Cybsersecurity — NSA and Huawei — Just National Security?

     NSA hacked into the servers and network equipment of Huawei, the private Chinese telecom firm, to determine its ties to Beijing and to exploit those networks and equipment when purchased by third countries or companies in those countries. Isn’t this the mirror image of our reasons to keep Huawei out of the U.S. and to deny them the right to direct investment under CFIUS? 
     The U.S. government does not want U.S. telecom firms to buy Huawei equipment because it fears they might be used to compromise U.S. networks and to gain access to U.S. government information. Huawei has been shut out of the U.S. market. It is now the second largest supplier of wireless gear in the world. It is second only to Cisco Systems. NSA snooping into Huawei’s produced equipment must be giving foreign buyers some serious concerns.
     I wonder to what extent plain old considerations of international commercial competitiveness is behind this latest action by the NSA and not just legitimate political and national security concerns.
    This is a fair question since the NSA always argues that its actions are only for national security and not for the commercial advantage of the U.S. or a particular U.S. firm. Don’t think China is buying this argument.
….    “U.S. Briefs China on Cybersecurity Policies.” New York Times (April 7, 2014).
……  “NSA Breach Chinese Servers.” New York Times (March 23, 2014).
…… “NSA Accused of Breaching Networks.” Financial Times (March 24, 2014).
…… “Cheap and Now Ubiquitous: Huawei.” Wall Street Journal (March 25, 2014).
…… “Cyberwarfare Force will Grow Significantly.” Washington Post (March 29, 2014).
……  Malawer, “Cyberwarfare — Law and Proposals.” (2010).


About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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