Huawei offers unrestricted access to software code and equipment

October 24, 2012
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    Huawei

    There has been a lot of drama surrounding Huawei recently. The problems began with accusations by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee against Huawei and ZTE. According to the committee both companies could potentially be spying for the Chinese government. While there has been no direct proof presented to back the claim, the damage to Huawei and ZTE’s reputation has already been done. In order to help clear the company’s name, Huawei Australia’s John Lord has spoke up saying they are more than willing to give out unrestricted access to their source code and equipment.

    Keep in mind that Lord isn’t talking about releasing the code to everyday people, instead his plan is to create a very specific testing environment with approved government personnel having access to the code. In short, this would mean the creation of a framework that requires foreign vendors to subject their phones to special security testing before they are allowed to go on sale.

    Lord’s idea could certainly help ease accusations and fear for most consumers, but it also has potential problems. For example, what would prevent any company or carrier from switching out the approved firmware down the road? Requiring this testing phase could even slow down how quickly devices are passed through and put onto the market.

    For now, the proposed system in Australia is only an idea and nothing more. Whether or not it will help ease fears in Australia remains seen. What we do know is that many countries across the globe, including the U.S. and Canada, are very skeptical of Huawei at this point due to its alleged ties directly to the Chinese government and military.

    What do you think of Lord’s plan? Will it work or not? Conversely, is it overkill to have a security system like this in place?

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    Comments

    • Dave Ellis

      I consider this to be good news for both vendors. I was considering the Huawei, but after that report was released I’ve been reluctant to buy.

    • On a Clear Day

      The problem isn’t so much that Huawei is currently involved in spying; the problem is that they are – by virtue of the totalitarian system in place in China and to which they are beholding (regardless of protestations to the contrary) at the mercy of the dictatorship that rules the country. A country that imprisons a young man for 12 years simply for posting blogs that suggest China should consider democracy is absolutely not to be trusted.

      Any product made in China that is not directly controlled by an outside entity is suspect and could be open to compromise – maybe not now while the spotlight is on them but they know it won’t stay on them forever, and then….

      China is not a friend of freedom nor respecter of human rights – exactly the opposite is the case and as such cannot be trusted even in things as seemingly mundane as whether the phones they are making could compromised; better just to play safe and steer clear. There are plenty enough things to worry about rather than wasting even a moment worrying in the back of your mind about whether an excellent hacker has managed to hide a poison pill in our phones.

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