back to article France wants in on the No Huawei Club while Canuck infosec bloke pretty insistent on ban

French parliament is reportedly mulling a ban on Huawei kit being used in next-generation telco networks, potentially heaping further pressure on the Chinese headquartered giant. The possibility of a French ban was aired by Les Echos, which wrote that it would be introduced as an amendment to corporate law reform legislation …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    Again....

    ...pointless, when you continue to buy Apple kit that is made solely in China. And almost all other electronic devices. What's the chance of China slipping in eavesdropping tech into one in every 10 iPhones in the hope no one will notice.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Again....

      @Steve

      Snooping on users is one thing, snooping on PowerPlants, Govt Institutions, Telcos etc is a whole other ball game.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Again....

        "Snooping on users is one thing, snooping on PowerPlants, Govt Institutions, Telcos etc is a whole other ball game."

        When your phone is compromised and you use the said powerplant/gov./telco local WIFI network, it is basically the same.

        Remember, compromise of sensitive infra always comes from the end point !

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Again....

          > snooping on PowerPlants, Govt Institutions, Telcos etc is a whole other ball game.

          WikiLeaks docs show NSA's 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

      2. matt07743

        Re: Again....

        i wont be happy if they snooping on me while i'm looking at pornhub .......would put me off!

      3. Yes Me Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Again....

        "snooping on PowerPlants, Govt Institutions, Telcos etc is a whole other ball game"

        Yes. Please show me the evidence that Huawei has done that, ever, anywhere, or that their products have undocumented weaknesses that would allow such things to pass undetected.

        Of course, it's like any witch hunt, it started without the slightest evidence of anything. Except that they were outselling Cisco.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Again....

          Yeah, the actual 'evidence' part of the puzzle seems to have been overlooked. I'd be more worried about Intel & Cisco than Huawei. Hmm, I think I've worked out why they're out to get Huawei...

    2. Bugsy11

      Re: Again....

      It's not iPhones with "doubled down" emphasis on security that are more likely to be compromised. It's the Androids: Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/15/android_phoning_home_to_china/

  2. MiguelC Silver badge

    Meanwhile

    We're still waiting for that one piece of evidence against Huawei.

    1. _LC_
      Flame

      Re: Meanwhile

      Oh come on! Their nose is bent at the top, jutting hawk-like from the face. What more proof do you need?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile

      If evidences exist, depends where they come from. If publishing them will give away the source(s), and those sources are both precious and at risk of life, you won't see them anytime soon. Otherwise no one will ever risk some horrible Chinese punishment (probably extended to the family) again. It's far better to be a spy in the US or Europe than in China - it's another asymmetry.

      And if evidences exist, I'm sure the Chinese are very busy to search where they are from.

      1. _LC_

        Re: Meanwhile

        What a bunch of nonsense! We're talking about hard- and software here. This is not personalized. If some 'agency' has evidence of backdoors or tampered devices (like they keep claiming), they can simply show them around. They never did. Even Bloomberg's alleged "spy-chip on the motherboard" story had a photo montage as picture.

        Those are allegations you cannot fight. It's like your neighbor is telling everybody that you molested a child, but he can't produce any evidence in order to protect the child. Good luck with such neighbors!

        In this case it's even worse, as those who claim “to have spotted them evildoers” have been caught doing what they are accusing the Chinese of doing. They ARE and HAVE been doing it FOR REAL. Yet, they get to point fingers. What a joke!

        In other words: This is your - pedophile - neighbor now, accusing you of molesting children. :-P

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meanwhile

          I hope you'll never have to handle very sensitive information. You're the kind who would give them away, and your sources too. The spy world IS NOT the James Bond-like idiot who steals secrets baffling armies of enemies. One of the worst Soviet spies was a placid German working in a office for NATO with a high clearance level. He went undetected for years, until the fall of the Wall. And soviets were very careful to protect such a precious source.

          If Huawei had a simple backdoor, it would be simpler to find, even by third parties researchers, If it has, as I believe, a far more cunning plan, it has been designed to avoid detection as much as possible. And those knowing it should not be many. Should you kill your source(s)? Especially when the plans can change, and you need updates?

