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Chinese Networking Vendor Huawei's Murky Ownership

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the worthy-of-neal-stephenson dept.

Networking 170

A month ago we mentioned India's suspicions that telecomm equipment from China might contain backdoors. There hasn't been any smoking gun on such speculation. Now reader littlekorea sends in some background on the ties one important Chinese telecomm vender might or might not have to the government there. "Conspiracy theories abound as to whether networking kit vendor Huawei is owned or controlled by the Chinese government and/or the military-industrial complex. But who really owns Huawei? Kiwi journalist Juha Saarinen headed to Shanghai to find out."

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170 comments

This is easy (5, Insightful)

lalena (1221394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376530)

Just compare the code byte for byte with Cisco's. Any differences are the Chinese backdoor.

Re:This is easy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376656)

Just compare the code byte for byte with Cisco's. Any differences are the Chinese backdoor

I used to work in office where the upper floor was rented by Huawei: At first there would be 2-3 people, but they exponentially grew up to a small (and short) 100 I estimate.

Our cars on the driveway got hit more as there were more chinese and their "parking skills" were so telling, people started parking their cars close to those employers so they could get it through insurance to replace parts of their cars.

During lunch, it was pretty the hallucinant experience as well..

They never talked about their work or interacted with us, but when I inquired with my colleagues, it was the consensus: "They just relabel Cisco hardware and software."

Re:This is easy (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377328)

There was similar "consensus" about Japanese or perhaps even Koreans not a long time ago...

Seriously, don't you see a problem with reaching it in the group of colleagues? (or that pretty much anybody doing it has some interest in coming to such conclusion)

Re:This is easy (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377690)

The problem is that it used to be true. The Japanese and Koreans started out with nothing more than 1 for 1 copies (the Messerschmitt Me-262 vs the Nakajima J9Y comes to mind). Now they do innovate and come up with unique designs and design improvements, but because of their past it's hard for them to escape the reputation even when it no longer applies. The Chinese are in the same boat.

Re:This is easy (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377810)

US German enginners and Soviet German engineers also come to mind (nevermind all the German patents, tech, etc.); or ignoring by the US early intellectul rights (or whatever the promoted term was back then) when it suited you.

Now it just suits you to point out possibly similar things in others.

Re:This is easy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376828)

Just compare the code byte for byte with Cisco's. Any differences are the Chinese backdoor.

So lemme get this straight. If you believe that the American government is involved in a conspiracy or conspiracies, such as the overwhelming evidence that the official story explaining 9/11 is not the whole story, then you're a nut, a loon, a conspiracy nut, a crazy right-wing wacko, and nobody should listen to you because you suggest a conspriacy.

If you believe that the Chinese government is involved in a conspiracy or conspiracies, such as the evidence that it caused companies to insert backdoors into networking and telecom equipment in order to spy on many people including many non-Chinese, why then you should examine the evidence, make comparisons, and go on to think about how and why they may have done so.

Folks, this double standard has to go. The nature of government is not really so different whether it is the USA or China or Russia or anyplace else. They love power for its own sake, and if they can find a way to increase it they will do it. They are amoral. They don't give a damn about you. You are useful only because you pay taxes and can be governed. Oh, by the way, check out one fine creation of the US Federal Government [wikipedia.org] and think a little harder about whether they'd really do a thing as horrible as 9/11 if it would increase their power and let them pass oppressive laws like the Patriot Act.

Patriot Act is "oppressive"? (1, Interesting)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376916)

Care to elaborate?

Re:Patriot Act is "oppressive"? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377826)

Sure, I will. The patriot act was suppose to be used against terrorists. So far, there has been less then one use/year dealing with terrorism. All the other uses were against drugs, common criminals. And that was what was detailed. The real question is, what is missing?

Re:This is easy (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377378)

Wow, you went on an oblivious rant there... The GP was only suggesting a method to prove whether or not there may be a backdoor. A diff on the bytes is a quick and easy way to see that something is different. Reverse engineering would verify whether the differences were malicious or not. This is time consuming, which is why a quick diff would be more practical in the first place. I have nooo idea where you pulled out that bit about American conspiracy theories, but one might think you were trying to act as a flamebait.

Re:This is easy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377484)

Wow, you went on an oblivious rant there... The GP was only suggesting a method to prove whether or not there may be a backdoor.

Yes, a method to prove. Evidence. Proof. That's because this is a Chinese conspiracy theory.

