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Should the US Really Limit Chinese-Government Influenced IT Systems?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the don't-bring-that-in-here dept.

China 220

coondoggie writes "New federal restrictions now preclude four U.S. agencies from buying information-technology (IT) systems from manufacturers 'owned, directed or subsidized by the People's Republic of China' due to national-security concerns. But is this a smart tactic? It's clear that some in the U.S. government, including the House Intelligence Committee — which issued a scathing report last fall that called Huawei and ZTE a threat to national security — and the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. are also working in other ways behind the scenes to keep technology made by China-based manufacturers out of U.S. commercial networks as well."

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220 comments

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Some, anyway (5, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353509)

When you know who the foxes are, you keep closer watch over the henhouse. That just makes sense. It can be argued that there's still a role for inclusivity, but it has to be tempered with a dose of common sense.

Re:Some, anyway (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353785)

It's wise and good security policy when China does it. [slashdot.org] If the US does it it's irrational, xenophobic, and probably racist (arguents which you will likely see in today's comments)

Re:Some, anyway (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353939)

Re:Some, anyway (3, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354025)

Isn't that an REM song???

Re:Some, anyway (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354291)

Its from Avenue Q, like from the youtube link I also posted.

Re:Some, anyway (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353973)

The funny thing is most han Chinese are horribly racist and massively nationalistic. My wife's Chinese from Beijing (and han) and the things I've heard people say who don't realize this laowai speaks Chinese would make the KKK blush.

Re:Some, anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354073)

It's wise and good security policy when China does it. [slashdot.org] If the US does it it's irrational, xenophobic, and probably racist (arguents which you will likely see in today's comments)

Side effect of a melting pot.

The only thing shocking is you not expecting that behavior, especially since litigation based on being offended in any way is a lucrative business these days.

Re:Some, anyway (2, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354423)

Considering the US actually did sabotage enemies using software trojans [nytimes.com] ... even resulting in "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.'" ... it's not surprising people/governments are wary of it.

Seems to me all critical infrastructure should be based on Open systems -- both Open Source software and firmware, as well as Open hardware designs; so people can have the best chance possible at reviewing and verifying any critical infrastructure components.

Simply banning stuff from Chinese companies seems silly, though; since for every US company that has a foreign office and/or foreign employees, it's probable that their products have back doors too, from every intel agency in every one of those countries. Heck, I'd go so far as to speculate that most Microsoft security bugs might be such intentional back doors -- after all, if they don't it seems those intel agencies aren't really doing their jobs.

The answer in a word? (1)

WarSpiteX (98591) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353511)

"Duh".

Seriously? (5, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353535)

Is this even a real question? Of course they should. The Chinese government is openly attacking both corporate and government interests throughout the US. Why give them yet another avenue to attacks?

Re:Seriously? (-1, Flamebait)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353577)

And you think the US isn't doing the same thing, but hiding it better?

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353619)

And you think the US isn't doing the same thing

What's your point? Maybe good advice to the Chinese government is not to use US made networking equipment (if there is such a thing anymore). That doesn't mean the US government avoiding Chinese equipment is a bad idea.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353691)

Exactly. They can argue about what China should and shouldn't purchase over on the Chinese Slashdot.

...where they love America and go out of their way to talk shit about China, even when it's offtopic.

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354059)

Actually, we should use a substantial amount of Chinese equipment in places that are assured non-security related (who cares if they have current information on our disposition of stray cats and dogs), and then a bunch more attached to honeypots and decoy networks to watch them watching us.

Most martial arts show us that every attack is an opportunity to use an opponents momentum against them.

Re:Seriously? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353873)

hiding it better

I'm pretty sure word on stuxnet broke well before the Mandiant report showed a clear link to the Chinese government. It's hard to hide something that does physical damage to your enemy's hardware.

Re:Seriously? (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354027)

Are you sure that wasn't the Israelis?

Re:Seriously? (1)

coffee-breaks (2867847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354171)

Chinese government? Wow, what crock of BS. A careful research by various anti virus agencies clearly proved BOTH US and Israel link. http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/246545/Stuxnet-Malware-Analysis-Paper [codeproject.com] . Besides what you say clearly doesn't make ANY sense. Why would China have ANY reason to attack Iran, their trading partner? Bravo /.! You have proven yet again you have become a mouthpiece to USA gov!

