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U.S. blacklists Huawei (reuters.com)
225 points by fspeech 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 192 comments

Slightly better source:


seeing the reasoning includes violations against ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) its difficult to see how the US isnt creating some sort of whipping boy for its own agenda. Bluecoat, Intel, IBM, and hundreds of other companies have been accused of ITAR violations as well yet were not subjected to a 7 month long PR campaign from Washington to ablate them from the economic playing field. This feels like telco's flexing their close relationship to washington and pushing for a scorched-earth policy rather than be caught completely unprepared for 5G. "if we cant sell it, you cant have it" sounds rather less like a capitalist nation.

it also bears remembering that none of their CEO's were detained in foreign airports and led to Jail to await US extradition.

> 7 month long PR campaign

While 5G may be a new front in this battle, US suspicion of Huawei goes back a long time -- at least as far back as the Bush administration. The current administration might be antagonistic toward China, but in no sense did they invent the war against Huawei.

The suspicion might go back a long time, but the PR campaign is relatively new, at least at the current level. I do remember the occasional story a few years ago, but not this barrage of articles.

i don't watch tv anymore due to the excessive 'spin' and sometimes straight out lies. usually they start off by saying "allegedly" and by the time they're done you'd think it's one of Newton's laws of motion

ITAR violations wouldn't be against Huawei though, they would be against the companies selling controlled items without a valid license. However, I think this just reinforces the idea that they're doing anything they can to justify the ban on Huawei's products.

I'm not at all surprised that suspected violations wouldn't result in a public war against US-based companies. What would be the point in that? The violations would be addressed quietly I think.

Is there any sort of technical evidence, documentation or anything out there justifying this?

Since we are mostly talking about hardware; it should be possible to proof the existence of a backdoor or similar by careful analysis.

I remember a few years back where all of sudden it was made an issue that members of the Danish parlament had Lenovo laptops. I think it turned out to be unfounded. Today the largest 4G network here in Denmark is made by Huawei; though they have lost the bid for the 5G network to Ericsson.

I only have a really distant perspective on that but even if there were backdoors in particular Huawei devices, what - the recent PR campaign aside - would that really tell us? We read about critical vulnerabilities and backdoors from Cisco and the likes on here almost every week or at least month without consequence. *

Not that I find the Chinese government trustworthy but from a non-US perspective it just looks like two governments throwing mud with a certain disconnect from any technical veracity.

* Maybe they get laughed at for the incompetence or negligence regarding that particular issue but that doesn't seem to affect their bottom line or the striving consultancy ecosystem surrounding those products.

My interpretation is binary: Either this is a bullshit move in trade war where the current US administration is hell-bent in bringing the Chinese economy to its knees. Or Huawei is major security threat and all its technology infrastructure spread around the Western world should be rolled back.

It would be very surprising if Huawei was significantly more threatening than any of it's competitors, if you consider being compromised by any government to be a threat.

Since the above threads focus on 5G: Assuming the Finnish (Nokia) and Swedish (Ericsson) governments have the capacity, competence, and willingness to engage in that kind of stuff (I find it hard to believe but you never know,) indeed it would honestly be less threatening to be compromised by Finland or Sweden than China.

Welcome to politics, where laws and such are merely the tools to transferring power from A to B.

If China can steal US IP at will, then the US can blacklist their companies at will. All’s fair in love and war.

There are not many things I agree with the current US Administration on but their hardline stance on China is certainly one of them.

I've got a Huawei laptop that's pretty nice . . . but I'm reluctant to use it for anything even remotely sensitive.

Am I being overly paranoid? Or should I treat it as basically trustworthy as any other major brand of computer?

The system requires a special app to update drivers and so forth, but frankly this is not additional security exposure, since Huawei bits are all over the machine to begin with.

I'm sure y'all got opinions :-)

In a post snowden world, why would you trust a 5E product anymore?

Not saying that you should trust Chinese companies, but the notion that they're any worst by speculation in the face of evidence for the alternative's being complicate in spying on their users is rather absurd. People can't shake off the good-guy-bad-guy narrative, can they?

Did Snowden reveal any revelations about the 5E engaging in industrial espionage against US companies on behalf of other US companies?

Am I going crazy or does this article mention neither espionage against US companies nor espionage on behalf of US companies?

I was crazy. I thought it said "non-US companies on behalf of US companies".

Not sure how that happened.

> In a post snowden world, why would you trust a 5E product anymore?

Because I’m one of the people the 5E apparatus is trying to protect, and if my local spy agency got in touch with me to ask me for my data, I’d give it to them without a second thought.

I’m glad you personally know all personnel involved in the US security apparatus so well that you can so happily vouch that none of them will use details of your private life in a way that you would disapprove of. Even that you can wholeheartedly vouch for the conscience of the US government as a whole is rather surprising, in light of past decades. I envy such a level of trust.

Conveniently you don't need to know everyone individually if you think there is sufficient oversight. I think there hasn't always been, but I am now reasonably convinced someone would get fired if they were poking around in my personal data just for fun, much as I don't worry about individual Google staff reading my email.

The Australian Federal Police are responsible for protecting Australians, and yet:


> A Canberra Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer and his twin brother are behind bars

I mean, sounds like the system is working then?

Since as we all know, 100% of the iceberg is above the water surface.

