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The U.S. is charging Huawei with racketeering (techcrunch.com)
311 points by crivabene on Feb 13, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 301 comments

Using a throwaway to share our $0.02 relating to this. AMA I guess.

We're a US-based startup that does about $100-200k in business annually with Futurewei (Huawei's R&D subsidiary). I've never dealt with Huawei proper. I can say they're genuinely investing in R&D, and trying to build a product unlike anything being offered right now. We're working with tech that's floating around the academic conferences, but no one else commercially will touch.

This in contrast to our experiences with established US companies which, a) don't want to deal with early-stage research, b) wouldn't work with us as a new, small company, and c) gave bad IP terms (ironically).

Not excusing other activities, but for us it's been above-board and beneficial. If they want to pump their profits into the US ecosystem, I see that as beneficial.

But, don't you see the connection between their risk high investments and the IP they've stolen from US companies? If anything, Huawei made its name of stealing from Nortel, Cisco, etc. Not to mention, questionable ties to the CCP. If they have R&D money to burn, it's because they've saved billions on R&D because they stole it.

To see them as "good actor" because of a token $200k, while stealing literally tens of billions is missing the forest for the trees. Strategically, feels penny wise, pound foolish.

I think the stealing instead of R&D thing is somewhat misled. These guys are definitely spending billions on research as well.

I get the concern, and fines and punishment is all fine. But I think they might also have got caught in the geopolitical crossfire. It's a messy world; Samsung and Apple are stealing eachother's billions everyday, Google and Facebook are spying on us, DOD is killing people. I don't know who it's morally permissible to do business with anymore, but we're trying to get by.

They stole IP from western companies so they could reach the bleeding edge and then spent billions on R&D research to get ahead. Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen. No western company should trust their 5G equipment.

I don’t see how your conclusion follows from the premise. I don’t think anyone really doubts that they’ve stolen IP, but it doesn’t follow from that that their 5G equipment is therefore untrustworthy. That conclusion requires its own evidence, and also presentation of the wider context about why we should trust equipment from other manufacturers instead.

It does follow. Question why they would steal it and realize the Chinese government can force them to do whatever they want. Given they’ve been stealing IP it’s clear this is already happening. Then start questioning why? It’s a very interesting position to be in to have built a majority of the worlds wireless networks, especially with that type of gov.

> They stole IP from western companies so they could reach the bleeding edge and then spent billions on R&D research to get ahead. Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen.

Is an excellent argument for more technological sharing (as is/was customary in china), and less IP ownership.

US citizens don't trust their own companies equipments. Now you are trying to convince rest of the world that Huawei's equipment shouldn't be trusted.

I mean, both US companies and Huawei can be malicious actors, no?

> Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen.

Because they're incapable?

> But I think they might also have got caught in the geopolitical crossfire

I think it's extremely naive to think that Huawei is just an innocent victim. Almost willfully so.

> I think the stealing instead of R&D thing is somewhat misled. These guys are definitely spending billions on research as well.

If you really think Huawei's R&D theft is blown out of proportion, there's a huge mountain of evidence that suggests the exact opposite. There's really not much wiggle room for ifs and buts. If anything, it's probably worse than reported.



and you know, this indictment.

That being said, I don't expect you to say anything bad about the hand that feeds you. Given Huawei's reputation, they're probably monitoring you as we speak.

> I think it's extremely naive

> Almost willfully so.

> I don't expect you to say anything bad about the hand that feeds you. Given Huawei's reputation, they're probably monitoring you as we speak.

I think your post would have been just fine making your point without these remarks. It's just someone sharing their experience, that's what I'm reading the comment threads for. We can all see it's a new throwaway account without you lashing out at them.

I think my points are highly relevant. Questioning their intent and motive is an important part of what I was getting at. Highly suspect in every sense of the word.

Yeah ... I'm not quite getting the same hostility in the air when it concerns US corporations accused of doing exactly the same. Or people defending something as despicable as US Adtech. It's like people sometimes forget they're people, whether it's being fed by the propaganda machine, or being from China, or both.

Literally the same situation happens, when FB employees post from an anonymous account and defend Facebook.

Reactions are quite a bit more reserved, if not always nice or believing. They will get pointy questions, but they are expected to be treated with respect. Sometimes HN mods even remind people of this.

I think it's actually pretty disgusting how forgiving a large part of the HN crowd is, when they do it for US companies. It's just the big X-word. Hostility against those who are even suspected of doing it for the US media enemy du jour.

Now of course FB is a finger of the hand that's feeding you the very idea that Huawei is doing it more than USFAANG. (who, coincidentally, also are monitoring you as you speak)

Could you also react on his arguments that:

- lots of companies, like apple, are stealing from non US companies.

- US companies like Google and Facebook have much more personal data than huawai.

The whole privacy concern regarding Huawai is not well argumented. And its mostly an excuse by trump to attack China that is becoming a big world economy with manufacturing and technology skills rivalling USA.

Huawai is good competition in their field making products across the board cheaper. Competition is in the core of capitalism. May the strongest survive.

5G will be more expensive to rollout without them.

Ok, if they "copy" certain tech youre free to go to court. But a complete ban... thats just bad politics.

He reacted by citing evidence for his claims. Now it's time for the Huawei defenders to cite evidence for this supposed equivalency, and prove it's not just propaganda.

You should realize that saving billions of dollars on R&D is not really a good thing. It may get you up to a point, but you stagnate afterwards, because you didn't cover your fundamentals and build the skills necessary to advance forward.

At a national level, the R&D spending is actually important to build up your society's fundamental expertise in an area. You learn from your failures and mistakes. And in the meanwhile, you build up the expertise in your population, and those people, may later leave, and form other companies, which further advances your society.

