Pat Pilcher: US caught spying on Huawei

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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

It now appears that the NSA has admitted hacking and spying on Chinese network equipment manufacturer, Huawei.

Huawei withdrew from the US market amid accusations that it had built backdoors into American government and business computer systems.

According to the New York Times and documents provided by Edward Snowden, the NSA have been monitoring communications at Huawei's Shenzen head office since 2009 in an operation code-named "Shotgiant".

The ultimate aim of Shotgiant was to uncover links between Huawei and the People's Liberation Army. No such links are said to have been uncovered. The NSA had also planned to exploit Huawei equipment sold offshore for snooping computer networks of foreign intelligence targets.

US Intelligence community officials talk up Chinese hacking of US companies as being increasingly aggressive. US government officials differentiate between hacking and corporate theft by the Chinese for state-run businesses. These same officials also justify US hacking, saying it happens for security purposes not commercial reasons.

Their rhetoric reeks of hypocrisy. The questionable morality of hacking data networks of foreign nations does not appear to have been discussed at all. Neither is the fact that With 150,000 employees and US$38.6 billion in annual revenues, Huawei is the world's second largest network equipment maker and the biggest competitor to US-based Cisco.

Either way, the real irony is that the US are spying on Huawei, which is precisely what they feared Huawei would do in the US.

- NZ Herald

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