Huawei has sued the U.S. government, noting that its charges against the Chinese telecommunications giant were unfair and incorrect. The goal isn’t to repeal the U.S. ban on Huawei networking equipment, but rather to expose to other countries that the U.S. government has no evidence to support the charges.
“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products,” a statement attributed to Huawei chairman Guo Ping reads. “We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort.”
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The lawsuit will force the U.S. government to make its arguments against Huawei public. This will work in Huawei’s favor, as the government doesn’t have any hard evidence to support its claims that the firm is a security threat. Instead, the U.S. government is driven by xenophobia and fear that Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government, which is normal in that country, will help that government spy on the U.S.
Huawei also pointed out the hypocrisy of a U.S. government that was found, thanks to Edward Snowden’s leaks, to have illegally hacked Huawei’s network to steal information.
“The U.S. government has long branded Huawei as a threat, [but] it has hacked our service and stolen our emails and source code,” Mr. Guo explained during a press conference. “Still, the U.S. government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei.”
The United States has, of course, pursued Huawei via other channels too, none of which are related to its fears of China-based surveillance. For example, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, is currently being detained in Canada on behalf of the United States on charges that the firm violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The U.S. has also lobbied many other countries, with mixed results, to ban Huawei networking equipment.
In the UK, for example, Ciaran Martin, the leader of the National Cyber Security Center, said that Huawei has been present in that country’s telecommunications networks for over 15 years and is subject to strict security reviews, none of which have ever led to any suspicions.
“Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei,” he said, adding that Huawei’s networking equipment “is not in any sensitive networks, including those of the government. Its [hardware] is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers.” He said that any alleged security risks could easily be managed.
Not everyone agrees, of course. Some countries have joined the U.S. in banning Huawei from the coming years-long push to establish 5G networks around the globe. And others are currently debating whether to do so.
“We need to be able to vet individual cases in order to ensure our critical infrastructure is protected,” German lawmaker Katharina Droege told Al Jazeera. “That could lead to the exclusion of Chinese firms from building our 5G infrastructure.”
<blockquote><em><a href="#409773">In reply to Greg Green:</a></em></blockquote><p>The <em>relevant </em>evidence would be embedded in Huawei equipment. We know that both the US and China have been involved in illegal activities but that's not evidence of misconduct in any other particular case.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409815">In reply to Bob Nelson:</a></em></blockquote><p>As long as politics impacts technology there's going to be talk about it. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409792">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>Being detained isn't the same as being in custody. If she were not detained she could freely leave Canada. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409826">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>The case sighted was appealed and Wikipedia didn't follow-up. In any case, since she is being charged for violating US law it's doubtful that Canadian law would apply. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409802">In reply to yaddamaster:</a></em></blockquote><p>Of course that's not the argument the US government is making and that's not the basis for claiming xenophobia. </p>
<p>Unlike others I don't really have an issue with the U.S. government being asked to justify its stance and it is totally fair game for Paul to offer an editorial opinion on the subject. What I do find troubling is Paul's lack of transparency. He has reviewed a slew of Huawei products recently and has given them favorable reviews. What popped up in his most recent review is that Huawei is provided the unit to him for testing. What was unfortunate was that it didn't come up as part of the intro of the review. There was no "I received this from Huawei to review for X number of days/weeks". The only way it came up was when he mentioned that they would have provided a case as well. If they had done that we would have never known that Huawei was providing him with free product(s). So there is a basic issue of journalistic ethics here. When reviewing a product a reviewer should state up front if the unit was purchased or provided by someone else. The reviewer should state if they were given the product to keep or if they have to return it (realistically, they should refuse any product that they allowed to keep to avoid the perception of that their review is purchased). Lastly, in articles like this, Paul should be open about his relationship with Huawei. </p><p><br></p><p>Since Paul clearly hasn't been transparent about products he is getting for free and his relationship with Huawei and that has damaged his credibility with product reviews in general and it hurts his credibility in articles like this. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409810">In reply to jbinaz:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think you have unintentionally proven my point though. We are all just left to guess as to what is happening. </p><p><br></p><p>Thurrott dot com doesn't have a published statement of ethics for the site or by the authors or any publication of editorial process or standards. When you look at other common tech news sites (CNET, recode, the verge ..) they all publish these things. Because of that I know things like their reviewers do not keep anything they review nor accept anything of value from the companies they cover. I know that their advertising sales teams don't work with their review teams to ensure favorable coverage for advertisers. Personally I think Recode does the best on this front as their individual contributors all disclose things that may be considered a conflict of interest about them personally. </p><p><br></p><p>What's funny/ironic is Paul will have his fits of claiming the mainstream tech media is biased and yet they are transparent about what they are doing and how they are doing it. On the other hand, Paul just went to MWC and wrote several glowing reviews of <span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Huawei's presence there. Do we know that Huawei didn't pay for that trip? (I doubt they did, I honestly don't think Paul's influenced is broad enough for them to make that sort of investment.) </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">The long and the short of it is that all of this could be rendered moot if the site followed standard journalistic practices and had an ethics statement. </span></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409862">In reply to cadrethree:</a></em></blockquote><p>Canada is holding a Huawei executive for violating a <em>United States</em> <em>law</em>. Perhaps the legal world is a little more complicated than you imagine. