back to article No backdoor, no backdoor... you're a backdoor! Huawei won't spy for China or anyone else, exec tells MPs

The UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee yesterday asked experts whether Huawei poses a threat to national security. It was a question the answers to which exposed the many problems with trying to ban a manufacturer that’s been a part of the country’s telecommunications landscape for nearly two decades. The …

  1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    quite sensible

    MP questioning aside, seems like expert opinion actually was ... expert. Even Hauwei's own man seem to know what he's talking about "We want people to find things – whether they find one thing or 100. We are not embarrassed by what people find.". I wonder if Cisco exec would say the same, with the hardcoded credentials etc.

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: quite sensible

      Treading a careful path as well but not mentioning the NSA putting pressure on US manufacturers to introduce 'their' backdoors into hardware and software. I'm sure it's not beyond the UK's intelligence servcies to do the same whatever the law says. Effectively you can't trust anything so we should operate on the assumption of zero trust.

      I agree the expert opinion in this case appeared to be knowledgable and pragmatic.If the politicians on the committee were using Godwin's Law this quickly I thikn that highlights just how out of their depth they were resorting to hyperbole to be seen to make a point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: quite sensible

        Still, you fail to notice that UK services have a "special relationship" with US services - not with Chinese ones. It's not a small difference....

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: quite sensible

        If the politicians on the committee were using Godwin's Law this quickly I thikn that highlights just how out of their depth they were resorting to hyperbole to be seen to make a point.

        The committee's jibes about Zyklon B were utterly and deeply offensive. And they didn't just let it slide when it was treated with the disdain it deserved, but pushed to have Huawei admit they are the most evil company walking on God's good earth.

        I had already been convinced this is a politically motivated witch hunt. After that I have no doubt.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: quite sensible

          So long as British phones use ARM processors owned by those bastions of moral rectitude in Saudi Arabia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Even Hauwei's own man seem to know what he's talking about"

      LOL! He's not a Chinese (so they have no way to ensure his "loyalty") - if ever the China government has plans to use Huwaei equipment for espionage, they are not going to tell him. And yes, any Cisco executive would say the same.

      And any expert that assert that private businesses - especially telcos - should be in charge of national security, should change job, even if it means he will lose all that nice money telcos pay him to say such things.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        It's all good and nice to be wary of The Man, but telcos are the de facto custodians of our telecommunications, so it falls on their shoulders to make sure our comms are secure.

        Unless you prefer your phone provider to just be the NSA ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "it falls on their shoulders to make sure our comms are secure."

          Without oversight and policies set by some one who don't think about "PROFIT!S!!!!!" only?

          Would you trust your telco to keep wholly safe your data and communications,and don't sell them to the highest bidder?

          It's still a matter of separation of powers - the telco do their job, and someone ensures they don't take dangerous shortcuts doing it because of "PROFITS!!!!!!!!".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "it falls on their shoulders to make sure our comms are secure."

            <cough> Phorm <cough>

        2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          As a USAian, trust the telcos for national security/privacy? Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Trust the NSA? IEEEEEEEEEEE!

          The telcos don't even have the theoretic motivation to tend to national security. There is no profit there. The NSA, like pretty much every government bod, just ignores its charter.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            AFAIK US telcos are happy to sell their customers information

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: quite sensible

      Its PR guff. The reporting channels are private and contracts enforce their use.

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: quite sensible

      But if they were forced to add backdoors, presumably they would also be required to deny it?

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: quite sensible

        Thats how it works in the UK. Govt can force you to backdoor a website and you are not allowed ever to mention it. Only option is to close up and do business elsewhere.

        1. Paul

          Re: quite sensible

          In the UK it's called "technical measures" which mean backdoors, key escrow, wiretaps, anything they want basically with no discussion or appeal.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: quite sensible

            It makes sense that law enforcement be allowed monitoring powers without whoever is being monitored being aware of the fact - otherwise what's the point? Of course law enforcement can't just rock up at the telco and demand access, they need a warrant. If telcos are served with a warrant, why would they appeal? I would only see pushback from telcos if they start to get what they believe is an unreasonably large amount of warrants.

