I keep up on world events and it’s drawn my attention that Germany will soon be deciding what path to take regarding the degree to which Huawei building it’s 5G infrastructure. I would suggest it is in the best interest of Germany, the United States and much of the world that Huawei not be trusted to build the networks our governments and corporations use to share information. The best way to mitigate this sort of espionage risk is to avoid Huawei telecommunications gear entirely.
Huawei has for some time been criticized for being under control of the CCP and recently the Pentagon let it be known to the public that the PLA controls Huawei. Any party Germany works with is exposed to having its corporate and government secrets handed over to China if Germany allows their information to pass through Huawei telecommunications gear. I personally know someone who’s company had their product and brand itself counterfeited in China. Corporate espionage facilitated by China accounts for hundreds of billions in IP theft a year. At the same time other government targets of spying suffer similar fates with costs being hard to measure.
It is said that depending on the state, dropping Huawei could cost a couple billion and China is also threatening retaliation. Most of us are seeing that every year the carrots China’s offering shrink and the stick gets bigger. That makes a tough choice, but those costs must be compared to the ongoing risks Huawei would pose. Germany would be one of the last big players to stand up to the CCP and Huawei, benefitting them and those who share information with. Their approach could be a model for other states to follow as well.
Some say the US has similar capabilities as China, but it’s China that is actively using these tools to steal IP. As far as other forms of spying, every country engages in espionage and every country has the prerogative to resist it. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE, the parent company of Insider Inc. recently compared trusting the US verses China as choosing between an imperfect democracy or a perfect dictatorship.
Taking a step back from this specific issue, China does not allow their people representation in government, free speech, and distrusts them to the point of coupling extensive censorship with propaganda. The rest of the world is finding out the CCP does not intend to treat us with any more regard than their own people, engaging in numerous grey zone activities. Huawei isn’t alone the most serious issue in the world, but when combined by the other behaviors and capabilities China has been developing recently it is more than troubling.
If Germany chooses to stand up to Huawei and the CCP I am confident it would be in everyone’s best interest