back to article Decoding the President, because someone has to: Did Trump just blow up concerted US effort to ban Chinese 5G kit?

President Donald Trump appears to have undermined an increasingly aggressive push by the US government and telcos to pressure the world to shun Chinese equipment in next-generation 5G networks. In two tweets (what else?) America's commander-in-chief not only questioned the rationale behind snubbing mobile network equipment …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's see

    1) a company based in China that would be financially ruined if any government "influence" was found.

    2) a company based in the USA with more security exploits than I can be bothered to count.

    Which would you ban from "sensitive networks"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see

      China.

      First you have to detect and prove the 'influence'. (BTW, we've seen cases of it with knock-offs)

      Then you have the problem... you've just spend major money kitting out your infrastructure. Now you have to weigh how real the threat is ... of course this gets buried because you don't want to have to rip and replace everything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's see

        First I notice the number of individuals that gave the thumbs down to what I think is the obvious first question that is the precursor to discussion about Huawei and 5 G today...how would anyone know if China gained privileged access to information by using Huawei as its stalking horse. Really, this isn't obvious? Are there a 100 people outside of the Chinese firewall that would have the skills to recognize if it happened, how it was happening, its meaning, its route etc. Likely they would also have to work for Huawei?

        Really, all those thumbs down.

        The world needs 5G now and the ROW is not able to deliver it, so either plant the infrastructure yesterday or engage with Huawei today. A change of commercial terms is what I would recommend so that their competitive advantage can come down market with proportionate velocity to how China has gained its edge...source code in trust outside of China, R&D centers located in the ROW, and usual GCHQ-like rigor in identifying and repairing vulnerabilities as government and commercial policy.

        Oh yea, 'China, take down that firewall.'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ AC Re: Let's see

          Yup.

          Its obvious but its an ugly truth no one wants to admit.

      2. BigSLitleP Silver badge

        Re: Let's see

        The US company have been proven to put in back doors for the US "intelligence" community. The China company has not.

        So all the evidence point to the US company being dangerous to your networks.

        Your move.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @ Sp Re: Let's see

          Look, I think you're missing the point that the ACs are making.

          How do you know that China hasn't?

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Let's see

        >First you have to detect and prove the 'influence'.

        To quote a news article from today about the trade show in Spain....this is one of the Huaeiw bosses speaking...

        “PRISM, PRISM, on the wall, who is the most trustworthy of them all?” Guo said, in a reference to a U.S. data gathering program. “If you don’t understand that, you can go ask Edward Snowden,” he said, referring to the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the program in 2013.

        The truth is that all state actors are willing and capable of abusing your kit so you need to have an active program in place to defend against it. (Of course, this won't help with those secret court orders that you're not allowed to tell anyone about -- although there are workarounds to this if you're motivated).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see

      Ohh are you talking about Cisco? Yeah, the monthly parade of 'lol oops we left YET ANOTHER set of hard coded superuser credentials in yet another enterprise router family! our bad! again! lol" is suspicious as fuck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's see

        "Ohh are you talking about Cisco? Yeah, the monthly parade of 'lol oops we left YET ANOTHER set of hard coded superuser credentials in yet another enterprise router family! our bad! again! lol" is suspicious as fuck."

        And if Cisco's doing it, will Huawei still copy it? While Huawei maybe behaving themselves in the lower end router market these days, I've heard rumours that in the more specialised 3G/4G fields, checking Cisco bug reports is still a support technique.

        The reality is that Cisco don't build the 5G solutions - they are just vendors in part of larger tenders, along with a lot of other companies that used to be more important in the telco space.

        Given the lack of evidence against Huawei so far and governments not blocking them in bids, I suspect this was time wasting to allow competitors to catch up. And I'm not looking at Cisco...

    3. Milton Silver badge

      Re: Let's see

      'Let's see

      1) a company based in China that would be financially ruined if any government "influence" was found.

      2) a company based in the USA with more security exploits than I can be bothered to count.

      Which would you ban from "sensitive networks"?'

      I do get the point, but it's irrelevant. Sure, the western democracies are infected by psychotically greedy companies of basically disgusting ethics like Facebook and Google, and there are plenty of others whose software actually gets worse and less secure as time goes on (Microsoft Windows), not even to count decaying dinosaurs like IBM and Oracle whose grotesquely overpriced and inefficient software is simply bad to have around ...