> Because I’m one of the people the 5E apparatus is trying to protect

That's a pretty bold assumption you're making.


One of the biggest dangers is to forget that organizations, be they companies, governments, or whatever else are made up of people. So you're not voluntarily conceding your information to some organization beyond the base interests of people. As an example of this one of Snowden's revelations is that the NSA would regularly grab and share sexually explicit photos with their friends. [1] In another instance, NSA workers would spy on their 'love interests' frequently enough that they had a tongue in cheek label for it - LOVEINT. [2]

You might support actions such as the NSA spying on the porn habits of Islamic 'radicalizers' planning to release the information in efforts to discredit them. [3] But consider that who governments consider good and whom they consider bad is something very much subject to change. For instance are you aware of the now infamous letter the FBI sent to MLK in an effort to blackmail him and even drive him to suicide? [4]

These are the people that you'd so happily give your information to. The notions of a black and white, good and evil, world is something out of Hollywood. In reality there are good and 'evil' sides to every nation and organization. And when you submit yourself to any, you don't get to pick who your information is made available to or how it will be used.

Finally there is the matter of risk:reward. You stand an extremely low probability of being victimized at any given point in your life. And even if you are victimized it will be likely to be a petty local offense such as burglary, robbery, assault, etc. These are not the sort of actions that national intelligence agencies are tasked with preventing, which is more along the lines of terrorism and national security dangers. By being so happy to turn over all information about yourself you expose some risk that that information will end up being used against you. How does this increased risk compare against the decreased risk due to whatever value your personal information provides? This is not really possible to measure, so each individual must decide for himself. But I find it difficult to imagine that this is a beneficial exchange.

[1] - https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/us/politics/edward-snowde...

[2] - https://www.cnet.com/news/nsa-offers-details-on-loveint-that...

[3] - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128 (unfortunate source, but it is a well written and sourced article)

[4] - https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/what-an-uncensor...

> As an example of this one of Snowden's revelations is that the NSA would regularly grab and share sexually explicit photos with their friends

I believe the best outcome, by far, of Snowden's revelations was to bring questions like this into the public sphere, and thus hopefully increase oversight. I think this is happening in all areas, private and public.

I would be pretty surprised (although not amazed) if a Facebook engineer could easily read my Messenger messages now and generally stalk me, although I suspect it was very very easy for them to do it a few years ago.

5E is about protecting money and power not people.

I have a Xiaomi phone. The hardware is pretty nice and I enjoy using it. But I don't trust it and find it creepy as hell.

The built-in file browser shows ads related to random conversations I've had(not related to searches or my general interests) way to often for me to consider it a coincidence.

I'm seriously considering getting an iphone again, just because I trust Apple a bit more(and only a little).

But there would be no way in hell I would do sensitive work on Huawei or Xiaomi laptop.

I have the same experience. The hardware is nice for the price but it's loaded with crappy apps.

Some of them are badly translated, updates to a simple calender app suddenly requires ridiculous permissions.

And worst of all, enabling USB debugging test apps through Android Studio requires a Mi Account. Maybe I'm paranoid but I can't think of a reason other than corporate espionage.

To GP and this: Have you considered the Android One Xiaomi phones? I can't imagine having ads in the default file browser. And a Mi Account for USB debug is just "No".

As with all Android phones (and to a certain extent iOS devices as well), trusting the default operating system is a very bad idea. Unlock the bootloader, flash it with something trustworthy.

The bootloader in Huawei's more recent phones, is not easily unlocked.

I use nokia 7 but it sent my data to server in china so i will get a iPhone too

There is no perfect security in this world. You can only mitigate your risk exposure.

If you have substantial business interests in China, you’d prefer a non Chinese brand laptop.

If you are more worried about IRS going after your financial records, US based advertisers tracking your online activities or NSA monitoring your contacts with people in Arab countries, huawei may be a better choice, since it won’t work with IRS, Facebook or NSA.

Are there recorded instances of the IRS actually breaking into people's computers remotely instead of, at the most, getting a warrant for the device to be seized? I guess you'd never know if they did that for parallel construction.

IRS can ask dell (with certain legal procedures) to unlock your dell laptop without you providing your password. It can’t do the same for Huawei devices. That’s a big difference.

Dell doesn't have a way into your TPM, or to into Windows its authentication loop. Either would create a gaping security hole very likely to be exploited. So no, Dell can't unlock/decrypt your laptop without your password. The most they could do is bypass your BIOS/EFI password.

It's not like gaping security holes in firmware are unheard of.

Only on the internet do you ever hear of such stories so...no.

They still run Windows though so you're essentially being buggered from all directions

Not sure what you mean by "it won't work with Facebook" - you can use Facebook and Google on Huawei hardware.

Huawei and Facebook won’t sign a deal to share user data and analytics in the current political environment.

I don't support this logic.

a) It's not a simple relativism.

b) Brands are tied at different levels to their nations, and go after people from different kinds of reasons.

I suggest given the controversy, there's probably a lot of legit risk about using Huawei for any reason.

Unless you're doing something really dangerous, I would not be worried about Windows. There are zillions of tax evaders and otherwise criminals who 'use computers' and don't get caught for that reason in the US.

If you're going to do something really bad, well large American corporations may help out the Feds.

Carriers, web sites and other such places are probably more of a risk than your OS.

