Reds in the Router and Commies in the Coms

Posted by CJD on October 18, 2012

The world is becoming increasingly paranoid about China and for a while now various governments have intervened in the purchasing of Chinese technology for use in strategically sensitive areas – notably telecommunications.

Some years ago, BT chose the Chinese company Huawei to modernise its broadband network and it also provides the equipment for the new 4G networks – so it’s pretty much embedded everywhere that matters in our infrastructure and the worry is that backdoors have been built into these networks which could be used for cyber-espionage.

BT’s relationship with Huawei is now being pawed over by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee. Malcolm Rikind is the committee’s chair: “In the background are allegations that Huawei has links to the People’s Liberation Army in China, and that any Chinese company is ultimately subject to the Chinese government”

In the US, Huawei has been blocked by congress (along with another Chinese supplier, ZTE). Similar action has been taken in Australia and is being considered in Canada.

Rifkind is going to report to Cameron in a couple of months. But then what?

Well, if they find that the concerns are real; BT will have to rip out and throw away all the equipment and start all over again. That won’t be cheap or quick.

It would also be a kick in the long dead head of Marconi, which was BT’s choice before Huawei came along.

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