However, if you can get the research results of your competitors, and learn that certain paths don't work, then you can save time and money, and not go down that same path. But, I still feel that you learn most from your failures, because you build in safeguards to prevent them from happening again in the future. So you end up with a technique, a system of systems, to build out your final product.

It's like Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

How did the two of you get connected with each other?

Originally had a friend that knew one of the people there. I was going solo-preneur at the time, so it essentially started as a consulting gig.

I don't have a question but your throwaway username is fantastic.

Wish I could add more value to this comment.. but I also upvoted for the name.

Good username!

What company and why should anyone believe this?

It's $200k/year, which is basically nothing to a megacorp like Huawei. Not sure why you're so incredulous

About a dozen years ago I was working for a small-ish hardware company ($350-400M revenue), which was acquired by a bigger company. BiggerCo had a Joint Venture with Huawei (let’s called it JVco).

About 6 months Post acquisition one of our employees found that Huawei was selling a 100% complete rip-off of one of our products. JVco had access to some of our development resources, but Huawei was never supposed to see any of that per the agreements.

The box looked, acted, and functioned the same - all they did was localize the language, barely rebrand it, and repackage our weekly updates for their customers the day after we released them.

Legal from BiggerCo got involved, and it was all papered over as a ‘misunderstanding’ by the Joint Venture company. Haven’t trusted a thing with their name on it or any company that does business with them since...

Kind of makes you wonder why Boeing would build a finishing plant in Zhoushan and Apple would put so much of its iPhone production in Zhengzhou and Shenzhen.

China is Boeing's second largest market, and it will probably become Boeing's largest market in the next decade.[1]

In these discussions decrying how terribly the Chinese treat foreign companies, I see very little acknowledgment of how much money foreign companies have earned both by selling to the Chinese market, and by exploiting cheap labor in China.

1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-17/boeing-se...

Because its cheap, if you only look at the immediate profit without considering the long term implications

The long term implications have been that American companies are richer than ever before.

What about longer than that. In GPs case what if Huawei outcompetes with stolen IP?

> The long term implications have been that American companies are richer than ever before.

That's medium term. Long term is Comac and Huawei drive down Boeing and Apple's market share until they're bit players in their industries (or go out of business altogether).

Aren't Tesla also building in China?

They are, but the factory is fully owned and operated by Tesla, not the usual 51% Chinese 49% American joint venture that was the norm until the recent trade fight.

They have a Gigafactory in China. Cars made in China stay there.

Not so sure about IP used in this (or other) factory though..

I am willing to bet every piece of equipment bound for that factory is inspected by Chinese engineers for interestingness. The plant is imaged during down time for documentation of any other interestingness.

Apple have been there for quite some time, they’re probably happy enough with the trade off.

Apple is so far gone in the closed ecosystem game, they're pretty much impossible to copy.

Whoa there - you're making an implication I didn't make. At no point in my story did I claim that all Chinese people or companies were slimy, just one.

That culture may or may not be more pravalent in China than it is in the US, but this particular story doesn't claim either way.

Because it is often the only way to gain entrance into the Chinese market.

My previous employer and my current one (both Fortune-50 tech companies) each had quiet policies that prospective job candidates who had Huawei on their resume needed extra clearing before they could even interview. Reading through the indictment makes the policies seem less paranoid or perhaps even not paranoid enough.


While I hear your reasoning, and parts of it make total sense, it is explicitly illegal to discriminate against someone due to their citizenship (yes, citizenship as well, not just national origin or anything like that) during the recruitment process (exceptions apply, i.e., if they are in the US illegally or if the position requires some sort of security clearance).

Imo the only way it would work is if there was a separate law passed that addresses hiring workers who have Chinese citizenship specifically (with no US citizenship at the same time, obviously, as dual nationals are a thing), but that would never happen unless the situation escalated dramatically way beyond what it is now.

> The DoJ alleges that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used confidential agreements with American companies over the past two decades to access the trade secrets of those companies, only to then misappropriate that intellectual property and use it to fund Huawei’s business.

These American companies thought they could build their products for a fraction of the price in China and increase margins. They didn't stop to consider that by teaching China how to build their products they were creating a new low-cost competitor. And they've since lost their manufacturing ability. Oops.

It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates and has operated for a very long time.

> It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates and has operated for a very long time.

I see this as a win-win. These U.S. companies tried to take shortcuts by outsourcing to China and they got burned. China engaged in all sorts of unethical and illegal behavior in the process and will (hopefully) get burned.

I see this as a win-win, too, but in a different way.

Early on, the US companies cut their costs: good for them, and likely their customers. In the long term, China developed the expertise needed to contribute to the development of advanced technologies: good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

There's a lot of acrimony over how to divide the surplus, but this shouldn't overshadow the technological and economic development happening before our very eyes.

I love the fact that the PEOPLE of China have been able to benefit economically from this. However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

This is a recipe for tyranny, and the elites of the CCP have oppressed the good citizens of China by developing tech for suppression of speech, identification and targeting of dissent, etc. Even worse, they have begun exporting this technology to other autocracies.

I say this as somebody who has no illusions about the corrupt nature of the US government. However, the US government doesn't have nearly the power over its citizens that the CCP has. Just wanted to clarify that I'm not pretending I live in a perfect democracy. Just empathizing with the Chinese people, and wishing they had more say over their situation than they do now.

The other 91% mostly don't have enough interest to become CCP member. It's not that difficult if they want to join.

Moreover, the highest organ of the state is National People's Congress (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_People%27s_Congress), with elected representatives coming from all kinds of professions, including CCP and non-CCP members. The idea is exactly to give everyone representation in government.