      ... but the fact that we have so stupidly surrounded ourselves with this shit is neither argument nor excuse for allowing a hostile foreign power to infect our critical systems and place us at a further disadvantage. China is objectively a bad government of bad people motivated to do bad things. It is growing in power and only a hopeless naif would imagine that it will not try to extend its malign influence to us if allowed to.

      It simply cannot be allowed. The fact that Facebook and Google are self-inflicted diseases does not change that in the slightest.

      1. BigSLitleP Silver badge

        Re: Let's see

        "America is objectively a bad government of bad people motivated to do bad things"

        There ya go, fixed that for you.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It reads like a B-rate hollywood sitcom..

    Lets call it Fair and Proper...

    Trump is the Fair Asshole, and Pompeo's a Proper...

    (Credit to Kevin Bloody Wilson)

  3. M.V. Lipvig

    I don't see it as undermining banning Chinese gear at all. It looks more like a call to US industry to get off their asses or they'll be left behind. Huawei isn't the only maker of 5G tech.

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Context

      Which is why the article goes to some lengths to explain the context and the timing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US industry can't get off their asses because like the UK the education system has been run into the ground and Trump doesn't like immigrants. Who is going to do this catching up?

      1. RudeBuoy

        You made a point that is missed by our politicians and the great UNWASHED.

        The US has always been able to attract the best talent from the rest of the world so the quality of our education system did not matter. Our wealth and international "PRESTIGE" allowed us to attract a large proportion of the best and brightest minds from around the globe and thus benefit from other countries investments in their people. This party is over.

        Today the most talented minds can find comparable paying jobs in their own countries or elsewhere and we have squandered all the goodwill we had.

        This is not just about product development and innovation. The deficiencies runs all the way down to the the construction workers and gardeners in our society. It is almost comical to hear the discussion about bringing manufacturing jobs back without any regard to the fact that we do not have the number or workers or skill to facilitate advance manufacturing on the scale required by current industries.

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          And yet...

          In the USA, there are plenty of brains. Quite often whole departments in the leading universities are home-grown talent (and often 98% Asian, and good for them), and ex-coal miners in Kentucky and West Virginia are learning code and are very competent, because for a lot of solid mid-level jobs, you just have to be trained. And if a local community wants good jobs, so that men can again be the breadwinner and play their part, then it makes sense to embrace any new way of doing that, instead of insisting older industries be put back on life-support.

          The UK dominated the world for about 100 years (I am being generous) because it was first out the gate with the Industrial Revolution. It thought it could sail on that impetus forever, but eventually Germany and the USA surpassed it. The USA had the big impetus in the 1980s and 1990s (the Silicon Valley Revolution), but cycles are shorter and they are starting to be overtaken. Can any country get a second impetus and a second chance? Yes, look at Germany and China. The USA just has to have the will to invest in its own people, and in infrastructure, so that (unlike the UK), it's not caught trying to re-establish dominance on a crumbling foundation.

          If it chooses not to do that, then it deserves what it gets, economically.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            New Blood Fresh Thinking Delivers Alternate Reality.

            The USA just has to have the will to invest in its own people, and in infrastructure, so that (unlike the UK), it's not caught trying to re-establish dominance on a crumbling foundation. .... Hollerithevo

            That does not address the fact that much greater minds be elsewhere working with others. It is those thinkers and tinkerers Uncle Sam would need to invest in. Simple outrageous fiat payments to principals for required services is a very simple and well tested route to almost immediately guaranteed success.

            Obviously, presently, whenever there be an intelligence deficit with competitors or allies plowing ahead for leading advantage in vital future utilities and facilities, is national treasure being squandered on payment to decrepit home systems/bankrupt assets/zombie concerns/ponzi schemes/manic markets.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Up

              Re: New Blood Fresh Thinking Delivers Alternate Reality.

              That's the read I have from the rational business goes as well, especially that last observation! None of it is for the 90%'s benefit.

            2. Cliff Thorburn Bronze badge

              Re: New Blood Fresh Thinking Delivers Alternate Reality.

              “Obviously, presently, whenever there be an intelligence deficit with competitors or allies plowing ahead for leading advantage in vital future utilities and facilities, is national treasure being squandered on payment to decrepit home systems/bankrupt assets/zombie concerns/ponzi schemes/manic markets.”