          This isn't a criminal investigation were evidences are needed for a sentence. It's cold warfare.

          Anyway, would you leave today your children alone with a priest who was often moved from a city to another?

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Meanwhile

            Anyway, would you leave today your children alone with a priest who was often moved from a city to another?

            Yes. There's lots of reasons priests and other church-folk move around. But that's not only completely irrelevant to this, it also would actually be some evidence that people could point to.

            No evidence of any wrongdoing by Huawei. Lots against US corporations eg Google and Apple, and Microsoft - 2 of which at least have been proven again and again to break all sorts of tax, privacy, and child-protection laws, at least one of which slurps sensitive data and ships it back to their own servers (more than one I'm sure). Where are the calls for these companies to be banned?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Meanwhile

              >Anyway, would you leave today your children alone with a priest who was often moved from a city to another?

              Except in this case it's the priest saying not to leave your child with the rabbi because you can't trust those ...

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Meanwhile

                You might be too young to remember the demonstration of the values of the Chinese government at the brutal Tiananmen Square Massacre..

                Beautifully worded sir!

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Meanwhile

                  You might be too young to remember the demonstration of the values of the Chinese government at the brutal Tiananmen Square Massacre..

                  Beautifully worded sir!

                  Dammit! I should've checked I'd copied the text I hit ^C on. What I meant to refer to was :

                  "Except in this case it's the priest saying not to leave your child with the rabbi because you can't trust those ..."

                  That is what I meant to say was 'beautifully worded' :(

    3. BillG Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Meanwhile

      We're still waiting for that one piece of evidence against Huawei.

      You might be too young to remember the demonstration of the values of the Chinese government at the brutal Tiananmen Square Massacre.

      If you are skeptical, visit China and type in "tank man" in Google search. Sit quietly and wait for the knock at the door.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Meanwhile

        Most of the people who work for Huawei are also too young to remember Tiananmen Square. That is startlingly irrelevant as to whether a successful employee-owned company sells products that have security defects or undocumented backdoors. Until technical evidence is produced, nobody has any grounds to join the witch hunt. (Unless they're lobbying for companies that Huawei undersells, of course.)

        That's technical evidence, not gossip or speculation that could be traced to any individual.

        If there was technical evidence, I'm pretty sure NSA or GCHQ would have published it by now.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Meanwhile

        You might be too young to remember the demonstration of the values of the Chinese government at the brutal Tiananmen Square Massacre.

        Yes. I'm sure the yanks are just perfect by comparison! No sanctioned killing of thousands of people in their borders under less-than-ideal circumstances!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot, meet Kettle.

    I love the way that the Chinese (allegedly) snooping on us is wrong but our own Governments doing it is fine.

    But something about this has always puzzled me. If, as is supposed to be the case, an MP's or Congresscritter's "business" emails etc are supposed to be "safe" from snooping by their own governments* (arranged over here in Right-Pondia by the Rt Hon Tony Bliar, not sure who arranged it for the Left-Pondians), what happens when the parasite** leaves government service and becomes a normal citizen again? Do their emails etc cease to be protected from that time forwards, or do all their comms - past as well as present and future - suddenly become fair game? And if I send an email to someone and CC or BCC it to an MP, does it become protected or is it still open season for the Intelligence services?

    *This includes such shady workarounds as GCHQ spying on Americans and No Such Agency spying on Brits...

    ** This should have said 'politician' but somehow it got changed. I think the "correction" is more accurate...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Pot, meet Kettle.

      In the UK you just make sure that you promote the right retired cabinet secretary

      Sir Humphrey: How are things at the Campaign for the Freedom of Information, by the way?

      Sir Arnold: Sorry, I can't talk about that.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Pot, meet Kettle.

      If, as is supposed to be the case, an MP's or Congresscritter's "business" emails etc are supposed to be "safe" from snooping by their own governments* (arranged over here in Right-Pondia by the Rt Hon Tony Bliar, not sure who arranged it for the Left-Pondians), what happens when the parasite** leaves government service and becomes a normal citizen again?