No, they can't. (4, Interesting)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354319)

Why suddenly has this come to forefront?

Because there has been classified evidence of compromises built into the hardware via the manufacturing process, which is in China or Taiwan. A shocking and deep threat.

They can't talk about it in public, but suddenly Sandia labs is upgrading its semiconductor manufacturing plant.

Re:Seriously? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354361)

And that affects the question at hand how?

Re:Seriously? (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354415)

I said it did, where?

Re:Seriously? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354461)

OK, I wanna play too!

CHICKEN!!!

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354453)

The US government isn't attacking the US government. That's a pretty important difference when you're making decisions for the US government.

Should China Accept US-Gov't Influenced IT Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353541)

China already protects itself from US-influence. This is protectionism, and we should all respond in kind.

Re:Should China Accept US-Gov't Influenced IT Syst (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353679)

China already protects itself from US-influence. This is protectionism, and we should all respond in kind.

Agreed, but I've been saying that ever since Billy Clinton, at the behest of his Wall St. masters, pushed so hard for premature PNTR and WTO membership for China. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving advice to 5th century Romans about how to keep out the barbarians - a little late.

Re:Should China Accept US-Gov't Influenced IT Syst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354019)

You should probably review a little bit of your history before making the following statement, "at the behest of his Wall St. masters."

Re:Should China Accept US-Gov't Influenced IT Syst (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354061)

You should probably review a little bit of your history before making the following statement, "at the behest of his Wall St. masters."

Where do you think Bobby Rubin came from (and returned to afterword)?

If you have a specific rebuttal I'd love to hear it, but vague "you should probably review a little bit of your history" remarks are barely worth it.

They should first (4, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353547)

limit republican-leaning closed-source and un-auditable voting machines.

Re:They should first (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353573)

And perhaps disallow multiple votes by Democrats.

Re:They should first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353629)

Disallow vote buying.

Re:They should first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353773)

Disallow nigger and illegal alien votes.

Re:They should first (2)

thestudio_bob (894258) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353801)

Disallow the gingers.

Re:They should first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353815)

Yet you have no objection to multiple Republican votes.

Re:They should first (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354105)

Of course. Republicans are all wise, upstanding citizens who would never go to war on false premises. They deserve two votes for that alone.

Re:They should first (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353655)

limit republican-leaning closed-source and un-auditable voting machines.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? /snark

Re:They should first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353813)

I don't know, let's have a vote.

Re:They should first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353715)

What the hell?! Where do you get off making a statement like that? Mod that shit down. It's beyond flamebait, it's outright trolling!

Re:They should first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353819)

Boo Hoo! It was politically incorrect. True, but politically incorrect. It offends me! Boo Hoo.

Re:They should first (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353893)

No, it's off-topic and should modded accordingly.

Re:They should first (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353997)

No, it's off-topic and should modded accordingly.

Right, because political snark has never been tolerated on /.

Re:They should first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353897)

I think that at the very minimum voting machines should be held to the same standard as casino machines or even gas pumps.

Re:They should first (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353983)

Outsource the new voting machines to China.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353553)

Enuf said.

Take it further (4, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353561)

Any government contract should be fulfilled with domestically sourced and manufactured parts whenever possible. If we can make it here, we should. If you want to create/protect jobs, it starts by keeping the money in the country as much as possible.

Re:Take it further (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353607)

More importantly by forcing local supply you enable continuity of supply and are never subject to a foreign government dictating levels of supply. Local sourcing of all goods for all national infrastructure projects should be compulsory regardless of cost to ensure all those national infrastructure projects can be maintained without being forced to gain approval from a foreign government to allow that supply. That is a sane logical thing to do by any government and failure to do so when it is readily possible to treasonously betray the citizens of that country to the demands of another country, apparently based purely upon corporate executive greed.

Re:Take it further (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353805)

No, no, no. No. This is a terrible idea.

