How do you feel about purchasing Huawei products?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by lovelaptops, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    First, let me make it clear that I hope this will not devolve into being either a political or, far worse, an ethnic debate. Fundamentally, I'm raising the issue that may be a U.S. (and other Western country) national security issue and, to a far lesser extent, intellectual property theft issue. One last preface: I certainly don't feel I have anything close to proof that Huawei, or other Chinese tech mfrs are using any hardware or software products to commit espionage against the interests of other countries - principally against the US because it is where I live and because it is the most vulnerable to cyber attacks that may either commit espionage (ie, spying) or cyber attacks, such as crippling the power grid, defense networks, even vast economic/business networks. But from what I have read, there is certainly evidence that Huawei and other Chinese telecom mfrs have done all of this with the arrest of the CFO of Huawei in Canada as just one small indication.

    On the other hand, it is clear that some of the best personal tech is coming out of China, and I don't mean Chinese mfg and assembly operations who are contractors of consumer tech companies from Apple to Microsoft to Samsung and, essentially, every consumer tech brand. I'm referring to the Chinese branded products such as Huawei's awesome phones - including the first real competitor to the Samsung Note series - to phenomenal, very low priced "clones" of other makers' products, even those of Lenovo, itself a Chinese domiciled company.

    I should probably do a poll on this - and may - just to ask if you would purchase, or would think twice before purchasing or would not consider purchasing Chinese branded personal tech either because it may contain embedded spy tech, stolen IP or government subsidized cost structures so as to put other countries' mfrs out of business. Finally, there is the broader question of patronizing companies who may well have been indicted or even convicted of some of the aforementioned abuses - particularly implanting spy chips in public telecommunications network equipment, including that used to build out the 5G networks now feverishly being developed by Chinese companies in China, elsewhere in Asia and in much of the developing world - even if there is no evidence of any of these offenses being committed and spyware being embedded in the phones, tablets and computers made by Huawei and its Chinese peers. This latter case being essentially a boycott of a all of brand's products because of other bad acts the company has been convicted of in other arenas, such as telecom networks, military gear, etc.

    I seek thoughts and inputs with another inescapable truth in plain view: Google and Facebook - and others to come - have already been indicted of committing flagrant privacy violations in Europe in particular - largely because their privacy laws are far more advanced than ours - and thus the same question can and should include whether you boycott Facebook (and all its owned brands: Instagram, What's App, etc), Google and other US companies for its alleged consumer-hostile activities, more and more of which are coming to light in court cases and government investigations, confirming that they are far from "innocent victims" in cases like Russian, Iranian, North Korean, Chinese "fake news" attacks on the US and European electorate.

    Oh man, what a Pandora's box I seem to have opened. I may revise this and make it much shorter, but I really am curious as to how others - both citizens of the US and Western Europe as well as from other parts of the world - feel about patronizing Huawei in particular, but I want to be careful not to come off as having - or worse, instigating - ethnocentric bias and hatred.

    TL;DR: At present, I have serious qualms about buying Huawei personal tech products; do you?
     
  2. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    As a common consumer I wouldn't worry too much, but working in a tech company or even academia I would be very hesitant. Too bad, because their foldable looks pretty droolworthy!
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Actually, many of their products are increasingly droolworthy - anong with those of Xiaomi and other Chinese brands. That's why I brought it up! I can easily see Huawei alone becoming the Apple of the next gen of personal tech - unless these alleged ties to their government either prohibit their sale in the west and/or the export of core US-based technology to them, as briefly occurred with Xiaomi.

    I hope you (who are viewing this) will weigh in. This may not be a game-changing issue in terms of innovation in personal tech, I think it's an important and surprisingly compelling issue that I've never experienced in my lifetime - and I just turned 63!
     
  4. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    It might be the electrical engineer inside me, but I really would like to read a white paper describing the technical implementation (or at least the theoretical implementation) before making a judgement.

    So far, all the reporting strikes me as unusually vague for such a supposedly serious and widespread issue. Consider how quickly the major tech publications released details of concrete hardware vulnerabilities such as Meltdown/Spectre.

