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China, telecommunications and national security collide

Huawei's booth at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas
John Roling
Huawei's booth at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas

China's largest telecommunications company has a "trust issue."

Huawei is headquartered in Shenzhen, China. It manufactures equipment for telephone and broadband networks. The only larger telecom in the world is Swedish-based Ericsson.

The Australian government recently announced Huawei would not be allowed to bid on that country's National Broadband Network, due to security concerns.

Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson was in Australia at the time, and applauds the decision. He talks about it with KPLU's Dave Meyer on this month's edition of The Digital Future.

The Australian government did not specify why it doesn't trust Huawei.

Mark has been analyzing the company, and says there are at least three big reasons for Australia and other nations to be cautious about doing business with Huawei:

  • It has a history of stealing intellectual property.
  • The company has strong ties to China's military and political leadership.
  • Security analysts are worried Huawei's equipment could contain "backdoors" that can be used for espionage.

But the problem is bigger than Huawei. Telecommunications networks are a natural target for espionage, and it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove that a network is secure.
Mark says the key is to ensure that your supply chain is clean and that all the vendors in the chain are trusted agents.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."




Dave Meyer has been anchoring KNKX news shows since 1987. He grew up along the shores of Hood Canal near Belfair and graduated from Washington State University with degrees in communications and psychology.
Mark Anderson is the CEO of the Strategic News Service® (SNS), SNS was the first subscription-based newsletter on the Internet, and is read by Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Hurd, and industry leaders and investors in computing and communications worldwide. Mark is the founding chair of the Future in Review® (FiRe) Conference, which the Economist has labeled “the best technology conference in the world,” as well as of SNS Project Inkwell, the first global consortium to address technology design changes for one-to-one computing in classrooms. He is the founder of two software companies, a hedge fund, and the Washington Technology Industry Association “Fast Pitch” investment forum, Washington’s premier technology investment conference.