            AFAIK telcos actually do publish (though maybe hidden away in some annual statement) the number of 'technical measures' they have been required to comply with. If I remember correctly, Google, Apple etc also went ahead and published some metadata about the number of law enforcement access requests (even though they weren't permitted to do so) exactly because they wanted to have more transparency on the process, and to push back against excessive overrreach.

            There's no easy way out except to trust that the judges are keeping law enforcement in check.

    5. streaky Silver badge

      Re: quite sensible

      I wonder if Cisco exec would say the same

      Of course they would. They'd be talking nonsense but they'd say the same without thinking twice.

      Only way to be sure is to test. Huawei are tested and are happy to go along with that testing. My thing is I don't mind much what we do as long as we're holding everybody to the same standard.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'If we were put under any pressure by any country that we felt was wrong, we would prefer to close the business'

    They WOULD say that, but what if they're NOT ALLOWED to shut down OR say why, on pain of prison or worse? Just how far is he REALLY willing to go?

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      The key bit was "that we felt was wrong". Lots of wiggle room there.

      Saying that ,a good cogent defense, and more thorough than anything Cisco have provided.

    2. MGJ

      For the real view of the British civil service/Government of Chinese telecoms companies, perhaps do an FOI for instructions on what to do with IT equipment that has been used in China outside of the secure room in the Embassy. It's always hacked into in minutes and cannot be used again for connection to a government network. Private Offices used to have piles of Blackberry's and laptops that had been in China for staff to take away with them at their own risk. The vast majority of hacking threats to the UK (used to) come from those at least pretending to be the Chinese military.

    3. PassingStrange

      So - that's not a "No", then...

      There's a yawning gap between "we would prefer to" and "we would".

      Come to that, there's a chasm between "If we were..." and "We haven't been...", too.

      No prosecuting counsel worth their salt would fail to draw attention to that degree of prevarication.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    No laws?

    There are no laws in China that obligate us to work with the Chinese government on anything whatsoever,

    No, but this is China we're talking about. They don't need laws. If the government say jump, you jump, regardless of the 'law', or you end up in the organ banks.

    1. seven of five

      Re: No laws?

      Unlike in the US, where you end up in Guantanamo.

      (yes, exaggaration, but you get the drift...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No laws?

        Probably you still have more rights in Guantanamo than in any Chinese camp - and you may not even know where Chinese detention camps are. And nobody in China can even protest about the existence of them. Feel free to go to live in China, anyway, nobody forces you to live in these horrible Western countries.... still I see Chinese emigrating here, not vice versa.

      2. SolidSquid

        Re: No laws?

        You wouldn't end up in Guantanamo, but you might get a national security letter which instructs you to provide information and binds you to keep quiet about the existence of that instruction, refusal to cooperate with either of which can lead to jail time

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: No laws?

          Which is entirely the same as having your organs removed, I see...

    2. sal II

      Re: No laws?

      The end result is no different from the USA where the PATRIOT act etc. legalize the snooping.

      1. MrTuK

        Re: No laws?

        There is no real difference between any Gov of any Country and anyhow can USA complain about Huawei when it uses any security vulnerabilities it can in order to access any hardware it can especially Cisco. Infact they have teams of people looking for Vuln's so they can exploit them (rather than make them known so they can be plugged the the manufacturer) and I imagine China and all other Gov's secret service do the same especially USA because Eddy Snowden let that one slip !

        There is one final twist worth thinking about, maybe Huawei is more secure or doesn't have one particular security hole that other manufacturer's do and that is why the USA doesn't like Huawei !

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: No laws?

          There is one final twist worth thinking about, maybe Huawei is more secure or doesn't have one particular security hole that other manufacturer's do and that is why the USA doesn't like Huawei !

          "He's sitting here, telling us they'll never do any spying or snooping, no matter what the threat or consequences. That's no fucking good for us".

          Imagine there's a joke icon attached if you choose to ->

        2. aks Bronze badge

          Re: No laws?

