Is it time to dump Google?

Last week my gmail account was cancelled without notice. Why? No reason was given.

But it happened the day after the United States regime announced it had blacklisted Huawei from engaging with the United States – arbitrarily and on the basis of vague and groundless accusations. The regime has also been using ham-fisted tactics to try and stop others from working with Huawei, although this will only mean that the USA will have even fewer friends in the world.

Interestingly, a number of US companies – including Google – enthusiastically threw themselves into the fray, indicating that the US regime actively intervenes in, directs and is supported by the major tech companies in the United States. The irony is obvious: they are actively doing what the regime is accusing Huawei of doing. A Danish saying comes to mind: a thief always thinks everyone else is a thief.

However, I do not use Huawei products, although I will make sure to get some from now on. Instead, I use a Xiaomi phone and laptop, which are far better than anything you can get from Apple or Samsung or whatever. I do use Chinese systems on these items, and I do so in China and other parts of the world. (In the current situation, they are the only global products that you can use everywhere.) The only reason that I can come up with for the cancellation of my gmail is that Google is targeting all Chinese products and systems.

Let us be clear, Google is banned in China, not only because it refuses to follow Chinese law for responsible internet management, but also because it willingly hands over its big data to the privatised spy agency in the United States, the NSA. So there is no great loss to China from Google cutting off its limited engagement. But to cut off anyone who as any engagement with China is another step.

Then again, I have never been a fan of Google. I used to have its search engine on my computer, but deleted it. My gmail had only a few addresses and was used for personal matters (I do not use it in China). Google maps is a notoriously bad product and often misleading. And I do not use Facebook, Twitter or the many other useless products US companies use to mine information from their users.

But I do know that many people use Google products, whether its search engines, gmail, maps, phones (they are terrible) or even a whole Google account. It has relied on its pervasiveness in the ‘Western’ world to dominate, manipulate, gather information, and – now – to act as an agent of US capriciousness.

The conclusion for me is clear: it is time to dump Google.

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Why are a small number of former colonisers so afraid of Huawei?

A rather insightful article from the Global Times, which is copied below. According to this article, it is the United States’ ability to monitor 90 percent of the world’s communications that is under threat by Huawei – hence the failing campaign to discredit Huawei.

I would add the following: for a decade or more, United States tech companies have been actively trying to spy on Huawei and other Chinese companies in a desperate effort to keep up with Chinese innovation. That they have failed is increasingly obvious. At the same time, other international big tech companies (think of Vodaphone and 02, among others) know this and are ignoring the regimes of a few countries (a dozen or so former colonisers) in order to work with Huawei to develop what they do not have.

Further, Huawei is only a label for what is happening in China as a whole. For example, the relatively unheralded Xiaomi is outstripping Huawei with its integration of artificial intelliegence, 5G and the best products one can get anywhere in the world.

In other words, the horse has clearly bolted on this front, for the Chinese are increasingly way in front.

Let me add, as a footnote, that the Australian government is desperately trying to block the development of a workable system in that country for the simple reason that Australians have become used to paying exorbitant prices for some of the worst telephony and internet services in the world. The regime there is very concerned that people may find out that such basic necessities can work very well indeed and that they are cheap. Shhh … cannnot let people know this. It would be too much of a shock.

Here is the article from the Global Times, entitled ‘How Can the US Monitor the World if We All Use Huawei?

Why does the US government always crack down on Huawei? To achieve this, it even uses some disgraceful measures, including slandering the company by exerting its national power. The US moves have sparked questions as to why the US fears the Chinese company so much. Why does the company annoy the US?

A most persuasive answer is that if everyone uses Huawei, how can the US monitor the world?

Three network experts shared their opinion. Shen Yi, deputy director of the cyberspace management center at Fudan University said: The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) “Echelon” surveillance system, which monitors 90 percent of the world’s communications, remains active, according to the Intercept.com.

In the early years of the 21st Century, US intelligence agencies have reportedly developed surveillance technology to monitor different products of the main communication companies.

Americans have two effective approaches to monitor the communication field. One is the introduction of laws to justify their eavesdropping on domestic and foreign communications. The other is to build a very powerful monitoring system and network, and constantly improve their ability to listen.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was signed by US President Jimmy Carter on October 25, 1978. In 2008, Americans added Section 702 that specifically “allows the government to obtain the communications of foreigners outside the United States, including foreign terrorist threats,” as laid out in the House Intelligence Committee FAQ sheet, according to Jessica Schneider, CNN. Section 702 of FISA sparked widespread controversy as this provision empowers US intelligence agencies to conduct secret surveillance of foreigners outside the United States, collecting communications, emails and text messages without the court’s permission.

