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Tag Archives: President Trump

OPINION: Washington’s Threat to Germany Over Huawei Another Knee-Jerk Reaction

By Ernest Worthman, AWT Exec. Editor, IEEE Sr. Member

It is always fun to start the day out with a laugh. When I read this feed, I just about fell over. Seriously? Is this entire administration just delirious with a vision that it can snap its fingers and everyone will jump to attention? I am referring to the headline that the administration has threatened Germany if they use Huawei hardware.

Of all that has been written about Huawei and it being the evil empire of tech so far, not one shred of evidence has been turned up that they did anything wrong. And, with the exception of a couple of allies near the south pole (who, likely, sided with Washington against Huawei because they are yet to get on the tech fast track and just want Washington to go away), nobody is listening, anymore.

Now, in a typical act of desperation and childishness, Washington has resorted to threatening one of our best allies – Germany. It says it will withhold intelligence information from Germany if they use Huawei equipment in their 5G networks.

The administration’s rationalization is that Huawei hardware in our allies’ equipment opens the channel for security leaks across players. Again, there is no evidence of this. Besides, this is not new. The fact is that such subversive hardware can be made by anyone and snuck in anywhere. Moreover, this has been an issue for some time already, and not just from China. Therefore, prudent design treats this possibility as a generic security hole. In fact, that is exactly what the EU is doing. Their parliament has adopted the EU cybersecurity act. It is intended to, simply, certify that the hardware meets the EU’s cybersecurity standards. The EU has also put out some actions that will ensure China (and other countries) and the EU can move forward, cooperatively.

All this came about because, recently, German regulators unveiled a plan to implement more stringent security requirements for operators. However, the draft regulations did not explicitly prohibit any equipment provider.

If one reads the report, Washington has “sort of” threatened them by saying, “While intelligence sharing would not cease entirely if Germany allows Chinese equipment, it would not continue at the same level.” How embarrassing for this country to act like it is so important. I am sure Germany is rolling its eyes at this (at a minimum).

Does the United States think it is the only country with intelligence gathering capabilities? Israel has long been ahead of the United States in worldwide counter-intelligence (and technology, in general). I just wonder if all of the other first-world, nation-states, like Germany, France, England, etc. will, eventually grow tired of all this posturing and retaliate. Alternatively, perhaps they are just waiting patiently and hoping this country comes to its senses in 2020.

We have seen this behavior, over and over, by this leadership. This is no more than an immature game of one-upmanship; when the bully cannot convince others of what they want, they start to threaten. I cannot believe that this president, and his minions, thinks that all he has to do is rattle a saber and everyone starts shaking in their boots!

I am reminded of the line that “M” said to Daniel Craig in the 007 movie Skyfall (I believe that was the one but I am open to correction), “We don’t get our news from CNN.” Similarly, I doubt Germany is betrothed to the United States for that much of its intelligence.

In the end, this U.S. position against Huawei and the bullying from Washington is not going to fare well with our 5G rollout. Much has been written about how banning Huawei will have a significant effect on the development and manufacture of 5G equipment and hinder the pace of development and deployment. The administration claims that Ericsson and other manufacturers can pick up the slack. That may be true, eventually. However, replacing Huawei across the board is a monumental task and will take a long time. It will, also, cost United States 5G vendors redesign time and money.

Now that he has had enough time to show the world what kind of president (and person) he is, let us hope 2020 will bring about leaders with cooler heads and brighter minds. That will ensure the “5G revolution, as some have started to call it (and I believe that to be a fitting term), will evolve with cooperation as opposed to confrontation.

OPINON: Trump Looks to Pile on Chinese With 5G Ban

BY Ernest Worthman, AWT Exec. Editor, IEEE Sr. Member

Every evil act is perpetrated by China.That is how it seems if one listens to the present U.S. position. One has to wonder if there is not some hidden agenda on the part of the current administration to discredit them.

On this Valentine’s Day President Donald Trump is one day closer to kissing off China, signing an executive order that bans the use of 5G telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

Granted, China is not a country that plays by the rules. However, they are simply like the ill-begotten child that will cheat at every opportunity. Cheating is part of their philosophy and they do not necessarily see it as evil. They believe that using whatever means to accomplish the goal is fair. So, making it seem like it is the root of all evil in the world seems a bit ridiculous. I have been aware of that for years. Why is this all of a sudden, the number one issue for this Administration?

