Conspiracy Theory? Or Not.

Mandatory disclosures and trigger warnings:

  • TAFKAS does not and has never worked for a telecommunications company
  • TAFKAS does not and has never worked for a national security or law enforcement agency
  • TAFKAS does not and has never worked for Huawei
  • TAFKAS is not an engineer (telecommunications or otherwise)

Ok.  So it seems that the national security agencies of the Five Eyes countries are seeking to prevent Huawei from being a key supplier of 5G telecommunications infrastructure; on the grounds of national security.

Putting aside security matters for the moment, in Australia, a well functioning high speed cellular network is serious economic threat to the NBN.  In fact, prior NBN management has even proposed that a special tax/levy may be required to ensure that NBN remains competitive with high speed cellular broadband.  Former NBN CEO Bill Morrow has “floated the idea of a levy on mobile broadband services“.

Huawei appears to be the best value, lowest cost provider of 5G infrastructure.  Ruling Huawei out as a supplier will, everything else equal, increase the cost of 5G services.  Thus, on the margin, 5G economic competitiveness relative to NBN will be diminished.

TAFKAS believes that the Vodafone Australia network (or at least a large part of it) is provided by Huawei and TAFKAS does not recall any particular national security issues being raised about this or any suggestions that it be decommissioned.

If this is correct (Voda AU + Huawei), and not wanting to engage in rank cynicism, then it might appear that the strong security concerns around Huawei perhaps are not about the company but rather their 5G offering?

Is it possible, could it be that the Huawei issue is not about national security but about the competitiveness of incumbent fixed internet providers.  Or at least partly about their competitiveness?  Could the forced deployment of more expensive 5G infrastructure be an NBN Competitiveness Levy in a different form?

In the other Five Eyes countries, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the incumbent, well resourced fixed internet providers are also seeking a marginal competitive bump by forcing the providers of competitive 5G providers to sink in additional capital to fund their businesses, and thus impact their pricing and market dynamics.

TAFKAS has no special information or insights into this, but it seems all too neat and convenient.

Crazy?

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35 Responses to Conspiracy Theory? Or Not.

  1. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    There is a widespread multi government push to remove China from any involvement in any critical infrastructure, even if that is merely by Chinese shareholding, anyone would think war is coming.

  2. Lutz

    Please have a read of the article how a Chinese company added surveillance components into server boards for US companies.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies

  3. I recall other countries having security issues with them.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    We cant have comrade kruds legacy trashed by being un competetive can we ? Thsts like power is in troubke because of unreliable coal fired stations ,switch to carpetn[bagger ruinables and all will be well,another 453,643 windmills and 34,765,987,996 solar panels thst will ensure 34 per cent of needed power supply at $ 678billion a week .what a ferkinmess these aholes have made a la guillotine citoyens .

  5. Fred

    TAFKAS is extremely naive.

    China is engaging in a massive espionage effort against the West.

    The J-31 was built using stolen technology.

    Wen Ho Lee was a Chinese spy who stole nuclear secrets.

    The West is being far too soft of China.

  6. MACK

    Read Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton. Plenty of facts, and not diluted too much by opinion.

  7. Tim Neilson

    Clive Hamilton. Plenty of facts, and not diluted too much by opinion.

    That’s something you don’t read too often. Not in this galaxy anyway.

  8. Rod W

    Maybe Huawei is cheap for this type of technology because instead of investing heavily in their own R&D to develop it, perhaps they borrowed IP from the likes of Cisco, and therefore have less cost to amortise. Just a theory, mind.

  9. Tim Neilson

    Fred
    #2917212, posted on January 25, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    To be fair to TAFKAS, there’s nothing inherently improbable about Australian consumers being shafted in a cynical crony capitalist play so as to protect a government money pit from being seen for the debacle that it is.

