The Huawei controversy

Mahmudur Rahman | Published: April 17, 2019 21:09:56 | Updated: April 22, 2019 21:05:42

-Reuters file photo

According to experts, Chinese tech giant Huawei is some 15 years ahead of its traditional rivals in the world of technology. This makes it the preferred partner for nations for introducing 5G networks. Whether it's sheer jealousy or otherwise, a United States-led tirade has led Huawei to lose some lucrative 5G commercial contracts from the United Kingdom and Australia, to name a few. The loss of contracts was fuelled by allegations that the technology will allow the Chinese to eavesdrop on all communications. This will result in a slowdown for 5G rollout.

What is not being talked about is that whichever company introduces the fastest and most robust technology will have the same potential. For some reason, this is not a concern.

Huawei's owner had to say publicly that he would rather shut down the company than allow for secrets to be made available through his company's technology. This is a far-cry from Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook that admitted defeat in protecting privacy details. That Facebook is not being banned unlike Huawei is a travesty of justice. This again proves that the fear of Eastern technological companies can outstrip the West's advancement in the sector is real. That two of the world's four countries that now have the technology and ability to take out threatening satellites are Asian is not a matter of controversy. Given that such communication is first made available to the military is what has led to the ire. In other words, the worry stems from military superiority. Otherwise Siemens would have been blacklisted years ago.

Huawei provides technology at affordable prices especially for the developing world. Something Siemens has not been able to address. This is why Huawei is the preferred vendor. But the US' insistence about blocking such deals bares its intentions of putting America first at the cost of others.

Such steps will prove to be successful for Mr. Donald Trump during his election campaign. But this will put the USA behind in the race for updated technology.

Experts and analysts maybe picking holes in the technology to highlight the risks but then when was technology ever foolproof? It has been revealed recently that groups of people are listening in to conversations through Amazon's Alexa, another violation of privacy. But again there are no calls for bans. The upshot is that for all the assurance too much private data is out there on the ether and alarmingly on some server somewhere. That is what was kept from us, the public, for quite some time till the truth was revealed by some hackers.

The choice for all is simple. Privacy laws need to be redefined so as to ensure protection and accountability from the tech giants in order to prevent data leakage. This will most likely require a new form of re-registration with proper permission based disclosure. That in turn will lead to a new business model for the technology giants. But as far as existing available data is concerned, it would be like squeezing toothpaste back in to the tube.


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