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Australian Gov't Bans Huawei From National Network Bids

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the drive-a-hard-bargain dept.

Australia 168

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like paranoia regarding Chinese cyber-espionage is riding sky-high within the Australian Government. It was confirmed today that the country's Attorney-General's Department had banned Chinese networking vendor Huawei (the number two telco networking equipment vendor globally) from bidding for work supplying equipment to the government's $50 billion National Broadband Network universal fibre project. The unprecedented move comes despite Huawei offering to share its source code with security officials, and despite Huawei not being accused of breaking any laws in Australia. Questions over the legality of the Government's move are already being raised."

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168 comments

Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Market (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39458983)

Surely some capitalist ideologue must be spinning in his grave...hey, I bet that could be harnessed to drive a generator.

He won't mind, it's a free market solution!

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#39459203)

It's unlikely to have much to do with the Australian national interest.

The current Australian government has been making increasingly bizarre decisions, many of which will clearly will be to the detriment of Australian citizens. It's very likely this decision to ban a specific vendor, along with many other recent government mandates are at the behest of their puppet masters.

“Four Corners” itself noted that the key Labor coup plotters, as revealed in WikiLeaks cables, had long been secretly informing Washington about the internal workings of the Labor government. The same cables make clear that the Obama administration was disenchanted with Rudd over a range of issues, especially his attempts to moderate rising tensions between the US and China. Gillard, on the other hand, was viewed in positive terms as someone who could be counted on to toe Washington’s line.

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/02/22/the-role-of-the-us-in-the-leadership-crisis-in-the-alp [indymedia.org.au]
http://pirateparty.org.au/2012/03/22/pirate-party-disgusted-by-rampant-government-secrecy/ [pirateparty.org.au]

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459275)

G'day Clive, you fat bastard! How are your "Greens are a CIA plot" claims working out for you? Don't worry - we know what "China First" really means - but we won't tell anyone. *snort*

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#39459365)

G'day Clive, you fat bastard! How are your "Greens are a CIA plot" claims working out for you?

Clive's clearly a loon, but he's just a symptom of the problem.

Check each of the links below and ask yourself "Would this be happening in a country where the actions of the government are in the best interests of its people".

Let me know your answer. I'll be interested.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-21/australians-pay-highest-power-prices-says-study/3904024 [abc.net.au]
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3460798.htm [abc.net.au]
http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/21/official-australia-the-best-place-for-miners-in-the-world-again/ [crikey.com.au]
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/billionaires-grow-fat-off-lazy-government-20120321-1vij7.html [smh.com.au]

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459709)

Your first link says that Australians are paying higher power prices than other countries. If this means that they have a lot of transmission lines to distribute electricity across sparsely-populated regions, few government subsidies for electricity (and hence lower taxes), and carbon quotas to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (particularly important for a dry country that's especially vulnerable to global warming) ... then yes, I would say that this is something that would happen in a country where the actions of the government are in the best interests of its people.

I haven't checked your other links - but I'm too lazy to, unless you provide some sort of indication that you're going to actually make an argument.

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459367)

No doubt you will feel cheated if Australia doesn't receive all the benefits of Chinese attention that the United States has received.

FBI cracks down on China's elusive army of amateur spies [telegraph.co.uk]

The FBI estimates that more than 3,000 "front companies" have been established by Chinese nationals in the US specifically to purloin military and economic secrets illegally.

Let Me Count The Ways China Is Stealing Our Secrets [manufacturing.net]

China: Suspected Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapon Secrets [fas.org]

This CRS Report discusses China’s suspected acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapon secrets, including that on the W88, the newest U.S. nuclear warhead.

China's Secret War [frontpagemag.com]

Of course, why worry?

China warns Australia against military pact with US [indiatimes.com]
Aussies fear threat of war with China [heraldsun.com.au]

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#39459539)

No doubt you will feel cheated if Australia doesn't receive all the benefits of Chinese attention that the United States has received.

We're already receiving that same kind of attention from the USA, to the extent that they're choosing our political leadership for us.

America, China, neither have real Australians interests in mind, so what does it matter who's meddling most?

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (2)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 2 years ago | (#39459375)

>toe Washington's line

Bless you for getting this phrase right. I was afraid everyone forever was going to write "tow the line", which doesn't even make sense.