          Huawei have offered to share their tests with others. If all of the 4G and 5G suppliers competed in a form of hackfest to break each others' offerings, we'd have a more robust system.

          The suspicion is that the USA like having vulnerabilities in their own suppliers. China and Russia would delight in breaking other peoples systems and publishing them. If the USA and Europe did likewise, we'd all be a lot more secure. The USA didn't like Kapersky locating NSA malware. China would not want others to break into their systems. We can trust each of them not to trust each other and to have a common motive to discover other people's weak points.

        3. jmch Silver badge

          Re: No laws?

          "There is no real difference between any Gov of any Country"

          As bad as governments of western countries can be, your statement above is so obviously wrong it's astounding. Keep in mind that China is far, far, far away from being the worst offender.

          You want to go live in Yemen, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe etc etc and then see how you feel?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No laws?

      "No, but this is China we're talking about. They don't need laws."

      Indeed. Unlike the UK and US which do have laws to force companies to hand over any information they want and not tell anyone about it (section 54 of UK RIPA and SCA non disclosure orders in the US).

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: No laws? Except for Abiding Rules of Deep and Dark Jungles

        Unlike the UK and US which do have laws to force companies to hand over any information they want and not tell anyone about it (section 54 of UK RIPA and SCA non disclosure orders in the US). ..... Anonymous Coward
        .

        Companies hand over diddly squat/zilch/nada, persons of interest hand over information and presumably because it is leading intelligence whenever it is diligently sought and/or desperately needed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No laws?

      The same is true in the US, as the Palm CEO experienced even before the PATRIOT act was a thing.

    5. JoMe

      Re: No laws?

      While it's true they don't need laws, there is a law requiring this. And having worked in various ITAR, S, and TS organizations I can confirm that we've received hardware that included additional technology with back doors.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No laws?

      "There are no laws in China that obligate us to work with the Chinese government on anything whatsoever,"

      Then how do they explain this?

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: No laws?

        You mean the bit where it says:

        the Cybersecurity Law states that network operators, which include telecommunications companies such as Huawei, have to provide “technical support and assistance” to government offices
        No, Huawei is not a "network operator", and if the journalist who wrote that piece could make such an elementary blunder, I don't trust a word of the story.

    7. SomeRandomFaggot

      Re: No laws?

      "We" is his employer "HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES (UK) CO., LTD." which is on this side of the HCSEC firewall.

      There are no laws in China that can compel "HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES (UK) CO., LTD." to break the law in the UK, because that company must comply with UK law. This has the hilarious effect of being technically correct whilst at the same time having absolutely no effect whatsoever on the legions of spies that work for the Chinese government - that is what the HCSEC is for. HCSEC fulfils the role of being a deterrent to overt backdoors. In other words - the reason they haven't found any backdoors may very well be because they are looking for backdoors.

      If Huawei does indeed play host to Chinese government spies, this still does not constitute an actual request from the Chinese government - it is easily possible for the Chinese to attempt to conduct intelligence operations without involving the company's executive branch and in fact any covert operation would only be hindered by a request to the company as any such request that the UK branch of the company became aware of would result in GCHQ being immediately notified of the request, blowing the whole thing open and permanently ruining it for the Chinese. So you can bet your ass that the Chinese are not going to make any such request.

      The success of any Chinese intelligence operation therefore depends solely on the effectiveness of covert intelligence and UK counterintelligence operations, of which Mr John "I used to be HMG's CIO" Suffolk is a part. Having occupied such a sensitive position in the government he must continue to comply with the requirements set by his HMG security clearance until the day he dies. I would be very surprised if it is even possible for him to cut ties to the UK intelligence services - if he did so, I expect that he would quickly find himself committing suicide by chopping himself up, bundling himself into a sports bag, and throwing himself in the river. In short, Huawei's Global Cyber Security Officer is a de-facto GCHQ informant.

      It's a very strange relationship between two countries where extreme mutual distrust has had to coexist with an extreme mutual desire to make money. Ironically enough Huawei products are probably safer from deliberate backdoors than those of any other provider, specifically as a result of this scrutiny. I would say there is a case to be made for subjecting all equipment providers to similar levels of scrutiny but that would be very expensive.