      I suspect that the "observing" stays in play much like it is the rest of us. I also believe that being "safe" is a red herring. The 3 letter agencies do have self interest to attend to and watching what the politicos are saying, thinking it's offline, gives them an edge. As for "normal" again, they want you to think they're "normal" again and have no influence.

  4. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    equipment is "controlled by telecom operators, not by Huawei"

    That's the real question.... since we no longer control any equipment and software we buy...

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: equipment is "controlled by telecom operators, not by Huawei"

      Ours are mostly French, Spanish and Chinese, aren't they ?

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Huawei isn't any different than any other corporations.....

    We also need to give up some mediocre employees and lower labor expenses."

    Looks like the rest of the corporations to me. Reduce staff to improve the bottom line and bonuses for those at the top.

    1. Pascal

      Re: Huawei isn't any different than any other corporations.....

      That phrasing is a hell of a culture clash tho.

      It still comes down to firing people to increase profit, but there would be an interesting uproar if a westerner company called it "getting rid of mediocre people".

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Huawei isn't any different than any other corporations.....

        > uproar if a westerner company called it "getting rid of mediocre people".

        Or in IBM's case "getting rid of older people". It would be refreshingly honest compared to today's mealy-mouthed PC PR language. Ever since "Personnel" was replaced by "Human Resources" the hypocrisy in employment-related "news" stories has been getting worse and worse.

      2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: Huawei isn't any different than any other corporations.....

        > there would be an interesting uproar if a westerner company called it "getting rid of mediocre people".

        Hate to disillusion you, Pascal, but that's been stated policy for most of the major investment banks for at least 30 years to my knowledge. Goldmans, for example, routinely bins the bottom 10% of staff, typically annually.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Now we seem to have outsourced all manufacturing to China irrespective of the label what's the point?

  7. markrand
    Black Helicopters

    Let he who is without sin...

    So why no outrage against HP Aruba and Cisco Meraki kit. Both phone home regularly to see if there are any 'cloud-based' configuration changes or updates and the latter kit stops working if you cut its Internet connection.

  8. andygrace

    Huawei is a microcosm of Chinese ascendancy

    Huawei is now the world leader in ultra-high bandwidth comms; PAM4/PAM8, 400GbE ++, massive-SDN, fibre, wireless, free-space optical. They either run or significantly contribute IP to all the relevant IEEE forums. While still closed source, they show code to any government afraid they're the devil incarnate.

    Any Reg reader should know intelligence services have access to decap their custom ASICs, take a photomicrograph of the die and work out what it's doing at the gate level. Phoning home to Beijing is easily detected by deep packet inspection, but we all know that's not what it's all about.

    It's simply protectionist and political. Huawei pricing is putting a serious dent into the Arista, Cisco, Juniper and HPs of the world, but the really scary part is that Western agencies are now being limited in their ability to insert their own intelligence gathering exploits at the lowest possible level, and on international networks where they don't have friendly/compliant telcos to help/force.

    Huawei's ascendancy is mostly symbolic - the West is in a financial mess, but China soon will be, or already is the global economic superpower. That to many in the US/EU politics and business communities is simply inconceivable, but it's a fact and it's never going back.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooner rather than later?

    No, actually, the longer Canada leaves the decision open the more the PRC shows it's true colors.

  10. Kiwi Silver badge

    Hmm.

    Something stinks here, and it's not last weeks tuna casserole.

    Perhaps it's the rank protectionism coming from yankeeville?

    Disgusting behaviour, whatever the source.

  11. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
    Holmes

    Evidence

    Lotta people squeaking about evidence.

    I'd suggest you take a step back and have a look at China's extraordinarily OTT reaction to this, across all levels of the Party and the Government. Never mind immediately locking up unrelated Canadians, they have now actually condemned one to death. They have issued Canada repeated and highly dramatic threats. Etc.

    Other senior people arrested in the past have NOT had anything remotely like this reaction.

    .