Re:Oh no! National interest trumping the Free Mark (1)

TomHeal (2261306) | about 2 years ago | (#39459391)

I distinctly remember the previous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declaring loudly that he was going to push through a Supertax of about 30% on mining. Next thing we knew there were rumbles and he was ousted very quickly. I personally suspected it was the big mining corporations that lent on the government. Just my two cents.

Are the concerns valid? (5, Interesting)

AtomicSymphonic (2570041) | about 2 years ago | (#39458995)

I think Huawei was also left out of consideration when AT&T and Verizon were looking to build more LTE towers in the US. Or was that the federal government didn't want their equipment out of this fear?

Would love if someone clarified this.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459183)

I believe that India too had blacklisted Huawei some years earlier, and a lot of foreign countries would be nervous about a company that's in bed w/ the Beijing regime being in charge of setting up their infrastructure.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459289)

Code audits don't reveal backdoors in hardware. I've disassembled malicious silicon from China. I don't really trust anything built in their fabs now. Personal phone calls, sure. Corporate, well, just assume you've been compromised.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459303)

What is 'malicious silicon'?

Re:Are the concerns valid? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459645)

The other AC refers to physical hardware that has been designed to perform some secret additional function that benefits the manufacturer at the expense of the buyer. For example, an encryption chip which always generates code that can additionally be decrypted with the manufacturer's key, or military equipment which an be remotely disabled by the country which made it. Kinda like DRM.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39459301)

Why is being in bed with Beijing bad, but in bed with DC ok?

Re:Are the concerns valid? (2, Insightful)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | about 2 years ago | (#39459467)

Why is being in bed with Beijing bad, but in bed with DC ok?

It is about preserving our way of life. China is a Marxist–Leninist single-party state (nominally communist). The US and Australia are both democracies whose constitutions share similar ideas. China has played a big part in the spread of communism, mostly through force.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459543)

>The US and Australia are both democracies

Oh, you. The US is a plutocracy, not a democracy.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (1)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | about 2 years ago | (#39459603)

Oh, you. The US is a plutocracy, not a democracy.

Assuming this statement is serious and not just a gripe:
While I agree that the US is not a perfect example of democracy, their system closely resembles Australia's.
The US government, through the preamble of the constitution, has a social contract with the people to uphold the democratic philosophy.
Despite the corruption evident in both the major parties in the US, I think it would be a little fascist to call the US a plutocracy.

Re:Are the concerns valid? (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 2 years ago | (#39459597)

It is about preserving our way of life. The US is a corporatist two party state (nominally democratic). The US and Australia are both corporatacies whose constitutions share similar ideas. The US has played a big part in maintaining their ideals, mostly through force.

Good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459013)

We're not having some ching-chong chinaman stealing our baby eating dingo secrets! Struth! God fuck the queen!

Re:Good (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459111)

Also, their equipment sucks walrus balls. I've had the dubious joy of using some of their shitty switches and routers as a luser in Eastern Europe, where they are the king of supply for virtually every ISP, and I've never had as much trouble. No, most of the time it wasn't due to misconfiguration.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459263)

Looser in eastern Europe like me use locally-branded ZTE clone (provided for free from ISP) at last mile.
HUAWEI ships DSLAM and backbone equipment for national telecom.
I recall ./ article about Indian govt strictly prohibited HUAWEI equipment in government network.
Russian network expert (i personally met) consider Indian govt move as right-one.

national security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459025)

National security is a serious issue. I can't see any reason to expose our national information infrastructure to a foriegn owed company ... no matter where they're from.

Re:national security (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459075)

Except of course that the WTO agreements prevent exactly this kind of national/regional/local concerns and specifically prohibits tender discrimination on the basis of national origin of the tendering company. Welcome to the brave new world.

Re:national security (5, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 2 years ago | (#39459165)

OTOH I know a lot of private companies that have banned huawei. I seriously doubt at this point that this is a coincidence.

Personally I think they've been caught red-handed in a high-profile network about 2 years ago and the big guys employ people who know the details about this.

Re:national security (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459311)

True enough on this. Remember it's not paranoia when you know they're after you(or your stuff, or secrets), it's being smart and protecting your ass.