There is a very good argument to be made that all remotely sensitive government IT projects should use domestically designed and built products, because electronics can do sneaky things that are almost completely undetectable (cf. Stuxnet). When you're talking about steel for bridges, not so much. Forced local supply (especially for raw materials) ends up being just another opportunity for regulatory capture.

Re:Take it further (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354001)

And why drain your own supplies of natural resources when you can drain those of someone else.

Re:Take it further (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353879)

More importantly by forcing local supply you enable continuity of supply and are never subject to a foreign government dictating levels of supply.

There is not a single thing in economic theory or practice where you can get something for nothing. There is always a tradeoff, and you're ignoring it here. By closing off international trade you jack up the cost of goods and services within your country and slow down your rate of economic growth because there's fewer trade opportunities. As a result, other countries which have a more open economic policy prosper while your own country stagnates.

That is a sane logical thing to do by any government and failure to do so when it is readily possible to treasonously betray the citizens of that country to the demands of another country, apparently based purely upon corporate executive greed.

Whoa there cowboy. Ease up on the rhetoric; you're making Kim Jong look good. There's nothing sane or logical about telling your citizens they have to pay more for something just to satisfy an emotional need. This is fear-mongering; not fact-based argumentation -- as evidenced by you using weasel-words like "treason", "greed", and some very black and white thinking if I do say so myself.

Now how about we start over and you can tell me how the restriction of international trade benefits a country's economy. If you can, step up and collect your nobel prize in Economics.

Re:Take it further (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354251)

It doesn't. It can however help protect a country's sovereignty, especially in complex products that are easily perverted into trojan horses: like networking equipment, SCADA control hardware, and crypto chips used in financial and military communications, etc.. Even if the firmware for these is developed state side, it is possible to hide backdoors in the hardware as well. If these products are used as interconnects for critical infrastructure, it gives the manufacturing country strategic leverage. Obviously, it's prudent that we act to protect such infrastructure as much as possible, so ensuring the building blocks are not manufactured in hostile nations should be first-step common sense. Unfortunately, political correctness on the left and greed on the right have shoved this fact down to the bottom of the priority pile.

The ability to provide the most critical and desired products locally is one of the cornerstones of a successful, free, and secure society. When it does come time to trade, it grants a stronger position, but, in our rush to build this 'global economy', we've undercut a lot of that intrinsic power, and without it, we'll always be someone else's bitch.

Re:Take it further (4, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354267)

Okay let's give this a whack... so in the long haul, there may be valid arguments for opening borders to trade and flattening the global economy, but over the last 30 years, what has happened is that America has completely lost the ability to do heavy manufacture (robots are just now bringing that work back home, but not to human beings sadly.) Though corporations make out, workers get squished. More and more they begin to resemble the third world workers who have gotten their jobs, until the third world workers rising economically meet our workers on the way down. In 1950-70 the average American paid 20% of their wage to Housing, Interest and Taxes. Through the devaluation of American currency from pumping it by the trillions into the developing world's economies, through corporate interests spacing the American economy, through inflation/QE, through predatory corporate and government practice, the average American now spends 70% of his income on housing, interest and tax.

I'm not even saying that the unnaturally high standard of living for the average American at the middle of last century didn't come at some high prices with respect to global competitiveness. I'm just saying the last 30 years have been a superating wound on the middle class with no end in site, and our government is about to cut the social safety net completely away leaving the poorest and least able to take care of themselves without means to live. When I see the vanishingly small population of disturbingly wealthy and powerful who have all made out like bandits (bandits being the oprerative phase here), I myself tend to long for the days a somewhat more protectionist American economy. Of course you may be one of those folks who've done well so clearly your mileage may vary

Re:Take it further (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354431)

I didn't see him advocate closing off international trade, just making sure there exists a domestic source of critical infrastructure by having government source domestically. We at least want enough domestic manufacturing that the experianced people get a chance to pass their knowledge on before they retire just in case we ever have to ramp up again.

Nothing in that says anyone else in the U.S. has to buy local.

Re:Take it further (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354457)

Well, keeping the capability on tap I have no problem with. If they want to keep a few research teams going and some small-scale production facilities around, I won't argue with that. But we're talking about some large departments with hundreds of millions a year in IT requirements. Those costs could easily double or triple -- and when we start talking about billions of dollars instead of millions, there's a noticable economic impact.

