China hack
LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales (The Freeman) - November 25, 2018 - 12:00am

There have been many reactions to the selection of the third telecom player in the Philippines.  After years of wrangling, bickering, and complaining, the country has finally gotten to the point of identifying the “hero” that’s meant to break up the duopoly that is Globe and Smart.

Not to be a spoilsport, but the fact that the hero has distinct Chinoise coloring is causing some discomfort.

Nationally, that is.  Personally, I have no issue with the Chinese ancestry of Dennis Uy, the Filipino component, and welcome his continued commitment to nation building. But the partnership of Dennis Uy with mainland Chinese companies has set some alarm bells ringing.

Now these alarm bells aren’t just rooted in paranoia. If we cast a gaze around at what’s happening in the world around us, there are major incidents, and pretty recent at that, that should give us pause, if not necessarily send us over the brink and into a full-blown screaming heebie-jeebie fit.

For example, should we consider the fact that even the US government has been asking foreign nations to stop using Huawei, the Chinese telecom provider, for their telecom needs?  This, because of the possibility that the mainland-made equipment are being used for espionage.

The cybersecurity risk is as yet obscure, as there seems to be as yet no details being released on how exactly that espionage is being or could be conducted. But despite the lack of public detail, isn’t it curious that a government has taken the extraordinary step of not only banning Huawei within its borders, but asking other countries to do so as well? In return, the US is reportedly sweetening its offer by dangling increased financial aid meant for telecom development to those countries that do listen to America, and tell China to take a hike.

Now this isn’t just Trump the vindictive leader taking another petty swipe at China.  The normally-sober Australia, in turn, is reported to have banned Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network.  Now why would Australia do that if it did not have legitimate, well-founded beliefs, backed up by serious intelligence, as to the security risks posed by Huawei?

This came after it was reported last week that emails from the United States and Canada were being diverted by China Telecom to, surprise, surprise, mother China, thousands of miles away, before these email landed at their intended destinations.  What was the cause for the virtual detour? Who knows.  But the speculation is that China is copying all those email messages, obtaining secrets and passwords, before sending them back across the Pacific to North America.

And this wasn't the first time either.  In 2010, Asia Times reported that 15 percent of global internet traffic passed through Chinese servers while en route to their addressees.

Australia has also been surprised with these unwelcome news, with a report being submitted that Aussie emails, love letters and scholarship applications included, had been dispatched through China. (Is that why the marriage proposal I've been pining for hasn't arrived at my inbox?  Some Chinese desperate for love stole my email?)

These incidents aren’t something a paranoid anti-Chinese racist pig thought up.  They have been proven and vetted.  Are we supposed to ignore them?  Have we adequately prepared for them, and met them with the appropriate cybersecurity measures?  Valid questions which must be asked, and which our agencies must answer, as we proceed along the road towards bettering our communications infrastructure.

With our electric grid already in the hands of mainland China, and subways, railroads and highways being pursued by Chinese companies, our communications network is another avenue for Chinese dominance.  We are so eager to break up the gigantic Smart and Globe fiesta that we may end up inadvertently handing over the lechon to an even more ginormous behemoth.

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