Re:national security (2)

X.25 (255792) | about 2 years ago | (#39459313)

Personally I think they've been caught red-handed in a high-profile network about 2 years ago and the big guys employ people who know the details about this.

You think "they've been caught red-handed"? I mean, do you have ANY information to share, except what your sixth sense tells you?

Re:national security (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459339)

Duh Nortel, where have you been?

Re:national security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459601)

It is irrelevant that they were being caught. China is doing what all the other nations in their same situation did before: get "inspiration" without caring much for patents and copyright. Then whey they have a big enough portfolio, they do the about face.
China has the advantage of being a manufacturing giant, and the best place to hide malware is at the hardware level.

Re:national security (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459485)

Australia is usually very open with China and acknowledges them as a crucial trading partner; often bending over backwards to accommodate Chinese business, especially the current government.

I would think that there must be some serious intelligence information motivating this public slap in the face for a top-tier chinese company.

Who made WTO king? I didnt vote. (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39459553)

WTO are not the king pheroh dictator of EARTH.

They can go screw them selves.

I mean, why would Iran trust an Israeli company to run their computer control systems for their Nuke plants?

Or would Israel trust an outsourced Muslim corporation from Dubai to run their water infrastructure?

Re:national security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459125)

I agree with you in principle, however, pretty much every telecom equipment manufacturer has some sort of Chinese presence. While they're not all *owned* by Chinese, most of them have R&D centers in China where backdoors could be put in.

Re:national security (4, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#39459139)

Australia has done that in the past.
http://www.australiandefence.com.au/DB96D390-F806-11DD-8DFE0050568C22C9 [australiandefence.com.au]
Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board let SingTel purchase Optus i.e. Singapore's government-owned telco got the Optus C1/D joint civil/military communications satellite.
The dedicated military payload paid for by Australia is used for satellite communications in Australian and south-east Asia.
The payload came from the USA and Japan was the contractor ....
The main problem for the NBN would be the US/UK/NZ/Canadian/Australian telco choke points- who gets to mirror off every packet in and out of Australia.
An embassy or joint space project can be contained. Communists deep in your ducts long term is not a good idea.

Re:national security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459205)

I can't see any reason to expose our national information infrastructure to a foriegn owed company

So which Aussie companies do you suggest? Remember that they can use only indigenous components and software written in Australia and compiled using Australian compilers ( to avoid any back-doors ) .

Re:national security (1)

egork (449605) | about 2 years ago | (#39459439)

The one that produces Marsupial Lion OS?
(the "marsupial while" operator is so cute!)

OZ should build their own routers (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39459547)

why waste billions in buying routers, start and grow your own industry, give grants to local companys to make routers.

Oh Australia is lazy, it rather spend $2b on USA routers, than spend $1b making its own.

Its not like its hard to make your own stuff, give lots of $$.

Just dont use 90% outsourced coders from agencies , hire them fulltime.

Code theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459031)

Maybe the AG didn't like the accusations that Huawei stole cisco code...

Their source code? (4, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | about 2 years ago | (#39459049)

Don't they mean Nortel's source code?

Re:Their source code? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459063)

Exactly, chinks at their thieving best.

No you mean Cisco's (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459085)

Cisco alleged Huawei stole their tech, but had to drop the suit after the chinese gov't made it uncomfortable for Cisco.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/24/cisco_sues_huawei_over_ip/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:No you mean Cisco's (1, Offtopic)

Majik Sheff (930627) | about 2 years ago | (#39459131)

I typed the post on a mobile. I didn't feel like running a list of telecom companies the Chinese government has ripped off.

No, he means Nortel's (3)

Collapsing Empire (1268240) | about 2 years ago | (#39459133)

See here [lightreading.com] and here [slashdot.org].

But the Cisco incident is relevant too.

Re:No, he means Nortel's (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459557)

lightreading.com doesn't say that Huawei is behind it. I was curious about the relationship between Huawei and Nortel. So, I dug around the Internet and found this relevant article see here [allaboutnortel.com]. It says that Nortel's products were shoddy enough to cause it to lose a lot of clients. So, it proposed a joint venture with Huawei in order to resell Huawei products as Nortel products. But it went bankrupted before the proposal happened. Sound like Nortel was trying to steal Huawei's source code to save itself from bankruptcy.