We don't need to tie fear-mongering about chinese espionage into this initiative. If that's the reason, it can stand on its own merits, but we need to keep the costs down. That's all I'm interested in as a taxpayer -- don't buy premium when regular will do is all.

Re:Take it further (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353739)

Any government contract should be fulfilled with domestically sourced and manufactured parts whenever possible. If we can make it here, we should. If you want to create/protect jobs, it starts by keeping the money in the country as much as possible.

Any government contract should be fulfilled with the best quality product at the agreed-upon price whenever possible. Those are my tax dollars buying those things... I don't want to pay a premium because of your political values. And paying more for a a product or service doesn't create or protect jobs. If I pay $2 for a $1 candybar at the gas station, it doesn't mean the gas station attendant gets paid more; Even if everybody overpays, it still doesn't create new jobs. Jobs are created based on labor needs, which are related, but not causally linked, to price (and by extension, supply and demand).

And keeping money in the country as much as possible is an equally naive thing to strive for... money is just a financial instrument. It's a tool to enable the trade of goods and services. And any economist will tell you trade creates wealth, by the simple fact that as long as both parties are willing, they're both getting something they want. That means both parties are better off. Restricting international trade means that people in this country now have fewer choices and opportunities for trade... they are less wealthy because of that decision.

The United States became an economic superpower because it has steadfastly refused to take up the ideology you're preaching: The restriction of international trade, closing of our borders, and producing everything internally. This is what Japan tried to do up until WWI, and thanks to us kicking in the door on their isolationist policies, they went from a feudalistic agricultural society to a modern economic power in the scant space of fifty years.

Opening your economy to international trade provides enormous benefit to the domestic population -- provided that it is done with respect to maximizing trade for all citizens, not just the few and the wealthy.

Re:Take it further (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353857)

And any economist will tell you trade creates wealth

What they'll actually do is cite a simplistic theory that claims that. Empirical verification is another story. But even the simplistic theory only holds under a very restrictive set of assumptions, like balanced trade. We haven't had balanced trade in 30 years.

The United States became an economic superpower because it has steadfastly refused to take up the ideology you're preaching

You're joking, right? Throughout most of its history the US was famous for its high tariff barriers, including the period when we became the world's foremost industrial power. Turns out Al Hamilton was a pretty smart guy.

Re:Take it further (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353931)

What they'll actually do is cite a simplistic theory that claims that. Empirical verification is another story. But even the simplistic theory only holds under a very restrictive set of assumptions, like balanced trade. We haven't had balanced trade in 30 years.

There is only one restriction: It must be voluntary. If you accept that "restriction", then Trade creates wealth [economicthinking.org] . It's always beneficial, provided it's voluntary. This isn't an assumption, and it doesn't require "balanced trade" (whatever the hell that is). It's simple, common sense.

ou're joking, right? Throughout most of its history the US was famous for its high tariff barriers, including the period when we became the world's foremost industrial power. Turns out Al Hamilton was a pretty smart guy.

High tariff barriers is one of the causes of the Great Depression [wikipedia.org] . Economists throughout the country begged and pleaded with Congress not to do it. A few years later... our economy collapsed. Also, Al Hamilton is a canadian hockey player.

Re:Take it further (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354335)

There is only one restriction: It must be voluntary. If you accept that "restriction", then Trade creates wealth [economicthinking.org] . It's always beneficial, provided it's voluntary. This isn't an assumption

No, its an assertion. And the cite you used to back it up is nothing more than a series of assertions, without real argument, theory or evidence. If you say something often enough, does that make it true?

and it doesn't require "balanced trade" (whatever the hell that is)

Please tell me you're joking when you claim not to know what balanced trade is, or why it matters. And here's a hint: almost every economist working on trade, from Ricardo on, has in their theories assumed that trade is balanced. Remove that assumption and most of the theories are invalid.

It's simple, common sense.

Ah, the last bastion of those without real arguments. It's common sense that the world is flat, it's common sense that heavier objects fall faster, it's common sense that light, being a wave, must travel through a medium like the aether.