Nah it's very difficult for normal people to join CCP. Firstly you had to be "A Pioneer" worker/soldier etc..This usually means that you need someone' apply from CCP. As a student, you have had to be a member of the Communist Youth League of China and do a lot of pieces of shit to get your teacher‘s apply. Then you will be an "Activist" allow you to send the join offer. This is difficult enough but usually only one or two of the dozens can join the CCP.


Almost only those who dropped out of school are NOT member of the Youth League (rare cases are you went abroad for middle school or completely freak). Joining CCP at high school is an achievement and you might get bonus or a medal even, but at college/work it’s quite easy

total nonsense. they even agreed to let billionaires such as Jack Ma to join their COMMUNIST PARTY. how hard will it be for an average person to join the party? I have not heard anyone who failed to become a CCP member.

for the mentioned "Communist Youth League of China" thing, 95%+ of the suitable age group are members. you need to do something really naughty to avoid becoming one.

> However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

I wonder, of the 91% who aren’t party members, what percentage are non-members because they don’t want to join the party, versus what percentage wouldn’t be allowed to join even if they wanted to?

>>I wonder, of the 91% who aren’t party members, what percentage are non-members because they don’t want to join the party, versus what percentage wouldn’t be allowed to join even if they wanted to?

In another country, there's was no "I don’t want to join the party" when invited, just relatives with bad reputations as far as the party was concerned so no invitation. In that case, even if you were applied, you'd be refused. Think for a second, you not wanting to join the party? Granted, China in 2020 is different from Eastern Europe in the 1960-1980's but the idea is probably the same.

However, probably 95% join to enjoy the perks.

Reminds me that in Singapore, if the Party is interested in you, the common euphemism is that they 'would like to have tea' with you.


Do you believe that the Chinese people would not have benefitted, had the alleged activities not occurred? If so, then they are a sort of state-level robin-hood. If not, then the theft was greed and treachery.

I have no reason to believe that this was necessary for progress.

Had the alleged activities not occurred? Without a doubt the Chines people wound not have benefited as much.

> I have no reason to believe that this was necessary for progress.

What are the reason that you believe that this is not necessary for progress?

There doesn't exist a single example of technologically advanced country that did not jump start its technological development by using protectionist policies and/or knowledge transfer. Be that knowledge transfer legal or illegal.

And the illegal instances, when discovered, should be punished.

I guess I dont buy the argument that China and Chinese citizens would not have benefitted from legal transfer of knowledge and providing a useful service to the world exporting mineral wealth, importing food, oil, and tech, creating supply chain expertise to be cooperative partners in worldwide manufacturing booms, and paying experts to relocate (above board!) to China to teach the next generation.

This is 95% of what they are doing anyway. Its the remaining 5% of theft and espionage that is fair game for prosecution.

I guess I dont understand the apologists who think we should eschew legal action against the 5% just because "everyone does it".

>However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

I wonder how this form of representation is distributed. In a democracy, theoretically everyone is represented equally. In the CCP, how much say do the lowest members have? Are they yes men all the way up?

>> China developed the expertise needed to contribute to the development of advanced technologies: good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

Depends how China uses the technology. More censorship wouldn't be that good for humanity.

> good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

I don't think social credit and proof that democracy isn't necessary for profit is good for humanity's progress.

Well, yes, that's what the whole cyberpunk genre has been warning us about for last 30 years. That future has come, though fortunately it's not evenly distributed, at least yet.

Not sure about the "fortunately" bit. It's nice that the dystopia hasn't captured everything yet, but uneven distribution of technological power is kinda what reinforces the dystopia.

Maybe with a social credit system the US wouldn't have elected Trump. /s

Its wonderful that we can now reap the harvest of pervasive surveillance for pennies.

The irony of this comment is that this intellectual property theft is what America did in the 1700-1800s to get ahead.

And America eventually eclipsed the British that they were stealing from, so don't expect China to be "punished" too much.

And how everyone developed their own nukes... the moral of the story is that if someone copied your product and can beat you, then your product is not defensible in the first place.

The allegation is not copying, the allegation is fraudulent agreements with US companies, and dishonest corporate espionage.

Can anyone really develop new technology, bring it to market, have it immediately brought by a competitor with zero R&D investment, and expect to compete? Is there something that is supposed to be magical about US technology that this scenario does not apply?

The articles cites some of the examples as "taking a photo of a disassembled circuit board" and "copying source code."

While I agree copying source code is bad, but doing so and maintaining someone else's code is a monumental task.

I think design, prototyping, commercialization, and iterations are a bigger task than maintaining an active product line. It's not 100% of the work when you can simply copy someone's work, but it might be 80%

Everyone except the United States, who figured out how to build them first.

Then use the car industry as an example: the American car manufacturers' internal combustion engines looks identical to those of the the Germans.

To quote you: "who figured out how to build them first."

In the Toyota factory museum in Japan they aren’t exactly ashamed of the fact that they bought, disassembled, and reverse engineered a Chrysler for their first few cars.

That's the opposite of espionage. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Reverse engineering is a legal form of IP imitation everywhere.

Isn't some engineer opening up a box and taking pictures something mentioned in this indictment?

That was one of the simpler ones. They are also alleged to have stolen router firmware. But frankly if you've ever tried to just "take over" even an open source project it's not a trivial task to just take someone's source code and be able to master it.

In fact it's a standard open source business model to make money off the expertise on the open source code base.

Indeed, but it’s not the Japanese whining all day and all night about how the Chinese are stealing their precious gifts to the world. :)

Isn't this exactly why the US should be worried?