LOL AUSSIES (-1, Troll)

cosm (1072588) | about 2 years ago | (#39459057)

So I live in the states, but 'eh Aussie gub'ment, now you know how it feels to fear others in your networks, eh? Now you know how your citizens feel when you assfucks monitor and handhold all your citizenry like the good mommy government you think you are. Fucking douches. What's good for the joey's is good for the Kangas.

Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you have? (5, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | about 2 years ago | (#39459091)

Huawei is an arm of the Chinese government. Officially and in practice. There are members of the Chinese Communist Party permanently assigned to it who monitor correctness and suggest policy (under pain of death). They will spy and steal tech if the Party thinks it's useful. That's just how they roll.

The only real question is whether anyone gives a damn what's going over Australia's National Broadband Network. If not, then Huawei may be cheaper.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (0)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#39459127)

Party Members are partial to boobies, but with the new planned decency filter, there really will be no need to monitor what's going on down under.

They all are just a bunch of do-nothing criminals.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459145)

They will spy and steal tech if the Party thinks it's useful. That's just how they roll.

Any company or government will spy and steal if they think (reward > (risk * fine)). The way to deal with this is to require the source code to be inspected and encrypt anything important because you never know who is listening along the fiber (in fact, even if you own the ISP and the fiber there still could be someone listening on your traffic, so encrypt it anyhow).

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (3, Interesting)

Sarusa (104047) | about 2 years ago | (#39459199)

This is true - we know AT&T forwards all your packets to the NSA, pissing itself with its eagerness to do so, and the other ISPs probably do so as well.

In theory you should encrypt everything strongly. But in practice, people overwhelmingly just don't do that.

So this is the Australian government, who we know wants to inspect every single packet sent in Australia (since they've said so), deciding they want to limit it to companies under their thumb instead of under China's thumb.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (5, Informative)

bertok (226922) | about 2 years ago | (#39459221)

Having a copy of the source provides only minimal protection. See for example the Underhanded C Code Contest [xcott.com].

It would be an almost trivial exercise to introduce a vulnerability into a code base that wouldn't be picked up easily by either human or mechanical inspection. Even if such a vulnerability was detected, the vendor could simply claim that it was a coding error, fix it, and get away with it unpunished. By adding a few dozen such vulnerabilities, the vendor could play this game for years without anyone ever being able to prove wrongdoing.

There's no hope of isolating the equipment or software from the Internet either, because the use-case here is a National Broadband Network, the whole point of which is to create a new public Internet backbone.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

emt377 (610337) | about 2 years ago | (#39459321)

Source code is useless unless you also build and flash it yourself. Otherwise they can trivially give you one source base to review while they install something quite different in the hardware they ship you. Clearly the vendor has to deal with building, flashing, and support. They know the hardware, have the development resources, QA, etc. If they can't be trusted then they're not a viable equipment source.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459239)

The way to deal with this is to require the source code to be inspected ...

If a magician is eager to show you that there's nothing up his sleeves, it's because he doesn't want you to look in his pockets. Or at his hands, particularly between his fingers. Or under his hat with the false lining. Or behind the sofa.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459195)

What you said is an allegation, not a fact. It is also an anti-Chinese bias which is not fair. By the way, did Cisco and Erricson outsource product manufacturing to China?

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

Sarusa (104047) | about 2 years ago | (#39459317)

Oh please. This is /doctrine/. Every company in China which employs more than three party members has a party office on site ( https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/which-way-for-china-part-two/ [wordpress.com] ). They don't make a secret of this - it's out in the open because you are officially still a communist country and companies are just... convenient and highly profitable: http://www.economist.com/node/21543575 [economist.com]

So don't give me any weasel shit on this, when even your own government still champions it internally.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

qwerty765 (2438276) | about 2 years ago | (#39459617)

Oh please. This is /doctrine/. Every company in China which employs more than three party members has a party office on site

economist.com says 13% of companies have relationships with the Party. It is not every company. I checked Huawei's background and here is the article that says there is no government involvement - no party in Huawei [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39459521)

US makers are no less entrenched into US government and government in them. The only difference is xenophobia.