You know what he'd get if he had an American conspiracy theory? Ridicule, blame, he'd be "unpatriotic", he'd be a "right-wing wacko nutjob" etc. and no demands for proof would be made.

See the difference, or are you the oblivious one?

With 9/11 there is already an abundance of proof that is quite anomalous if the official pancake-theory story is to be believed. It was quite obviously a controlled demolition and was not caused by crashing jets or fires started by jet fuel. That is known to anyone who might study physics. Oh and the traces of thermite on the remaining steel is hard to explain in terms of jet fuel also. Nobody cares though, because that would make you a nutjob.

Re:This is easy (3, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378040)

Umm. The wackos that believe that the US Government is responsible for the 9/11 attacks are left wing, not right wing. Right wing wackos believe that the President of the US dose not have a real birth certificate. Different group. Same wacko level. You are an idiot.

Re:This is easy (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378354)

True, but you're missing a couple of things. One: Right-wingers already had their confirmation bias fulfilled by the official explanation (brown people around the world are out to destroy America the Beautiful), so they were always extremely unlikely to start asking any questions.

Second, there's lots of conservatives who consider themselves Truthers. I've yet to meet any lefties who are birthers. Or, in other words, not all delusions are the same. [blogspot.com]

Re:This is easy (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377486)

You seriously think they ship slightly modified Cisco firmware?

Re:This is easy (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377972)

It's certainly not unheard of: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/188717/chinese_man_gets_30_months_for_fake_cisco_sales.html [pcworld.com]

If you've ever worked with the Chinese, then you'll know they have zero respect for software licences, including the GPL. On one memorable occasion, we had to fight and threaten legal action to get some firmware released by Chinese contractors, and when they did, it was all cut and paste from well-known GPL'd projects.

Once again anecdotally, in my experience lots of enterprise network admins believe Huawei gear is Cisco-derived.

Re:This is easy (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378490)

So how would it fly considering that Huawei gear is used in places with sensible "copyright protection" (or whatever it's called in a given day) / etc.?

Re:This is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377892)

Huawei was founded by Chinese Generals/Politicians, with dubious practices (I am being kind, absolutely every piece of tech, they stole from Cisco originally) regarding product development.

Re:This is easy (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378190)

if I told you "that man threw shit at me!", you'd probably be reluctant to believe me. if I said "that monkey threw shit at me!", you might find that easier to accept. that double standard has to go! [for the analogical reasoning impaired, what i mean is that the term "double standard" only applies when two parties are judged/treated differently on the basis of something that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. one could argue that the chinese govt is more likely to be involved in a conspiracy like this than the u.s., and hence it is not a double standard to treat accusations of conspiracies more seriously when they involve china. note that i am not claiming to have evidence suggesting that such a difference truly exists.]

Juha Saarinen is a Finn (5, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378330)

Judging from the article author's name, he's obviously of Finnish origin. Now, Linux was created in Finland. Therefore, the Finnish government is the real controller behind Linux and this article is an attempt by the government of Finland to discredit a competitor in the world market for information technology.

See, pulling out conspiracy theories from one's ass is not so difficult...

Re:This is easy (3, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378438)

"So lemme get this straight. If you believe that the American government is involved in a conspiracy or conspiracies, such as the overwhelming evidence that the official story explaining 9/11 is not the whole story"

There's a huge difference between believing typical governments

a) insert technical backdoors for intelligence collection through commercial companies (of course they do)

b) commit indiscriminate mass murder and terrorism against one's own people, intentionally, including blowing up the nation's own military headquarters. (This is not the same as violently suppressing dissent or suspicious ethnic groups, lots of governments do that).

Besides, if Dick Cheney and the other usual conspiratorial suspects were involved with 9/11 they would have blown up the skyscrapers using bombs, and then blamed it on Saddam. They didn't give a crap about Afghanistan. And they definitely would NOT attack the Pentagon.

Re:This is easy (3, Interesting)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376934)

Seriously, that was exactly what I was going to say, but I'll even go one further: it would surprise me in the least if Huawei's equipment had a backdoor put into Cisco's equipment by the NSA that Huawei didn't catch when stealing the source code.

If the look hard enough, the Indians may well find two backdoors.

Re:This is easy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377218)

Come on, that would be like saying that the NSA has bot code on all Windows and OS X computers so they can keep track.