And the Japanese after in the 19th C

Maybe there's a difference from wholesale copying of blueprints, design docs, and millions of lines of software, and someone remembering how things work and going somewhere else.

No, read about it if you want.

Yours really is another ironic comment.

The British at least tried to stop it by making it illegal to take the machines out of the country

The Americans sent the machines to China themselves to save a few bucks on labor.

I have "read about it", and nothing I read has seemed to justify China's wholesale tech stealing extravaganza.

Modern export restrictions are akin to making it illegal to take machines out of a country.

Even if it was somehow exactly the same thing happening, saying "you did this 200 years ago so I'm going to do the same thing now" isn't any kind of acceptable reasoning. Mauritania can't say that they are cool to have slaves because America had slaves 170 years ago. Or rather, they can say that, it just isn't very convincing.

Is it really stealing? It's ideas, it's not a human right. America has MADE it illegal, forced it through with their trade deals. Enforced anti-free trade copyright and ip ideals on everyone else to try and protect their advantage. One rule for them, 'free' trade for everyone else apart from knowledge, of course. One rule that they themselves ignored in their ascendancy, using those same 'illegal' means China uses.

It's just history repeating itself, delude yourself however you want that Amrrica holds some moral high ground by holding life improving knowledge to ransom.

I'm no China fan, but Inthis defending America is pathetic.

The amount of invention and technological achievement developed in and by the US I would guess be an order of magnitude higher (at least, maybe 3) then any amount intellectual property theft from other nations in the 17-1800s.

I would not guess this to be true of China nor likely to become true for a very long time at least.

It's actually vastly accelerated this time around, China are already overtaking America as experts in certain fields.

Because the Americans so helpfully moved all their manufacturing to China, they had to teach manufacturing and engineering to their Chinese workers to troubleshoot problems, and are now losing that ability themselves.

Turns out when you're designing a product it useful to have practical manufacturing experience, which the Americans have lost.

Isn't this a lose-lose situation instead?

I think they mean win-win because they are giving the impression that these companies are not doing the right thing so for them to fail by trying this sets the precedent for others. Then since China loses the US may benefit from this

" These U.S. companies tried to take shortcuts by outsourcing to China "

It what universe is it a 'shortcut' to manufacture in another country where there are tons of people looking for jobs, wherein, by the way, said jobs will fundamentally improve the lives of millions, and in most cases, manufacturing such products in the US would not be viable anyhow.

There is no 'win win' - China is blatantly cheating, and that's basically the story.

> It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates

You mean every developing nation? Just look at U.S. industrial espionage in Europe during the 18th-19th century when it was developing.

Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous.

I attended a top 5 business school in France at the turn of the century. We had partnerships with similar schools in NYC, Tokyo, Sydney, you name it.

It was taught in first year of international business classes that outsourcing abroad was functionally equivalent to a transfer of technology — so you always had to factor in the time it took for your magic low-cost solution to fade out and become your competitor, essentially, but not just them: by then the whole market has access to that cost structure, so you have to keep finding new lower-cost solutions, and keep innovating on your technological part (HQ in Europe, USA, Japan, etc).

It's just international business 101, really, and has been for at least 20 years in my personal experience — but I'm pretty sure I read articles from the 1970s describing this process, because Japan was the first one to pull it off brilliantly.

People focus on China because somebody is waiving that name a lot and his voice carries a lot through the media; but this is definitely just how the world works, and has been forever — if you ask workers from the next village to come and help build stuff with your super tech, it won't take long before they replicate the process over there.

And that's called culture, knowledge, it lives and grows and moves like populations of viruses or molecules, it's been modeled for some time in anthropology at that macro-level.

This is a misleading narrative in the context of the charges against Huawei.

To somehow equate the direct theft of IP and innovation as just 'shared culture and knowledge' completely avoids the material criminality at hand.

Huawei is charged with literally incentivizing their employees to steal knowledge and IP, and of directly copying designs, on a systematic and widespread scale. These activities are instituted far beyond just Huawei.

This is not a situation of the natural flow of industrial knowledge, it's direct theft.

The concept of IP is a relatively recent invention, created by legislatures to prop up specific industries hurt by copying of data, and, as is being demonstrated, not everyone agrees that it should be treated the same as existing systems of physical property.

You wouldn’t download a car. But I would. I don’t think it’s possible to steal information.

This history of IP is not relevant. China knows the rules and they broke them. Therefore, there must be consequences.

> China knows the rules and they broke them

So did Turing.

No no no, those are American HEROES sir.



But very good point.

I feel like military tech is another issue entirely tho. And concerns me with what I'm perceiving as an arms race with carriers and fighter jets over I presume China's ability to project power within their naval territory .

Note how all comments citing US industrial espionage fail to mention that the young U.S. was at war with Great Britain from 1776-83 and again in 1812 when the Brits burned much of Washington, D.C. is the contemporary parallel that China is now asserting they are at war with the U.S. and therefore can appropriate technology at will?

Same thing can be said about the US trying to overthrow the CCP during Mao when they banned food export during their great famine to try and trigger a revolution to remove them from power.

Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

Supported a western friendly government during WW2 to take over China.

In International relations there are no rules.

I think you have it very wrong:

"After the first two months of war, South Korean Army (ROKA) and the US forces rapidly dispatched to Korea were on the point of defeat. As a result, the ROKA and US troops retreated to a small area behind a defensive line known as the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, an amphibious UN counter-offensive was launched at Incheon, and cut off many KPA troops in South Korea. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back north. UN forces invaded North Korea in October 1950 and moved rapidly towards the Yalu River—the border with China—but on 19 October 1950, Chinese forces of the People's Volunteer Army (PVA) crossed the Yalu and entered the war.[51] The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces back below the 38th Parallel by late December."