Re:Is it paranoia if it's true? But what do you ha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459701)

What's more, China has just forced lawyers to swear allegiance to the Communist Party.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17470818 [bbc.co.uk]

That's not just massively distasteful in regards to activists and regular people, that has enormous implications for doing business in China.

Business means contracts, and contracts means contract lawyers. Making lawyers hold allegiance to the Party and not the rule of law is a major spoke in the wheel of doing business with China. Australia has already found the current system is pretty shaky with the Rio Tinto "spy" debacle. That's enough to make Huawei unattractive, but with the business environment actually getting worse, forget it -- not interested at all.

Ban consumer electronics too? (3, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#39459103)

Huawei already supplies 3G USB dongles, cheap android phones and tablets to the Aussie consumer. If that's the case, isn't the Chinese govt already harvesting data from our private citizens? Hmmm, paranoia much?

Conroy might partner with the Chinese on his great firewall of Australia - apparently they have expertise in such matters. ;-)

Re:Ban consumer electronics too? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#39459169)

Private citizens is fine, its the new rooms or past "exchanges" near the mil bases in suburbia that may prove more interesting.
Australia does not really have a lot of sat bandwidth so most of its everyday mil chat might go down unique telco like networks.
Or expose its neat new US packet sniffers to another layer of contractors and risk US anger...

Maybe the Oz govt doesn't want to censor us? (3, Insightful)

barv (1382797) | about 2 years ago | (#39459119)

I just bet that Huawei networking has really neat built in ways to censor all sorts of content from pirated stuff, child porn, maybe even (gasp!) political comments. So maybe our (Oz) government really isn't interested in censorship?

Nah. On second thoughts, they were just too dumb to notice the opportunity.

"We'll just put mal-/spy-ware into our modems" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459147)

I'd say the gov't is a bit late in acting...

Lots of Huawei mobile Internet products are already in use across AU.

Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (3, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#39459157)

Questions over the legality of the Government's move are already being raised.

...by people who support Huawei, most likely. Unfortunately for Huawei's defenders in Australia (and outside of Australia as evidenced by those), it puts them in the open as standing against their own country and having a greater allegiance for the PRC.

Stand strong Australia, and resist the urge to bend to the will of China. They will do everything to get you to back down - stop only when they give up and lose face.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459187)

Stand strong Australia, and resist the urge to bend to the will of China. They will do everything to get you to back down - stop only when they give up and lose face.

Grow up...

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459201)

...it puts them in the open as standing against their own country and having a greater allegiance for the PRC.

This is bullshit. Arguing for the responsible usage of public funds is being completely for one's own country. Furthermore, the blacklisting of any entity (person or company) due to baseless allegations by unknown sources with absolutely no proof is completely abhorrent and counter to Australian values.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#39459231)

Since they put such an idiot as Alexander Downer on their board I suspect they are either incompetant or up to no good :)
Sadly, well connected born to the purple idiots that couldn't even work in an iron lung get put in such positions when a company wants to exert influence on a political party or government. You'd think they could find someone better than Downer though. Maybe he knows where some bodies are buried or something, I can't understand his influence otherwise, anybody that owed his grandfather anything would be dead by now.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459309)

>> I can't understand his influence
Nevertheless, you seem pretty opinionated about it!
May be something to do with being Australia's longest serving Foreign Minister.

But lets face it. All politicians are arseholes, its part of the job description. And the never ending gravy train of free lifetime domestic air travel and cushy Directorships like he and John Brumby have picked up here are just the way politics works - for both sides.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#39459629)

Nevertheless, you seem pretty opinionated about it!

At one point there was almost a weekly Downer stuffup which appeared to be an almost textbook example of why you shouldn't employ somebody just because their grandfather was famous. Petty little crap like hijacking some Pandas given as an exchange with a Queensland koala sanctuary and sending them to a zoo in his own city which is now going broke. That and many other things were seen as a diplomatic insult.

May be something to do with being Australia's longest serving Foreign Minister.

The department shrank in responsibility and size dramaticly on his watch - just about everything important was moved to intelligence services and other departments. He turned it into the department of dinner parties.

like he and John Brumby have picked up here are just the way politics works - for both sides.