Side Note: Why does my computer keep checking for updates everyday when I said not to? Damn bugs.

Re:This is easy (0, Troll)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377120)

This should be easy as hell to figure out. Making this Idle and FUD. GJ /. supporting rumours that push the two largest countries away from each other, that always benefits the world.

Let me make this clear, China might be a bit of a douche to its citizenry but China is not out to get you America. As sad as this sounds, better you hate and fear people with turbans from the middle east, at least it won't develop into more than a couple million dead in the next 50years.

Re:This is easy (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377796)

And yet, it is India that has the claim, not America. But hey, lets not let facts get in your way.

Re:This is easy (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378290)

This is an american site posted by an american to americans because the americans on /. think that china is out to get them so it makes a good story. I hardly think the origin of the story matters.

Re:This is easy (3, Insightful)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377288)

I totally understand the undercurrent of your comment, and I don't dispute this could be the case. From a security standpoint it may be impossible to detect hardware intervention in any ASIC they may have had, particularly since it can run in parallel with no intervention in software (or preloaded at final test or wafer test).

Huawei should have been subject to ITC embargoes years ago for their technical thievery from the Western network equipment makers. It isn't a surprise to me that this kind of backdoor would exist. People get everything they deserve for buying their equipment from a company started by a Chinese army officer and Communist Party official.

Re:This is easy (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377304)

Why only look for software backdoors ? That is not the main problem I foresee... How can you tell that the chip inside is really what it is labelled as ?

Re:This is easy (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377448)

If there were any...

Huawei couldn't really become a bit popular in Europe, networks cooperating with them bringing competition (shocker) and price wars.

Re:This is easy (5, Informative)

lalena (1221394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377686)

I had assumed that everyone was aware that Hauwei started out by copying Cisco's code and manuals - byte for byte - word for word. Programming errors and typos in the manuals were all fully duplicated in Hauwei's product. Based on some of the replies to my first post, I guess everyone was not aware of this.
Cisco sued Hauwei and settled out of court. Here is Cisco legal filing (details on pg 3 & 4): http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/Cisco_Mot_for_PI.pdf [cisco.com]
TFA asked who owns & controls Hauwei. We don't know what the terms of the legal settlement were. Maybe Cisco owns a large stake.

Re:This is easy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32378136)

Huawei makes their own stuff and builds their own code. It isn't junk and it isn't cloned Cisco equipment. They are making inroads with North American ISPs because of their cost, quality and ability to deliver.

That said, before my company purchased the first device from them, we had heard a lot of information about the PLA owning Huawei. Off the record, a sales droid told me that it isn't so much direct ownership but more that the PLA has all the money and influence, and that nothing happens unless the PLA approves it. Huawei builds stuff for the PLA and the PLA tells Huawei what to build. The relationship is supposedly so close that it walks and talks like direct ownership. I believe the PLA was concerned about CIA backdoors in Cisco equipment and China wanted to have in-country capability..

I'm sure that if the PLA wants a backdoor built into a highrise DSL cabinet then Huawei would be happy to oblige.

Go figure.

1.42+98.56? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376558)

From tfa, the hardest part for this "western observer" to understand is what happened to the other 0.02% shares...

Pot kettle pot kettle pot kettle (5, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376566)

I'm not buying any more Chinese equipment. From now on I'm only buying from reputable American companies. [networkworld.com]

Re:Pot kettle pot kettle pot kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376642)

I'm not buying any more Chinese equipment. From now on I'm only buying from reputable American companies. [networkworld.com]

I"m with you on this, BUY AMERICAN!

It's easy logic (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376722)

When Americans have backdoors, it's to protect American interests and therefore "good". When the Chinese have backdoors, it's to protect Chinese interests and therefore "bad".

You can apply this same logic to foreign policy. Both value systems are based on power instead of principle.

Re:It's easy logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376764)

Everyone agrees on power. Noone agrees with another's principle.

Re:It's easy logic (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377814)

When Americans have backdoors, it's to protect American interests and therefore "good".

It's to protect American governmental interests. The lie or the myth is that those are the same as American interests or the interests of the American people.

Re:It's easy logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32378380)

When Americans have backdoors, it's to protect American interests and therefore "good".

Point me to anyone at all who actually believes that, including Americans. Remember how Slashdot reacted to the original NSAKEY announcement? That is just completely wrong.