US politicians say it is a “very important mandate” that allows US intelligence agencies to intercept “foreign terrorist threats.” However, there is no specification of how many foreign terrorist threats have occurred as the clause was blocked in the past.

Meanwhile, the scandal of US surveillance abuses has continued unabated in recent years. Edward Joseph Snowden revealed that the NSA monitored phone calls of 35 foreign leaders and used technology to track and intercept mobile phone information around the world, collecting up to 5 billion records a day, the Washington Post reported. Airbus’s secret past published on The Economist, which revealed that in the early 1990s, the NSA intercepted the communications between the European aerospace company Airbus and a Saudi Arabian national airline.

In 1994, Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia after the NSA, acting as a whistleblower, reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract. As a result, the American aerospace company McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) won the multibillion-dollar contract instead of Airbus.

The NSA used an “Echelon” surveillance system to monitor conversations between airbus and Saudi negotiators. The European parliament set up a special committee to investigate this case in 2001.

According to an American media report, the NSA “Echelon” surveillance system acts as the main monitoring tool of Five Eyes, which is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The system monitors 90 percent of communications all over the world.

The US surveillance network was founded in 1966. The network is divided into two sub-programs: a communication satellite launched specifically for the former Soviet Union, and the “Echelon” surveillance system, whose main objective is to monitor the electronic signals of Western powers.

After the wake of 9/11, the Americans have expanded their surveillance.

In March 2017, nearly 9,000 documents about the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hacking tools were exposed. The documents showed that the CIA has a strong hacking ability to secretly access mobile phones, computers, smart TVs and many other smart devices. This is the worst surveillance scandal in American history.

However, Americans argued that the US has the best companies and technology. But the competitors are dirty, so they have to use this method to protect their interests and the ugly side is being uncovered.

The collaboration between the US intelligence agencies and American companies are delicate. Few companies would dare to admit that they cooperated with the intelligence agencies in fear of damaging their reputations as they need to be accepted by the market. However, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) helped the NSA monitor and collect information of netizens and even monitored the phones of the United Nations headquarters, the New York Times reported in August 2015.

If telecom service providers and related equipment in different countries all change to use the products of Chinese companies, it will influence the monitoring effects of the US.

Although how much influence is still unclear, the Americans want to nip it in the bud.

It is an actually economically unfair competition under the excuse of national security, just like the American crackdown on Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation before.

The goal is to neutralize the Chinese leading enterprises in industry, deny the access to Western high-end markets and then discredit Chinese corporate champions. This approach could strike any transnational marketing enterprises.

An expert on the communication network industry who prefers to be called Om said: I have paid attention to the security of communications for more than 20 years. It has always been said that some countries are using leading technologies to eavesdrop on other countries. And until Snowden’s exposure, people began to realize that the US had always been doing this.

The international security standard that was set by the US and the NSA is probably behind this. Not only China, but US allies, including Japan and Canada, do not believe the US, since they know that they could also be under surveillance of the US.

The US also uses clever ways of eavesdropping on other countries. Security experts from Germany pointed out during an international meeting that the US intentionally brings weakness when setting standards on cryptographic algorithms. By interfering with the establishment of the international standards on network security, the NSA is working for its own country’s benefits.

In the field of networking protocol development, the US is the only and super power that leads to establishing the international standard. The UK, France, Germany, Japan and China belong to the second group. Among these countries, China is the only one to have the capability to develop and compete with the US on networking protocol.

Some Chinese experts appealed to revise some security standards on network protocol years ago, which annoyed the US. But it had to cooperate under the pressure of international morality.

This is the background of the US cracking down on Huawei.

China has annoyed the US for two reasons, by challenging it on setting the technology standard and competing with the US on the leadership of information technology. The technology of 5G is one aspect of information technology, which shows that China is catching up with the US in this field.

Lead by Huawei, China’s 5G technologies have exceeded Europe for more than a year and the European countries have to adopt Huawei’s technology. However, the US is hyping the public opinions in the media on the so-called security concerns, experts, politicians and elites and Europe knows well that these are political biases. An anonymous internet expert said: The core of the US surveillance system was network infrastructure technology, including submarine cables that were mastered by US companies. It enables the US to copy the information they want and extend the surveillance globally.

Why does the US call the information sharing allies agency the Five Eyes? It actually is a platform to monitor the whole world. The PRISM plan exposed by Snowden revealed the vicious side of the US as it spies on the whole world with a backbone network and termination equipment.  Cellphones are one form of this termination equipment. The IOS system used by iPhones is closed while the Andriod system is open for revising.

I always oppose civil servants to use iPhones since all the data is stored on the phones and sensitive information can be analyzed. However, if cellphones made by Huawei occupy the majority of the market, the previous ways of collecting information will not be easy. And the cost for collecting data would be huge.