It seems the United States is like the pot calling the kettle black, here. What about all the underhanded (even illegal) activities that carriers have exacted on us, over the years? They have been handed their lunch more than once over charges of illegal activities, lying to users, bait and switch tactics, and many other activities.

Then, there are the social media companies. Stealing data and selling it, illegally, while hiding it in EULAs or terms of usage, for years now. Yet, to date, there has been no legislation to stop them or actions taken against them.

That is only one tiny slice of it. This kind of activity spans markets, industries and technologies, as well as nation-states all over the world. So why is the United States picking on them with such vehement aggressiveness?

Could it be that the United Sates’ rabid anti-China sentiment has to do with jittery nerves? Is the current administration afraid that we cannot maintain the hype of being the leading economic superpower of the world, and attacking other leading technology companies to hedge our bets? Is this like a petulant child acting aggressively against others who they know are better at the game they are playing?

These are interesting angles, and I believe they have merit. This aggression against Chinese international expansion seems to be one of the strategies the administration is using to try to convince the world of that they are the new epitome of evil.

Is it working? The jury is still out. The ramifications of success in booting China is going to do more harm than good, according to a number of sources.  For example, the Rural Wireless Association is trying to persuade officials to scrap plans for a ban. They estimate that such a move could result in replacement costs between $800 million and $1 billion if they cannot get hardware from Chinese vendors. There have been all kinds of other warnings, as well, pointing out that the result will be that such actions will place the United States further behind than other countries in 5G technology and deployment.

On top of the China issues, the current economic and political instability has done nothing but place burdens on business across the board. This has resulted in increased uncertainty, disruption of commerce and advances the specter of a recession. If these factors do not improve in the near term, they could result in bad news for the timeline of 5G.

There are a couple of allied countries that are caving in to the administration’s ban arm-twisting – Australia and New Zealand specifically. However, most other allies are trying to figure a way to appease Washington while looking for workarounds to keep Washington off their backs while, simultaneously, keeping a working relationship with China.

Believe me, I am under no illusion that China is behind a lot of cheating and nefarious activities in the high-tech segment. However, we want cheap goods so that comes with the territory. We have always been aware of that so why is everyone so surprised.

China certainly deserves admonishment if all of this is true. So far, there has been a lot of noise but little hard evidence. Once the truth is laid bare, dealing with any “petulant” child, even if it is a nation-state, has any number of options.

However, the punishment needs to fit the crime. Should some, or all, of this prove out, I believe that actions such as placing tight regulations on companies that use Chinese goods and requiring tighter scrutinization of companies, both here and there, that have workers with access to confidential information are some of the options. There is a variety of other options as well, up to, and including, a ban.

This early, heavy-handed approach is not working as well as they would like. That is why they are on a mission to pressure allies to fall in line. This president has proven himself to be a loose cannon with little self-control and no real understanding of international relationships. Therefore, to expect any kind of a reasonable approach to this problem is academic as long as he has control.

While I am not worldly, by any stretch of the imagination, I do have contacts abroad, that I have pinged, in places like Germany, Great Britain, and India that have much different opinions of how this should be handled.

The fact that there has been little support for a ban is telling as well. Most other counties are taking a much more analytical approach. No doubt, if they feel that a ban is warranted, they will do it, with, or without, U.S. pressure.

Unfortunately, corruption is a way of life, and of business. It is not going to end. When someone is caught with their hand in the cookie jar, there should be ramifications. In less civilized areas, they chop off heads. That, of course, is barbaric. However, the opposite is true elsewhere. How many people went to jail after the banking “crisis” of 10 years ago?

The problem is that when hotheads knee jerk at a national level, the potential for collateral damage percolates across, and down, many levels – and the damage affects a lot of innocent factions; just ask the 800,000+ federal workers. Therefore, in the end, just how well hardline national policies will work, here, is up for a lot of debate. Moreover, if continued, it will have a detrimental effect on the emerging 5G ecosystem.