Yup - this is the reason for everyone hating US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32378418)

When Americans have backdoors, it's to protect American interests and therefore "good". When the Chinese have backdoors, it's to protect Chinese interests and therefore "bad".

You can apply this same logic to foreign policy. Both value systems are based on power instead of principle.

This, in a nutshell, is the reason why people in most countries dislike US - not americans - but the US. The US foreign policy is so selfish, that it is almost laughable. Give $5B to Africa, then expect them to buy stuff only from American contractors - even though local solutions would be 10-20 times cheaper. At the same time subsidize cotton farmers in the US - and they flood the market screwing Africa's cotton farmers. And this repeats.

1. Iraq - go for oil, say you are going for WMD, plan only to save oil resources, so everything else gets mucked up. And then wonder why everyone doesnt love you.
2. Terrorism - except for US and UK incidents - everything else is not terrorism. So people die in India - and US continues to support Pak and it's support of terrorism - no wonder we feel that 9/11 was a good eye opener!
3. Pollute the world - and then go nuts when pollution happens in the backyard. So again, I for one, am happy that new laws in the US will help the world be safter.

And then Americans expect to be loved.

Best of luck kids! Hopefully your foreign policy will become a bit less selfish soon!

interesting stuff... (1)

Denihil (1208200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376570)

i kinda like how they have their business model. give employees "virtual shares" without any real power outside of the company to keep them happy as well as keep them, appoint your ritzy executives in a council but give the illusion anyone can be voted in, and lots of performance gauging of the workers. sounds more effective than the u.s. company i work for, honestly.

Thanks For The Propaganda (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376574)

"Conspiracy theories abound as to whether networking kit vendor Huawei is owned or controlled by the Chinese government and/or the military-industrial complex."

Only OTHER countries have medical-military-industrial complex. The United States has ( excuse the Rand Paul [rumproast.com] reflex) C-C-C-a-a-p-p-i-i-t-t-a-a-l-l-i-i-s-s-m-m.

I presume Cisco and Microcrap Windows have no backdoors.

Yours In Norlisk,
Kilgore T.

Re:Thanks For The Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376604)

Isn't this one of the companies building BT's 21CN?

Re:Thanks For The Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377420)

In fact Cisco is required by US law to include a backdoor.

Not so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376590)

What if they have (VERY SLIGHTLY!) different hardware?

Even "binned" chips end up somewhere.

Only the manufacturer knows how to test every path correctly for proper function.

To reverse-engineer audit anything is EXTREMELY expensive and time consuming, done right.

Why bother? Don't buy crap from China and do their QA for them. Buy American.

Why make a back door when the front is wide open? (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376592)

Something about selling capitalists the rope with which they will hang themselves?

We don't need conspiracy theories on this one, because China doesn't need this kind of stuff to meet its goals. Assuming China ever overtakes the United States as a global superpower, it will be by furnishing us with our every economic desire, enabling our massive consumer overspending and lending to aid our government's ever-ballooning spending. Assuming the Chinese state has more control over this company than what we're seeing, the last thing they're going to do with it is put in tech that, if discovered, would seriously hamper trade with the West.

Re:Why make a back door when the front is wide ope (4, Insightful)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376670)

What is the difference between a back door, and a section of code which is deliberately a little bit sloppy to allow for a vulnerability that would just be very difficult for someone to discover? You are assuming that any back-door which does exist would be well labeled as such and therefore serve the function of a smoking gun if discovered. In reality it would probably be far easier to just not fix certain bugs deliberately and provide detailed documentation of them to the right people.

Re:Why make a back door when the front is wide ope (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377032)

a section of code which is deliberately a little bit sloppy to allow for a vulnerability that would just be very difficult for someone to discover?

AKA: a back door.

Re:Why make a back door when the front is wide ope (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377108)

Well exactly. It's a back door but it wouldn't be all that special to "discover" it. There is no risk in leaving those types of holes in the system and they work just as well as the ones which you create deliberately.

Re:Why make a back door when the front is wide ope (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377146)

Even further, if they are reverse engineering cisco products to create their own, it's entirely possible that they have accumulated a number of valuable zero day exploits that can be used against the firmware which they have extensively studied as part of their duplication efforts.