The security concern over Huawei is legit, even if there's economic war, and a hint of jingoism mixed in.

I would barely trust Lenovo if I had completely wiped the drive, and even then I'd be wary. Huawei is a whole different animal. I wouldn't allow a Huawei device in my home or office unless it had the battery removed and it was enclosed in a Faraday cage.

I just recently bought a Lenovo for someone close to me. Would you mind elaborating on why you say this about them, and if you really think they can be made somewhat privacy-safe for general use?

As far as we know, the Think* (ex-IBM) product line has been free of such shenanigans, though.

Yeah. Those tend to have more easily replacable firmware, though.

Lenovo have the best keyboard of any laptop brand available. So I'll just accept it. :)

One thing that I think too many people forget is: you actually want to be spied by China (change with any relevant country) rather than by your own country because your own country is much more likely interested by you than China! I always try to choose hardware or services in countries that are not mine for that reason.

For my children, I chose mail adresses in India (zoho.com) because I am french; not that I trust India more than France but because being spied by India will certainly be less harmful for French citizens than being spied by some European country. I will myself never use a French service or app.

I really laugh when I see my country releasing some new "trustful" services for French citizens: maybe it is true but I have very little to win (not being spied by a country that does not care about me anyway) and too much to lose (if a country is about to annoy you it will certainly be yours).

If I were a chinese citizen I would certainly not use Chinese products for the very same reason, but an American citizen should be more confident in using such services than in using american ones! Why do American people want to be spied by the very single country they really have to fear?

The only saving grace is that probably nobody cares about you, but I wouldn't trust any device particularly.

You as an individual don't matter. However, there are plenty of individuals with power inside whatever organization they're a part of and/or in the political process of the country they live in, who are vulnerable to the exact same issues.

Are you worried about China, or the company itself? They probably don't care about your credit card info. State secrets, closed source code, or proprietary business processes might be more useful. But anything nefarious would need to be worth getting caught. I'm sure people will be scrutinizing them a lot closer now?

Huawei is a proxy for the Chinese government so the question is moot.

China is indeed mainly focused internally, but there's no limit to how far they'll go in support of those ends. China attacked Google, Yahoo, Adobe, many others, using a zero-day IE exploit.

Of course they'll use your laptop as part of a botnet, C&C proxy, ransomware vector, etc. There's no benefit of the doubt remaining.

> China attacked Google, Yahoo, Adobe, many others, using a zero-day IE exploit.

Are you Google, Yahoo or Adobe though?

If you're a very high value target, everybody will attack you. NSA, 8400, Russian and Chinese teams, everybody. If you're just an individual working on their personal business, nobody is burning 0days on you.

I have had my personal Lenovo laptop coopted as part of a bot-net burning my net connection with all kinds of requests to unknown addresses. And this happened after I had it returned from an authorized service-center! Needless to say -that was my last Lenovo laptop.

I don't trust that the Government's motives are truly public (maybe the ban is just a consequence of them not being able to implant a backdoor) and I don't trust Huawei... but I also don't trust any other computer/phone manufacturer ever since the Snowden leak. I still use them though because I am not a high value target.

Out of curiosity, does Huawei provide a way to update drivers without the software? I know Dell has a similar offering but you can still download the drivers from their website

You would be much better off just getting the drivers direcly from the manufacter of each component. The only one that is likely only from Huawei would be the Bios which I guess is one of the more likely ones to be tampered with. :/ Reinstalling the OS with a known good source will likely defeat most attempts at spying on you.

Each laptop has 10+ devices with embedded firmware.

Like battery, HDD/SDD, display, ethernet, wifi and bluetooth modules, keyboard, touchpad, webcam, SD card reader, BIOS/SMM, TPM, etc.

Some of those might be innocuous and unable to host anything malicious, some might seem so but have non-obvious ways to compromise the system. And some, like anything communication related... sky is the limit.

What's common with those is that they are very hard, nearing impossible to audit and analyze. When was the last time you checked whether your laptop's WiFi firmware isn't doing something nasty? Or your SSD FW?

I think we need to be worried about a lot more than just BIOS and OS.

The bios can also backdoor the os after reinstall as lenovo did with superfish.

Only on windows. The mobo firmware only provided dumb storage. Windows has a feature that reads a section of the storage and automatically installs whatever it finds in it.

I think the idea is to provide a feature for persistent spyware. For example if a company wanted to be able to track their laptops even if someone factory resets it.

Not true for Nvidia/Intel video drivers...only Dell's work correctly on my 9570.

Now you know how Russia felt about Microsoft Windows

The P3 Pro is really nice. I wish it was worth it.

What recent computer hardware do you trust?

Slightly trust Intel-CPU Chromebook hardware.

I have yet to become allergic to Google snooping but understand that lack of trust to be very well founded. I think I understand their secure boot architecture, though. Whereas I simply cannot trust Windows Secure Boot based vendor firmware.

Apple iOS devices. Their macOS Intel computers are about as trustworthy as Chromebook Intel.

Not-so-recent ThinkPad laptops with OpenBoot BIOS are ok.


All of these devices have radios with each their own, black-box operating systems. I don't know how to develop a basis for trust there.

So I am left with very few alternatives.

A Raptor Talos II Workstation, with a custom battery-based power supply, locked inside a Faraday cage. Turned off.


Librem is probably the most trust worthy at the moment.