  10. stevem

    There is no suggestion that Huawei has done any spying. The problem is the way the supply updates to their software. Just as every other software supplier pushes out patches, so too does Huawei.
    Being a Chinese company means that the Chinese Government can impose certain requirements upon Huawei. The concern is that if the Chinese Government demand Huawei insert spyware or malware into a patch there will be no choice but to comply.
    Should Huawei be permitted to provide critical backbone infrastructure it is difficult to guarantee there would never be Chinese Government interference.
    Internet traffic is routed around the world dynamically, trying to pick the fastest route. There have been many instances where vast amounts of data have been mysteriously routed down slower paths through China. Why risk more problems with Huawei ?
    https://www.itnews.com.au/news/china-systematically-hijacks-internet-traffic-researchers-514537

  11. Chris M

    They (Huawei) were busted three or four years ago selling phones with pre-installed spyware.

    But at an individual level each to their own, Spakleass may not be concerned about such trivial matters seeing as the phones are cheap. Different on the scale of a national level I’d suggest.

  12. Bruce of Newcastle

    Is it possible, could it be that the Huawei issue is not about national security but about the competitiveness of incumbent fixed internet providers.

    No. If you believe Huawei isn’t in bed with the PLA I have a nice 40 acre plot on Mars I can sell you. With a mule!

    Of course they are planting backdoors like crazy. To think otherwise is to disregard Chinese IP policy for the last several decades, even before considering security.

    As to security, I agree it probably doesn’t matter that our internet might fall under PLA control. Our petrol supply already is. One torpedo is all it would take.

    I’ve mentioned my own experience with Chinese industrial espionage. No one much cared because the dirt was all here in Australia: the company made money by selling minerals, not IP.

  13. Lilliana

    Agree with
    Fred
    #2917212, posted on January 25, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Please read Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton and read about the problems he had trying to get book published.
    China has its tentacle’s everywhere.
    People have blinkers on regarding China because a) they don’t want to be seen as racist and b) are PC fools who think the whole world is our friend or c) are making money from dealings with China.

    We have sold our soul to the devil – so to speak.

  14. Tel

    Read Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton. Plenty of facts, and not diluted too much by opinion.

    Isn’t that the “suspension of democracy” guy? Who has jumped onto every tacky doom porn idea to sell books and go around being a public intellectual. Ecological catastrophe, climate catastrophe, economic collapse, too much freedom, too much consumption … Clive has ridden every bandwagon and warned us about every possible hobgoblin (except the evils of Socialism of course).

    Oh sorry JC, I know, I know, not that kind of blog. Let’s just say copiously calciferous cranium … is that better?

  15. Nato

    I’ve been waiting for an article worth commenting on to point out that TAFKAS is just about the perfect blogging pseudonym. It’s been long enough for regulars to get the reference and I would suggest it’s time to change the byline.

    Usually I would default to being an outsider, trust the similarities of the various intelligence agencies and write you off as being an obtuse nutter, but there have been too many headlines, scary headlines of arrests and dead-serious allegations, and not enough details, so it’s refreshing to read the opinion of someone else who doubts

  16. John Brumble

    On this one you are wrong (or at least, vested interests have a fortunate benefit rather than a benefit by design), TAFKAS.

    5G (or rather the range of interconnectivity standards that most people are calling 5G) is a different beast and there are more opportunities for…. different approaches to international relations.

  17. Sydney Boy

    You cannot take any Huawei phones – even personal phones into any buildings where I work – for good reason. Xiaomi, BLU, etc are all bad, but Huawei seems to have more reach.

  18. stackja

    Still a KGB presence in Canberra? Why not invite the PSB [MPS] too?

  19. Behind Enemy Lines

    Tim Neilson
    #2917237, posted on January 25, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    To be fair to TAFKAS, there’s nothing inherently improbable about Australian consumers being shafted in a cynical crony capitalist play so as to protect a government money pit from being seen for the debacle that it is.

    Quite so. But just because Australian government and big business are probably using this as yet another opportunity to rape the ordinary Australian consumer and taxpayer, doesn’t let Huawei off the hook for being part of China’s intelligence apparatus.

  20. Dave in Marybrook

    Good to have you back, AKA Sparts.
    Always interesting posts.

  21. jupes

    Why would you trust the Chicoms?

  22. Bruce

    A little (old) story on mobile phone networks:

    When the socialist Republic of Viet Nam decided to allow a mobile phone network, digital was obviously the go. One of the key parts of the contract was the handover of the description key for the digital stream.

