back to article China Mobile, you can kiss good Pai to America: FCC to ban 'spy risk' telco from US

America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will block the entry of the world's largest mobile company – China Mobile – into the US market, citing security concerns. "It is clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    In that case...

    ""It is clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks," FCC chairman Ajit Pai said"

    If it's so clear, then why not provide the argument and supporting evidence to the rest of us? Then it would be clear to everybody. Right now, what looks clear to me is that this is part of the current administration's extreme protectionist worldview.

    1. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: In that case...

      Because it's not a democracy and your opinion is irrelevant.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: In that case...

      Right now, what looks clear to me is that this is part of the current administration's extreme protectionist worldview.

      To be fair, it also supports Pai's former-and-future paymasters at the US telcos. Isn't it great when the public and private sectors can work together?

    3. AjitPaiREEE

      Re: In that case...

      YEAH

      Only China can be protectionists and ban US telecos from China?

      How come China could be protectionists and protect their industries while US cannot?

      Pfff.

  2. sgrier23

    China Mobile / Cisco

    China Mobile are "banned" in the USA, or soon will be because the US government sees them as a security risk...

    But, what about Cisco - don't Cisco allow American authorities / FBI / CIA access to networks controlled by Cisco kit via a back door.

    If its good for the goose, it's good for the gander....

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: China Mobile / Cisco

      Absolutely. I think it is high time we realize that our national security is at risk from countries who see no problem in forcing their companies to open their networks to government surveillance.

      So, China - out (no Huawei), USA - out (no Cisco, Netgear, Linksys, whatever else).

      Great, so, who's left ?

      Seriously, who can save us from China and the NSA at the same time ? Because if you think I trust the US Government to respect my private life more than China, I have a bridge to sell you.

      1. Andrew Commons

        Re: China Mobile / Cisco

        They are all doing it and they know they are all doing it. The world then gets divided into two groups - those who can manufacture stuff and those that have to buy stuff because they have lost the ability to manufacture. Those that can manufacture are obviously in a better position than those who have lost this ability. That's globalization for you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China Mobile / Cisco

          I agree with that. I think that a fair way to evaluate whether companies from any country and their ability to set up in any other country should be judged on whether that country reciprocates foreign investment in similar business areas. In China, a non-Chinese company would have to contend with China's social credit (?) system wherein the people of China are judged by the Chinese government to be good, or not, citizens by how much they support China, so why would they support a non-Chinese company? That is an absolutely fabulous way to ensure foreign competition never gets a strong foothold in your country. Then there's the lack of rule of law in China, my very limited knowledge there leads me to believe that the Chinese gov has a more ad hoc system of laws or rules, subject to change on a whim(?).

          Globalization has seemed to be a tool to strip wealth from developed economies. International trade needs to be equitable between trade partners. Those countries which have lost the ability to manufacture and given up IP and education standards are going lose.

      2. DJO Silver badge

        Re: China Mobile / Cisco

        Great, so, who's left ?

        Nokia.

    2. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: China Mobile / Cisco

      Really ? What Cisco hardware you're talking about ?

      Even if it's the case, ever heard of firewalls or white list access before ?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: China Mobile / Cisco

        "ever heard of firewalls or white list access before ?"

        This is what makes the whole issue sound ridiculous on its face -- that any risk from spying enabled by the hardware can and should be mitigated with a little extra effort. This would work with Chinese equipment just as well as with Cisco's.

        Given that nobody has been able to demonstrate that China poses any greater surveillance or sabotage threat than any other nation, the thing to do is to put up defenses regardless of whose equipment/service you're going to use.

        1. Dabbb Bronze badge

          Re: China Mobile / Cisco

          Because Chinese state owned mobile carrier using equipment of Chinese hardware manufacturer can be easily compelled to provide access of Chinese government to their networks in USA and Europe ? It's not like that would have be given any choice you know.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @ Dabbb

        I suggest that you look up what a National Security Letter is and revise your position.

        A National Security Letter doesn't care about firewalls and whitelists, it doesn't have to.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: @ Dabbb

          That's odd. My firewalls and white/blacklists don't care about NSLs.

  3. cornetman

    I think it's also clear that the US needs China a lot more than China needs the US and China's increasing aims to be more independent on the west for technology is only going to increase that gap.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Protection(ism) of National Security

    Plus a smidge of supporting local corporate interests.

    Modern US National security makes no distinction between military, economic or corporate threats, isn't that how a military/industrial complex would react to the world?