System76 ships laptops with Intel ME disabled and provides an open-source firmware update tool. I'm a huge fan of them.

It will be interesting how the unintended consequences roll out with this.

With Chinese companies already having Google free software/service stacks in China, being able to get adoption of those stacks internationally may allow the full bifurcation of the Android ecosystem, essentially eviscerating Google’s monopoly.

Long term it could be a turning point to deflating American dominance of the most important market in the modern world.

"Long term it could be a turning point to deflating American dominance of the most important market in the modern world."

The most important market in the modern world is oil and gas.

Global digital ad spending (which is what these software/service stacks are proxies for) will be $327B in 2019. Compare this to $360B for a single oil producer, Saudi Aramco, in 2018.

Note that none of the FAANGs are even in the top 10 of this list:


... and only 2 are in the top 20. And google is not on the list at all. 5 of those top 10 are oil and gas (and it would be 6 if Saudi Aramco were listed).

FAANG comes out on top if you reorder that list by market cap instead of revenue.

Oil and gas will shrink dramatically over the next few decades, while there are still many people that can't afford fancy technology yet.

Unlikely. There is ever-increasing year-on-year demand for plastic which a product of the Oil and Gas industry. Above 400 million metric of plastic produced every year - and this is growing. Aramco (which parent's comment refers to) just spent 69 billion in taking the majority take in Sabic.

About half of the oil is used for gasoline, another quarter for heating oil and another ten percent for jet fuel. All of these uses will likely go away completely or be dramatically reduced over the next twenty to thirty years.

You may be correct on the first two, but I am not sure how the jet fuel use is going to go away - wouldn't it be increasing ? Also, according to IEA, rising use of plastics will drive oil demand https://www.reuters.com/article/us-petrochemicals-iea/rising...

Even with a push in sustainability, plastics use is increasing not dropping: https://blogs.platts.com/2019/02/19/consumer-push-sustainabi...

It will split the internet, not so sure about hardware because there's less propaganda value in that.

In many ways the internet split is already done, there's hardly any overlap between the Chinese and US web. Probably because most of the non-chinese web is blocked in China.

Theoretically, this makes Chinese web companies less competitive. Many US companies are dominant worldwide, but the majority of popular Chinese tech companies are only popular in their captive market.

IMO it's similar to the captive markets of the Soviet Bloc. Strong protectionism and state sponsoring like China has done, and the Soviet Union did historically created companies that weren't globally competitive. The day the iron curtain fell, treasured trabants were abandoned on the side of the road.

Will history repeats itself? Who knows, but the situation is very similar. China produces a lot of good products, probably moreso than the USSR at it's peak. But China also engages in many practices that eventually made Soviet products inferior.

If you keep the training wheels on your economy forever it would certainly make it uncompetitive. The U.S. engaged in such practices too, and continues to do so in areas like pickup trucks. At the end of the day, you can’t really fudge leadership.

The U.S. has been fudging leadership for some time. Now it’s looking for someone to blame. It’s looking for a Plaza Accords 2.0. But China is not Japan, geopolitically.

Thing is, would you trust an appstore infrastructure based in China? If they had a more trustworthy 3rd party country like South Korea then they'd have a better shot.

I kind of wish they'd embrace something like Firefox OS.

> Would you trust appstore infrastructure in China?

No less than how much I trust the five eyes we have right now.

The only thing preventing me from using Chinese based stuff is the language barrier.

And Firefox OS, why would they embrace something nobody else has?

How about China blocking the sale of Apple products... possible/probable?

The government doesn't need to. The Chinese population will decide if they want to drop Apple themselves. They already have basically stopped buying Samsung after the S7 issue and the US military base.

The free market in action...

S7? Did you mean Note 7?

The Chinese government already does. The state controlled media puts out massive amounts of propaganda railing foreign firms.

The same could be said for the US in the case of Hauwei but China is far worse on this front.

Do you have any actual examples?

Chinese TV & newspapers spend most of their time speaking about how good China and Chinese companies are rather than caring about US companies. Lots of Chinese people are not aware of the "trade war".

I'm not asking for many just 1 recent example.


I live in China as an expat. I haven't seen any bashing of US companies from the media in the limited amount of Chinese media that I consume.

There is propaganda everywhere but it is about China. They don't tend to bash other countries but keep going on about how good China is. They just ignore everyone else because China is everything.

The US media bashes China all the time but that may just be because I read English news. If you have seen the Chinese equivalent I would like to check it out since I haven't seen that side of China yet.

The Chinese people are strongly nationalistic just like people from the USA (I'm from Australia which is nice ... but not really important). Social media is big over here and people organise boycotts of companies all the time.

You said "state-controlled media puts out massive amounts of propaganda railing foreign firms" and "China is far worse". It should be easy to find one if this is true otherwise it is just "fake news" that gets repeated so often that people think it is true.

It should be easy to find one example.

I've had trouble finding anything more recent than https://news.sina.cn/gn/2018-09-13/detail-ihkahyhw6080560.d.... When Apple disambiguated the US Virgin Islands from the British Virgin Islands, someone wrote an angry article about it, because they felt that Hong Kong and Taiwan should be labeled as Chinese territories.

Limiting searches to xinhuanet.com does yield massive amounts of propaganda, but mostly about how great foreign companies think China is. Maybe I'm just using the wrong search terms, though.

