The NSA was hacking into Huawei. Isn't Huawei owed an apology?

By Tim Worstall , written on March 24, 2014

From The News Desk

The latest revelation from the Snowden trove of papers is that the NSA had hacked into servers belonging to Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. To the point that they were able to get ahold of source code to certain of the company's products as well as the usual reams and reams of engineers' emails and so on. All of which leads to the suggestion at least that perhaps Huawei might be owed an apology?

It's Der Speigel which is running this particular set of documents here:

A special unit with the US intelligence agency succeeded in infiltrating Huwaei's network and copied a list of 1,400 customers as well as internal documents providing training to engineers on the use of Huwaei products, among other things.

According to a top secret NSA presentation, NSA workers not only succeeded in accessing the email archive, but also the secret source code of individual Huawei products. The importance of this is that it wasn't all that long ago that various here in the US were insisting that Huawei shouldn't be used as a supplier. Being, you know, foreign and Chinese and all that, no doubt their products would be riddled with backdoors and holes through which the Commie Chinese could monitor America's all important consumption of comic cat pictures.

At the time there were some of us who thought this all sounded rather more like a bit of FUD to protect the American suppliers of similar products but who can really go against the grain when the nation's in one of its national security panics?

Huawei themselves have noted this interesting point:

In a statement, Huawei spokesman Bill Plummer criticized the spying measures. "If it is true, the irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us," he said. "If such espionage has been truly conducted, then it is known that the company is independent and has no unusual ties to any government and that knowledge should be relayed publicly to put an end to an era of mis- and disinformation."
Quite, since the NSA has been playing with the source code for several years now they obviously know whether there are, or are not, any backdoors in the code. Perhaps it might be time for the NSA to make its findings known so that various politicians can either apologize or bask in the glory of being proven correct.

[Image via Cory Doctorow]