But the great irony is that the main argument for international trade, comparative advantage, violates "common sense", and has long been noted as such. By insisting on "common sense", you destroy the most powerful argument for trade!

High tariff barriers is one of the causes of the Great Depression. ... A few years [after Smoot-Hawley] ... our economy collapsed.

Bad history. Our economy collapsed in 1929. Smoot-Hawley was passed in 1930.

Now Smoot-Hawley probably exacerbated the Great Depression, and was a bad idea. So why don't you tell China to drop its tariff barriers and domestic purchasing requirements, which are much greater than ours.

You're missing the real story about tariffs and the Great Depression though. Our tariffs prior to Smoot-Hawley were still very high, which prevented European countries from exporting to us and using the revenue to pay off their WWI debts to us. Hence our trade surplus was a major factor in the banking crisis that started in Europe. Hmmm, large creditor country helps to wreck the world economy by insisting, by whatever means necessary, on maintaining a trade surplus. That was America in the 1920's ... and China today.

Also, Al Hamilton is a canadian hockey player.

If I gave a rat's ass about Canadian hockey players, I'd complain about him stealing the name of our first Secretary of the Treasury. You know, the one whose policies (including high tariffs) helped make the US the greatest industrial economy in the world for many years, instead of an agricultural backwater.

Re:Take it further (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354337)

"High tariff barriers is one of the causes of the Great Depression [wikipedia.org]. Economists throughout the country begged and pleaded with Congress not to do it."

The US imposed tariffs against everybody, including say Canada and UK during the Depression. Nobody is proposing that now. Why isn't there a US-UK free trade agreement? And then, capital didn't move entire technological processes to other nations---that is not a win-win, it is a win-lose.

China has lowered its currency artificially, causing imports to be more expensive and exports less expensive, the same economic result as a tariff. How has that hurt their economy? Where are the Smoot-Hawley theorists on that one.

Re:Take it further (1)

ThosLives (686517) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353891)

And any economist will tell you trade creates wealth, by the simple fact that as long as both parties are willing, they're both getting something they want.

Not any economist I know!

Wealth is exactly constant during a trade. Now, value may increase (if it's a good trade), but wealth is constant. Wealth is only created by manufacturing and agriculture. Wealth is destroyed by consumption and decay (or active destructive activity like demolition, or disaters).

More trade may encourage the creation of new wealth, but it most definitely does not create it directly.

Re:Take it further (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354227)

You seem to think that "wealth" is only material things like manufacturing and agriculture. You're a complete fucking idiot.

No, wealth is not constant. Wealth is predicated on value you fucking moron, whether that value is in material things or valuable services.

In a town full of fat lazy people who all own widgets, a man who carries people on his back down the street is creating more ~wealth~ than a man who makes widgets.

You are an idiot.

     

Re:Take it further (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353963)

Opening your economy to international trade provides enormous benefit to the domestic population -- provided that it is done with respect to maximizing trade for all citizens, not just the few and the wealthy.

And this is where it has failed. What have we gained by shipping electronic manufacturing overseas? People can buy a new phone or tablet or laptop every year for about $50-100 cheaper than if it were made here. But what have we given up? Tens of thousands of jobs, if not more that would have been generated by those factories: the construction to build the factories/houses/buildings, the workers to run the factories, the technicians to maintain the electronics and machinery in the factories (and the industries to make that machinery), the transportation(air, rail, and road) needed to move the supplies and the finished product. Require electronics used for government contracts to be made here, and all of this could come back to the country, since in all likelihood to maintain profitability these companies would have to expand into consumer products as well (at least the manufacturing ones would). Would the country not be better off with all these jobs, for the trade-off that you might have to work for an extra month to buy that new laptop, or wait one more year to get a new phone?

And the US became an economic powerhouse simply because it had the fortune of access to a large amount of natural resources and it avoided playing host to very destructive wars such as WWI and WWII(yes, I know, the Civil War, but the US was far from an economic powerhouse then). The US became the powerhouse because no other state was capable, and we were able to mobilize our workforce to massively increase industry during and after WWII. And remember, the US was largely isolationist during the interwar period.