Why does this matter? (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376596)

This strikes me as a straw man argument in many ways. Why would we assume that the ownership of the company has anything to do with the possible influence or even direct manipulation of the products produced by the state in which the company is headquartered and operated? That is a very western view. Even if we take that point for granted, the public shareholders of even a US company have quite limited visibility into its day to day operations beyond quarterly financial and very broad and deliberately limited strategic objectives of management.

Re:Why does this matter? (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376912)

A cynic would suggest that what our "analyst" friends are actually so butthurt about is the fact that all those sweet, sweet shares are locked up in some oddball quasi-coop/quasi-privately-held arrangement, rather than floating around on stock exchanges, where they can be traded and hedged and sliced and diced (for a variety of nice commissions) by the more and less blatantly parasitic middlemen who live there.

Rather analogous to the swarms of "social security reformers" who talk a lot about cash-flow and solvency; but are basically pissed off that all those billions aren't being overseen by Wall Street, for an appropriate fee...

Now, as a separate issue, it seems quite plausible that Huawei's stuff is bugged. A certain "coziness" seems to be virtually inevitable between strategic corporations and the state's military and intelligence arms. That was certainly the case in the (formally) much less government dominated economy of the US during the cold war, I have no reason to suspect that it isn't the case in china now. However, stuff doesn't get bugged because sinister agents of the state buy 51% of the shares, and then introduce a "motion to bug hardware shipped to capitalist running dogs" at the next shareholder meeting. There are much subtler and more tactful ways of getting that done.

Consider, for instance, the tracking codes [eff.org] produced by numerous models of color laser printer, built around print engines produced by a number of different companies, ostensibly as an "anti-counterfeiting measure". This occurred despite the fact that the US Secret Service has no ownership stake in any of the companies involved. Exactly what inducements where used is unknown; but anybody who thinks that stock ownership is particularly relevant is a moron.

A Couple Misnomers (1)

iceborer (684929) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376616)

"Conspiracy theories abound as to whether networking kit vendor Huawei is owned or controlled by the Chinese government

There's no need for a conspiracy theory. All industries in China's economy are controlled by the government. The only question is the degree to which this control is exerted.

and/or the military-industrial complex.

You can only have a military-industrial complex [wikipedia.org] in a country where the two aren't both arms of the government. An iron triangle can't exist when only one actor is involved.

Re:A Couple Misnomers (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377054)

That isn't strictly true. Sure, if you draw an org chart, and everyone falls under "the state", then it looks like you couldn't possibly have a "complex" with only a single actor.

However, "The state" is never a monolithic actor. Indeed, more totalitarian states can have incredibly colorful internal power struggles, with individuals competing for influence over various state organs, with new organs being created as more loyal replacements for older, ideologically challenged ones, sometimes even direct conflict between different state entities.

If, in practice, you have a situation where factional leaders in whatever military organ is dominant are strongly aligned, strategically, financially, culturally, with the factional leaders in the dominant industrial entities, the fact that the theoretical org chart says that they are all under one state doesn't really interefere with this being a situation usefully describable as a "military industrial complex", any more than the fact that, in the US case, the public sector military and the private sector industry are supposedly separate.

Coop? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376628)

So, after reading the fine article, it seems to me that the company is, officially at least, a coop. Only employees are allowed to own shares, which are primarily used as a method of profit sharing and performance rewards. It's actually not a bad model if you don't need the capital you can get by selling stock. There's a handful of companies in the US that do things much the same one, Ocean-spray being the first example that comes to mind.

I don't see anything in the article about if/when/how the Chinese government influences the company beyond an offhand remark about the CEO's past work at the beginning and an otherwise unsupported statement at the end. How exactly would the company being publicly traded ally fears that the Chinese government is exerting control? It isn't as if the stockholders would have to know about the situation, nor would the fallout be any more severe if they were found out (either way the company would be going bankrupt very rapidly).

Re:Coop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376866)

The answer to your questions is "kdawson".

Re:Coop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377200)

If only employees can own shares who do they sell to?

Re:Coop? (2, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377606)

More like a Limited Partnership.

In a Co-op it is the customers/members that own the company. And it is the customers/members that have voting rights [which in my mind, is the key question when it comes to ownership.]

It is not a Partnership because the shares don't have voting rights - I think. From the article: "A 'small committee' of 33 union members are elected by other shareholders employed by Huawei to make decisions." I am not sure but it sounds like Huawei selects key people to vote. It sounds like management has captured the voting process.

While this can happen in western style corporations there is always the outside chance of a external shareholder / hostile take over to force management. [See Barbarians At the Gate] I am not seeing this here.

