In all the excitement with the Liberal party catching fire and shooting itself in the face while walking into a glass door, it’s may be hard to remember that more is happening in the world. But we should.

Stuff is even happening … in New Zealand!

Shocking but true.

Kiwis get tough

Across the ditch, The Australian (and other outlets) are reporting that:

New Zealand regulators have followed Australia and banned the use of Huawei equipment in a proposed 5G telecommunications project.

New Zealand company Spark had planned to use Huawei 5G equipment in rolling out cell tower infrastructure, but authorities have stopped the move.

New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau cited “significant risks” to national security in making the decision.

“I can confirm the GCSB under its TICSA responsibilities, has recently undertaken an assessment of a notification from Spark. I have informed Spark that a significant network security risk was identified,” GCSB Director-General, Andrew Hampton, said.

Australia recently used regulations to stop the use of equipment from Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE in the country’s 5G rollout.

Considering that New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes network (along with the US, Canada, the UK and Australia) this is hardly a surprise, that it took so long is a surprise.

As reported by The Breakdown in October, Chinese companies have been accused of espionage through hardware networks. In truth, Huawei is a victim of the Chinese Government, not New Zealand policy.

In defence of Huawei … kind of

The decision by the Australian Government to reject Huawei from the NBN prompted a major rebuke from former Navy bigwig and Huawei chairman John Lord at the National Press Club in June.

It is worth reading the whole thing. Sceptically, of course.

It’s hard to make yourself believe that everything John Lord told the NPC about Huawei is correct, even though he is certainly an honourable man.

Assume it is all true, but remember that everything could change in a heartbeat when the Chinese Government exerts pressure on a Chinese company.

This isn’t paranoia, this is reality. Unfair? Put it this way: it’s hard enough to trust a western company, let alone a Chinese company started by a former officer of the PLA.

And at the moment, Australian spy chiefs are fighting for the right to access encrypted messaging. Would a Chinese company fight hard to protect your data when their government is unleashing the Social Credit system, the most dystopian vision of surveillance ever imagined?

Yes, we are right to be sceptical. And Western governments are right to keep companies like Huawei out of IT infrastructure.

If China wasn’t so predatory, the West might not be so wary.


Feature image: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.