Thanks, Yorwba. I guess I've been desensitised to the whole Taiwan issue. They do go on and on and on about it and any company that refers to it separately rather than as part of China.

There was the issue about the airlines recently as well. I just skip over those stories but there are a lot of them.

It didn't look like obvious bait to me, just asking for a single recent example.

There's clearly many examples out there to support any opinion. The only reason to ask for a single article instead of giving concrete opinions is to derail the topic by trying to point out flaws in whatever you find. It's a really common trolling tactic.

You can see the user responded anyways when I refused to participate. Why didn't they just say that the first time?

I'm not actually trolling. I'm interested in reading an article like this. I've seen people talk about them and looked for them but not seen one. The ones I've seen are just boring.

Sorry if you thought it was a troll. It sounded like you knew an actual source that I could check out rather than just rumours.

I read both Chinese/English sources and I am really interested to read your mentioned propaganda.

Once your source is provided, those who don't read Chinese can get a little bit help from Google Translate as well, I found its quality to be really good.

Just like oligarchy controlled media puts out massive amount of propaganda here.


There is no practical difference. Here you can scream into the void until you're blue in the face, but it's not going to make a lick of difference. When your government is bought and paid for by the oligarchy, it's just a management committee for the rich. At least in China people know where they stand, while people here are deluded that they have some kind of freedom.

Wasn't that the case up until just a few years ago?

Mapping Huawei to a sudden Chinese dominance in some other area, and then to international dominance is taking several magic leaps in logic.

Also, there's nothing stopping China - or anyone else - from doing as they please with Android 'stack', hint: it's not the valuable thing.

More likely that I will sprout wings and learn to fly. China producing a global standard is just not going to happen.

I’ve no actual data, other than to note that “Japanese-made” went from being a sign of shoddiness to a sign of quality in a few decades.

If you look at the comment I replied to, they were talking about replacing the Apple store with some China-grown service. It's not happening, China is not in any way culturally compatible with the rest of the world enough to pull that off, just like Japan never managed to do that (and they were WAY more westernized than China is now).

Chinese businesses just fundamentally don't understand what western cultures want, they can just build cheap gadgets. For the next let's call it 35 years it's simply not going to happen.

Never say never. A significant amount of the developing world has already embraced Huawei's network equipment.

Beyond that, I think Huawei is the #3 mobile phone seller in Europe (behind Apple and Samsung) and #2 in Canada.

Speaking of wings, try to buy a competitive western consumer drone. Good luck on that. GoPro tried and failed miserably.

The DJIs and Yuneecs etc of the world have already set the standard here.

A few decades ago, China becoming a global superpower just was not going to happen.

I think it would be great if China accomplished some major software and hardware innovations.

barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk

Huh. Did the US government just make my cell phone illegal to use? Replacement is on my list of things to do, but I wasn't really planning on it this month.....

Not to mention basically every other option I could look at is also made in China, with the exception(?) of Samsung - which I'm not inclined to cough up the $$ for.

Two different things here. The odds that all Huawei hardware is setup for mass surveillance is low. The odds that the Chinese gov could use that hardware to target specific people for spying is close to 100%.

Interpret how you want, but I take it to mean basestations and back end infrastructure.

" ... to ban American telecommunications firms from installing foreign-made equipment ..." is how NY Times is reporting it.

A loose enough reading of that includes Chinese manufactured iPhones, it seems...

Just got a Galaxy J7 V 2 for less than $250. Does what I need it to, snappy, expandable storage, and an actual all-day battery life (probably day-and-a-half). I guess I don't understand why people want super-powered phones: just carry a decent laptop. It's not easy to make use of that much power in that small a form factor any way, particularly now that very few manufacturers allow bootloader unlocks and root. Also, people buy 8-core cpu, 8-gb-ram, 1440p screen phones and expect a long battery life? It's much easier to drive a reasonable processor, reasonable ram, and a 720p screen.

I guess the market has different ideas. I get the "it's a slick piece of tech" factor, but can some one who likes flagships talk about what makes them good?

For what it's worth, I consider the Samsung Galaxy S3 the pinnacle of smartphone design. It retailed for $250 at launch. I feel like prices are going up because the smartphone industry is trying to innovate faster than chips are improving.

Because people like to play games, take photographs (the camera on your J7 while probably adequate pales in significance to top end phones) and other high processing tasks that your budget phone simply can't do and that is often inconvenient to pull out a laptop for. Such as photos, or gaming on public transport.

Eh, I'm on a 2 year old Honor 8 that may have now stopped getting security updates (last patches were the 12/2018 ones) that was under 250 when I got it and which needs a new battery.

I'd probably be on a Nokia right now if they'd released a 6.2 this spring. I haven't looked at the J7 specifically but my impression in the past has been that there are a variety of midrange phones that are a better value than Samsung's offerings.

Never had an S3, but I had an Aviator and an S5. I miss the swappable batteries on those models...

On the other hand, I have an S8 now and it labors to render most websites. That's more an indictment of the websites, but such is the world we live in.

Try Firefox with ublock origin, see if that makes a difference. Since it's an AMOLED screen, "Dark Background and Light Text" may also make a difference for you.

This move “bans the company from acquiring components and technology from U.S. firms without government approval.”

They have their own chips. I don't think they have to be worried like ZTE.

