Documents Reveal NSA’s “Ironic” Surveillance of Huawei

by Matt Klassen on March 24, 2014

American government officials have long been suspicious of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, claiming that the company has been using its massive global footprint to serve as a front for the communist regime. In fact, the concerns seemed credible enough—to some at least—that Huawei was blocked from doing business in the United States for fears that its technology would give the People’s Liberation Army backdoor access to American equipment, open the doors for data breeches, data loss, and devastating hacks.

But the irony in all this, as we learned last September, is that while U.S. officials were busy on their witch hunt, looking for spies under every rock, NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the American intelligence community has long been spying on Huawei, and this week we gained another glimpse just what that means as this digital Cold War between China and America continues to escalate.

In fact, the documents reveal a systematic espionage program in place at Huawei, where, as The NY Times states, the NSA “pried its way into the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in Shenzhen, China’s industrial heart” and “obtained information about the workings of the giant routers and complex digital switches that Huawei boasts connect a third of the world’s population, and monitored communications of the company’s top executives.”

The NSA operation, codenamed “Shotgiant,” was focused on revealing links between Huawei and the People’s Liberation Army, in addition to gathering intelligence on how to exploit Huawei’s own products in order to surveil other foreign customers such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, and Cuba.

“Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products,” the N.S.A. document said. “We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” it added, to “gain access to networks of interest” around the world.

As I mentioned in September when suspicions were first raised about the NSA’s surveillance of Huawei, it’s clear that the hypocrisy of the American intelligence community knows no bounds, an irony that is not lost on Huawei itself. “The irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us,” Huawei exec William Plummer told the NY Times.

Huawei, for its part, has long claimed it’s a victim of a communist witch hunt, citing trade protectionism and phobia as the reasons for the company’s withdrawal from the American market. Simply put, Huawei believesAmerica is trying to give a leg up to its own companies, hence the smear campaign against the Chinese telecom firm.

However, there has long been a large portion of this story that has gone untold, the real reasons behind America labelling Huawei as a ‘security threat,’ and warning Americans against doing business with the company. In fact, its no secret that that the Chinese communist regime employs hackers, a digital army of sorts, to help impose its will both domestically and abroad. This digital army, American sources say, will not hesitate to employ industrial espionage or any other such ruthless tactics to put other nations and businesses at a disadvantage. Simply put, China doesn’t play fair.

But doesn’t that sense of ‘fair play’ give this story yet another layer of delicious irony, the Americans complaining of China secretly stealing cookies, now caught with its own hand in that very same cookie jar.

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 2 trackbacks }

China Demands Answers to Alleged Huawei Hacks — TheTelecomBlog.com
March 25, 2014 at 5:32 am
Edward Snowden to Work on Privacy Technology — TheTelecomBlog.com
July 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: