BY: ANTHONY FUREY
Another day, another bad news headline for Chinese tech giant Huawei.
On Friday, the Trump administration announced Huawei and dozens of its affiliates had been placed on a blacklist that limits its access to major U.S. suppliers.
The next step may be a full ban that restricts the sale of products like semiconductors to Huawei, which would seriously slow down their business.
President Trump is doing this for the same reason many other countries, universities and others are pausing or scaling back their ties with the firm: Because they believe it operates as a spy for the Communist government in Beijing.
The claim of Huawei spying – which the company firmly denies – is worse than that of other companies spying. The traditional idea of foreign actors spying on Western soil, the sort of stuff seen in Cold War movies and novels, is of people stealing dossiers or taking photographs of secret plans, only to send them back to the USSR or elsewhere.
The game is different now. The stakes are higher.
Major countries around the world are currently building the infrastructure for their upcoming 5G online connectivity. This is a faster and more advanced web structure than we currently enjoy. It would enable “The Internet of Things”, where all of our electronics are connected to the online world and communicate with each other. While you can already do things like adjusting your thermostat from your phone, the options will ramp up. And so will the possibilities for espionage.
If there’s a camera in your house that you can watch at all times, that means there’s a camera in your house that a hacker can get into at all times to spy on you. And if Huawei technology is in your house and if Huawei reports back to the Communists, as is alleged, then that means the global superpower seeking world domination can potentially watch you at home anytime it wants.
Trump has already said China will not gain an inch in global domination on his watch. Anyone who believes that Western liberal democracy is superior to Chinese Communism should applaud this and join the U.S. in its efforts.
You’d think Canada would be front and centre in all of this, given how much of a rough ride we’ve received at the hands of Beijing in recent months. They continue to turn the screws on us over the lawful detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, including banning our canola and pork products and arresting two high-profile Canadians on dubious charges.
The time to ban Huawei from our 5G grid is sooner than later.
Yet Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and other members of the Liberal cabinet keep talking about taking their time on a typical security review as if this is business as usual. It’s not. And their reluctance to make the obvious decision makes it appear that they’re open to caving from lobbying pressure from Huawei and China.
With all that’s going on in this file, and the disproportionate way Canada is taking the hits on it, you’d think we’d be leading with our response. Instead, we’re laggards.