Mobile SoCs are not the only chips in the world.

I wonder if they have an alternative to Android.

That’s really not enough. Doesn’t seem inline with the summary either.

I will just repost this article here from Tyler Cowen, I don't think I read anyone has said it better.

>The U.S.-China Cold War Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better. That’s because the major issue between the two nations is not trade or ideology but a lack of trust.


banning them from buying components from the USA is going to encourage them to develop it themselves. stuff like this is how we lose our edge in tech, if we haven't lost it already.

Canada/Nortel might disagree with that somewhat...

Canada is nice and all but China has a Japan-level quality of human capital and an enormous population. Anything we can do they will be able to do, and probably better. Absent crazy stuff like AGI or genetic engineering changing the source of innovation, China will become the leader in high technology.

China does not have Japan-level human capital. Even if it did, the 'Japanese miracle' lasted for barely two decades.

All countries need to push tech, but how long can they make the surge last? All populations are rapidly aging and they'll have no choice but to innovate and use their scarce human capital to engineer. If China doesn't do the 996 schedule or worse like Japan's, the smart people may go home enough to maybe have kids.

I was referring to the infamous Nortel IP theft and other cases.

Hopefully it will be more open source friendly. Some US industries are just plain anti-FOSS, like electronics and chip design for example.

Here's to hoping that RISC-V takes off in a big way over the next decade. AMD and Intel's cross licensing agreement has essentially created a duopoly in this space.

Huawei has a ton of repos on Github. What happens to them?

They would lose access from China

If this effectively bans Huawei from importing American chips.. Why no reactions after hours in American chipmaker stocks?

Genuinely curious...but what chips? Huawei is pretty well vertically integrated, and has been for some time.

The radio frequency IC chips like the tuner front ends and RF baseband. This process technology is not nearly so easy to copy and implement as regular digital elements on regular substrates. It's pretty important for mobile handsets.

This is reflected in the way 5G is being rolled out in China. Mostly new sub-6GHz 5G NR modulation basestations are being put in. Millimeter band is not being attempted initially. This gets them 15-20% modulation gain in thoroughput over LTE in the same circumstances at most.

Gallium nitride technology is used for the higher frequencies in 5G chips. Currently only suppliers outside of China produce such chips.

From a business perspective, pushing 5G as fast as it is pushed now by China, does not make sense. Chinese network operators would not want to deploy 5G quite as fast as they are being forced to, but China’s government is imposing it.

So why impose it? There might be several reasons, e.g. to have a dominant position in setting industry standards, but one reason stands out: The complex 5G standard requires frequent software that make it harder to enforce security software reviews and anti-espionage measures.

Huawei had own Rf backends and frontends for around 10 years...

The implication of being put on the entity list is not yet clear. In 2016 ZTE was placed on the entity list but without an actual export ban. In 2018 the action against ZTE was much more severe.

Market may expect this to be temporary?

This might be an unpopular opinion but I'll post anyway. I'm skeptical of the motivation for this blacklist. Prohibiting the use of Huawei products by government agencies and contractors is an action one could reasonably justify in respect to national security. Mandating that my private company seek approval from the government before doing business with Huawei is a pretty extreme rule that limits my options on the global marketplace. I am now forced to accept the claim that Huawei devices are "tainted" and significantly more dangerous than other products. I'm having trouble accepting that argument or seeing this as anything more than trade war saber rattling.

When I think of American companies that actually care about data privacy only a few come to mind. I do believe Apple makes a good faith effort toward protecting user data, despite the company's many anti-consumer practices. There are a number of smaller companies like Purism and Yubico that go further in making this a part of their core business strategy. But generally my experience has been that American companies give a backseat to these concerns. Remember when Equifax, an American company, leaked the personal data of 143 million U.S. citizens in 2017 [1]? What about the Citrix hack from just a few months ago where 6TB of sensitive information was stolen by Iranian hackers [2]? What makes these companies more trustworthy than Huawei or any other Chinese company?

Finally, there's a line you can draw from the decisions of the past to what's happening today. The U.S. is largely responsible for the design of the modern web for both good and bad. The Internet is an amazing thing that has uplifted people around the world, including in developing countries where opportunities are needed [3] [4]. At the same time surveillance and proprietary software has become pedestrian to the point where most people (myself included) just accept it. We used Chinese manufacturing to scale this vision, from cheap Internet-connected devices to the servers that store and deliver our personal information. What kind of example did we set for China or other countries to follow? Where would we be had we followed the advice of people like Richard Stallman who warned us decades in advance?

We seem to be moving toward a more isolated world as of late. I hope we can get to a point where we're having productive conversations on a global scale about how tech could make our lives better (and potentially worse). The alternative is to let the chips fall where they may. In a world of IoT, AI and autonomous weapons, that's not a game I'd like to play.

[1] https://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/business/equifax...

[2] https://www.techradar.com/news/hackers-steal-6tb-citrix-data...

[3] https://www.cta.tech/News/Blog/Articles/2015/July/How-Mobile...

[4] https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000227436

Based on the actions taken by multiple agencies in the US and other governments it sounds like Huawei is actively working with the Chinese government to monitor devices they’ve sold. I don’t think the US has ulterior motives behind the ban, I think they’re genuinely concerned about the risk. I hope we eventually get a report on what they know about the devices.