Huawei may be hedging their bets by getting one from each side. It will probably work.

How do you know the allegations are baseless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459253)

Maybe nobody wants to create a diplomatic incident by mentioning that Huawei employees are sometimes actually Chinese intelligence agents. And they WERE caught red handed trying to steal info elsewhere. Why do you think they've been banned in India?
There's nothing wrong with their products/ source code. Plenty wrong with the their spies posing as technicians.
The PRC, by the way, IS completely abhorrent and counter to Australian values. Or human values actually.

Re:How do you know the allegations are baseless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459325)

Maybe nobody wants to create a diplomatic incident by mentioning that Huawei employees are sometimes actually Chinese intelligence agents. And they WERE caught red handed trying to steal info elsewhere. Why do you think they've been banned in India?
There's nothing wrong with their products/ source code. Plenty wrong with the their spies posing as technicians.
The PRC, by the way, IS completely abhorrent and counter to Australian values. Or human values actually.

They're baseless because there's no evidence. They're mud-slinging which appears to work due to the rampant fears of "Reds under beds". The allegations may be true, they may be false, but they're baseless and unsupported by evidence. Some Huawei might be intelligence agents (actually in such a large company, it's not improbable, but the same would apply to Cisco/Nortel/Juniper), some Huawei employees might also be space aliens sucking your bodily fluids. Hey, baseless allegations are so easy to make.

As for why they're banned in India, I dunno, possibly due to protectionism and/or corruption. Evidence, here's an article from the Guardian with a public figure Subramanian Swamy willing to substantiate those complaints [guardian.co.uk] about the Indian telecommunication spectrum auctions. Or is the theory that the India government found something nefarious, but didn't want to tell the world and get a leg up China more plausible?

Now, if you want to ban Huawei because of something their government did, fine. States the grounds publicly and allow all public tenders to be conducted under the same rules. But don't be surprised if no company is able to bid. Meanwhile, for a project that's expected to cost around A$43 billion, this stinks to high heaven of some corrupted backroom dealings wasting Australian taxpayers money.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459233)

It is not a smart move to ban one competitor because it will cost Australian citizens more taxpayer dollars on higher-priced low-quality equipments coming from other vendors who just manufacture them in China too.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459369)

It is not a smart move to ban one competitor because it will cost Australian citizens more taxpayer dollars on higher-priced low-quality equipments coming from other vendors who just manufacture them in China too.

Not only that, by publicly declaring that a major and low-cost competitor is banned has reduced competition and reduced the incentive for the other bidders to keep their prices low. This government is just reckless with money.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | about 2 years ago | (#39459257)

They [sic: China] will do everything to get you to back down - stop only when they give up and lose face.

If China maintain that Australia has contravened the Marrakech Agreement, I would expect China to consider trade sanctions such as refusing to export consumer tech to Australia or a temporary ban on resources from Australia.
The former type would be a minor inconvenience for distributors, retailers and consumers that will soon be countered by parallel importing and pressure from the contracting party (i.e. Apple).
The latter type would severely cripple our economy, having a devastating affect on the markets and local mining communities. China is believed to have been stockpiling for some time. Perhaps the only thing that will deter them from taking this course of action will be China's large stake in Australian resource shares.

Despite my suspicions, I have a lot of Huawei equipment for personal use as it is cheap and reliable. I wouldn't even consider it for anything to do with business or public infrastructure

Despite the WTO agreements in place, I believe Australia has a firm legal standing. We are not discriminating against a products manufactured in China, we are discriminating against a product designed, manufactured and controlled by a quasi-state-owned company directly involved in surveillance, censorship, oppression and espionage.
If an American company placed a tender, we wouldn't think twice. If a technology branch of the NSA placed a tender, we would, as diplomatically as possible, tell them to shove their tender up their ass despite being our closest ally that we already share intel on our citizens with.
I wonder if we had an open-source, open-specification requirement in the tender if all these companies would still bid.
I would suspect all those, except the ones with something to hide, would.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459285)

Huawei does have something to meet an open-source open-specification requirement in the tender. It went through the process with UK by showing all of its source code to auditors. Huawei didn't even submit a bid for NBN before ban went into effect. That is how paranoid some Australian officials are.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

X.25 (255792) | about 2 years ago | (#39459341)

If an American company placed a tender, we wouldn't think twice. If a technology branch of the NSA placed a tender, we would, as diplomatically as possible, tell them to shove their tender up their ass despite being our closest ally that we already share intel on our citizens with.
  I wonder if we had an open-source, open-specification requirement in the tender if all these companies would still bid.
  I would suspect all those, except the ones with something to hide, would.

