Today Chinese technology firm Huawei has offered to give Australia unrestricted access to its software source code and equipment, in an attempt to dispel rumours – mainly from the United States – that they are intrinsically linked with the Chinese military. Huawei had previously been banned from operating in Australia.
John Lord, chairman of Huawei’s Australian division, made the announcement in a speech to national Press club, and commented:
“Huawei has done a very poor job of communicating about ourselves and we must take full responsibility for that.”
He continued to say that the British security services had already been given access to its source code. Pitching for a more homogenous approach to telecommunication cyber security Lord continued:
“No single country, agency, vendor, or telco has all the answers to solving cyber security issues. It requires a collaborative approach by all to ensure we can create the most secure telecommunications environment possible.”
This story is in stark contrast to some of the sensationalist headlines that have been hitting headlines as the US warned its companies not to use Chinese technology firms for ‘fear of leaving the country open to espionage and cyberattack’.
One of my colleagues, Melanie Watson wrote a blog on the story and in it quoted the US House Intelligence Committee’s report which clearly stated that Huawei or ZTE ‘cannot be trusted’ and ‘thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems’.
It’s intriguing to watch the incumbent and future super powers jostling for cyber supremacy. In this latest instalment, it seems Huawei (and China) have taken the approach that they have tools and services that the world need, at a price they can afford. If Huawei really are offering countries access to its source code and equipment, what’s the problem Uncle Sam? The problem for the United States may well be the impact on its economy and the rise of Chinese companies on the world stage.
With the sheer volume of people, cheap labour and an economy growing at 7%+ a year, the Chinese will soon be challenging and overtaking the US as the global superpower. China’s influence may become so great, though, that they need not employ clandestine tactics like military tagged telecommunications software, because there will be a simple choice: work with the Chinese, or don’t work at all.
Source: BBC, Reuters
Read a really interesting article on the BBC entitled “What kind of superpower could China be?” here