back to article Yay, it's power play day: Conaway prays USA says 'no way' to Huawei

A law bill introduced into the US House of Representatives would, if passed, ban Uncle Sam's agencies from using stuff made by Chinese mobile giants ZTE and Huawei. The proposed legislation, drafted by Rep Mike Conaway (R-TX), would bar government staffers from purchasing or operating any hardware, software, or services from …

  1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Huawai killed Marconi

    Slap it up em.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Huawai killed Marconi

      The company or the Italian? Because I thought the company was killed by gross mismanagement by Lord Simpson.

      1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: Huawai killed Marconi

        Simpson? Not a chance. Look at the fantastic job he did with Rover.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    I always feel like...somebody's watching me

    I hate it when I buy a Chinese device and it has American, Chinese, manufacturer, and advertiser spyware all running at the same time. Can't we standardize on a single method of making devices totally insecure?

  3. Joe Gurman

    Odd legislation

    I believe the US Defense Department budget, as well as several other agencies' (including the one I work for), allow purchasing of any tech only from an FBI-approved list, and Huawei is definitely not on that list. Don't know about ZTE. Believe that's been in place for ~ six years now.

    1. Flakk Silver badge

      Re: Odd legislation

      It's not really that odd when you consider two things:

      1) The U.S. Code is a vast, labyrinthe nightmare of overlapping and contradictory statutes. I doubt that even the most studied and erudite lawmaker knows them all.

      2) Conaway may very well realize that his proposed legislation is redundant, and not care. Every Congresscritter wants to be able to go back home and tell constituents, "Look what I did for you!"

  4. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    Here's a Great Opportunity (for HuaWei) to Bring Jobs To America

    HuaWei should use an American proxy and supply redesigned products, to conceal their origins, then use automation for assembly, then sold in the USA.

    Without a doubt this is another example of the USA bending the international trade rules of which it has an historical record (ask Canada). With the idiot president they have it might be also tinged with racism.

    If HuaWei products are vetted by GCHQ, and GCHQ was sharp enough to spot Trumps Russian contacts before the USA, it must be sufficient to accept that HuaWei products are clean. Of course, it could be the NSA can't re-engineer them to allow them to be tapped by the USA.

    BTW, check your 'American' products to see how many have been made overseas.

    1. Graybyrd

      Re: Here's a Great Opportunity (for HuaWei) to Bring Jobs To America

      According to Conaway, the aim of the bill is to protect the US government from efforts by the Chinese administration to use the products of its largest companies as a way to collect intelligence on America.

      If the good lawmaker follows the established career path, the next move will be to "retire" from Congress, set up an office in Washington, D.C., and become a megabucks Consultant/Lobbyist for HuaWei to "facilitate" their entry into the US market.

      Not that elected office in the US is to be considered a stepping stone to rewards & riches, mind you. "Public Servants" they are, each & every one...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's a Great Opportunity (for HuaWei) to Bring Jobs To America

      "BTW, check your 'American' products to see how many have been made overseas."

      That's easy, the one ones that are badly built, behind the times and feel like they are about to fall apart at any time..that's the genuine US ones

  5. TheOldFellow

    Doesn't the NSA already track everything?

    What's the difference between Chinese misgovernment spying and US misgovernment spying? Don't see it myself.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Doesn't the NSA already track everything?

      There's an important difference between the Chinese spying on you and the US / UK spying on you. If you break a law, engage in a protest, say something unapproved or affiliate with people your government doesn't like - the Chinese wont give the slightest fuck about it. Whereas ours will be paying you a visit shortly.

  6. Alister Silver badge

    Ban all products manufactured in China

    Like, ummm, smartphones, computers, tablets, televisions, telephones, radios, network routers, switches...

    1. Alumoi

      Re: Ban all products manufactured in China

      Ban all products manufactured in China

      Like, ummm, smartphones, computers, tablets, televisions, telephones, radios, network routers, switches...

      ... US flags, clothes, shoes, everyday items...