I can't find anything related to US/UN forces invading. But this is most likely a western view of the war. China looks like anything but just standing idly by during the war (did not realize that China was deeply involved in the Korean War before).

You might do well to visit the Flying Tigers Museum in Guilin to get a sense of what the U.S. did in China to save the Chinese from Japanese invasion.


And if you insist on applying 18th and 19th century situations to current IP theft, then logically you should also be willing to accept what the British did to America: burn the capital. Is Huawei's IP harvest worth the torching of Zhongnanhsi and the Renmin Datang?

Didn't America attack british colonies in Canada in 1812? I thought America was the aggressor in that war and Britain just retaliated.

> Didn't America attack british colonies in Canada in 1812?


> I thought America was the aggressor in that war and Britain just retaliated.

It's more complicated than that. Britain tried to prohibit America from trading with France, as part of their war against Napoleon. America thought that was against international law. Britain also had a habit of seizing sailors off of American ships and forcing them into service in the Royal Navy, which the US regarded as extremely over the line. The British were also (pre-war, IIUC) arming Native Americans on the US western frontier.

Eventually, the US declared war. But I'm not sure that makes them the aggressor, at least not 100%...

ehhh. Debatable. There's a lot of factors that led to it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time a city in China has was burned to the ground over a trade war. (Opium war, summer palace)

Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

I am pretty sure US did not invade Chinese territory during the Korean War. There are a few instances of US fighters straying into China but pretty sure it wouldn't count as 'invasion'.

> Same thing can be said about the US trying to overthrow the CCP during Mao when they banned food export

Did you mean when the US saved China from being obliterated by nuclear weapons by the USSR in 1969? Or when the US saved China from continued genocide by the Empire of Japan by almost single-handedly defeating the Japanese military in the Pacific? Maybe you mean when the US funded the build-out of modern China through trade & commerce and not only allowed them into the WTO, but openly invited them in (we got rewarded nicely for that).

> Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

When the US tried to save the people of North Korea - the Korean War was a UN military mission - from half a century of extreme poverty, genocide and misery that continues to this day (and with zero human rights). With China on the opposite side of that equation, supporting the outcome of genocide, dictatorship, zero human rights, extreme poverty. Meanwhile South Korea became an affluent, liberal democracy.

> Supported a western friendly government during WW2 to take over China.

When the US tried to spare China half a century of extreme poverty, genocide and misery. China could have developed much faster and with human rights, as with South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan - and without the slaughter of tens of millions of people.

Nobody claimed that China is the only one to steal. Brits stole tea trees from China. Americans stole textile manufacturing from Brits.

Perhaps if those Yankees could have pointed at the Brits stealing tea trees, then the Brits would have been struck with a sense of self-realization of their own hypocrisy, and let the Yanks make off with those machine designs with no hassle?

So you're saying that we shouldn't feel sorry for these 20th/21st century companies because of what happened in the 18th and 19th centuries? The whataboutisms are nauseating.

> Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous.

No one is pretending this is how China specifically operates. This IS how certain entities from China operate. Especially certain SOE that have the backing of the CCP.

I’m not sure the whataboutism comparison helps if it’s still unclear if any superpower has been able to attain economic dominance without committing some IP theft. Japan, the UK, America, Germany, etc. If there ever was a country which played fair, they didn’t make it very far.

Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous

All the vast majority of people in the "West" know about China is whatever happens to be propagated by mainstream propagandists for current purposes. Ignorance is much more common (and hence likely) than disingenuity.

"Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous."

Once again the Chinese 'moral relativism' argument I think falls flat.

"Hey look, 500 years ago someone did something, so hey, it's ok"

What is 'disingenuous' is this kind of rhetoric that completely denies the material issues at hand. China (and not just Huawei) has been systematically stealing and cheating far beyond anyone else (by the way, probably anyone else in history not that it matters), and this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

These charges are well warranted, and they should be applied to any number of entities who've encroached on general principles of trade.

If China wants to play with such shenanigans, it's fine actually, it's their choice to use this strategy, but the response should be pretty forceful as well.

Any particular books you’d recommend?

We left the 18th and 19th century a long time ago. It's not disingenuous to single out China for this behavior since China is one of the biggest player doing it and reaping so much from it in our time.

Plus, whataboutism.

> We left the 18th and 19th century a long time ago.

So? It's not like the US didn't know that it was breaking British laws back then. IP protectionism is nothing new, it is is fair to make comparisons to 18th/19th century events.

It all depends of what you make of that comparison.

Are you saying it's okay because others did it before ? That it shouldn't be debated ?

What's the position ? What is the point of preventing people from saying China is playing the IP theft game hard at the moment ?

> Are you saying it's okay because others did it before ?

Yes and no - it depends entirely on whose perspective you are arguing from (upstart vs. establishment), and even that changes over time. For the US, it used to be okay, but no longer is. Also it's not "others" who did it before, but the very same nation-state that is now screaming blue murder.

> That it shouldn't be debated ?

Oh, it should absolutely be debated, but the US has no moral high ground when making its arguments. Turnabout is fair play

> Also it's not "others" who did it before, but the very same nation-state that is now screaming blue murder.

Well, this is the classic continuity problem: is the US from centuries ago the same US of today ?

> Oh, it should absolutely be debated, but the US has no moral high ground when making its arguments. Turnabout is fair play

I am from Europe. Anyway, I disagree. Moral stances aren't cancelled because past wrongdoings.

> it is is fair to make comparisons to 18th/19th century events?


It's really uncalled for to accuse them of being disingenuous. Please assume good faith. They might just be ignorant.