    Telstra actually had a foot in the door but it was the Gallic cousins who apparently got the gig.

    This was at a time when telecommunications there was interesting enough. I remember sending a Fax (remember them) to Australia. There I was, stuffing sheets of drawings and tech text into a fax machine in Hanoi and at the same time, talking on a phone to the recipient in Australia. The delay between when I fed in a sheet to when it popped out the other end was spectacular. The reception quality was, apparently, a bit shabby and it had odd numbers and marks on it..

    It transpired that ALL faxes were re-routed to Ministry of Interior machines. There they were quickly scanned and assessed for content by a bunch of clever folk, who then re transmitted their fax printouts to the correct recipient; hence the delay and the quality degradation. Within a year, things got a a lot faster and “cleaner”. The spooks had invested in computer technology to simply strip off a copy of the Fax data and archive it.

    These days, NOBODY, here or in any other semi-civilized country, has their phones / faxes / internet “bugged” by some spook in ill-fitting overalls ferreting around their house.

    All it takes is a court order (cough) and the computers that oversee and control the networks, simply split off a stream to the “authorized” (cough) agency. NO funny noises on the line, no waiting, no delay.

  23. Scotty

    The risk is real, there are already multiple instances of this kind of infiltration occurring (but not visible in the public domain)

  24. Jannie

    It would be daft to let the Chinese to build our communications structure. Is that not bleeding obvious?

  25. Mark A

    Go against the state, even in a benign manner and see what happens.
    Power is not given up easily or at all.

  26. Zatara

    There is no suggestion that Huawei has done any spying.

    Really?

    FBI Counterintelligence Note: Huawei Chinese Government-Subsidized Telecommunications Company

    Huawei is a threat to intellectual property and business communications due to its opaque relationship with the Chinese Government. Huawei has legal obligations to work on behalf of the Chinese state, probably through the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee residing within Huawei. This relationship likely influences the company’s decision-making through threats of corruption investigations.

    The FBI, CIA and NSA say American citizens shouldn’t use Huawei phones

    Top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the Chinese smartphone makers posed a security threat to American customers.

    Having said that, the idea that the quite valid suspicions and concern over vulnerabilities does not negate the idea that Australian consumers are being screwed as well.

  27. Dean G

    In Response to

    Lutz
    #2917203, posted on January 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm
    Please have a read of the article how a Chinese company added surveillance components into server boards for US companies.

    This story was proven to be fake.

    Thanks,
    Dean

  28. egg_

    Maybe Huawei is cheap for this type of technology because instead of investing heavily in their own R&D to develop it, perhaps they borrowed IP from the likes of Cisco, and therefore have less cost to amortise.

    Good.
    Virtue signalling Silicon Valley can go fvck itself.

  29. egg_

    The FBI, CIA and NSA say American citizens shouldn’t use Huawei phones

    Optus uses Huawei 4G/5G Wireless Home modems.

  30. Tel

    Maybe Huawei is cheap for this type of technology because instead of investing heavily in their own R&D to develop it, perhaps they borrowed IP from the likes of Cisco, and therefore have less cost to amortise.

    https://aragonresearch.com/cyber-war-flashback-remembering-the-huawei-hack-of-cisco-and-nortel/

  31. Leo G

    Conspiracy?
    Or just the intrigue surrounding the commercial rivalry between a dying telegraph-era technology (circuit switching between NBN service providers and premises) and Information Age technology (packet switching through the internet and cellular networks).

  32. John Constantine

    Their soros stood up at their Davos and bluntly, openly and without equivocation of any kind, said the chicom peoples liberation army secret police would own any 5g communication infrastructure the chicoms built anywhere.

    Soros outright said that belt and road was military.

    Comrades.

  33. John Constantine

    It is always entertaining to watch a couple of godless commos purge each other for not being the correct sort of tyrants.

  34. stevem

    Zatara
    #2917719, posted on January 26, 2019 at 4:53 am

    It seems you agree with my post. I said there is no evidence they have done any spying but, as your links state, are obliged to do so if asked by the Chinese government.

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