    I bet the Eejit's retirement fund is growing logarithmically.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Protection(ism) of National Security

      Well, since he's in the pocket of the Telco's, why not phone manufacturers' pockets also? They fall under the mandate of the FCC also.

      There is an awful lot of security theater going around lately and every country is spying (military and commercial) on every other country.

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Botnets, spies, and spammers

    I say that China Mobile has long ago demonstrated that they're a security risk, though it's from a complete lack of security, privacy, and abuse management. You don't allow China Mobile become common carrier for the same reasons you don't allow Amazon, Google, or Facebook to.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

      But we do allow AT&T, Sprint, etc. to, and they're no better.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

      ack.

      From the article: The company [Huawei] is owned by the Chinese government

      and

      Chinese companies are perhaps ahead of their American counterparts when it comes to 5G carrier equipment, and are able to produce their gear at a lower cost.

      Because of 'slave labor' [essentially], working for government owned businesses [essentially], and by STEALING TRADE SECRETS FROM THE USA [not by actually INNOVATING]. Using iPhone dollars to purchase companies [or university research programs], and THEN ship all of the trade secrets over to Huawei, is NOT competition; it is PREDATORY.

      And this is why China Telecom needs to stay out of the U.S. Market, and possibly Huawei equipment as well.

      In a way it *might* be called protectionist, just like putting a stop to 'dumping' and other UNFAIR trade and business practices that were made illegal ~100 years ago in the USA.

      Why should we JUST ALLOW the communist Chinese government to, effectively, TAKE OVER our telecommunications? I say we should NOT!

      Otherwise, it's like doing the "bend 'em and spread 'em" voluntarily. And what, you did not say THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER afterwards??? Oh, how RUDE!

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

        How can they be copying the USA if they are ahead of them?

        BTW, using CAPITALS lends absolutely NO weight to your arguments, much the OPPOSITE in FACT!!!!!!!!!

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

        bob:

        If you think the Chinese Government is Communist, I'll bet you believe the US is a democracy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

          It's a bit like the end of Animal Farm. China is a country in which the government tells industry what to do, the US is a country where industry tells the government what to do. But, like man and pig in Orwell, it is increasingly hard to tell what is industry and what is government.

      3. crayon

        Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

        "From the article: The company [Huawei] is owned by the Chinese government"

        Bobbie, did you even read the article before launching your bombast? The article is about China Mobile. I don't know why you think iphone dollars have something to do with this article. The company assembling iphones for Apple is Foxconn - which is Taiwanese owned.

        "Because of 'slave labor' [essentially], working for government owned businesses [essentially]"

        So [essentially], are you saying that working for government owned businesses is slave labour? Or does that only apply to Chinese government owned businesses? And [essentially] why do you think that?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

          why do you think that?

          Because his knee-jerk reactions tell him to. He's programmed to believe that anything owned or operated by Gubbiment is *BAD* whereas anything owned by FREE ENTERPRISE is doubleplus GOOD..

          The truth, as always, is far, far more nuanced.

      4. southen bastard

        Re: Botnets, spies, and spammers

        is this not exactley what the murkins have been doing for the last hundrad years, or more,

        strip mining the rest of the world!

        why dosent murkier stick to it's honest exports of guns, drugs and hookers

  6. Garymrrsn

    Let's see if I understand this...

    "find that China Mobile is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government."

    But then some people...

    ...find that the US government is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by US mobiles.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Let's see if I understand this...

      "find that China Mobile is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government."

      Well, to be fair, since the company is owned by the Chinese government, if they weren't able to influence and control it I don't know what the term 'ownership' means.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Let's see if I understand this...

        Sure, I don't think anybody is arguing otherwise. The argument I see is this: if we're worried about China (and we should be), we need to be equally worried about the other nations that pose similar threats, such as the US. It's the singling out of China specifically that seems extremely disingenuous to me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USA trying to bully Europe

    The EU not backing down, but American bullying, blackmail, and chlorenated chickens is what the brexiters prefer! Way to go "taking back control"

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: USA trying to bully Europe

      If the EU really wanted to give everyone the finger, their only real recourse is to go it alone. That they haven't seems to say much about their true capabilities.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US spooks are the only ones allowed to spy on US citizens...

    ...China you stick to spying on your people, the US will stick to spying on its people.

