back to article Canadian security boss ain't afraid of no Huawei, sees no reason for ban

Canadian Center for Cyber Security chief Scott Jones has told a parliamentary committee there's no need for the country to cut Chinese comms giant Huawei out of its 5G rollout. Speaking to the Canadian parliament's Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security earlier this week, Jones said the centre believes the …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I know why they're so confident...

    Canadians have specially trained mooses that sniff out backdoors in computer hardware. Just lead the moose up, let it sniff all the containers with chips in them, & it'll either nod that everything is fine or it'll promptly drop a steamer. If you see a steamer then the stuff "ain't worth shit" & should be avoided. They're trained by the same folks that handle drug sniffing mooses so you know they're good.

    I hear Canadians have been using special beer pissing mooses for centuries, it's what makes their beer so good.

    =-)p

    1. NoneSuch
      WTF?

      Re: I know why they're so confident...

      "which uses Huawei-funded "white labs" where products are tested for interception backdoors or "kill switches"

      So Huawei is funding the testing of their own gear.

      Nope, can't think of any flaws there.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: I know why they're so confident...

        "So Huawei is funding the testing of their own gear.

        Nope, can't think of any flaws there."

        How do you think UL works?

        Manufacturers have an input into the standards process, then they pay to have their products tested, often under the supervision of the same guy they took out to dinner at the last standards meeting.

        Before you downvote, consider this: the system actually works pretty well in my experience.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: I know why they're so confident...

          > Before you downvote, consider this: the system actually works pretty well in my experience

          That's because (at least in the US) the manufacturer gets his pants sued off, if they're UL-listed and they start a fire. So there's an incentive there to not slack off.

      2. LDH2O

        Re: I know why they're so confident...

        It said the labs were funded by Huawei, not that the testing, testers, etc. were controlled so it's unclear if they can influence the outcome. I wish the article had addressed that ambiguity; that would be better journalism.

    2. Unbelievable!

      Re: I know why they're so confident...

      updoot. just because this place needs some sense of humour and i appreciate your effort despite knowing it'll probably go down badly. Good for you. and thanks.

    3. Thomas_Kent

      Well,

      Here in Montana, we use moose drool to make beer: https://bigskybrew.com/beers/moose-drool/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Canadians

    This is why Canadians are the "slow cousins" of the English speaking world. Nice, but a bit dim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Canadians

      Feels more political than technical, like not wanting to follow America's lead anymore. If so, can you really blame them?

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Canadians

        @AC, I was thinking the same, Oz tends to follow the States like a brown nosed puppy, Canada is a bit brighter and has little to gain by disguising protectionism as security issues.

    2. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

      Re: Canadians

      "This is why Canadians are the "slow cousins" of the English speaking world. Nice, but a bit dim."

      You're not a fan of OpenBSD, I presume.

  3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    BlackBerry

    The US government leaned on its telcos to de-emphasise BlackBerry because BES wasn't readable by the TLAs. As a result (OK there were other factors but this was a significant one) Canada no longer has a large mobile phone company. So, like the UK, Canada has no protectionist axe to grind in the form of a well known trillion dollar company.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: BlackBerry

      They killed blackberry with bogus patents. It's the 'merkin way: outsource your dirty work to private-sector pirates (in this case, from memory, some bunch called NTP) and their henchmen the Courts. With the ultimate weapon of banning them doing business in the US.

      Turn your enemy into a grey-suited lawyer-dominated company where technical innovation no longer stands a chance.

  4. Arachnoid

    "white labs" where products are tested

    Yea well firmware updates will some overcome that problem for the Chinese

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    Perhaps encouraging the use of E2E encryption would help protect the citizens of various nations in the event of an (unlikely) Chinese megaslurp.

    Wait...hang on...they want to ban E2E.

    Brain hurting...

    So 5 eyes nations want to limit Chinese involvement in infrastructure because they pose a possible systemic threat to citizens, but at the same time they want to do exactly what they think China wants to do.

    My head hurts.

    Call me nuts, but I'm more concerned about my local Governments intentions than the Chinese Governments intentions.

    1. Palladium

      Re: Hmm...

      The same boogeyman reason the US govt keeps blaming China as top #1 polluter while 'Murica uses 200% more electricity per capita than China and burn 25% more coal per capita in 2017 while having nowhere near the industrial base China possess.

  6. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Keep an eye on the bank account

    What do you want to bet, Mr. Jones will be moving into a larger house an purchasing a couple of cars within the next 6 months.

    Sounds like another individual who is getting paid by companies to endorse them, and/or being forced by the Canadian government not to offend China--since China is the second largest trade partner it has.

    If you wish to purchase Chinese electronic products--which have a history of poor security and monitoring customers-- then go for it. I wouldn't want to be the individual who approved taking on this risk.