      Or maybe we could just build our own telecoms gear?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I watched a large section of the proceedings

    The article is a good representation of what went on and that the respondents were indeed knowledgeable.

    When the MP's were digging hard on political pressure and state law I though that the respondents were excellent at not mentioning that Cisco et al have bowed under this pressure in the US in the past (see the Snowden leaks).

    I thought that the MP trying to accuse Hauwei of being complicit like the Nazi gas suppliers was well below the belt!

    I am familiar with some of the Hauwei code. Some of the third party stuff is very good, some of the 'home-brew' is less professional, but still pretty good - not unlike most commercial code I see! The same goes for the Cisco and Juniper code I've seen. (All legitimately examined I must add.)

    Come on, let's have less of the 'witch-hunt'. Assume that everyone is spying on everyone else, end-to-end encrypt if you feel you need to, and lets get on with life using the appropriate technology.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I watched a large section of the proceedings

      From the clip I watched, trying to compare Huawei with IG Farben wasn't in context. It wss just thrown in so that it could be used as a sound bite later.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "was well below the belt"

      Maybe you should spend some time in China telling them you're a muslim Uyghur....

      Or just look what's happening in Hong Kong....

      Even Chamberlain thought Germany was not so bad, after all....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "was well below the belt"

        Maybe you should spend some time in China telling them you're a muslim Uyghur....

        Try the US if you're non-white, not a *cough* "Christian" *cough*, not rich or even happen to have the same name as someone else on the no-fly list.

        Oh, and no problem if you're abroad either, that's what extraordinary rendition is for. Best don't go out after dark.

        Each country has its dark sides. That does not justify atrocities, but it also makes it kinda hard not to end up in a pot vs kettle situation. However, most importantly, it does not change the legal and facts-based arguments one iota. If my chain of trust starts with the ability to inspect the mechanics and people who I trust have given the OK, that matters. The US can wave its pretend Democracy banner for all it wants, but Cisco has not been inspected in a similar fashion which means bye bye Cisco in my book.

        And yes, I want any updates examined in a similar manner, of course.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: "was well below the belt"

          "Maybe you should spend some time in China telling them you're a muslim Uyghur....

          Try the US if you're non-white, not a *cough* "Christian" *cough*, not rich or even happen to have the same name as someone else on the no-fly list."

          More to the point, how is this even relevant. Does the CEO of Huawei personally roam the streets beating Muslims? Does the CEO of Cisco regularly lynch black people? Many countries have issues with human rights to varying extents, but how exactly is that relevant to which company I might want to purchase a router from? If there's evidence a company is clearly and deliberately complicit in abuses that might be a factor in the decision, and of course if there's evidence their equipment might actually be compromised in some way that's very important. But saying "Country A has done bad things, therefore everything produced by Company from Country A is bad" is just meaningless nonsense.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If there's evidence a company is clearly and deliberately complicit in abuses

            As regards Huawei and the treatment of muslim Uyghurs by the Chinese state, you may or may not regard the following links as containing (or reporting) evidence of something of concern.

            https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-huaweis-partnership-with-china-on-surveillance-raises-concerns-for/

            https://www.theepochtimes.com/huawei-a-pressing-problem-that-demands-serious-work_2868529.html

            No doubt other reporting can be found; these were just some which came up after a quick search.

            It seems to me that without a consideration of specific behaviours, it is hard to pick between the "bad Huawei" and "but everyone does bad things" rhetorical positions. What specific comparisons might we make between what Huawei reportedly assists in Xinjiang, and what (e.g.) Cisco reportedly do? What are the actions, how many people are affected, and which people are affected?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "was well below the belt"

            Not sure what point you’re trying to make, white Christians are the ONLY persecuted group in the US these days

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "was well below the belt"

            Check out the demographics of Silicon Valley if you think that you need to be a white Christian.