Limited Partnership: General Partners control the partnership and the limited partners are along for the economic ride - with only limited voting rights.

 

Nothing to see here (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376658)

The CEO, like many CEOs in the US and around the world, have suspicious ties to the military and government. Typically this is why they make so muh money, they know the people who control the big contracts.

There is a structure that makes it appear that the workers own the company. Having worked for a US company controlled by Asian interests, I found the structure rather familiar. It is done to reward workers based on results, and retain good employees.

Other than that, there is no overwhelming evidence of government ties. Just a company with a management structure meant to maximize the appearance of employee control. The fact that the façade may not match reality does not mean the reality is a conspiracy.

By using mobile broadband... (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376678)

You are supporting communism! Thats right, the CEO of Huawei [wikipedia.org] is a fully paid up member of the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2001 you had to go through the trouble of Pirating MP3's [hackvan.com] to support communism but these days you only have to buy the modem.

Re:By using mobile broadband... (4, Insightful)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376762)

You are supporting communism! Thats right, the CEO of Huawei is a fully paid up member of the Chinese Communist Party.

I'm pretty sure every rich and powerful person in China is a paid up member of the Communist Party. I doubt they'd be rich and powerful otherwise.

Re:By using mobile broadband... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377756)

Yeah, in many places it is required merely to know, on favorable enough terms, powerful persons from applicable parties.

cheap stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376700)

you get what you pay for!

Ownership of company argument insufficient. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376714)

There's precious little information in TFA on company ownership. Looks like speculation and witchunting.

That doesn't mean it's not absolutely correct, but it surely didn't evince its claims.

That said, anything the Chinese Govt. has a hand in, I've got a foot swinging towards.

Don't worry, it wouldn't work anyway (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376772)

When T-Mobile released the "T-Mobile Tap" -- manufactured by Huawei -- I bought it the first week. It was cheap, had a huge screen, and counted as a "dumbphone" so it wasn't subject to the smartphone data plan upcharge.

I've regretted that purchase every single day since.

I posted a litany of woes over on the HoFo forum [howardforums.com]. I have never had a phone that provided me with such daily reminders of why I don't buy new products.

The interface is clunky and inconsistent -- it's clear that one dev team built the dialer, another dev team built the text message system, and another one built the contacts. All of those reference things like typing and phone number entry, but they all do it in different ways! And, they all suck. In fact, none of the functions play well together. All of the built-in apps can be dragged onto the "desktop", but most of them go away every time you power-cycle.

And the hardware is cheap. Every time a sound plays (like a ringtone) on the external speaker, there's an audible "pop" as the speaker gets power and another "pop" when the sound completes and the speaker powers down. And the processor often bogs down during complex tasks, such as entering a phone number. :P Of course, it's a sub-$200 touchscreen, so I didn't expect top-notch hardware -- if that's all that sucked, I'd be happy.

The worst part is just cropping up now, though. Random software issues are killing the digitizer. I'm quite certain it's not hardware, because it typically happens after running a Java app (such as the built-in Google Maps, or the Opera Mini I downloaded but can barely use because the phone only gives it a data connection half the time). Also, strange behavior occurs when the digitizer is wonky, like when the text message notification bar goes away or the options at the bottom of the screen disappear and leave the background visible.

Maybe it's not just bad software... maybe these are indications that the Chinese government is monitoring my calls and text messages. Maybe I got on their bad side by using Google Voice? If that's the case, they're getting a whole lot of messages like "I'll have to call you back, my phone is crapping out again".

I learned one lesson, at least. If the manufacturer isn't willing to put their name on it, don't buy it! T-Mobile should follow that advice, instead of tarnishing their name by associating it with this piece of crap Tap.

Re:Don't worry, it wouldn't work anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377158)

Maybe it's not just bad software... maybe these are indications that the Chinese government is monitoring my calls

Maybe my penis is a magic wand that turns nail clippings into gold.

Maybe..

Re:Don't worry, it wouldn't work anyway (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377236)

Such devices are really just a side business for Huawei anyway. They are big in mobile network equipment - base stations, their backbone, etc. Apparently it's comparably good & reliable to "old" brands, while being significantly cheaper. And becoming more and more popular.

Reliable??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32378280)

I work in the telecom industry and can say that Huawei cellular network products also suck, both hardware and software.