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409895">In reply to cadrethree:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think a World dominated either by the US or China would be a bad thing. I believe the rest of the world is starting to reject the superpower regime.</p>
<p>While US intelligence agencies aren't required by law to reveal evidence they have against a foreign nation, in this case there would be no good reason not to unless the "evidence" is limited to hearsay from assets. Whether Huawei has a backdoor in their equipment is a simple engineering question, not a political one. We've had the technology to make such a determination for over 30 years. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409899">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>I would imagine "sources and methods" would be a reason to not want to disclose information but seriously, how clandestine of an operation can Huawei really be?</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409910">In reply to provision l-3:</a></em></blockquote><p>For a technical evaluation, the "source" would be the equipment itself and the "methods" are well known in the commercial world. At least one company stripped the casing off the Atari 2600's chips and looked at the internal circuitry to reverse engineer how it worked and sold the spec for about $20,000 in 1980s money.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409918">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Given that neither you nor I know how the government came up with their claims you are being speculative at best. I am inclined to agree with you and there is likely no reasons to hold back one what, if any, the government actually has. That said, "sources and methods" is commonly referenced for why the intelligence community is disinclined to divulge information publicly so it was worth pointing out that the there may be a legitimate reason as slim as a possibility as it is. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409924">In reply to provision l-3:</a></em></blockquote><p>No, I was describing how the government <em>should </em>have come up with their claims if they were credible. We know from what happened with respect to Iraq how informants can supply the US with faulty claims for their own personal gain and how easily the US can believe them.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409978">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>According to <span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Huawei the U.S government has hacked their network and the government's claim is based on intent not an actual issue with Huawei hardware. So it is within the realm of reason that the concerns are based on something tangible like Huawei's communications </span>email, wiretap … whatever. Which gets back to sources and methods. So while I agree with your assessment that physical evidence should be easy to cough up and informants can be an Iraq level shit show there is more than those two options for evidence. And again, I'm absolute ly skeptical and with Paul on this. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410452">In reply to provision l-3:</a></em></blockquote><p>But the legitimate basis for banning equipment isn't an accusation of intent but rather something amiss with that equipment. We can only speculate whether these weaker forms of "evidence" actually exist. We know the danger of relying on snippets of covertly acquired data to draw a specific conclusion and how the bias of those interpreting the communications can lead us astray.</p><p><br></p><p>Update: There's some potential irony here: "Our illegal effort to obtain your data proves you have an illegal effort to collect our data".</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#409942">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>What "hard evidence" are you referring to? </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410021">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>No, IP theft is not a legitimate security threat in the general case. If a particular Hauwei product incorporates stolen IP there are numerous legal remedies that could be used including restricting the sale of that specific product. But it wouldn't be legitimate to ban all products regardless whether they incorporate stolen IP or not. Of course these kinds of disputes happen all the time between US based tech companies but the remedies are not so extreme in those cases. </p><p><br></p><p>Of course my contention was that there was no "hard evidence" of a backdoor in Hauwei equipment that has been presented. The whole "IP theft is a security risk" claim appears to be a fall-back argument when the is no evidence of undisputed security risks.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410290">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sure, we'd be vulnerable to attack if we had no domestic paint companies.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410440">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>Even If the Chinese were able to illegally obtain 100% of the US IP they couldn't "take out our economy". It's an absurd exaggeration. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410708">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>There's nothing nuanced about the phrase "take out our economy". If your intent is to make a qualified statement, than make one. It's a common tactic to make a broad, unqualified statement and then walk it back when it's called out. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#410937">In reply to bluvg:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think the term is well understood, but if it's imprecise, that's hardly the reader's fault for misinterpreting it. </p>