            That's not to say you won't find bias, and plenty of it. Some companies are heavily... monocultural. You have to be from a specific part of India to be in management, or speak Russian, or Chinese.

            A little closer to the main topic, I'm pretty sure that John Suffolk would be called a "diversity hire" in slightly different circumstances. He is unlikely to wield true policy influence. PR bad enough to impact sales is the thing that does that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Try the US"

          Do you see re-education camps in US? Really, US can be blamed for many things, but it will take still a long road to become like China and Russia - btw they don't need "renditions", they simply poison people abroad.

          Sure, Trump and some of his supporters would like it - but people trying to put on the same plane the Western world - with all its defects - and authoritarian states that killed millions of people and would have no issue to start again are trolls or simply "useful idiots".

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: "Try the US"

            Facebook and the other scummy media companies are de-facto training camps for the re-education of the masses.

            1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

              Re: "Try the US"

              The government schools have been captured by the socialists. They're skipping the "re-" part.

        3. SomeRandomFaggot

          Re: "was well below the belt"

          This is not a pot V kettle situation when looked at using any objectively measurable parameter. It never will be, not even between two almost identical countries, but comparing the US and China is an extreme example. Not all sins are equal - saying that "every country has it's dark side" is like saying "the unethical behaviour exhibited by US and Chinese authorities is morally equivalent". It isn't.

          The US is way more tolerant than China and it is a false equivalency to attempt to draw any kind of parallel between China and the US in terms of ideological persecution. Even if Trump builds the wall and starts shooting immigrants at the border, you are still not even getting close.

          And the racism goes both ways - you think Chinese people aren't racist AF? They are way more insular than even USAians.

          But you're right - f**k cisco.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "was well below the belt"

            The US is way more tolerant than China

            The US are heading to a point where you'll have to use the past tense for that. Interestingly, China is moving ever so slowly the opposite way. That still means they have a *long* way to go, but it's happening.

      2. sal II

        Re: "was well below the belt"

        None of this has any bearing on whether Huawei has backdoors in it's equipment or is prepared to introduce them under pressure from China.

        The only reason all of this is mentioned is sound bites and muddling the public opinion. It's a pure witch hunt on behest of your "special" relationship partner. And our politicians are eager to please, so much for taking back control etc.

        It's all aimed at 5G and no one mentions the fact that plenty of the existing 4G gear is Huawei, yet somehow we are happy to keep using it...

      3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: "was well below the belt"

        "Or just look what's happening in Hong Kong...."

        I took part in a peaceful protest of about 1 million people against the Government. I fail to see how you equate this with Nazi gas chambers.

    3. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: I watched a large section of the proceedings

      Assume that everyone is spying on everyone else, end-to-end encrypt if you feel you need to

      This is the most sensible comment that I have seen about this today.

      I would love to live in a nice world where everyone was honourable and behaved themselves. Unfortunately that is not true, a proportion will lie & cheat to get what they want regardless of legality or how it hurts others. Politicians understand this as they are some of the worst at this - while pretending that butter does not melt in their mouths.

  5. Rattus

    I would love to recommend that we should buy a British designed, made, supported product, and one with proof that the government has no backdoor access (or access of any kind), or cosy relationship (or covert relationship)....

    Please supply vendor details :-)

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Coat

      Your name put me in mind of a suggestion.

      Well, you didn't say it had to be equivalent to anything from Huawei.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      British designed, made, supported product

      Of all the vendors, the following springs to mind:

      A) Motorola, now defunct, did a lot of design work in Swindon for many years. Unfortunately, bad strategic decisions (coincidentally some involving a partnership with Huawei) sank that ship. Remnants swallowed by Nokia-Siemens before being axed.

      B) Alcatel-Lucent also had a design bit in Swindon, partly subservient to France, of course, but it was there. Swallowed by Nokia, axed

      C) Nokia used to have a design function in Camberley, near J9 of M25. Not sure of its fate.