Haha. So, American companies don't do spying work for the government? Nor would US government do spying work for corporate interests?

I mean, are you insane or what?

Peoples' memory is the shortest living thing on this planet.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | about 2 years ago | (#39459407)

Haha. So, American companies don't do spying work for the government? Nor would US government do spying work for corporate interests?

I am sure they will. I believe a tech company is more likely to design their products to perform their advertised primary function (i.e. a router does routing) and then will add, to the best of their ability, hidden secondary functions (i.e. kill switch, backdoor, mirroring) at the request of the government.
A government agency with a tech arm, OTOH, is much more likely to design a product from the ground up whose real purpose is covert infiltration of a specific target, yet, disguise the product as something the target actually wants.

As a car analogy: You buy an American made car with On-Star. Sure On-Star will allow the US government to track you through this device and may even go as far as killing the engine or setting off an alarm. These are secondary things enabled by the primary purpose of the device.
Now, let's say a much cheaper yet equivalent car is designed and built by the Tazbekstan government. The same government has a reputation for oppressing its people through use of a car-based surveillance programme. On top of the known surveillance, there are rumours that all Tazbeki cars have the capability to remotely control doorlocks, windows, braking system, steering and MAY even be able to re-route the exhaust to the air-con intake.
As a government, I wouldn't want these cars on my roads.

I mean, are you insane or what?

A little.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (4, Insightful)

emt377 (610337) | about 2 years ago | (#39459359)

No, China wouldn't consider a trade war. They'd appeal to the WTO, claiming Australia makes an unreasonable claim to Article XIV.1.a. But clearly 1) this only affects Huawei, not all Chinese network equipment makes, 2) in fact is only coincidentally affecting China with Huawei being a Chinese entity, 3) a government buying secure routing equipment can discriminate based on reputation of vendors.

The bigger issue is how China can be permitted to continue to allow its state to run businesses while remaining a member of the WTO. It's a problem illuminated by Huawei: the business is suspect, which makes the Chinese government suspect. Which then makes ALL businesses the Chinese government meddles in suspect. Which is tantamount to discrimination based on origin when they're shown the door. The WTO was never intended to include countries like China where there is no constitutional separation between affairs of state and private business.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (4, Funny)

X.25 (255792) | about 2 years ago | (#39459333)

...by people who support Huawei, most likely. Unfortunately for Huawei's defenders in Australia (and outside of Australia as evidenced by those), it puts them in the open as standing against their own country and having a greater allegiance for the PRC.

Stand strong Australia, and resist the urge to bend to the will of China. They will do everything to get you to back down - stop only when they give up and lose face.

Are you ok, mate?

I've seen members of various sects being more sane than you.

Here we are, year 2012, and the same people who've been stealing and helping their cronies are still scaring the "free world" in the same way like they've done for past 60 years.

Don't mind them putting the cash in pockets, just please be scared of evil .

Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with 'national security' is incredibly dumb.

This has to do with kickbacks and lobbying.

Oh look - there is a communist hanging off your chandelier!

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#39459377)

Or people who support free trade. It's not about any perceived allegiance to the PRC but "allegiance" to Huawei's competitors. Do you think every country needs to be protectionist and block foreign companies from competing with national ones?

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 2 years ago | (#39459423)

Wait, now I'm confused.

Are you saying that you would *want* hardware controlled by the PRC government in your core network infrastructure?

Do you live in China?

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#39459417)

This is an idiotic move, it will mean less competition and even more expensive prices. At worst they should have let them bid and just dropped their tender in the bin, by removing them completely it will just allow what little competition there is free reign to overcharge us.

Re:Not a smart move to openly object to this ban. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39459531)

It's a question of wasting money supporting more expensive white companies while hating on the yellow man (or people from a country with one party, rather than two parties who collude and take actions almost indistinguishable from each other).