Yes, they are cheap, but there's a lot of work to put them together (same company!) and keep them working.

Re:Reliable??? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378454)

Then apparently good & reliable enough; either way, I don't think it's a coincidence that few networks using them, from my general area, seem to be at least as good as other in network reliability perceived by users; and offering them great deals.
Shouldn't they also only improve?

Chinese Military Strategy (4, Informative)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376780)

"We can make the enemy's command centers not work by changing their data system. We can cause the enemy's headquarters to make incorrect judgments by sending disinformation. We can dominate the enemy's banking system and even its entire social order." General Pan, Chinese PLA

Now, that was in 1996. I think he read the tea leaves correctly even back then, and the world has become a lot more interconnected in the last 14 years. Read More [uscc.gov]

are you surprised? (5, Insightful)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376832)

owned or controlled by the Chinese government

Isn't everything in China owned or controlled by the government?

Re:are you surprised? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377326)

Yes because they can afford to have 10million people in the government who's sole job it is to annoy and slow down their economy, that must be why it is increasing at a mere 10%/yr lately.

Anyone who thinks this is feasible or that it wouldn't kill their economy is an idiot. And if you mean they just exert control on occasion using a set of rules the gov came up with.... those would be called LAWS we have em too, get over it. The country is different but they aren't fucking aliens.

Re:are you surprised? (2, Interesting)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377602)

Oh, get over yourself.

[S]tate-owned companies remain a gargantuan force in the economy. In 2003 they employed half of China's 750 million workers and controlled 57 percent of its industrial assets.

from http://www.forbes.com/2004/11/04/cx_1104mckinseychina6.html [forbes.com]

And what's with the strawman of "10 million people... who's (sic) sole job it is to annoy and slow down their economy"? I never said anything of the sort. By the way:

State-owned companies grow 70% in first four months [of 2010]

from: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90778/90860/6993084.html [people.com.cn]

Re:are you surprised? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377974)

And what's with the strawman of "10 million people... who's (sic) sole job it is to annoy and slow down their economy"? I never said anything of the sort. By the way:

In the US it seems a lot of people assume that unless proof of the opposite exists then anyone working for the government is unqualified, lazy, expensive and generally just a burden on everyone else.

It's in the name! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376892)

Murky ownership? What did you expect from a company called 'who-are-we?' :P

Hogwash (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376896)

China is so dependent right now on American and global consumerism. Their economy is dependent upon exports and keeping their people gainfully employed. Imagine what would happen if real unemplyoment happened in China. We are tied to them like they are tied to us.

Re:Hogwash (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376938)

For now. At the rate they are growing, that may not always be the case. "The future belongs to those who plan for it"

Re:Hogwash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377130)

The future has always and will always belong to those who have media corporations like FOX and NYTimes.

It all depends upon your point of view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376958)

I'm posting this anonymously for obvious reasons. China isn't the only government who may have an interest in providing a back-door. Back doors have been found in Cisco gear in the past, and it would be naive to assume that they aren't still there. Consider two possibilities: 1) Cisco and Microsoft are incompetent and unable to secure their products. 2) An outside influence has approached both of them and created a covert program to ensure access to the IT infrastructure of our enemy.

Ownership structures (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377026)

From the original story:

"the fast-growing telco supplier's ownership structure is still fascinating, strange and tricky for Western observers to understand." ...whereas, of course, the ownership structures of 'Western' companies are *always* beautifully transparent! sheesh.

As a user of Huawei's sonet gear... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377028)

I have been using Huawei's sonet gear for the last 5 years. I work for a CLEC. I have about 50 nodes in the field.
They are a mix of M800s, M1600s, and M3600s that are spread out over multiple states. They are a real pleasure
to use and have been rock solid. Their price point compared to other vendors was a no brainer and have allowed
us to improve our network.

Take the M1600 which is a 3-4U box. It has 8 slots that can take a wide array of cards from OC48, 12 DS3s, 28 T1s,
ethernet GigE ports, ethernet 10/100 ports, multi port OC12/3, and even up to OC192 which I have not used yet. When
I did have a card laser failure they RMA'd it and gave me a new card even though it was no longer under warranty. Their
support is quite good and I speak with Americans who are located in Texas.

All the gear is on a private network so I am not quite sure how a backdoor would ever allow them access or the ability
to enter my gear if they so desired.

