National Security Concerns Raised Over Huawei Technology Used by Telus, Bell and WIND

Some recent concerns have been raised by the former head of U.S. counter-espionage, Michelle K. Van Cleave (he worked for the Bush administration until 2006), over the use of Chinese company Huawei Technology by Canadian carriers Telus, Bell and WIND, reports the CBC. Van Cleave believes North American security is at risk due to the Harper Government allowing and encouraging the use of Chinese telecommunications technology.

Currently, the LTE networks built up by Telus and Bell utilize Huawei hardware across Canada. WIND’s network was built by Huewei and currently sell their cellphones. Could the use of this technology compromise our national security and allow for spying? Van Cleave believes so, in an interview with the CBC:

Van Cleave says the intelligence community fears digital “back doors” could be hidden in the telecommunications networks, allowing spies to steal American and Canadian secrets and ultimately disrupt everything from public utilities to military operations in the event of international conflict.

It was revealed last month Public Safety Canada warned foreign telecom ownership is a ‘considerable risk’. It was only last year the Federal Government was target in a cyber attack originating from China, that compromised computers within the Finance, Treasury Board and Defence Research departments. The CBC obtained documents that revealed hackers stole large amounts of classified data before the systems were taken offline.

Currently, the U.S. and Australia has barred Huawei from bidding on major telecom contracts in their respective countries, on the notion the Chinese firm poses a potential security threat. Some have accused Huawei of being engaged in espionage for the Chinese government, which the company has denied.

What’s your take? Are we being paranoid or is this something we should take seriously?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • I hope they snoope on my sexting !!  should be entertaining for them ! 

  • LOL

  • This is a fairly valid concern. And any country, friend or foe, that is given the opportunity to spy on another will do so. Back a while ago when I was tasked with assisting the evaluation of telecom equipment for the military, about to be purchased from a private company in an *ally* country, we found a backdoor that  would make unencrypted data streams available to anyone who knew where to look, due to a “manufacturing defect”.

  • Protectionist BS in my opinion.  Canadian carriers have a responsibility to make sure that the equipment is safe for use and that includes testing for things like back doors and security vulnerabilities.  If they fail to do that, then the blame lies with them.

    The carriers here will be deploying tested hardware and firmware.. it’s no different than buying the parts from Lucent or Nokia which are both foreign companies.As always the real concern is that our government will spy on us so I’m less concerned about the chance that the Chinese will.

  • JMCD23

    Paranoid neo-conservatism at its finest. I understand the concern with having foreign ownership, but hardware? The onus for that safety is on the carrier, just like the carrier should have a secure network.

  • xxJDxx

    Seems like it could be a concern. I’m not sure if people fully realize the situation with China’s oil demand and the worlds limited supply (mostly US controlled)..I wouldn’t be surprised if things reached a tipping point soon. 

  • like Lois said I didn’t even know that people can earn $8421 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this page ===>> ?????? makecash-home.blogspot.com

  • Londonfish

    I am Chinese but not from China, and I have no good impression about any communist country or government.

  • Hbear_r6

    Dear liberal / NDP communist lovers;

    China is our next enemy. We trade with them, give them money, give them our technology to build. Our workers are suffering with high taxes and diminished expertise in manufacturing. This is what you wanted with the re-distribution of wealth to the world. Now its here…this is what you wanted.  
    My opinion is stop giving our tech to china, india, or any other potential enemy state. 

    The only good commie is a dead commie…

  • Joeblow

    This is crap. There was a 20/20 story and damn near all the chips used in everything has this potential for spying.

  • TomCrown

    We are in a huge trade imbalance with China and have been for years. The telcos could give a shit about a secure network as long as it works and they can get cheap components and the profits keep rolling in.

    I don’t see any Canadian tech companies able to compete freely in China without Chinese minority control.

    The Chinese market is the poster child for a protectionist market all the while claiming ownership of Taiwan, Philipenes, and any place else they see as strategic.

    Canada should be trying to nurture more companies like Nortel and our own satellite industries to create jobs instead of opening up critical infrastructure to Chinese Government control.

  • Someone

    Perhaps it’s not immediately clear how insidious a backdoor or vulnerability can be to most people. The reality is that it is relatively straightforward to have a mechanism to facilitate Cyber Warfare that is only apparent once it has been activated. Think sleeper-cell. Until that point it is completely invisible. So, a company could test and test and happily pass the hardware as not having any suspicious or harmful capabilities, only to have those capabilities activated when needed. 
    So, is it reasonable to have paranoia of a state that has demonstrated itself as aggressive and exhibits disdain towards free societies? You bet it is.

  • Eric Godwin

    Canada buys equipment all the time from our friends south of the border and they’re a government with a long history of espionage, manipulation and aggressive disdain towards free societies… If we aim to convince the world to engage in free trade then we need to mean bilateral free trade, not buy-American but we won’t buy from you.

  • Someone

    Good redirection there. But the US is an ally. All they need to do is ask to get any info they want.  

  • If you are not from China then you are not Chinese.
    You heritage might be, but you are a product of the country you were born in.

  • Truth

  • Jack

    Really? China….? A totalitarian government with an agenda of it’s own? It’s kind of obvious that an autocratic country with such greedy interests of it’s own, and control over its own, not to mention it’s long history of government manipulation and propaganda, should have no part of our country .  Why don’t we just give this monopolizing giant control over our newspapers and radio’s as well; while we are at it, we should allow them to buy up our land too…. Oh wait! That is already happening. Is our beloved Canada so passive that we can’t even see China’s obvious attempts to immigrate, overpopulate and  monopolize our own country? It sickens me to see the greed of business people, and government, who will bend over backwards to sell our country right down the drain, in exchange for their own betterment.