How can the US monitor the world if we all use Huawei? Published: 2019/3/16 20:52:34

Photo: VCG

Why does the US government always crack down on Huawei? To achieve this, it even uses some disgraceful measures, including slandering the company by exerting its national power. The US moves have sparked questions as to why the US fears the Chinese company so much. Why does the company annoy the US?

A most persuasive answer is that if everyone uses Huawei, how can the US monitor the world?

Three network experts shared their opinion. Shen Yi, deputy director of the cyberspace management center at Fudan University said: The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) "Echelon" surveillance system, which monitors 90 percent of the world's communications, remains active, according to the

In the early years of the 21st Century, US intelligence agencies have reportedly developed surveillance technology to monitor different products of the main communication companies.

Americans have two effective approaches to monitor the communication field. One is the introduction of laws to justify their eavesdropping on domestic and foreign communications. The other is to build a very powerful monitoring system and network, and constantly improve their ability to listen.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was signed by US President Jimmy Carter on October 25, 1978. In 2008, Americans added Section 702 that specifically "allows the government to obtain the communications of foreigners outside the United States, including foreign terrorist threats," as laid out in the House Intelligence Committee FAQ sheet, according to Jessica Schneider, CNN. Section 702 of FISA sparked widespread controversy as this provision empowers US intelligence agencies to conduct secret surveillance of foreigners outside the United States, collecting communications, emails and text messages without the court’s permission.

US politicians say it is a "very important mandate" that allows US intelligence agencies to intercept "foreign terrorist threats." However, there is no specification of how many foreign terrorist threats have occurred as the clause was blocked in the past.

Meanwhile, the scandal of US surveillance abuses has continued unabated in recent years. Edward Joseph Snowden revealed that the NSA monitored phone calls of 35 foreign leaders and used technology to track and intercept mobile phone information around the world, collecting up to 5 billion records a day, the Washington Post reported. Airbus’s secret past published on The Economist, which revealed that in the early 1990s, the NSA intercepted the communications between the European aerospace company Airbus and a Saudi Arabian national airline.

In 1994, Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia after the NSA, acting as a whistleblower, reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract. As a result, the American aerospace company McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) won the multibillion-dollar contract instead of Airbus.

The NSA used an "Echelon" surveillance system to monitor conversations between airbus and Saudi negotiators. The European parliament set up a special committee to investigate this case in 2001.

According to an American media report, the NSA "Echelon" surveillance system acts as the main monitoring tool of Five Eyes, which is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The system monitors 90 percent of communications all over the world.

The US surveillance network was founded in 1966. The network is divided into two sub-programs: a communication satellite launched specifically for the former Soviet Union, and the "Echelon" surveillance system, whose main objective is to monitor the electronic signals of Western powers.

After the wake of 9/11, the Americans have expanded their surveillance.

In March 2017, nearly 9,000 documents about the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hacking tools were exposed. The documents showed that the CIA has a strong hacking ability to secretly access mobile phones, computers, smart TVs and many other smart devices. This is the worst surveillance scandal in American history.

However, Americans argued that the US has the best companies and technology. But the competitors are dirty, so they have to use this method to protect their interests and the ugly side is being uncovered.

The collaboration between the US intelligence agencies and American companies are delicate. Few companies would dare to admit that they cooperated with the intelligence agencies in fear of damaging their reputations as they need to be accepted by the market. However, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) helped the NSA monitor and collect information of netizens and even monitored the phones of the United Nations headquarters, the New York Times reported in August 2015.

If telecom service providers and related equipment in different countries all change to use the products of Chinese companies, it will influence the monitoring effects of the US.

Although how much influence is still unclear, the Americans want to nip it in the bud.

It is an actually economically unfair competition under the excuse of national security, just like the American crackdown on Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation before.

The goal is to neutralize the Chinese leading enterprises in industry, deny the access to Western high-end markets and then discredit Chinese corporate champions. This approach could strike any transnational marketing enterprises.

An expert on the communication network industry who prefers to be called Om said: I have paid attention to the security of communications for more than 20 years. It has always been said that some countries are using leading technologies to eavesdrop on other countries. And until Snowden’s exposure, people began to realize that the US had always been doing this.

The international security standard that was set by the US and the NSA is probably behind this. Not only China, but US allies, including Japan and Canada, do not believe the US, since they know that they could also be under surveillance of the US.

The US also uses clever ways of eavesdropping on other countries. Security experts from Germany pointed out during an international meeting that the US intentionally brings weakness when setting standards on cryptographic algorithms. By interfering with the establishment of the international standards on network security, the NSA is working for its own country’s benefits.

In the field of networking protocol development, the US is the only and super power that leads to establishing the international standard. The UK, France, Germany, Japan and China belong to the second group. Among these countries, China is the only one to have the capability to develop and compete with the US on networking protocol.

Some Chinese experts appealed to revise some security standards on network protocol years ago, which annoyed the US. But it had to cooperate under the pressure of international morality.

This is the background of the US cracking down on Huawei.

China has annoyed the US for two reasons, by challenging it on setting the technology standard and competing with the US on the leadership of information technology. The technology of 5G is one aspect of information technology, which shows that China is catching up with the US in this field.

Lead by Huawei, China’s 5G technologies have exceeded Europe for more than a year and the European countries have to adopt Huawei’s technology. However, the US is hyping the public opinions in the media on the so-called security concerns, experts, politicians and elites and Europe knows well that these are political biases. An anonymous internet expert said: The core of the US surveillance system was network infrastructure technology, including submarine cables that were mastered by US companies. It enables the US to copy the information they want and extend the surveillance globally.

Why does the US call the information sharing allies agency the Five Eyes? It actually is a platform to monitor the whole world. The PRISM plan exposed by Snowden revealed the vicious side of the US as it spies on the whole world with a backbone network and termination equipment.  Cellphones are one form of this termination equipment. The IOS system used by iPhones is closed while the Andriod system is open for revising.

I always oppose civil servants to use iPhones since all the data is stored on the phones and sensitive information can be analyzed. However, if cellphones made by Huawei occupy the majority of the market, the previous ways of collecting information will not be easy. And the cost for collecting data would be huge.

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