So with that said, if Huawei combined with the Chinese govt can deliver such an enjoyable experience for my company
and I when it comes to using their sonet gear, I am all for it.

this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377046)

In this day and age, you have to assume anything not open-sourced contain backdoors.

Normal Chinese corporate law (1)

IP_Troll (1097511) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377070)

This article notes nothing abnormal about Huawei's corporate structure, for a Chinese corporation or any corporation. The author describes an employee stock ownership plan, ESOPs exist in plenty of western nations and there is nothing sinister about them.

The author trying to use this round about "the company setup weird, that makes it bad" argument belies the fact that corporate structure is irrelevant to the quality of the products produced.

This article makes me think the author has the following motivation to write the article:
1. Paid by a competitor to smear Huawei
2. Paid by an investment bank that wants to take Huawei public, to convince Huawei management going public will improve Huawei's public image, thus making the investment bank a mint on the IPO and another small fortune when the investment bank sells the shares of Huawei to the investment bank's customers.

Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377242)

3. Paid by the CIA 4. Paid by the same guys who created the Toyota SUA stories

Kdawnson! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377136)

All hail Kdawson, king of the bad summary. Usually they are just plain wrong, but this one is wrong, over-simplified and has poor grammar to boot.

The trifecta of bad, KD! Don't quit your day job (unless this is your day job, then feel free to quit).

Only way to be sure.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377170)

Buy the right hardware and run M0n0wall or pfsense. If you can audit the code of your firewall it's the only way to be sure there are no backdoors in it.

I have had a M0n0Wall running for well over 6 years with no problems. Granted it's for a very small company with only a few thousand users.... but there are some out there doing the work for fortune 500 companies.

Re:Only way to be sure.... (1)

rnxrx (813533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32378308)

Buy the right hardware and run M0n0wall or pfsense. If you can audit the code of your firewall it's the only way to be sure there are no backdoors in it.

I have had a M0n0Wall running for well over 6 years with no problems. Granted it's for a very small company with only a few thousand users.... but there are some out there doing the work for fortune 500 companies.

So what's the right hardware if I'm a service provider with thousands of routers and lots and lots of OC192's and OC768's floating around? Do you deploy a firewall (PC based or otherwise) in-line in a framed SONET link between carriers? How many 10GE flows can I switch at line rate on an interrupt driven platform? There's a reason beyond corporate greed that big, fast, reliable high-end network devices cost a lot of money.

Anyhow - even in smaller commercial networks the final demarcation between networks is rarely a firewall. I've yet to see any sort of firewall in-line for BGP sessions between an enterprise and an SP, for example. If there's a back door in an infrastructure device (and I'm not especially suggesting that Huawei in particular has one) it can be far more subtle and far more difficult to mitigate than trying to block the latest flavor of windows malware.

Here's an example - if some weird mixture of BGP community values on an arbitrary route caused a given router to begin to execute an arbitrary bit of code there's just about nothing that -any- firewall is going to do, especially if the goal is some kind of DoS attack. Until someone manually steps in from the network side with a device from another vendor, this malicious information could happily propagate through thousands upon thousands of networks across the planet. If the underlying network device is compromised, the utility and effectiveness of -any- firewall decreases rapidly. The knowledge that your firewall's code is open, audited and pristine is utterly irrelevant if that firewall has been bypassed.

It's fairly simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377202)

Is the company in China? Then the Chinese government owns it. Let's not kid ourselves.

Get over it ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377264)

So the Chinese are still pissed about the NSA Key that Bill hid in Windoze and are hacking you to get even ?. Pretty much everything likely has at least one back door these days. Use open source everywhere

Juha Saarinen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377426)

Doesn't sound a lot like a kiwi name...

We know who owns it but we will ignore it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32377676)

Like "China Shipping", its still owned by the Chinese army. They have been pretending that they don't anything for two decades but all the top people in the army moved into running large companies like Foxconn over a decade.

It's owned by the son of the previous president (1)

noisebar (1641161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377698)

Do you really need to "find out"? Everybody in China knows that it's owned by the son of the previous president, Jiang Zemin.

Not so murky. (1)

youroldbuddy (539169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32377912)

Whats murky about the ownership of Huawei? They seem to answer the question when asked. Here's a headline: "Xenophobe media is xenophobic".

Huawei ownership is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32378028)

If you fear spooks, think about this: any chips manufactured in China are potentially suspect for backdoors.

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