    The phrase "touched a nerve" springs immediately to mind.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Evidence

      May be.

      But they don't seem to be in much of a rush to lock up Kiwi's or Ozzies or Brits or yanks do they? Yet these countries have also banned Huawei.

      The person they sentenced to death - did he not commit a potentially capital crime in their nation?

      And I'm sure I heard something about someone senior to Huawei being arrested while travelling, possibly on some trumped up charge possibly for something real (and knowing the quality of NZ's news media, possibly this never happened at all).

      What China is doing may or may not be wrong, may or may not be related to Huawei, may or may not be an over-reaction. Still not evidence of wrong doing by Huawei.

      We do still have plenty of evidence of the "five eyes" nations spying on the citizens of their allies though.

      1. Happytodiscuss

        Re: Evidence of Five Eye arrest, now an Ozzie

        Consider this your first Ozzie alert:

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-australia/chinese-australian-writer-detained-in-china-idUSKCN1PH2QX?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

        Question, whose router shoulders the bulk of filtering activity for the Chinese firewall?

        Open up the Chinese firewall, open up their markets, and we'll open up our markets...how is that for a potential solution?

        As for the Canadian sentenced to death. Let's say that it needs to be considered highly unusual that once sentenced to 15 years for a crime however despicable, that you are re-sentenced to death upon further consideration? Really? Not really kosher is it?

        Huawei, Nortel...for Canadians its hard to tell the difference. Did you hear the story of how a top secret ministry of the Canadian Government was going to move into the abandoned offices of Nortel in Ottawa but scrapped the plan because they couldn't determine with absolute certainty that electronic listening devices weren't still broadcasting from within the actual concrete structure itself. It appears that Huawei may have applied their advanced knowledge of wireless backhaul to hauling back records of the daily work done within those buildings. Admittedly it could have been Cisco...let's say it was both.

        Then there was the Chinese hack of the NRC...and Canada's 'chops' as a power in wireless.

  12. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

    Example of Unintended Consequences/Interactions

    something I posted elsewhere; directly relevant here:

    ----

    Risk: Smart Meters

    Me, I'd be one HELL of a lot more concerned about who precisely is supplying kit to the Smart Meters brigades. (Now compulsory rollouts in both UK & Oz that I know of, not sure where else.)

    Because, you see, these are EXPLICITLY DESIGNED to be remote-controls for your house/office/factory.

    Talk to the electricity traders on the ST desks, and they go into raptures at the possibilities smart meters offer them. Instead of all that nightmarish demand-modelling and safety margins and blah de blah, with smart meters, they can just dial down the electricity to your house until demand once more reaches the supply they have organised / want to pay for. Profit!

    Plus voltage-sensitive kit unable to start up, refrigerators and other current-sensitive things unable to start up, that sort of thing. But hey, it's MODERN!

    Point is, if that whole-economy (commercial + retail) supply will soonish be completely subject to remote-control, a Bad Actor can use that selfsame remote-control to shut down the whole-economy.

    And China's done precisely that before, and recently -- cf Japan & semiconductors. Japan had got uppity, you see.

    Who's supplying the components to the Smart Meters suppliers?

    1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

      Re: Example of Unintended Consequences/Interactions

      and:

      ----

      Re: Risk: Smart Meters

      Might be worth mentioning the UK has a further unusual vulnerability there: the switch of all its emergency services (police, fire brigade, ambulance, etc.) to an IP network. Needs serious electricity supply at the back-end + infrastructure to work, unlike POTS. So all those fires, traffic pileups, etc that are just being handled normally, would then not be. Massive additional economy-wide friction (and human cost...) quite quickly.

      Likewise Oz, less directly, due to the NBN-driven switchover from POTS to VOIP.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already a problem

    The RCMP warned the Government as early as 1995 that Chinese private citizens buying up land and starting businesses in British Columbia were nothing more that the Chinese Goverment's vanguards. So it was no surprise by some last year when small to large companies with huge land acquisitions and capital were annexed by their Home Government. We need to re-instate laws that prohibit foreign ownership over 25%, letting foreigners buy us up was akin to waving a white flag and lying down.

