On Wednesday GCSB chief Andrew Hampton told a Select Committee there was absolutely “no pressure” publicly or privately on his decision to block Huawei. On Thursday US Secretary of State Pompeo publicly warned that “United States would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei Technologies Co Ltd systems.” What a difference a day makes.
Hampton said on Wednesday
“My decision was independent from ministers and while we share intelligence with Five Eyes partners, there was no pressure, request or demands made by partners, either publicly or privately, to ban any vendor,” he said.
Pompeo was interviewed on Fox Business News by Maria Bartiromo. The FiveSpies partners had been mentioned explicitly when Pompeo made the above remark. Pompeo also said that the US had been warning partners around the world for some months about Huawei. Hampton must have been out of the office the day the US called “some months” ago.
Bernard at MoonofAlabama has a good discussion of the issues. His view is that the real issue for the US is that it is behind in the development of the technology, and the security issues are a cover for their attempts to block Huawei. He concludes:
If “the west” delays 5G deployment while China implements it, Chinese companies will have the time advantage to create the products which will run on top of the new global communication layer. It would allow China to incubate the next Google and Amazon like giants before other countries can even test the basic technology. That is the very reason why European countries do not follow the U.S. lead.
It was short term thinking that let the U.S. drop the ball on next generation telecommunications. If it wants to regain the lead it will have to change that attitude.
You do have to wonder if we really need FiveSpies in the internet age when we are all under surveillance.