Paranoia? (3, Interesting)

NetNinja (469346) | about 2 years ago | (#39459211)

Who needs to be paranoid when companies whos bottom line is to send out work to a low wage paying country so they can turn maddive profits at the expense of national security?

Cisco doesn't seem to care so why should any other company?

If you think for one moment that the Chinese governement doesn't have spies working in those factories and making coppies of every single chip and installing doomsday chips in those electronics you are very naive.

Re:Paranoia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459327)

So, don't buy iPod if you don't want spies installing a-single-word-activated bomb inside.

Ban chinese anyting from operating in your country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459235)

Seriously, they are well on their way to take over a lot of shit and honestly I wouldn't want to wake up to a world owned by them.

Better safe than sorry (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 years ago | (#39459241)

That's a classic case of the 'Better safe than sorry' principle. They're just being prudent. Why take on risks when you can avoid it? It's really the same thing as an employer refusing to hire someone with a criminal record.

Re:Better safe than sorry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459451)

That's a classic case of the 'Better safe than sorry' principle. They're just being prudent. Why take on risks when you can avoid it? It's really the same thing as an employer refusing to hire someone with a criminal record.

Huawei isn't a criminal, not by a long shot. There are concerns that Huawei must be an arm of the Chinese government, without any evidence and mostly spread by those who have something to gain by Huawei's demise.

Let's call a spade a spade. A much better analogy is an employer refusing to hire a black teenager back in the 1950's, why take a risk when you can avoid it. The tragic incident which caused the death of Trayvon Martin should give us pause to not prejudge people/companies based upon historical stereotypes. In the scheme of things, the NBN is nothing compared with a life, but it's a prudent lesson nonetheless.

blind rivets, fasteners rivets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459349)

we are one of the biggest manufacture of fasteners in china.

our products is blind rivet and insert nut .

if you have a need please check the website: http://www.rivet-supplier.com

they are obviously worried about (0, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39459509)

they are obviously worried about having a chink in their IT infrastructure,

sorry I couldn't resist it

Look nothing up our sleeves (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | about 2 years ago | (#39459529)

So just forget we sold a large, critical chunk of the Telstra to China, and pretend that any company that does tender won't have Chinese ownership.

Not to worry - the ONA is monitoring what China monitors, with the additional benefit that JIO doesn't have to do it because then JIO would be monitoring rather than, um, who was it JIO does the go-for-ing for again? (sigh)

Its a badly written one sided article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459575)

The article is actually VERY light on facts (like very few from the Government) and note he OPINES that the NBN procurement will be furious - but it seems to be too dificult for him to actually find out...
Also the Government likely have information they cant share.... Politicians DONT make these decisions - The public servants and lawyers and diplomats make these decisions and they base them on information we will not see. Even if a politicians head falls for it.

All the right and left wing rhetoric we are inheriting from the USA is BOGUS.
        about 80% of all policy passes in our government without ANY debate. the majority of the rest passes with minor debate (well until Tony Abbot came along anyway - he is actually make it hard for the public service to run the country and the business councils are noticing and complaining and eventually the population will notice too) The few issues that elections rest on actually have very little to do with how the country runs ( Like boat people - a few 000 people a year - has no effect at all on immigration because the bulk come by plane and yet thats what the media focus on - letting the public servants run the country properly)

I dont mean to sound like a conspiracy - directions are given by the politicians and the people and the public servants ARE people and its a pretty transparent system in many areas... but not in these areas.

Their products suck anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459699)

I absolutely refuse to use Huawei products. The ones I have seen are of inferior quality.

What's Cookin' Doc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459711)

Maybe, just maybe Australian government know what's cookin.

Only the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459713)

Tip of the iceberg, and they're hardly the first IT organization looking skeptically at entanglement with China at the networking layer.

There's a Cyber Cold War going on in case you didn't know, and when a (nearly inevitable) major public incident occurs that casts China in a more suspicious light, a lot of people recently bought gear are going to be backtracking and looking for other options.

Good for aussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39459747)

This can only be good for aussies. Huawei's products typically underperform. The only advantage is cost but I question that in the long term.

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