      D) Panasonic have/had something in mobile networks in the M4/3 corridor, no idea what though

      No idea about any Ericsson presence

      In short, there used to be a lot of mobile network infrastructure expertise in the M4 corridor. Shame the toilet flushed on it in the race to get the lowest bidder

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        M4 corridor/Swindon

        Handy for nipping up to Cheltenham (Races)

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: M4 corridor/Swindon

          I nipped over to Cheltenham one evening when I lived in Bath.

          The occasion was the world premiere of Judith Wier's A Night at the Chinese Opera. Funnily enough I never made that China/Cheltenham connection until I read your little quip!

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: M4 corridor/Swindon

          On occasion, people in suits from Cheltenham were known to make the trip to Swindon...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Close the business

    Whilst you can mitigate against back doors using end to end encryption how can you continue to install kit with a 4-5 year shelf life where the business could close at the drop of a hat.

    You either have to assume its at best empty rhetoric, its a bare faced lie, or worst of all worlds it's true and the second any bad state actor wants to cripple telecoms networks all they have to do is present Hauwei with an unreasonable demand for access or data then the whole house of cards comes crashing down.

    Maybe we should invite Hauwei to move to the UK and become our own independent vendor away from any the threat of state interference.

    1. MrTuK

      Re: Close the business

      Not Sure if you are being genuine or sarcastic !

      Especially considering GCHQ's history !

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Close the business

        I would take that A/C as being firmly tongue-in-cheek.

        One thing I find on El Reg is that while commentards tend to be good with cultural references, a tongue-in-cheek suggestion or subtle sarcasm tend to whoosh right over the heads of downvoters.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Present the Evidence and/or Get Lost in the Spaces being Conquered and AIMastered.

      Maybe we should invite Hauwei to move to the UK and become our own independent vendor away from any the threat of state interference. .... Anonymous Coward

      Hasn't that already been done with Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centres (HCSEC) being quasi independent sovereign state territories/renegade rogue civilianised paramilitary units well into creating greater communications systems and networks for expansive new intelligence operations ..... with 5G/6G/nG Infrastructure Missions a vital and virile and viral part of the Universal Exoskeleton Projects and Programs?

      And who on Earth would say John Suffolk is talking nonsense rather than presenting the naked unadulterated truth.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re “creating moral judgements.”

    I'll be earning my rubles today and claim it is somewhat (100%?) hypocritical to dwell on morality (even though the quote comes from Huawei) in this spat, given the UK governments, so concerned about moral judgements, apply "alternative" judgements when it suits them, say, selling weapons and making other shady deals with UAE, Saudi Arabia and other "valued partners" and public inquiries being terminated abruptly because "it is not in the interest of the public"? Likewise, moral judgements have never been a problem for the UK before, while embracing "our valued Chinese partners", despite their well-known practical, "alternative" take on certain values we value. Would morality be seen now as an excuse to cover the blantantly obvious fact that Mr Trump, the Biggest Bully for now, is unhappy about Chinese partners winning contracts over US partners? But this would be well beyond hypocrisy, that would be... do as I say, don't do as they say?

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Well, that was obviously a well-balanced and thoughtful grilling

    "Norman Lamb MP, chairman of the Commons select committee, kicked off the proceedings by asking the executive about Huawei's involvement with governments that have records of corruption and human rights abuses"

    I look forward to Mr Lamb's grilling of a Google high-level suit with the same approach.

    Oh wait, I forgot : Google is a US company, so it's all good.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Well, that was obviously a well-balanced and thoughtful grilling

      That's a fair point and extends to any company above a certain size, no matter where it's based. But not really relevant to today's report.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, that was obviously a well-balanced and thoughtful grilling

      Or British aerospace

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Well, that was obviously a well-balanced and thoughtful grilling

        Not a fair comparison!

        Huawei and Google both produce things whose primary purpose is Good (at least if you believe in Information - and what would you be doing here if you don't?). No comparison with a company whose only purpose is the most terrible tools of death and destruction.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Well, that was obviously a well-balanced and thoughtful grilling

      I look forward to Mr Lamb's grilling of a Google high-level suit with the same approach.

      Grilled Lamb Grilled By Lamb

  9. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Lets get a couple of things straight.