    Could anyone point me to security studies on Huawei's equipment? For example, here is short article listing backdoors in Cisco hardware and possible use by the NSA for surveillance. Something similar, showing Chinese intelligence exploits of Huawei vulnerabilities would be very helpful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I have to get up for a very early meeting tomorrow so I will respond to your very reasonable request with the first couple of search results on the subject. Most of what I've read about this has been in the business and foreign policy press, and I would expect that most of what is known is kept confidential, particularly among the "5 Eyes" countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand) and our other top allies. That said, such secrecy provides political cover to the extent that especially the US has many axes to grind with China. Regardless, I don't think you will find much published that would satisfy the engineer in you for the very reason that this resides in the realm of the cloak and dagger sectors. Caveat "Reador"!

    http://telecoms.com/494603/where-is-the-evidence-of-huawei-espionage/

    https://www.wired.com/story/huaweis-many-troubles-bans-alleged-spies-backdoors/

    https://phys.org/news/2018-04-doors-china-huawei-shifts-europe.html#nRlv

    https://gizmodo.com/five-eyes-spy-chiefs-agreed-to-contain-huaweis-global-r-1831131906

    I can honestly say that this is the first time in my life that I have even thought about the purchase of a given company's or country's goods as a challenge to my patriotism. This is less something I've thought a great deal about, rather something I've absorbed in my general reading and somehow incorporated in my thinking about purchasing products made by a company that might be controlled by an "enemy" government. One thing I know I do believe: cyber warfare is a very real threat and under Trump the US has been unilaterally disarming (largely through gross negligence rather than policy intent) and the threat of it sometimes keeps me up at night.

    Then again, they do make some very droolworthy products!
     
  6. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Though the link below pertains to North Korea, not China, it is hot off the press and is truly the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. The naive, frustrated and scared person that inhabits my brain and raises my anxiety can't help but wonder: is this just a perpetual "Spy vs. Spy" game that will go on forever and no one foreign power - including the US - will ever gain a lasting edge over? Or is this the platform on which future wars will be fought and will the warfare be so asymmetrical that thinks like nukes and ballistic missels will soon seem quaint as threats to humanity?:eek::vbeek:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/03/technology/north-korea-hackers-trump.html
     
  7. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    There is stuff in the press about Huawei's links to the Chinese Communist Party, but one might claim that they are just biased. However, the news item below refers to a Federal indictment handed down about a month ago, so it's not just opinion. As for me, I won't buy Huawei products, but I'm not sure that other products and services (I'm looking at you, Google and Facebook...) are much better...!

    From Inside Defense, January 29th:

    FBI Director Christopher Wray referred to China's Cybersecurity Law to stress the national security implications of indictments handed down this week against company officials at telecom firm Huawei for allegedly manipulating financial markets, evading international sanctions against Iran and engaging in intellectual property theft of a U.S. company. "A 13-count indictment was unsealed earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging four defendants, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei), the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer
     
  8. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I will admit I'm not that familiar with the current legal issues surrounding Huawei.....but from a base understanding that there could be spyware installed in some capacity....I really couldn't care less so long as it didn't interfere with the performance. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.....like everything we do on our smartphones is already monitored and run thru analytical algorithms to determine our usage and Ad's we see. Even things like the text messages we send, and phone calls we make, even cloud storage......I have little doubt that our data and usage is remotely as secure as our providers would like us to believe. Can't speak for others, but I really can't imagine anything on any of my devices would be of interest to any foreign government beyond analytics for ADs.
     
  9. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I hear you about your personal privacy (something I've long assumed will never again be protected) but the only issue I consider relevant here is whether I want to patronize a company that is controlled by a country that seeks to spy not on me as an individual but on our entire country and with the potential aim not of selling me products but of sabotaging my country's national security and committing acts of cyber warfare. I can't even believe I just typed that! But given all that I've been reading and augmented by @Steve S quoted article above, I guess I feel like, as history books suggest, all Americans felt about purchasing Hitler's own brainchild, the "peoples' car" (better known as Volkswagen) circa 1939. What both pains me and, frankly, scares the living stuff out of me is the likelihood that our president's broguy Xi Jinping is indeed the archenemy of the country that is so dear to me (the United States of America) and that he means to both one day dominate us and ultimately harm us in ways I honestly am just beginning to fathom.

    The TL;DR of this story comes down to this: I think I would rather hedge my patriotic bet and live with the second--or third-best phone, tablet and/or laptop at perhaps a 20% price premium than to purchase or promote (since we all know what an opinion leader I am on the subject of personal tech ;)) a product and brand that may, in a very distant, indirect way, want to harm me and the country I have devotedly pledged allegiance to for, oh, around 59 years now.

    YCCH! Is this the world my grandchildren will be INHERITING from my wife and me?! :vbconfused::vbeek:

    Note: the topic *is* "off-topic chat. :newpalm:
     
  10. nnthemperor

    nnthemperor Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    My guess is that most of the worries are related to network infrastructures rather than consumer-oriented devices. For me, if it's got the cool factor and the price is right, I'm springing for it. Here in Japan, most of the carriers have Huawei phones, although I wish they had the Mate 20 X with pen. Even my pocket Wi-Fi from Y! Mobile (SoftBank) is Huawei-made., and the previous phone for 2years was the Xiaomi Mi Max that I got new for only $160, really loved the 6.4" phone.

    Sent from mTalk
     
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