  9. slack
    Mushroom

    Serial crony and bootlicker Ajit needs to fook off and pai.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Cronyism

    The FCC is always full of cronies. Fortunately, it doesn't actually do much so the Orange One is able to use it for some good sound bites about how he's fighting for the working American…

    In the meantime he hopes to install Stephen Moore and Herman Cain on the board of the Federal Reserve. That really should have everyone worried!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cronyism

      Problem is, EVERYONE is full of cronies. That's how cronies work to apply influence for their puppeteers. There's no denying it; it's how the world works. If you don't have the resources to go it alone AND defend it from hostile takeover, you'll have no choice but to bend the knee (or bend over). It's simply a matter of to whom you do it. Saying you'll avoid the US doesn't mean much if ALL roads lead either to hell or to isolation (which is simply the handbasket route).

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Cronyism

        Problem is, EVERYONE is full of cronies.

        True, but that's also false relativism. Trump's promises to "drain the swamp" ring even hollower than they did at the time when you look at some of the placemen. Of course, if Congress and particularly the Senate was doing its job, then things might be a bit different. But polarisation of the electorate means that too many (on both sides of the political debate) are scared of deselection in their primaries.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Cronyism

          Then they ARE doing their job. Problem is, the job they're doing now isn't the job WE want them to do. Sorta like the difference between what we want and what we really need (but can't recognize).

          Put simply, we're humans. We're kinda stuck with it.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Cronyism

            Then they ARE doing their job.

            Rubber stamping what the executive is doing is not the oversight as the constitution defines it. The primary system is also a relatively new part of the political system. Probably time to replace it with something else: ban all forms of political advertising and go back to beauty contests at state fairs! It will at least save some money. You'll still get a bunch of Charlies (sic) and Conmen elected.

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Cronyism

            "Sorta like the difference between what we want and what we really need (but can't recognize)."

            Unless you're arguing that an authoritarian government is desirable, the solution to a disconnect between what the people want and what is best for them isn't to shove unwanted things down everybody's throat (after all, those who think they know what's best for everybody can be, and often are, wrong). It's to take your case to the people and argue your position. If you can't persuade the people that your position is correct, then tough.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Cronyism

        "EVERYONE is full of cronies."

        Sure, corruption isn't new and isn't limited to any single administration. But there are differences in degree, and the Trump administration has ramped the corruption up to a level that I haven't seen before in my lifetime.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Cronyism

          But I would argue that it would've happened at some point. It's just happening right now.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Cronyism

            Oh, I agree. But we shouldn't be cavalier about it or minimize it just because it's predictable. The other thing that's predictable is that the only way to keep corruption to as low a level as possible is to slap it down hard, particularly when it's egregious.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Cronyism

          I think he's just warming up: he really wants to establish a dynasty. Stuff the executive will acting appointees and roll over the deadlines while the courts get packed with judges picked by the KKK right-thinking people of America and continue to nibble at the separation of powers.

          Meanwhile left-leaning states can start examining the possibility of secession (will never happen) and challenge in the courts.

  11. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Let me get this straight...

    China mobile applied in 2011. After five years of the Obama administration, no permit. For two months after the election, when the Obama administration rushed through various matters, no permit. Two years into the Trump administration, the final answer: no permit. And yet somehow this is hyper-partisan? Kieren McCarthy needs to put down the joint for a few hours before "reporting".

  12. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Just because you are paranoid...

    I don't see how anyone can pay any attention at all to either China's rhetoric, or to their behavior (Belt & Road, China Sea expansion, South America actions) can doubt that they view the US with hostility, and are conduction operations accordingly. This is war by other means.

    Which is fine. Just don't expect me to be so stupid as to roll out the red carpet for you when you are doing that.

    As for this particular matter: yes, we know that Chinese intelligence services are doing the same thing with Chinese equipment as the FBI is doing with US equipment. (Without the need for warrants and such.) Therefore we (the US) should be looking very carefully at what we are allowing in of theirs. I expect the Europeans to be intelligent enough to do the same with both ours and the Chinese. That they are not is a problem not only for them but for us because it creates a backdoor for the Chinese to get to the US. England is a special case because of the special (Five Eyes) relationship. The FBI will do for their English counterparts & vice-versa, so on this matter they are part of the US block.

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    I don't see how anyone can pay any attention at all to either China's rhetoric, or to their behavior (Belt & Road, China Sea expansion, South America actions) can doubt that they view the US with hostility

    You missed out Africe and southern and eastern Europe. Chine only really considers America's pacific fleets and bases as threatening, and you can forgive them for thinking that when you consider all the boots on the ground just in Korea and Japan. But China has no real military ambitions in the area, apart from perhaps warming up the odd century old border grievance. It's all about access to resources and expanding its markets. Which is pretty much the same as America's coca cola hegemony and the continuation of the Monroe Doctrine. Let's call it the Manchu Doctrine!

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