    1. _LC_

      Re: Already a problem

      Yes, let's do that in Africa, Middle America, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe as well, please.

      Don't forget to apply your own rules to your own kind, even if it hurts. ;-)

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
        FAIL

        Re: Already a problem

        Actually, mate, those rules ARE applied "to your own kind" in most jurisdictions in all the areas you mention. Australian investment in, for example, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as I noted again just this week, is not just far more harshly restricted than our own nonFIRB's (Oz: 5 rejections in 10yrs, vs 150,000 approvals), but also subject to quite startling sovereign risk. Have a look at some of the Australian, UK, and American investments in Africa or South America if you don't know what I'm talking about. Which very apparently you don't.

        If you don't have a clue what you're talking about, please don't parrot staggeringly false strawman VirtueDisplay memes.

        1. _LC_
          Pint

          Re: Already a problem

          I’m not gonna go into details as you’re obviously trolling. It suffices to look at the Congo, which is being kept in a constant state of war (divided) for over half a century now, so that Western oligarchs can steal their resources (mining):

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/aug/17/dag-hammarskjold-un-secretary-general-crash

          Yes, nobody ever invited them or wanted them there - quite the contrary:

          https://thenewsrep.com/113171/declassified-cia-photo-shows-african-civilian-throwing-spear-at-low-flying-us-recon-plane-in-the-60s/

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Already a problem

            Not trolling, mate, just dropping a few bald facts on the table rather than hysterical memes. See, I actually worked in commodities for many years.

            The Congo has been "at war" with itself and its neighbours for one HELL of a lot longer than half a century. Suggest you do a bit of research, which to be clear does NOT include goggling at the Guardian, but actually reading original documents wherever possible -- they're available for several centuries that I've seen so far.

            And if you SERIOUSLY think that "oligarchs" would deliberately threaten what is almost the ONLY economic global resource utterly critical for every bit of high-tech electronics we have (the bulk of the world's supply comes from a single mine) (eg, the computer you're reading this on, your phone, all PV solar power, your building's elevator, the train network's signalling, aircraft, cars, etc.etc. and nowadays a surprising amount of household and whitegoods stuff) ,

            you are out of your freaking mind.

            .

            I mean, just this simple statement of fact (catastrophic global cost to "oligarchs" from supply interruption) flatly requires by your own conspiracy theory that "Western oligarchs" would be doing everything in their damn power to ELIMINATE conflict in Congo. Hells bells mate, it's routinely cited as the overwhelming risk factor by EVERY damn mining company that looks at it.

            Get a grip. Make your mind up: either they're shadowy superpowers utterly dominated by the profit motive, in which case the Congo would utterly free of war, or maybe there's "a bit" more going on than you've had exposure to. And/or you've been fed a crock of shit by mummy's boys sitting in an airconditioned office in the Docklands typing drama pieces.

            And to try to recast deep and longlasting local intercultural conflict as purely created by WhiteBoys shows a staggering level of racist wannabe-superiority. "Awwww... those pore lil black boys, they'd all live happily in peace singing the whole dingdong day because they're all so simple and lovely, if it wasn't for EVIL white men manipulating them. They just don't KNOW any better, they just can't be RESPONSIBLE for their actions." Whereas actually they're human beings, with their own lives and their own preferences. You'll note that the UN Security Council's investigation found Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi fielding military in DRC to secure minerals, and that money going straight into those locals' pockets. "By one estimate, the Rwandan army made at least $250 million over a period of 18 months through the sale of coltan, even though no coltan is mined in Rwanda."

            1. _LC_
              Thumb Down

              Re: Already a problem

              Colonial rule in the Congo began in the late 19th century. And that wasn't even the start...

  14. mhenriday
    Boffin

    I believe

    Anyone who believes that certain countries with intimate relations to the liege lord in Washington are contemplating banning Huawei from participating in building 5G networks in those countries due to security considerations, most likely also believes that it is out of similar considerations that Google will be moving to block adblockers in Chrome....

    Henri

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