Re:Take it further (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354121)

Apparently you didn't get the memo... A) Government opens contract B) Corporation X with help of lobbyist gets contract C) Corporation X lobbies further to allow it to outsource work to the lowest international bidder ensuring the highest possible profit margin so Corporation X can keep a really impressive stable of lobbyists. D) One more "for sale" representative funds their next campaign war chest.

Our government hasn't been protecting American Jobs for some time now. As for keeping money in the country... HAHAHAHAHAAHHHAHAAHHAAH... whew, that was really good. You have an awesome future in stand up. The only up side here is that we're wearing a dynamite vest and there's no place China can go that they won't be killed by the economic blast too. Top o the World MA!!! BOOM!!!

Betteridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353565)

Well, Betteridge's Law of Headlines says "no"...

An exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353567)

This is an exception Betteridge's law of headlines, which only applies when the question is not mindbendingly stupid.

Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353595)

New federal restrictions now preclude four U.S. agencies from buying information-technology (IT) systems from manufacturers 'owned, directed or subsidized by the People's Republic of China.'

Besides violating over a dozen international treaties, and you basically can't buy a computer without having at least some of its parts source, assembled, or otherwise passing through China, there's also the problem that due to a long two hundred plus year history of using this labor-saving device known as chinese people to build our railroads, infrastructure, factories, etc., we don't have much in the way of domestic production capabilities for many of the major components of modern IT systems. Simply put, you've doomed those four agencies to exorbinant costs and auditing control measures to address an unsubstantiated claim that there may be espionage/surveillance capability built into some devices.

And let me be clear: No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof that any product made in China for commercial resale has these capabilities built into it at the direction of the Government. In fact, no such capability has been discovered yet from which to raise this question.

The economic and political rammifications of this are being glossed over -- this action doesn't just affect our relationship with China, but with any country we do business with, because they signed the same treaties, and now they're looking at our unilateral action and thinking: What makes us think the US won't renege on their deal with us?

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353689)

^^ This post was paid for by the People republic of China

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353713)

No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof that any product made in China for commercial resale has these capabilities built into it at the direction of the Government.

There's no conclusive proof that voting machines are rigged [slashdot.org] , ether. Should we guard against both, or one but not the other, or neither?

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353769)

We should definitely guard against ether!

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353735)

hahahahaha.
*pause for breath*
hahahahaha

Are you really that naive? They do it to us and we do it to them.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (4, Informative)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353759)

Depends on what you mean by conclusive, but there's a motive and there's a capability. For the capability part, see:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/05/backdoor_found.html [schneier.com]

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353835)

Depends on what you mean by conclusive, but there's a motive and there's a capability.

The motive is specious at best. China's economy is growing at 7.8% annually, and while its slowing down, that's still beating the snot out of our 2.2% rate. And the purchasing power of both the US and China are comparable -- about $12 trillion USD. China's economy depends heavily on international trade, and the major buyer of Chinese goods is the United States, clocking in at 17.1% of it's total export capacity. Screwing up trading with its biggest partner would cause them an unacceptable level of economic crisis, and quite possibly destabilize global markets as well. China may not like the United States, but it's not about to shoot itself and the rest of the world in the head.

As for capability, as Schneier points out in his own article, the majority of IT systems, commercial, industrial, residential, all have backdoors in them. It shouldn't be a surprise that military IT equipment also has some. And as he later points out, this may have simply been put in to assist in debugging; As so many backdoors are often created with that specific purpose in mind.

All I'm saying here is that the arguments being made by the intelligence committee are specious. I'm not saying they're meritless, but that they fall well short of conclusive, and barely meet the standard for suspicious.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354265)

Any backdoors that are hidden and not disclosed to the customer should be treated as malicious.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354273)

... And China's inflation rate is climbing, with food costs up about 6% since last year. Much as it's nice to tout blistering GDP growth, it carries significant inflationary risk. The more important question: "Can or should governments aim for perpetual economic growth?"