What is with this argument that US did it 150 years ago (or X years), so it must be OK for China to do it? Is that how it works at work? Where one person steals your credit and therefore you feel it is OK to forever steal their credit? Is it what you would teach your children or how you would expect the criminal justice system to work? (Oh, everyone seems to break the law, so we'll just ignore laws in your case).

Hmm no but if everyone in MLB did steroids to get to where they are then I’m not going to be that surprised when I find out the rookie is juicing.

You wont be surprised, but you'll punish the rookie or anyone else who fails a drug test just the same. Im not surprised corps and countries steal from eachother, but I expect them to be punished when caught.

Oh totally I am of the opinion that the US needs to step up its IP protection. It only makes strategic sense to protect your competitive advantage.

I'm just pointing out that every other nation seems to have gone through a phase of "cheating" to get to where they are, to the point where I can't even say with 100% certainty that it's possible to become a technological superpower without doing it.

in a lot of cases the low-cost competitors are not only lower cost but have more features and/or better performance. They side-step a lot of the planned obsolescence and intentional feature scarcity US companies have become so dependent on to avoid meaningful R&D. Its hard not to see a lot of them as sort of a Robin Hood.

On topic though, Most of the pot-banging from Washington is at the behest of AT&T and other US carrier/handset/chip companies who are rightly livid that Huawei made it to market with 5G before they had a chance to monopolize it.

” They side-step a lot of the planned obsolescence and intentional feature scarcity US companies have become so dependent on to avoid meaningful R&D. ”

They also “side-step” the capital and years of research required to come up with the products.

Why invest in R&D when you can invest in corporate espionage for a fraction of the cost?

Not here to debate whether IP theft happens, but to be clear Huawei does also invest billions into R&D (domestic and abroad)

That's a separate issue. If Huawei violated some IP patents then why aren't they suing for that? Any meaningful R&D developments would be patented and would be publicly available and described anyways.

And if your product is so weakly innovative that a picture of the circuity or some power point slides basically give away significant trade secrets, then your product probably sucks.

These charges sound like they're for non-innovation based trade secrets, whatever those may be.

If they didn't invest in research, how were they first to market with 5G solutions?

They even stole the stuff we haven’t invented yet !!

Aren't most of the other 5G infrastructure manufactures European (Siemens, Nokia)? Do the US carriers really care where their equipment comes from?

Handset manufactures probably don't care since they're sourcing from others. Perhaps Samsung (Exynos) being the exception, but they're Korean. Apple bought Intel's 5G division.

The only chip company that I could imagine cares is Qualcomm.

> On topic though, Most of the pot-banging from Washington is at the behest of AT&T and other US carrier/handset/chip companies who are rightly livid that Huawei made it to market with 5G before they had a chance to monopolize it.

This one sentence summarized everything.

I don't think that sentence actually makes any sense. AT&T and other US carriers probably don't care who manufactures their equipment. They make money on the service they sell.

The US doesn't actually have any vendor for most of this kind of equipment, the competitors here are either European or Chinese.

As a consumer, that may be good in the short term. But innovation isn’t free. In a world where people can just copy other people’s hard work with impunity, what incentive is there to invest in innovation?

This is a tiring trope.

It’s like how the music industry kept saying that people would no longer sing and make songs, because piracy would prevent them from doing so. As if there was no money to be made, and money was the only point of singing. As if piracy ever stopped people from singing for the past 10,000 years.

Well, artists do make money from songs, by having concerts. They are selling the service and the experience of of a live performance. This was the way that it had always been done throughout human history.

Or Apple for example, they don’t make money from selling software, but they make it from selling very expensive hardware, that they force to expire after a few years.

People will keep singing and dancing and making music like they have always done. Most didn't make money from it. Sheet music changed that briefly, tapes/records/cds. Music = Copyright = money is a modern thing.

Getting billions invested in anything won't happen without a return. If a company is limited to a short window before everyone can copy means less funding and more valueless throwaway products.

There is a happy balance to be had here. Patents as they exist today is often hindering innovation rather than promoting it. E.g. 3D printing really took off when 3D printing patents started expiring. The industry was stuck while patents where enforceable.

In many industries patents are an innovation blocker. Companies often spend more money fighting patents trolls than they gain form having patents. Patens are increasingly acquired for defensive purpose to defend against patent troll attacks rather than actually protecting any innovation.

I am not against intellectual property protection, but I think how things have developed in the US in particular is excessive and counterproductive.

Exactly. Like solar panels. It existed for decades, and languished in the labs, behind patent protections, until the patents expired. Then China came onto the scene, and innovated in mass production techniques to make it cheaper.

And now, solar energy just crossed a milestone, at 4 cents per kilowatt hour, making it competitive with other energy sectors.

> less funding and more valueless throwaway products

Everything is derivative.

Even the latest generation of CPU technology pushing faster clock rates and adding more cores. It’s still derivative of the initial idea of the transistor.

You build value by building a moat. You make your business more valuable by making it harder for others to get into, almost like a natural monopoly.

Like consumer automobiles, which require a huge investment in societal knowledge and capability. Only a few countries can mass produce cars at a commercial level. Or commercial airplanes, where only a few companies can really make a profit. Or even Tesla, by changing the paradigm, from internal combustion engines, to fully electric drivetrains.

My initial comment was only to rebut the idea that you can’t do anything without massive amounts of patents and copyrights. Which in itself, has gone too far.

This is true for a lot of important drugs that don't have massively lucrative markets to recover their investment. This means fewer new antibiotics for global issues and more penis pills.