              The regulatory authorities have the ultimate say in such amFM, and any company delving into such should exercise any/all due dilligence and expect to accept responsibility for any failings in filings, and any exponential learnings with leverage liabilities should be conducted with open honestly, as opposed to dire consequence deceit with a hope to garner advantage and destitution and despair for others, arms length guessing games, blaming all others as opposed to restitution and remedy.

              A good example of such is the terrible suicide of the well known social media site, and as always is often only after the horse bolting do the alarm bells begin to toll.

            3. IanMoore33

              Re: New Blood Fresh Thinking Delivers Alternate Reality.

              unfortunately that will never happen .. the U.S. will be a 3rd world shittehole in 100 years as its own economy collapses with mass infrastructure issues ,outsourced jobs , debt out of the control.

          2. c1ue

            Re: And yet...

            The issue isn't brains.

            US companies spend far more buying back their own stock than on R & D.

            The next largest category is generally marketing.

            This focus extends to employees: a young, cheap employee is far better than an older, expensive and not-puppy-like one. H1B is even better: should they become skilled, the poor sap is stuck in green card limbo for 7 years or more - a literal indentured servant.

            Lastly, the notion that "training" is all that is needed is bollocks.

            Society can not survive with everyone being a coder any more than society can survive with everyone eating cake.

            The real issue is whether all parts of functional society deserve a reasonable share of revenue as opposed to the 1%. As the inequality numbers clearly show, the battles of the past 2+ decades have clearly swung in the 1%'s favor.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              And yet... the markets love serial losers to milk and bilk to exhaustion and extinction.

              The issue isn't brains.

              US companies spend far more buying back their own stock than on R & D. .... c1ue

              Hmmm? Surely that proves the issue IS brains. Or more accurately the distinct lack of higher functioning ones.

              Are you in denial of that simple fact and thus complicit and supportive of the Grand Deceit?

            2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

              Re: And yet...

              I graduated in 2004 from an "old university" with a degree in applied computing, I like many of my contemporaries struggled badly to find work (cheers Tony Blair govt for opening the door to "intra company transfers" from India, outsourcing and listening to industry bleating about shortage of IT workers (translation we don't want to pay the UK going rate) as many companies taking on graduates in 2000 (when we started the course) stopped taking grads on post dotcom bubble and post outsource everything to India and "intracompany" transfer Inidian workers to the UK on Indian salaries. That was a great trick that one.

              University at the time was utterly hopeless in terms of careers advice, even careers advice dept "we're not here to help you find a job" seemingly a lot better now, but in 2004 they were still under the impression that everyone came for the "experience" and that grad jobs were 10 a penny.

              This being despite having a large industry board, my suggestion that they make an agreement with their industry board to shape the course to what the industry board were looking for in staff, skillsets they struggled to recruit - batted away - no no no thats not the done thing.

              No wonder this country has horrific productivity issues, mismanagement runs rife even through universities and colleges, colleges is where failed management seemingly go off to, either to lecture (badly) or run depts into the ground by relentless cost cutting and course asset stripping

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet...

            In the USA, there are plenty of brains

            Shame that most of them appear to be in jars. It'll take decades to undo the damage Trump & friends have done to the US, economically, financially and to its standing and reputation in the world.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Who Indeed?

        >Who is going to do this catching up?

        We've been in this rather peculiar state where there's both a chronic skills shortage and ongoing corporate drives to thin down the workforce, offshoring it where practicable. Suddenly we're expected to find people to develop state of the art communications systems as well as all that whizzo new military hardware that's being demanded by the Pentagon. (One local company reported it was looking to hire "10,000 engineers" -- seriously.) To add to our problems we're not that welcoming to foreign workers; our wages aren't that competitive any more and our visa system is driven by a lottery where even if you do get a work visa there's no guarantee that it will be renewed when it expires.

        Ultimately I can blame this on the "Smiling Curve", the notion that the profir in business is in product conception and marketing, not actually making things. This may well be true but it masks and unfortunate reality -- the people charged with the boring stuff like manufacturing may well want a piece of the other the curve and will be a good position to grab it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This highlights Trump's lack of understanding of corporate taxation and research and development. Under higher corporate taxation with exemptions for income spent on R&D corporations used to have functional R&D departments. Under present day tax rules with so many loopholes there's no reason to spend on R&D, it doesn't help the quarterly profit motive.