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353771)

Some of us are old enough to remember the last DRAM tariff war back in the 1998. It wasn't pretty.
http://www.electronicsweekly.com/articles/05/03/1998/6626/us-tariffs-placed-on-korean-drams.htm

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353799)

Besides violating over a dozen international treaties

Which would be so awful because China always honors its treaty obligations. Oh, except for not having a convertible currency, even years after they were obligated to by treaty, and manipulating their currency, and having illegal tariffs of as much as 35% on car parts (not to mention many other things), and ...

The first couple of times you don't retaliate you're taking the high road. After that you're just being a chump.

due to a long two hundred plus year history of using this labor-saving device known as chinese people to build our railroads, infrastructure, factories, etc., we don't have much in the way of domestic production capabilities for many of the major components of modern IT systems

Wow, talk about confused history. Those Chinese people building our railroads were called immigrants, hence that production was domestic. As incredibly hard working as those people were, I don't think they spent much time building IT equipment. However, many of their descendants did, but they're now getting screwed just like other American citizens.

And let me be clear: No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof that any product made in China for commercial resale has these capabilities built into it at the direction of the Government.

Good point. Never take precautions. Here in NY we've decided not to prepare for another hurricane because we have no proof that another one will occur.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353831)

you basically can't buy a computer without having at least some of its parts source, assembled, or otherwise passing through China

For really top secret stuff, you can, they should, and they do. It goes as far as getting the NSA its own chip fabrication facility at ft. meade. Do you want to work there? [nsa.gov]

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (3, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353907)

Besides violating over a dozen international treaties

[Citation needed]

I suspect the treaty situation isn't anywhere near as clear cut as that. Those agreements are riddled with exceptions.

Besides, every single one of those treaties, like our Constitution, is not a suicide pact. The President has said "national security" and every one of those documents is trumped. If We The People don't like it we can, through our Representatives, impeach, amend the constitution or march on Washington with pitchforks.

I predict none of those things is going to happen.

And let me be clear: No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof

Not relevant. We need not wait until we're exploited by Chinese hardware to justify our actions. We have at least two good reasons to anticipate hostile intent. First, we already know we're dealing with a government that is actively attacking [guardian.co.uk] our IT systems. Second, we've done the same [wikipedia.org] to others.

The economic and political rammifications of this are being glossed over -- this action doesn't just affect our relationship with China, but with any country we do business with, because they signed the same treaties, and now they're looking at our unilateral action and thinking: What makes us think the US won't renege on their deal with us?

You have as your premise some deep respect for all these treaties and agreements. I believe most of these documents, particularly the trade agreements, are products of narrow interests creating special conditions for their exclusive benefit. I believe most of them amount to throwing open the ports and hobbling the port authorities to flood the US with stuff from places with no EPA, OSHA, NLRB, IRS, etc. I do not share your reverence for that crap.

As for the economic consequences; we've managed to survive and prosper without running our government on Huawei gear. I predict we can continue to afford to do without it.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353945)

The Chinese were creating backdoored bootleg Cisco gear. I would surmise that violates a few international treaties and is justification for taking protective measures.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354053)

Sorry, it is substantiated.............decision was not made in a vacuum.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354099)

And let me be clear: No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof that any product made in China for commercial resale has these capabilities built into it at the direction of the Government. In fact, no such capability has been discovered yet from which to raise this question.

That's nice.

Now let me be clear.

We've gone to war over a hell of a lot less.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354377)

And let me be clear: No government or private agency has come forward with conclusive proof that any product made in China for commercial resale has these capabilities built into it at the direction of the Government

Because such information would not be classified, right? The US government would immediately run to the media to announce all the classified information that had been stolen by "special features" in Chinese hardware.

Re:Full Retard Mode Activate! (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354443)

there's also the problem that due to a long two hundred plus year history of using this labor-saving device known as chinese people to build our railroads, infrastructure, factories, etc., we don't have much in the way of domestic production capabilities for many of the major components of modern IT systems.

Not a problem; we'll just settle our differences with Kim Jong-un and have the computers made in Kaesong, where labor is even cheaper.

Yes, definitely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353601)

I've seen some odd behavior with ZTE equipment that can't be explained away by bugs. My answer is yes.

Re:Yes, definitely (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353829)

I've seen some odd behavior with ZTE equipment that can't be explained away by bugs.

