USA-China on the Huawei case: Europe’s embarrassment

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated clearly that the United States does not intend to release more confidential information to countries using Huawei equipment in their data networks.

An ultimatum to the European allies

Pompey told Fox Business that even the allies using the equipment of the Chinese supplier in their strategic information systems will no longer be considered fit to receive confidential information, in the fear that their equipment Can be intercepted, favouring intelligence work by the People’s Republic of China.

The declarations are obviously addressed in a particular way to the European governments which, according to the United States, should not adopt Huawei devices in their telic networks. The European reaction seems to now be marked by obvious skepticism. The German government, for example, has said that it is considering the use of telematics infrastructures produced by Huawei, and that it has not so far found elements that can suggest that the Chinese manufacturer insert systems or codes that put at risk the Data security: The European Union seems to be of the same opinion.

The United Kingdom is in turn studying the source code and the complex technical documentation provided by Huawei, and should soon report on its characteristics from the point of view of security, while having already raised observations on some Defects that it would present: It seems therefore ready to align itself with the desired Americans.

The fear of the United States is that the close ties of Huawei with the government of Beijing have pushed the colossus of computer technology to use switches and network gateways that allow Chinese intercesers to monitor the foreign networks and thus Seize national and industrial secrets.

As many countries are taking into considerations the Huawei systems to build their data transmission networks, particularly to achieve the 5G traffic coverage, the U.S. government fears that China can get to intercept and monitor the Network traffic and telecommunications around the world.

The stakes: Intercepting the World

It is quite clear that the monopoly of telecommunications interceptions at global level is in question, a monopoly that the United States has since the end of the Second World War, when they effectively organized the Ukusa network (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand), whose activity has been described in detail, for example, in the effective study by Patrick Radden Keefe on the world’s most famous interception network Echelon1.

A theme that aroused a few weeks of strong controversy in Europe, when in 2000 emerged for the first time irrefutable evidence that the United States regularly spy not only potential opponents but also their closest and most historic allies.

The current game is therefore strategically relevant in the competition between the United States and China, and it also gets to invest the North American foreign policy in critical areas, such as the situation in the Middle East: suffice it to remember that the arrest in December of the CFO of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, originated from the prosecution of its company to circumvent U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

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  1. Patrick Radden Keefe, Intercepting the world. Echelon and Global Control, 2006 []