    John Suffolk is just a nobody. His background is a an IT body in a failed small building society.

    He has about much clue about telecoms as my Gran does.

    His next statements, made on the record, are total dumb crap:

    “We’re quite clear, and it’s quite proven, we’re an independent company,” Suffolk answered. "No one can put us under pressure – we’ve made it very clear, regardless of who the country would be, if we were put under any pressure by any country that we felt was wrong, we would prefer to close the business."

    One, Huawie is pretty much well know to be a Red Army controlled organisation. It is not independent of the CCP/Chinese state.

    Theers been a couple of goes at looking at owenrship/control:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/technology/who-owns-huawei.html

    https://www.ft.com/content/469bde20-9eaf-11e3-8663-00144feab7de

    Two, noone can put pressure on us.

    The guy is a moron.

    Hauwie have already admitted this is not the case:

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/cybersecurity/news/huawei-admit-chinese-law-obliges-companies-to-work-with-government/

    FInally does Mr Suffolk have much in the way of a grasp of Mandarin? Bet he doesnt.

    Why would Huawei pick a neverwas from a small building society to front its telecom business? Were there no other suitable candiates??

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Why would Huawei pick a neverwas from a small building society ...

      Maybe because he used to work in the civil service?

      Quote:

      "Former government CIO John Suffolk has joined China-based IT company Huawei as global head of cybersecurity. Suffolk previously worked in the civil service for seven years, holding the position of chief information officer and senior information risk owner since 2006."

      From --

      https://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240105220/Former-government-CIO-John-Suffolk-joins-Huawei-as-head-of-cybersecurity

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would Huawei pick a neverwas from a small building society ...

        Sure, why not choose someone who already worked in government? Do you think they pick this guys at random, or because they know what kind of chicken they need? Regard him as a lobbyist for Huawei, nothing more. I wonder how much power he really has inside Huawei....

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Why would Huawei pick a neverwas from a small building society ...

          Perhaps Huawei will consider looking down the sofa and coming up with a few pennies to hire someone with a bulging contact book like Blair, Osborne or may be even Cameron. If they were quick off the mark, they could have had Clegg.

  10. RobertLongshaft

    Hardly going to come out and say "Yes we're going to provide backdoors into your secure networks for Chinese intelligence" are they?

    Jesus wept.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Think Sir Humphrey.

      As an ex civil servant, he'd be well-versed in the art of evading a question (and would surely have done so if he had been representing the UK government). His clear answers were a complete opposite!

  11. RobertLongshaft

    Oh and i'm totally convinced that this site being covered in Hauwei adverts have absolutely nothing to do with its stoic defense of the cheap Chinese tat merchant.

    ORANGE MAN BAD

    ORANGE MAN BAD

    ORANGE MAN BAD

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      FYI, that's just a secondary effect of Google's "Adwords". You'll get exactly the same result in any popular webpage that uses G and includes lots of telecomms terms and the name "Huawei".

      You're welcome.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, UK politicians

    Allow GCHQ to hack Belgacom without sanction, sign off on technical capabilities to intercept communications in the Investigatory Powers Act and want to weaken encryption to allow the spooks access at will.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, UK politicians

      Which is why I suspect that UK manufacturers aren't going to be top of any Eu country's shopping list

  13. batfink Bronze badge

    Personally I'm quite relieved

    ...that we have towering intellects like Mr Lamb MP to safeguard the UK in these matters. I feel a warm fuzzy glow inside already.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Personally I'm quite relieved

      i do hope Mr Lamb continues his question with all the other suppliers to the UK telecomms market. I suspect the others are likely to be a lot less convincing - or trustworthy - than huawei.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "f we did that, we wouldn’t be in the telecommunications business, we would be in the software engineering business."

    I'd have thought that if you're in any business, telecommunication included, where software provides a non-negligible part of the product you are in the software engineering business whether you like it or not or whether you realise it or not. Not realising it is a bit of a worry.

  15. JoMe

    Sure...