      I know this is very short sighted in terms of the long term viability of a great many western(?) corporations, but the taxation/investment rules as they exist have created the failure of these once great companies. That and MBAs/bean counters running companies and not understanding the core business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sure !

        Hail to our communist overlords !

        Due to their great intelligence, they have poured billions and billions into the telecom market and conquered it. Let's call it "free trade" and all read the little red book of the "chairman".

  4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Boffin

    6G?

    Ok so that's like Spinal Tap wanting an Amp that can go to 11.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 6G?

      "Ok so that's like Spinal Tap wanting an Amp that can go to 11."

      I think you'll find they actually had amps that went to 11!

    2. Velv Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: 6G?

      Don’t knock it, the air conditioning and audio volume in Tesla cars goes to 11 as Mrs Nigel Tufnel will testify

      https://youtu.be/MUimdzNZWaQ

      1. XSV1
        Facepalm

        Re: 6G?

        My Toyota Rav4's radio goes zero to 62 (and then maximum). REALLY? WTF were the engineers thinking?

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: 6G?

          @XSV1

          I too drive a Rav4,... I've never had the stereo up that loud to find out what value it tops out at,..... I think I'm going to have to try that now.

          The Air con values are a bit odd,.... lowest temperature is 16degrees (C) which is warm, then below that, it's 'Lo' which is chilly,... could do with a couple of settings between the two.

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: 6G?

          @XSV1

          I popped home at lunch, and had a quick play with the volume, ... and yeah, 62 then Max,.... odd.

        3. bboyes

          Re: 6G?

          I believe those were the marketing blokes. "What do you nerdy types mean, '11' makes no sense? Just change the labelling on the panel! Problem solved! Next year we could even consider going to '12'."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 6G?

      Perhaps he read that IASTER paper on 7.5G - not due until 2040 though.

      Would love to be a fly on the wall when he runs 6G past NSA (it's the integration of 5G with sat networks including GLONASS and COMPASS)

    4. gwp3

      Re: 6G?

      I hear Gavin Williamson wants us to bypass all this shit and go straight to 7G.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: 6G?

        and military bases on neptune, saturn and the surface of the sun

  5. trashsilo
    Big Brother

    Trump university

    Predictable Trump, when he's not pandering to his core voters, unemployed wall builders and comb over enthusiasts. Hes 'hard on' a 'great deal'.

    Just needs to remember freedom has always cost too much to be cheap now.

    Great article, 'It doesn't mean he'll stick with that position, or even remember what his position was..' lol ;->

  6. Jonathon Green

    I like Americans...

    ...they’re funny!

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: I like Americans...

      From all the way here, they are...

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @RealFakeDonaldTrump

    I'm tempted to train up a GPT2 neural net with Trumps twitter stream, alongside a Fox news headline stream of the time, and maybe a tiny bit of LSTM, then see if going forward it can generate realistic Trump tweets in real time response to new headlines. I'm betting it could. I'm betting it would be scarily similar. Could we replace Trump with an AI and not even notice?

    1. georgezilla Bronze badge

      Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

      Trust me, you would notice.

      The tweets would be much more intelligent and coherent.

      And there would be a complete lack of narcissism, less grandiose, and no egomania.

      You WOULD notice!

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

        I see no reason you couldn't train an AI to be an egomaniac. Feed it the right training data, in the right context ...

        1. VikiAi Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

          Careful there! That is starting to sound more and more like a crime against machinery!

        2. c1ue

          Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

          Indeed. GIGO works even when unintentional.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

      Can you train AI to do contradiction and talk bollocks?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

        Yes. No. Yes. No. Would you like sugar with your gravy? Understanding.

      2. I&I

        Re: @RealFakeDonaldTrump

        AI is a mind-lever, as opposed to an independent consciousness. Beware not the pawnish Terminators but (the mindset of) the chiefs of Skynet.

        Push-AI gets programmed (eg by rules or training data/regimes). But pull-AI (adapt-to-thrive bots) in the political world becomes whatever thrives best in that world. Like scaremongering and threat-creation. Like human politicians, just amplified. Oh, we already have one.

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