China, communications networks, Congress, domestic surveillance, foreign surveillance, Huawei, international relations, international trade, national security threat, politics, spying, surveillance, us congress
Most of you may have never heard of Huawei which is a china based communications company who’s equipment connects one third of the world’s population and is the worlds second largest network equipment producer. But the US Congress has heard of them, in fact Congress believes Huawei to be a national security threat and has banned the sale of their phones in the US.
Now let’s just stop and think about this. The US Congress is perfectly fine with and supports surveillance on pretty much every bit of digital data and communications that pass through the US. Congress believes it necessary to collect data on US citizens and foreign citizens if their data passes through a US server or company. This is perfectly fine to Congress. But the possibility spying without evidence or verification is sufficient to close off the US market from a foreign company.
As hypocritical as that position sounds it is not surprising at all. Overall humans judge the behavior of others through the lens of their own behavior. Our own behavior is the basic reference point by which we evaluate others since we are most familiar with our own behavior. So all humans have a strong tendency to think that others are like them. That means that those who are honest tend to believe others are honest; those that cheat believe most others cheat; and those that spy believe others are spying too. With a Congress so intent on spying on everybody it is not surprising that they are very cognizant of the possibility of spying. For that reason Congress is wary of Huawei operating in the US.
But what is next? Anymore many electronic devices utilize connections with communications networks or the internet; most device also contain software that could be programmed for spying. So are we going to start banning all foreign electronic devices that could potentially spy on the US? You know your iPhone may have been produced in China, what is to stop them from adding a little bit to it in order to spy on us? What about your laptop? It probably has a built in camera, a wifi connection and software to hide some spyware in, should we ban foreign produced computers and laptops? How about your car? What is to stop Toyota from spying on you while you drive to work? We have OnStar which can listen to you in the car and control some functions of your car. So should we ban foreign produced cars? How about products produced in America by foreign companies? All of the spyware could have been designed overseas then assembled here in the US. Maybe we should ban all foreign companies from doing business in the US?
Wait? What? You think I am sounding paranoid; you think I sound like a conspiracy theorist. Well maybe I do but that is where you land if you take Congress’s logic out to it’s full extend. It heads straight to paranoia over being spied on by foreign agents through the products you buy. Though to be fair the paranoia may be justified considering we all now know that we are being spied on by the US government through the electronic devices we own and the digital services we utilize.