> fewer new antibiotics

So companies don’t do this, because there is no profit in it? Perhaps, that is the problem with late stage capitalism itself? Everyone wants to become a rent-seeking landlord.

What about a societal need? What about for the survival of the human race?

This is like arguing that humanity can’t muster up the ingenuity to solve something to save the human race, just because there’s no profit in it.

Necessity is the mother of all invention. If there are fewer antibiotics, then maybe this just means that it is not necessary.

Sorry folks! You’re just going to have to take your chances with the Grim Reaper! My bank account can’t be bothered to find a cure for you.

This is a shortsighted view. Evidence from many other industries with weak property rights contradicts your point. Nigeria's film industry is unable to allocate significant resources to film production in large part because Nigeria's government is incapable of enforcing copyright on behalf of the filmmakers.

Stealing IP does have an impact on capital allocation.

Doesn't Nigeria make more films than everyone else? I am not sure how this supports your point? There is no way Nigeria will put in the money that the US does.

Actually sort of true, though I might say a better example is Singapore, which attracts business in part because it has the strongest legal system and lowest corruption of the countries in southeast asia.

One can take a balanced position on this without going to either extreme. American companies have certainly abused the patent and copyright system by allowing patents to last for far too long and cover too much. Likewise copyrights have been applied for too long time periods.

Yet I don't think the solution to this problem is to abandoned both systems completely. Rather copyright period should be shortened, and patents should cover less and last for a shorter time.

Right now the system is not setup to support innovation and creation but rather to act as cash cow for big corporations.

It's not just about disregarding IP patents. It's about corporate espionage. Literally sending in spies/criminals to steal from a corporation.

Corporate espionage is a financial crime. If you have strategic secrets, then lock those damn secrets up!

Put heavy encryption on it. Keep it off the internet. Keep your computers air-gapped.

If you don’t do this, then sorry, this is your fault.

However, if someone else wants to compete with you, then they can just reverse engineer what you did. Any engineer competent enough can figure out the process details, by just working backwards. They don’t even need to bother looking at your source code or blueprints.

Comparing writing new songs to developing new technology is apples to oranges. It doesn't require billions of dollars and man-hours in R&D to follow your passion and write the next big hit. It just takes talent and a few years of practice, if that.

Making things better?

Though as used, "innovation" really means "figuring out new things to make money on", which renders your question tautological - "in a world where it's harder to invent new tricks that make money, what incentive is there to invest in inventing new things that make money?".

Nailed it.

I hear OSS is doing well when it comes to innovation...

Most people working on OSS are paid by companies that rely heavily on closed source innovation in other areas of business.

They are commoditizing their compliments.

Even if that claim about "most people" was true, the point is still valid - OSS contributors _are_ "innovating" (creating new things to make money on), despite the innovations being freely copied. In part, the innovation happens _because_ or _with_help_ of free copying. Free sharing of some ideas/knowledge can be benefitial to innovation.

Nobody is claiming _all_ ideas business finds / works on should be immediately shared freely with the world. The benefactors of a business are naturally motivated to protect their know-how. But it should be the business' responsibility to protect its secrets, not HN commenters or governments'. If an idea can't be kept secret, then government issues patents, which should be time limited and regional.

I hear most OSS contributions come from people who make a living working at proprietary software companies...

the state of OSS hardware is pretty sad.

As is the state of OSS medicine.

Open-source software is great but it's generally more derivative than innovative (there are exceptions of course).

Innovation is a techno/bureau -cratic buzzword, which (noun) roughly means "new thing that is novel and can be used to boost the economy". A derivative of an old product can be an innovation, if you can still make or attract money on it.

Being first to market has its advantages.

Shrinking advantages as the delta-t between release and the appearance of dozens of stolen cheap knockoffs decreases.

Investing in innovation keeps you ahead. Moral of the story is that you should be constantly innovating... not innovating one time and trying to keep it a secret for maximum capitalistic market extortion.

Why would US carriers want to pot-bang about this? They would only lose money by doing so. AT&T and Huawei are not competitors.

> not only lower cost but have more features and/or better performance

Yeah, many of these vendors do improve upon the original products quite a bit so even while initial versions can be shoddy knockoffs, later editions are often times improved compared to the original.

> Its hard not to see a lot of them as sort of a Robin Hood.

They're definitely profiting, and they're doing it partially through lower worker standards and looser laws on pollution. They are acting for profit, not to fix the flaws of Western capitalism.

If they're exposing the flaws of western capitalism, I view that as a positive. That they are also acting for profit doesn't negate the value of forcing incumbent US megacorps to actually get off their butts and invest in improving products.

You said it yourself: later editions are improved often times. Yes, some of this gain is due to lower worker standard, but I highly doubt ATT, VZ, etc. are really maximizing for worker standards, either.

Those ATT workers sleeping 8 to a garage and pitching themselves off buildings sure is a dang tragedy.

It's basically wild wild west anarchism. It's like take "western capitalism" and extrapolate to a worse place. I get that western capitalism (whatever that actually means anymore) has gone off the rails some. But seeing the Chinese approach as a just come-uppance is like being glad that killers have showed up to get rid of all of the bullies. It just gets worse.


Do you think other countries would have done better? I'm personally impressed with how decisively China has been handling this pandemic.

Don't mean to go off topic, but general China bashing isn't productive. Lumping together all China related topics as if it was all the grand project of an evil mastermind is only good in the movies.

Yes. Especially ones with Free Speech. China literally arrested a doctor for warning his colleagues. I have never heard of anything like that in the Free World.

Not exactly the same, but the recent kerfuffle with some pentesters and a courthouse was a thing.

