerns about the Prime Minister’s decision to allow Huawei to supply technology for “non-core” parts of the 5G network. Speaking ahead of a trip to Africa, he said: “We are right to have a degree of caution about the role of large Chinese companies because of the degree of control the Chinese state is able to exercise over them in the way that would not be possible if they were large…

It’s that last part, the trailing off, which is interesting. For Western governments – the UK and US prominent among them – have been trying to demand that Apple open iPhones, that Telegram not provide end to end encryption, that there be backdoors into Facebook, WhatsApp for intelligence and police services.

That is, Hunt and his fellow defenders of our liberties have been demanding the same powers over Tech that they decry the Chinese government having. The hypocritical little bastards. But then to point out that they’re politicians is only to repeat myself.

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Bloke in North DorsetJonathan Harston Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

“help build”? Why get them to “help build” our infrastructure? Why not just buy their products and use them to build our infrastructure ourselves with our people? I don’t get Scandinavians to come over and build my house when I buy stuff from Ikea, why on earth should we expect/demand/require Chinese people to come over here to build our telecoms networks when we buy their telecomes equipment? Isn’t that anti-Woke neo-colonialism, like when we go to hot sandy places to build their oil refineries?

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

A good friend who is quite senior in one of the MNOs tells me that Huawei’s kit is by far the best, which is probably more of an indictment of their competitors. They’re also renowned for giving the best vendor financing as well.

If there is going to be a security breach its more likely to come from sloppy coding and testing than a deliberate back door, and that applies to all of them.

Any country that uses mobile and/or the Internet for passing sensitive information without using independent end to end encryption deserves all they get.