    Question 1: As Huawei are 100% owned by both Ren Zhengfei and the trade union committee in China, are they somehow granted immunity from following the laws as defined by his homeland, China?

    Question 2: Given that the Indian government won't award contracts due to specific security concerns, why should the west be comfortable with Huawei

    Question 3: Given Huawei's tendency to steal technology - and yes, I worked for a company that was affected by this - shouldn't we deal with the original developer?

    I mean seriously, unless Ren and the union consciously breaks the law, they (as combined 100% owners being Chinese) are required to assist in spying on the west, especially given that he wants to design and deliver technology that does what? Provides communication specifically.

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Not in Chinese interests to hurt Huawei

    Much better to make money from selling stuff to the west than to thwart sales by backdooring.

    1. MrName

      Re: Not in Chinese interests to hurt Huawei

      Well, it is only "not in their interests" until someone with enough power decides that it is. After all it is not in the US interest to cripple all of our technologies, kill our markets, and expose ourselves to hacking by installing FBI-approved backdoors with hard-coded passwords, but the FBI and NSA will keep trying.

  17. Swampie

    So, this smart suit doesn't know about China's National Intelligence Law? Bull shiat!

    Cite: https://qz.com/1016531/what-you-need-to-know-about-chinas-intelligence-law-that-takes-effect-today/

    Lying liars who lie a lot!

  18. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    "That we felt was wrong"

    That's a feeling I'd never trust from the executive department of a major corporation. There's no need to point fingers at China. The US has Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Exon, BofA, Wells Fargo, Chase, NRA, ...

    A ban on Huawei is bad if it means we're relying on too few alternatives. Best to mix them all up so the world's telecoms don't go dark if one brand needs to be shut off.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "If we were put under any pressure by any country that we felt was wrong, we would prefer to close the business"

    Cue:

    a) Laughing Policeman chorus

    2) "No True Scotsman" weasel clause as required (when found out).

  20. HildyJ
    Unhappy

    Spies Like Us

    This whole thing is getting ridiculous (and boring). Let me offer a few realities:

    1) No intelligence agency backdoor has been found in any major manufactuer's equipment except for the NSA's backdoor in Cisco routers.

    2) All major manufacturers have software flaws in their equipment.

    3) All major manufacturers attempt to patch flaws as they are identified to the manufacturer.

    4) All major intelligence agencies identify, collect, and exploit flaws without informing the manufacturer.

    The Huawei kerfuffle started as a Trump trade war tactic which has spun out of control.

    Sit back, have a pint, rewatch The Prisoner, and accept that we live in the online Village and there's no escape.

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Read my lips:

    If only he'd said...

    "Read my lips: Huawei won't spy for China or anyone else"

    I'd have believed him.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read_my_lips:_no_new_taxes

    1. JoMe

      Re: Read my lips:

      Or like that prick Enda Kenny and "not one more red cent"...

  22. MrName

    When considering how businesses operate.

    It is worth noting that China also requires all companies to support and maintain communist party cadres within the company. While these cadres are nominally only present for public education they also exist as official monitors on behalf of the party and in some cases have roles in hiring and staffing decisions. Such cadres are also present by law in schools and other public settings. Thus the concept of an "independent company" means different things in China than it does in the UK and those "feelings" we must rely on may be less in the hands of a former UK CIO turned spokesman than in the hands of a party member who was brought up through the cadre because they were willing to snitch on their friends.

    https://www.chinabusinessreview.com/fact-sheet-communist-party-groups-in-foreign-companies-in-china/

    It is also worth noting that given the expansive scale of surveillance already present in China the standards of what "feels right" are variable.

    https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/03/china-smart-city-exposed/

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: When considering how businesses operate.

      Which is why we should ban all Chinese made technology, Lenovo and Motorola as well as Huawei and any nominal American technology built in China.

      Not picking one hate company that is the biggest competitor to your own lobbyists on the basis of national security ....

      1. batfink Bronze badge

        Re: When considering how businesses operate.

        Ah yes - those "National Security Concerns" that the Orange One is now saying will disappear as part of a trade deal...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China

    Nah

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