Wow, that is so vague, unattributed, based wildly on guesswork and almost impossible to prove that it just must be true!

This will probably be my second shortest ever post (5, Interesting)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353625)

Yes

Why is this even a question. (1)

Harkin (1951724) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353627)

Security aside, lets send our tax dollars to Chinese companies? Sure it saves the government a buck but saving money isn't the governments job. In fact one might argue its primary job is spending our tax dollars in ways that stimulate the development of domestic technology and jobs. The problem is, almost all the money goes to the Chinese anyway because most of the components are manufactured there. In the end both systems subsidize their domestic production, just here Uncle Sam demands something in return.

I would rather they enforce auditability (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353657)

I would rather they insist that any such equipment bought by the US government be open and fully independently auditable. I think they would do a lot better for everybody if they simply made that a standard requirement of the procurement process.

Though, I can also well understand the paranoia. The US government has done the exact same thing to security equipment sold to other countries that they are now worried about China doing to us. They should be worried about that.

Re:I would rather they enforce auditability (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353847)

It's hardware. Unless you put every single chip (not just samples) under a microscope, it doesn't matter what the software says. Unconvinced? See Stuxnet for an example of what software alone can do. Also: if I were in the PRC hierarchy, I wouldn't use any US-built stuff for sensitive projects. Of course all governments do this. So what?

Re:I would rather they enforce auditability (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354235)

*nod* Point taken about it being hardware. You're right.

What would Sun Tzu do? (2)

glrotate (300695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353683)

'Nuff said.

Re:What would Sun Tzu do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354131)

Get to the battle field first, knock out the communications, and obliterate the enemy.

What comes around ... goes to hell (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353719)

Sure put-down the Chi.com spy network and drive the bastards into the sea.  You wanted cosmopolitan law so you get rape, muggerville.INC  and  CDS theft of the commone. You wanted the Bantu, so ya got, Oakland, Detroit, EastLa & Harlem. You wanted  faagboyz so you got AIDS and NAMBLA and  sniggering BFrank.  You wanted the slants so ..... get the drift hosers? Slap it down while you still can ... slap it down hard!

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353837)

This would be interpreted by some statist *MORONS* that the free market isn't able to filter out this kind of thing. We need to simply let the market do its thing and we will end up in a MUCH better position than if we allowed the government to interfere.

Good luck finding a Chinese free one! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353949)

The bios is manufactored, programmed, designed, and all made in China.

I would not be surprised if they have a backdoor to spy or be disabled. We know all our cell phones have this and can record everything with a secret code and the US government is in on that one. It has been posted on slashdot before as they are perfect spy devices for any citizen. It makes sense China would want the same.

Even the new Lenovo assembled PCs in the US are probably made in China. WIth firmware on all our weapons and planes China would love to disable our whole military in a blink of an eye if something like a conflict in Korea ever happened. The power is too incredible to ignore and CEOs to eager to comply to meet shareholder expectations and get their bonus.

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353981)

Surely people of Chinese origin are suspect too. Some form of internment camp is required.

The real question is.... (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354117)

The real question is should our government buy counterfeit military replacement parts from China [cnn.com] ?

Until we as a people decide that our national security depends on our manufacturing base and manufacturing capability then what difference does it make? It's all coming from China no matter how you look at it. The subcontractor of my subcontractor of my subcontractor is Chairman Mao. And when you play in a commodity market, the lowest bidding supplier with a stolen formula for capacitors wins [guardian.co.uk] as in the case of Dell.

No problem, really.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354147)

It's a plot!

pappy always said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354281)

Pappy always said "never trust Republicans, China-men, or strippers named Starr."

Also Israel produced parts/services as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354369)

Lets not forget Israel sourced parts and services as well. A strong country needs to be able to source its own components and people.

There is a simple answer (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354407)

Surely the best thing to do would be to mandate the inclusion of the source code to the firmware with any government contract, and provide the ability to upload your own firmware image so you can ensure what you see in the code is what you are running.

Yes, I realise that this comes from a particular ideology that would be against the business interests of the hardware manufacturers. And while this wouldn't necessarily mean the firmware would be provided in an open source format to non-government users, it might make it more likely that they would do it.

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