Who Are We ?

Who are we, Huawei?

Shenzhen, China was a bizarre dystopian town at the end of Hong Kong’s magic train line when I first visited it a decade or so ago. With the illusion of civilization suddenly shattered by two cruelly rude border guards who literally threw our passports to the ground, my partner and I entered mainland China for the first time, and whilst Hong Kong was, by then officially China, it was China Lite, like the Louis Vuitton version, and quite harmless….charming even.

Headquartered in this town, then rising out of the sludge with bamboo scaffolding, was a Telecommunications Company called Huawei. It’s huge, having taken over the leading role from Ericsson in 2012, which is amazing, considering it was founded in 1987 in Communist China. (Wikipedia)

They want in. Here. Big. NBN is, for them, a hot chick-very hot.

When NBN Co issued a media release on June 24, 2010, coincidentally the day Julia Gillard rolled Kevin Rudd as prime minister, announcing it had selected Alcatel-Lucent as its “initial” equipment supplier, Huawei was blindsided. The company’s Australian representatives say they had been led to believe they were a shoo-in to be appointed as one of the NBN Co’s two primary vendors in a multi-company model that maximised competitive pricing tension and product innovation. For the next 18 months, Huawei continued to believe it was still in the race. In late 2011 the company’s Australian chairman, John Lord, former Victorian premier, John Brumby, and Huawei’s chief spinner, Jeremy Mitchell, met with Julia Gillard’s chief of staff, Ben Hubbard.

In November 2011 President Barack Obama paid his first official visit to Australia. One conspiratorial month later the Attorney-General’s Department asked Huawei’s brass to come to Canberra. The Chinese telco thought it would be the news they had waited so long to hear. Instead, Lord and Mitchell were shocked when ­officials informed them they were being barred outright from involvement in the NBN, a message that was formalised in a letter months later. (AFR)

Much has been made by the CIA, where Huawei has been on the nose for pretty much ever, banned in the US, though not so in the UK, where the tech gear is right through the whole joint like the blue in blue vein cheese…which is what networks do, organically.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s the spying bit. China has been caught with their pants down, multiple times, prying into all sort of places, which is bad. Stealing secrets, which is bad. So we hate China and love America, like Cisco, right? Home of the brave? The problem is really the ultimate Hubris-EVERYONE SPIES ON EVERYONE and always have. Can we trust the Chinese? Shit no! Can we trust the American Cisco folk, who are in bed with the Feds? Niente-we can trust no one, for their track records are, well, quite bad. Really bad.

It’s about risk mitigation then, and meeting and greeting the world’s best experts in rooting out the bugs from the system, like Kaspersky Labs. Sure, exclude Huawei if you have mission critical gear, and your research indicates, and merits, risk aversion, but don’t include the Americans, Israeli’s as a matter of course. Do your homework, build safeguards, resilience and build silos of data, but not shared human information. Eugene Kaspersky was reported to have relied to a similar question lately “IT business and IT security is a business of trust, only companies which are trusted can be suppliers of national products,” he answered, before saying companies that wanted to change their perception, needed to open their code and products for scrutiny.”

I believe him-the Russians have always been proud of their intelligence network, and made us work very hard for a living during the cold war.

Handy to Know

Talk to the Hand

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