US Senator Mark Warner believes that Chinese companies will be required [by their government] to help monitor the United States, especially as 5G networks become available.
Senator Mark Warner Calls For “Grand Alliance” Against China’s Tech Dominance
In technology policy, Senator Mark Warner (Democrat elected in the State of Virginia), deputy chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is clearly concerned about the power of China, and in particular the confidence that ‘We can grant to the main Chinese technology suppliers. He is also worried about the influence that this country could exert on the development of global 5G networks. “It is not the Chinese people, but it is the President and the Chinese Communist Party that cause me concern. I do not want a return to any cold war between the United States and China, “said the former businessman this week – he made his fortune in telecommunications – during a round table organized during the second annual Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cybersecurity Summit. “I would say that the Chinese people do not want this regime either. Look at what’s happening on the streets of Hong Kong, ”he added. “The kind of state surveillance that China exercises over its tech companies has gone far beyond the fiction of George Orwell.”
Warner is very concerned about China’s cybersecurity and surveillance threat, but also about the industrial policies the government has adopted to take over telecommunications and technology markets around the world. In particular, the giant Huawei worries Senator Warner, because he fears that the supplier will install backdoors in his equipment to spy on his competitors. “But today, the question is not whether or not there is a backdoor in Chinese solutions. It’s the equipment of Huawei itself that is a challenge, “said Mark Warner. On that day, the Chinese company was pleading before the Texas East District Court the unconstitutionality of a law prohibiting it from doing business with US government agencies.
5G networks, gateway to malware
“But the notion of a 5G network, which introduces a decentralized switch and involves more software on the edge, means that once you have deployed a 5G network, you will need to apply large numbers of software updates. And even if the equipment is safe today, you cannot prevent the government and the Chinese Communist Party from asking Huawei in six months to “send malware on these networks”. Aside from this threat to cybersecurity, Senator Warner is also concerned about the change in geopolitical balance in the technological arena. In the past, the United States had, if not total control, at least a strong political influence over the way global networks were built. “We have never faced such a threat,” he said. “Even at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union never had a technological advantage over the United States. And if they had technology, they didn’t try to sell it to the rest of the world. ”
In cyberspace, 5G, quantum computing and other advanced technologies, “China’s goal is to become the technology leader, to establish rules, protocols and standards. They have seized this kind of technological development and they are trying to export it, “said Mr. Warner. “Most of the technological innovations created in the past six or seven decades have been either in America or in the rest of the West in general. Even though these innovations were created outside of America, it is in the United States, because it is the largest country, that the role of establishing standards and protocols, rules of conduct and the rest of the world has sort of accepted this basic concept. ”
Helping American telcos get rid of Huawei
Meanwhile, two recent actions by the administration have forced small, often rural operators to replace their Huawei equipment (often cheaper than other suppliers), depriving them of resources. A White House decree has banned Chinese telecommunications companies, including Huawei, from selling equipment to American companies. The Commerce Department added Huawei to a “list of entities” limiting the way US companies can trade with certain foreign entities.
For its part, the CISA tried to help small telecommunications companies to get rid of Huawei equipment in their networks. “Rural operators may have been a bit caught off guard and, in some cases, the operators were quite unkind to the Chinese components,” said Christopher Krebs, director of CISA, at the roundtable. One of the main objectives is to raise awareness among small telephone operators of the risk of these components, and of the fact that “if they operate in a strategic sector which interests China, then they are also a target”, a added the director of CISA.
Senator Warner has been a big proponent of a law called the United States 5G Leadership Act of 2019, which would give rural telephone operators up to $ 700 million to remove and replace Huawei technology in their networks. At the CISA summit, Warner said during a question and answer session with reporters that the $ 700 million may not be enough to allow small operators to replace this equipment. “I am not sure it will be enough,” he said.
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