    1. mevets

      Re: Keep an eye on the bank account

      https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/us-suspicions-of-chinas-huawei-based-partly-on-nsas-own-spy-tricks

      Maybe we should ask Mr Jones whether Canada permits Cisco, Juniper, Dell, HP equipment in its networks...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The boss is correct, Canada is very different.

    The Canadian security "boss" is correct, Canada is very different, that is even more so the case when it comes to control of media, including telcos.

    That difference is built in, starting with the minimal and almost insignificant role democracy plays in the ruling of Canada.

    At the federal level Canada has three main branches of government. The Court, the Senate, and the House. Of those two of them are filled by appointment. Almost all key positions of power are by appointment and the House, the only branch with elected members is controlled by party rule.

    In Canada the elected members are not allowed to vote in the interest of their constituents. Elected members are told how they will vote and failure to do so will result in not getting the very financially rewarding appointments, at worst it can mean getting kicked out of caucus, sitting as an independent and not getting re-elected which must happen to get the lifelong golden pension.

    Canada is ruled by the appointed (who number in the thousands) and they do not answer to citizens, the country or anyone other than those that supported their appointment and those few that can remove them.

    This includes the CRTC who are in charge of regulating and supervising Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications. A group of appointed people with so much power they can claim to be "independent" and never have that challenged by Canadian media.

    The CRTC works hand in hand with other agencies including the many levels of Canada's domestic security. The Telcos work hand in hand with our security agencies who work hand in hand with the many other appointed powers and the government of the day.

    The very "advanced" relationship between Canada's Telcos, media, various government agencies, and Canada's state security system is unlike any of the other 5 eyes.

    Which is so advanced that most Canadians think the current elected government is allowing them to smoke pot. Canadian media are not talking about the approval required from the many appointed, including the Senate with their all powerful veto.

    That every bill needs to be approved by the appointed should be a main topic of discussion a least in a 4th estate playing it's role in a democracy. That we are ruled by the appointed is rarely mentioned in Canadian media . Worst yet is how fast the discussion ends when it is mentioned, particularly in parts of the country poorly served by our appointed government.

    Not that our top Elite would be appointed to any government position. They are not appointed, they choose who gets to be appointed. Please them and you can have a very profitable relationship with government, displease them and the various "advanced" relationships will ensure you do not.

    It might have been a good thing to point out in the article just how "advanced" or different Canada's political system is but then most do not think it is.

    It seems that most outside of Canada think our system is more like the current British system than the British system of the 1700's. Imagine your political system from the 1700's using todays technology. That is how "advanced" and very different Canada is.

    decided on a re-read to post anonymously in the hopes of pleasing the censors here. By doing so those wishing to dismiss my description can do so by claiming I'm a bot or just wrong. Others will recognize the topic and my writing and know I peeked behind the curtain enough to see that we Canadians really are ruled by the appointed. For others I'd suggest searching for Canadian Senate Appointments and maybe if one has a sense of humour the claim that the CRTC are independent of our elite or accountable to Canadians. If you want to go dark take a look at Canada's many security agencies, their known activities and the power they hold over all Canadians.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The boss is correct, Canada is very different.

      "At the federal level Canada has three main branches of government. The Court, the Senate, and the House. Of those two of them are filled by appointment. Almost all key positions of power are by appointment and the House, the only branch with elected members is controlled by party rule."

      What a simplistic, blinkered view you have on this matter.

      Almost all governments are at some level controlled by appointments and indirect forms of democracy. In Canada, senators are appointed by the government of the day, and serve until age 75 or voluntary retirement. This does build in some 'time lag' and smooths out election to election variation. Looking at anomalous election results, often unexpected by anyone, in some countries, the idea of having a bit of stability while reconsidering what you have done and evaluating a new government seems to me to have some merit.

      In the UK, for example, the House of Lords is a mix of hereditary aristocrats (!!!) and life peers, appointed, ultimately by the government of the day. Unlike the Canadian Senate, the Lords appear to have a more accepted role in originating legislation, rather than providing a second opinion, and it seems the peers are found in the British cabinet, whereas in Canada, cabinet is drawn from members of the elected House of Commons. Furthermore, it seems that the British system of 'whipping' is more overtly coercive in forcing party discipline on MPs. British judges are, of course, appointed.

      In the US, there are effectively only two parties, and the structure is such that there is no credible chance of a third party becoming significant. That means the two of them can cozy up in one really close ideological and policy position, and there is no mitigating effect by a third party providing a real difference that can drive a broadening of the political spectrum. Furthermore the whole structure of registered party memberships and primarys gives the political 'elite' control over the ability to run, again empowered by limitations of the two party system. The US president is appointed by the Electoral college under a non-uniform mix of rules decided on by 50 individual states, and many of them are under no obligation to pay any attention to the desires of the people electing them. Higher level US judges, at least federally, are appointed. Lower level/local judges can be elected (!!!) possibly one of the worst ideas for a justice system ever invented.