That so far has not been proven. OTOH, Cisco devices [0] have been proven to contain backdoors in the past.

I am cautious of any government tampering in devices, but as it stands such tampering has not been found in huawei devices, but HAS been found in devices coming from US manufacturers... Yet no one is asking a ban on those?

[0]: https://theintercept.com/2014/12/13/belgacom-hack-gchq-insid...

The article references intelligence agencies hacking routers, shocking routers have bugs and vulnerabilities just like all other computers and software, or intercepting them in shipment to implant devices. No where is there any implication that Cisco purposely created a means for US or any other intelligence agencies to access their routers or otherwise cooperated in intelligence gathering which is Huawei is being accused of.

> Mandating that my private company seek approval from the government before doing business with Huawei is a pretty extreme rule that limits my options on the global marketplace.

Arguments based on market access when it comes to China and Chinese companies seems like a farce, before or after the trade war.

Didn't they do this with ZTE also? As I recall the issue was resolved when ZTE paid a fine and promised to change board members and leadership? Could the same happen with Huawei?

There may have been extenuating circumstances in the ZTE case:


Perhaps the reason is they think they will be left behind?

That’s a separate action independent from this.

Not really surprised, why would you allow US companies to build a network backbone using a company that has close ties with your strategic rival? Ren Zhengfei was in the PLA and the public private partnership operates very differently in China. As if the IP theft and espionage problems aren't bad enough.

It's not a coincidence that many Chinese devices have "bugs" that have them phone home.

Do you think China would allow their telecom companies to build out using Cisco gear?

Pretty sure China used a lot of Cisco gear, including to implement the Great Firewall: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/ciscos-latest-attempt-...

Sure, after transferring their IP and source code ;)

That's the game China is playing.

Cisco did sie Huawei over the alleged violation of EIGRP patents. Other than that I couldn't name any single case of IP theft, can you?


Yes an enormous amount, from every economic sector. Too many to name and trivial to find via Google.

This is the typical handwaving response I expected, thank you for confirming my suspicion that you can't actually name any.

So finally Canada is getting the support that they sought and deserve.

I find it interesting that the moderators were quick to remove the word Israel from the headline of the Whatsapp exploit article, but not China in this article.

"Quick" is inaccurate—the story had been at the top of the front page for hours. I did that because the thread was breaking into off-topic flamewars about Israel vs. Palestine and whether (lord help us) "Hacker News hates Jews". Rummaging in the big bag of tricks for a flamewar de-escalator, that was the one that came out. The intention wasn't about Israel, merely to nudge the thread back within the site guidelines. And I think it helped do that, though of course then the flames got directed at moderators for supposedly loving/hating Israel and so on.

Now that you mention it, though, there's no need to say "China's Huawei" in the title above. I've shortened it.

Thank you for the explanation and edit.

Thanks for the generous response! I confess to being taken aback, in a good way.

The US blacklisted Huawei because it's closely tied to the Chinese government. So it's arguably relevant.

But regarding the Whatsapp exploit, the association with Israel is arguably less relevant. The company is closely tied to Israel, but the US has a far less adversarial relationship with Israel than with China.

Edit: I was just stating the obvious, I guess. Doesn't mean that I agree with it, however. Just sayin'.

Which was essentially the point of the gp comment .... Israel gets special treatment in the US ... even when a spinoff from their secret service is caught hacking people's phones worldwide

Not really. The comment was about HN policy, not US policy.

And yes, Israel is the primary US proxy in the Middle East. And is widely supported in the US. So of course they get lots of slack. There's little doubt that the NSA has some role in this, or is at least OK with it.

> Israel is the primary US proxy in the Middle East

Frankly, it looks like the opposite. The US are the primary Israel's proxy in the West. Israel is causing the US much more trouble than gain in the Middle East.

That's implausible. Not impossible, I guess. But it's hard to see a mechanism.

I don't pretend to know what US goals really are in the Middle East. Maybe nobody does. So assessing trouble vs gain is iffy at best.

The US is a huge ally of Israel but for very strange reasons. For one, it has a lot of Jewish people. But the biggest pro-Israel force in the US is actually the minority (still more than there are Jewish people) of fundamentalist Christians who believe that Israel's existence helps the fulfillment of biblical prophecy of the new temple in Jerusalem and the Rapture. It might sound like I'm just being fantastical, but it's sadly very real: https://www.vox.com/2017/12/12/16761540/jerusalem-israel-emb...

I've heard the Evangelical Christians mentioned very often in relation to their support for Israel. However I'm not fully convinced that they're the major force behind the US's unwavering support. For example, the article you linked states that only 53% of evangelicals actually support the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital: it's not an overwhelming majority. Meanwhile, 63% of all Americans oppose it, so it's overall an unpopular move: why was it made then?

Also, the expert interviewed in the article says that "the gathering of all the Jews in exile to the Holy Land is a prerequisite for these events unfolding" (the end of times, etc.). But then, absurdity for absurdity, why don't the evangelicals call for the Jews to be expelled from the US, which would advance the evangelical cause even more? And more, to a Christian fundamentalist, a non-converted Jew is basically an infidel, so you'd expect them to be regarded with suspicion and contempt- which doesn't seem to happen. The Evangelicals then seem to entertain their beliefs only insofar that is beneficial to Israel. Isn't that strange?