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Ban all products manufactured in China

        Hats, don't forget hats!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ban all products manufactured in China

      Every time I hear make America great and must be made in America, I just smile and think of this article.

  7. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Investigations were performed to try to prove they were spying. No evidence was found. We're still assuming they're spying anyway and acting accordingly.

    Why do the investigations if we're going to ignore the results? I mean, yeah, you can't prove a negative, but that was always true.

  8. W. Anderson

    Return of stupid American paranoid thinking on technology

    These new Congressional Bills demonstrate the idiocy of thinking here in the USA regarding bans against Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies that the USA "think" (but not know) may covertly send technology information to Beijing, at the same time "knowing" that the USA National Security Agency (NSA) "actually" and illegally (by International Laws) spied on friend and partner Democracies and every one else, to the exclusive benefit of USA only, including for Industrial Espionage.

    What is the USA going to do if Canada, "most of" European countries, Australia and major Asian nations adopt any one or more of Huawei or ZTE technologies for their governments' official communications technology platforms? Will the USA refuse to communicate with these jurisdictions, unless they adopt USA only technology?

    Idiotic thinking here in USA is spreading faster than the actual adoption of Chinese communications technologies by major and thousands of smaller American corporations and organizations.

    What to do?

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Return of stupid American paranoid thinking on technology

      It happens periodically. The US has a long history of trying to limit encryption, originally I believe classifying it as a "munition", and then limiting the size of SSH keys. Unfortunately the rest of the world fails to co-operate. When it comes to backdoors one guesses the assumption is that until recently only the US was able to do it - because all the cpu makers were US based - and now Samsung can turn out an Exynos and Huawei can make Kirins there is a loss of control. Which is bad because the US is #1, world policeman and the rest of it.

      A pluralistic world is going to be more dangerous for people in the West, but people elsewhere have traditionally been treated as disposable by the US (and sometimes their own governments) so probably won't notice the difference.

      The answer is to do nothing and wait. Either Marx is right and eventually capitalism will fail due to its internal contradictions, or he's wrong and it won't, but you and I can't influence it. In the meantime, just don't have unorthodox thoughts, citizen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Return of stupid American paranoid thinking on technology

        Capitalism only ever worked under FDR style restrictions and taxation rates. One only needs to look at income disparity rates since the 1970s to understand that.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Buy American

    Everybody is forced to buy IBM built cell phones with Intel chips running MS windows - its the only way to be safe

  10. h4rm0ny

    Fake news!

    This is about protectionism. Huawei was approaching finalization of a deal with a large US carrier (rumoured to be AT&T). This has been in the works for a long time. In the UK market it is not quite as important to have a network agreement but in the USA phones are overwhelmingly sold locked as part of a package deal. If you're not a partner of one of the big players, you're small fry.

    The deal has fallen through because the Trump administration intervened. The Trump administration is much more protectionist.

    Huawei have been assessed by both UK and US experts for spyware and no evidence has ever been found (in contrast to when the USA installed firmware spyware on a large number of harddrives sent to China some years back, as it happens). Huawei have provided hardware to BT in the past and received the GCHQ go-ahead.

    Sites like Stratfor attribute this to Trump's 'America First' trade policies and determination to bring jobs back to American soil. The Register seems to either have no awareness of the wider context or simply doesn't wish to question the US govt. line. Either way, this is very weak journalism.

  11. TheDillinquent

    Choose your spy.

    So, its ok for CIA/FBI/NSA/NRA Etc. to spy on us, just as long as it's not the Chinese?

  12. PhillyIT

    Several members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees wrote to the FCC about their opposition to the ATT deal. This isn't the first time Huawei and ZTE were cited as security risks. Several years ago the same thing was brought up concerning their network equipment. That was under Obama so you really can't blame Trump's protectionism on this issue.

    I presume (or hope) those Congresspeople actually know something. It does make me wonder how we know that all the iPhones and other electronics that are manufactured in China are clean.

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