      In Australia, the rules allow so much political infighting that they have revolving Prime Ministers, and choice of prime minister is by the MPs, without much constraint from public will... certainly many of them become Prime Minister without standing for election as party leader, thus giving the people some input in this matter.

      In many countries with proportional voting, who gets elected is to a large extent controlled by the parties, who decide what order people appear in the party lists. If you are at the top, you are probably in. If you are at the bottom, you are out, and the electorate cannot, mathematically save you. Then the deal-making to create a coalition large enough to govern begins, and the government is determined by negotiations among the favourites of various parties. Studies of the mathematics of such systems show disproportionate influence on policy by third and fourth largest parties as they make deals with large parties desperate to form the government. For an similar situation in a first past the post electoral system, look at the influence of the DUP compared to its percentage of MPs in the British House of Commons.

      Parliaments with many parties have not only the corrupting influence of coalition pandering to minority parties but also instability and large delays in forming governments. Look at Sweden, Germany, or Italy for some of the problems.

      No system is perfect, but on the balance the Canadian system seems to work fairly well, with some distortion due to Quebec privileges.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: The boss is correct, Canada is very different.

        "In many countries with proportional voting, who gets elected is to a large extent controlled by the parties,"

        In New Zealand (mixed-member proportional), that list has to be published before the election, so you have a rough idea who is going to get in if the polls are to be believed.

        Yes, get rid of unelected lawmakers. Whether it is the EU or the House of Lords.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: The boss is correct, Canada is very different.

        "No system is perfect, but on the balance the Canadian system seems to work fairly well, "

        "Well" according to what criteria?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The boss is correct, Canada is very different.

        Late reply but I was here changing password so why not.

        Of course governments use appointments but not all governments are controlled by those appointed. Most are appointed to do a job, not decide government policy or action against the wishes or interests of the citizens (in a democracy).

        In the case of Canada the appointed rule without the ability of those being ruled to stop or limit them.

        Our Senate is an example as is the CRTC who have given Canadians some of the highest communication costs with the least selection and in the digital age some of the slowest connections. In many areas of Canada even 20Mbps costs 10hrs of average take home pay.

        But I did not respond just to agree that governments use appointments. I want to point out that the Canadian system is not working fairly well for anyone other than our Elite and those with special status, based on race, ethnicity, language and location.

        Those distortions due to Quebec privileges are little different than those due to Ontario privilege. If you live in a province that gets more than it gives to Confederation of course the current system is fine.

        But then maybe not.

        Sure Ontario thinks it is great that national economic policy is decided by the needs of Ontario rather than Canada (the Confederation as a whole). After all that means car parts from Asia are transported across Canada for assembly and then shipped back to supply the largest market in North America. It means that the loss of a few thousand jobs can result in billions in support from taxpayers. Better than being outside of Ontario where even 100,000 lost jobs result in little more than 'suks to be u'.

        But even in Ontario some Canadians must be asking why Canadians have to pay in USD for their own products and resources? Having Canadians pay world price, in USD, for their own products while getting paid in CAD isn't working fairly well at all, it isn't even fair.

        Canada has increasingly far more valuable and varied natural resources per capita than any other developed nation yet our standard of living falls generation after generation. Our wealth or treasure is most notable when looking at energy per capita.

        Fairly well would not have Canada selling it's oil for less than half the world price and yet paying full price, in USD, for gasoline at the pumps. Fairly well would not have Canada importing oil from Saudi Arabia and importing gasoline and other fuels from the USA, nor would it have Canadians paying USD for products refined in Canada.

        Even in Ontario people must have noticed the price at the pump increases as our dollar falls.

        EVEN if we were doing fairly well being ruled by an appointed, who answer only to the Elite, it is an old system, we know it's failures. It isn't a good system for average people and it is a very bad system for those targeted by government or weak minorities.

        IMO defending such systems can only be defended by the simple or those with a blinkered view of history. ;)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Canada

    It seems most commenters here (and whoever asked that Five Eyes question mentioned in the article) aren't aware that the UK has the self same approach, with the UK Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK perhaps not so secure...

    As the UK CSEC Oversight Board has said it can provide only "limited assurance that all risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated". Thye have raised concerns over 3 key areas:

    1. Source Code: “the extraction by Huawei HQ of a subset of source code from configuration managed repositories”

    2. Lack of repeatable build process: “underlying engineering and build process was not repeatable”

    3. Recurrent 3rd party component management and support problem: “security critical 3rd party software used in a variety of products was not subject to sufficient control”

    Oops...

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