> And more, to a Christian fundamentalist, a non-converted Jew is basically an infidel, so you'd expect them to be regarded with suspicion and contempt- which doesn't seem to happen.

It does happen. The US right simultaneously loves Israel and isn't particularly fond of Jews.

Allied countries get treated with less suspicion than enemy countries - it's not complicated or unjustified. In one case, the company might be doing something wrong to consumers. In the other case, the enemy government might be making military advances against our whole country.

If a Canadian or British company did the WhatsApp thing they'd get similar treatment. It's no that Israel is individually "special", it's that they're in the large group of ally countries to the US.

Any government creating software to spy on peoples phones is an enemy government.

Wiping away the out nuance from words to remove important factual distinctions is not advancing the conversation.

> The US blacklisted Huawei because it's closely tied to the Chinese government.

Has that actually been proven?

Maybe not proven, but there are definetly elements that go in that direction.


Every company is under the jurisdiction of the local government.

US companies have ties to the US government, as do Chinese companies with China.

This is at least partially why China blocked facebook (foreign influenced social media), have access to Windows source code, etc.

> but the US has a far less adversarial relationship with Israel than with China

Couldn't this be a consequence, rather than the cause, of the willingness to remove or mute anything that can put Israel in a less than positive light?

It's both.

I used to be angry about Israel, but no longer see the point of it. Being critical of Israel is political suicide in the US. That's just how it is. See The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2007). But be careful about discussing it.

> Being critical of Israel is political suicide in the US. That's just how it is.

I know. But it is how it is because of a pervasive propaganda on one side, and the fear of speaking up on the other. It can be changed.

It's not just the propaganda. Or rather, it's the six decades of propaganda. I used to keep a copy of that book in my living room. And it almost precipitated a riot among dinner guests. Indeed, fear of career suicide was a primary reason for going ~anonymous on the Internet.

I can't imagine what it would take to change it.

So war with Iran is inevitable? Even if majority of Americans don't support it?

It's not inevitable. In the Iraq war a few senators and reps voted against it. Now we should have tremendous better sense of evidence can be faked, the impact in America and other countries. Most? A lot? Of Dems would vote against war, a few Republicans. This is just John Bolton, Trump not paying attention. It's terrifying. What if he lets some provication kick it off. Really the same thing could happen with China or Russia. I never thought I'd feel so sad about the state of my country. But you know, 1938 looked a lot worse. Germany, Japan, great depression.

what I found interesting was how quickly Hn jumped to action (contacting investors, pension funds) relating to NGO on a completely unsubstantiated report. "May have been" was the quote from that article. I can't recall the last time I've ever seen upvoted Hn comments outraged enough to contact investors let alone from an unconfirmed report.


> "Note also that left leaning politics, especially from South Asia, is very sympathetic to communist regimes"

I wonder why they would be; there's nothing left-wing about China. They have sky-rocketing inequality and a poor working class working excessive hours under harsh conditions. China is highly capitalist, but under a totalitarian government. Nothing to admire about from a left-wing point of view.

Heroes sold as socialist in the US are typically communist: Marx, Stalin, Lennin, Mao, Pol pot, ...

The new wave of socialism in the US cherry picks instances of the ideology that is somewhat palatable with the West's notion of individual freedom. Denmark and Norway are sold as socialist meccas, but equally socialist China, Russia and Venezuela are conveniently ignored. The truth is that communism is a superset of socialism, and socialism in general tends to put the collective above the individual, often time at the cost of civil liberties.

China is communist in name only. Maybe it's a kind of collectivist capitalism, but there's little socialist about it.

I wasn't aware that Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot were seen as heroes in the US. I thought they're generally seen as villains. They certainly are in Europe. During the Cold War, there has been some sympathy in western socialist circles for Stalin and Mao, but primarily because people didn't realise, or didn't want to know, how terrible they were.

Different branches of socialism have grown far apart over the past century. Were Marxism, social democracy and anarchism used fairly interchangeably a century ago, they have grown into almost complete opposites in some cases. Marx certainly wouldn't agree with modern China in any way: there's no power at all for workers, state and corporations hold all the power, which is exactly the situation that both Marxists and other kinds of socialists argued against.

> I wasn't aware that Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot were seen as heroes in the US. I thought they're generally seen as villains.

They are generally seen as villains which is why those on the political right try to associate socialism with them and then try to label anything to the left of their politics as socialism even though it almost never is.

> Note also that left leaning politics

Politics in general is a dirty game. We don't need to oversimplify the landscape into some sort of spurious left/right divide in order to make a credible claim that there is a problematic prevailing narrative.

Arguably, US (and to a lesser extent Israel) have committed or supported far more international human rights abuses, war crimes and terrorism than any other modern country. So yes, we are not sympathetic to mindless anti-China propaganda even though we may not fully support "communist regimes" too.

Interesting but not surprising.

Apples and oranges: WhatsApp isn't an Israel-based company.

Meanwhile, it has been shown [1] that the NSA DOES in fact compromise cisco equipment. Huawei hardware has yet to be found to contain backdoors, but we should ban Huawei, but not Cisco?

While compromised hardware from _ANY_ player worries me, I worry more about American hardware than I worry about Chinese hardware at this point in time...

[1]: https://theintercept.com/2014/12/13/belgacom-hack-gchq-insid...

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