Cell phone espionage

So besides the never-ending piles of money that keeps draining out of my bank account each month because of them, what’s so dangerous about cell phones? According the the House Intelligence Committee, they could be used to spy on American citizens on behalf of the Chinese government. The Committee recently advised American companies to avoid doing business with the China-based telecom conglomerates Huawei and ZTE, the world’s second and fifth largest router manufacturers, respectively.

The basis behind this controversial ruling was the suspicion of strange equipment behavior on the part of Huawei equipment, particularly those run through the Cricket network, with a significant case in San Antonio in May of this year. Although no concrete evidence has been presented to substantiate these claims, according to Reuters, the House Intelligence Committee is claiming to have received “dozens and dozens” of calls from Huawei employees and customers reporting suspicious activity in their Huawei equipment.

The Chinese government, for their part, is outraged over what they see as outrageous and baseless accusations to one of the nation’s largest companies. Although unproven, these claims have already done damage to Huawei, whose shares fell 11 points over the weekend on the Hong Kong exchange. Additionally, both the Canadian and Australian governments have blocked bids by Huawei to build high security telecom systems in their respective countries.

In China’s command economy, it is not inconceivable that a company like Huawei could be obligated to use its products to spy on American citizens at the behest of the Chinese government. It is already known that the huge cyberattack that was launched at the US and Canadian governments in 2010 originated in China, although whether or not this attack was sanctioned by the Chinese government is unknown. In my early posts, I discussed the possibility of actual, kinetic war between the US and China. However, it seems the two nations may be starting to head down a path of more non-traditional competition, one that involves money and computers rather than tanks and bombs.

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