Not even remotely comparable. A better analogy would be Trump's retaliation against good-faith actors raising complaints about his lawbreaking but it's still a weak one. America isn't any angelic nation, to be sure, but even our worst actions (Trump's retaliation, the border family separation issues) aren't even close to the routine, daily, and pernicious violations of human rights and dignity in China.

This is not true and implies a misunderstanding of the industry.

AT&T, like most carriers, is perfectly happy to get super cheap and gear from China, at a fraction of the price they'd pay otherwise.

In fact, carriers around the world are the one's pushing to use Huawei.

Second - the US doesn't really have any capabilities in the 5G space, for the most part. It's European companies: Erikson and Nokia that have capabilities. Cisco, Lucent etc. are not even on the radar on this issue.

Given that your position is completely at odds with the reality of the market, you'll have to provide some material evidence of your claim that the US is just up in a fuss over their lack of dominance of 5G, otherwise, they just don't seem true.

Once again, all of this narrative misleads us from the real underlying issue, which is that Huawei and others have been systematically and openly stealing property.

> real underlying issue, which is that Huawei and others have been systematically and openly stealing property.

Issue for whom? Most people are perfectly happy with one company learning and mimicking products of another company, if they get cheaper and better versions. This is perfectly natural. If some rich guys feel like China got ahead of them too much too quickly, that's too bad - they should have protected their stuff, not teach Chinese to manufacture it.

Sending in spies to steal protected information is blatant theft by any definition.

The number of people here trying to downplay what's going on is astonishing, I can only imagine they themselves are not legit posters.

State and corporate espionage isn't anything new. As well as learning and copying business (your "theft"). Japanese did the same with semiconductors.

I don't know what _exactly_ has been going on with Huawei and other companies, but I understand that the publicized outrage about Huawei and other Chinese companies stealing from America isn't natural. Most people were fine with Chinese advancing and copying, since everybody benefited from cheap labor/products. Until the powerful in the West realized american economy is in bad shape, power balance in the world is shifting and it's time to do something about it. I guess shaping public opinion on China is part of that.

"State and corporate espionage isn't anything new."

'State espionage' for issues of security is understandable and nobody is screaming about it.

"I understand that the publicized outrage about Huawei and other Chinese companies stealing from America isn't natural"

This is really not true. It's 100% natural to be concerned about the blatant theft of research and IP.

Literally Huawei was rewarding staffers for stuff they'd stolen.

In fact, I'd argue that it's 'unnatural' for people not to be concerned about it.

"Most people were fine with Chinese advancing and copying, since everybody benefited from cheap labor/products. "

No way - that was not 'China stealing IP' - that was China using their competitive advantage: labour, factories, supply chains to add value. This is a good thing and few were complaining other than those who lost jobs. Everyone else was winning.

"Until the powerful in the West realized american economy is in bad shape" ?

The US has the lowest unemployment in 25 years, the lowest unemployment ever for African Americans, stocks are at crazy all-time highs. While nobody will ever say it's rosy, and historical growth is a little low, the US is overall doing just fine.

This is all a distraction: China and Huawei stealing IP and other elements and it's blatantly illegal and a serious transgression of international norms of trade.

Why would any company in the world even allow Huawei staff anywhere near their workers or offices, knowing that they're literally trying to steal whatever they can? The consequences of this are real and will factor into how nations contemplate trading with China.

It’s not just China that does this. This is a proven path for developing economies, that still have a labor price advantage. It’s the reason “Made in Germany” exists as a label, forced by the brits to mark “inferior goods” that turned out to be cheaper and better. Just like China now...

US theft of UK IP back in the day (early 19th century textiles especially) was a big deal.

Hollywood exists in California because Edison's patents weren't respected there https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/51722/thomas-edison-drov...

Why not mention the rest of the story: that the U,S. and Great Britain engaged at the time in two bitter wars? Are you claiming that China is justified is stealing U.S. IP because the two nations are at war currently?

The specific timing on your allegations is off. A lot of the IP theft occurred in peacetime. The US and UK were at war for a total of like 11 years, and there was a period many decades of IP theft. It wasn't as state sponsored as it was during the period between the two wars, but it still happened.

Hell as late as 1850 the US straight up didn't recognize copyright of non US citizens. I forget exactly when that changed.

It is a DoJ allegation and that department has lower credibility than gas station sushi. It is perfectly possible that as Chinese companies continue to prove to be more competitive across the tech value chain USA will increasingly take irrational positions to hurt Chinese companies. This is an old American model that as long as Americans can control you (la South Korea, Japan,etc.), Americans treat you as business partners but since American influence on China is next to none, American come up with all these allegations.

> They didn't stop to consider that by teaching China how to build their products they were creating a new low-cost competitor.

This is pretty obvious and highly desirable. I think if all other countries adopt this chinese model they will be more competitive and earn more without engaging in wars and American companies will be forced to be lot more competitive.

Note that China is already making pretty big moves in other areas of Tech. Tiktok happens to be incredibly popular and I would expect DoJ to make more delinquent claims about Tiktok soon.

I think this is just the way the world works. Samsung was found to infringe on Apple's design patents in the US... but not South Korea. Europe battling the US over raising digital taxes on US companies. Etc, it's just some economic nationalism.

Exactly. All's fair in love and war... Provided you play by our rules, is what the companies are espousing.

Going out to plunder foreign countries for cheap labour and materials and then complaining when they begin to 'return the favour' so to speak, is just being woefully ignorant.

Completely false.

1) The 'rules' are agreed upon and mutual.

2) Providing 100's of millions of people with jobs is not 'plunder' it's a win for both sides.

"is just being woefully ignorant" - your comment.

This disregards the fact that countries' leaders have obligations only to their own citizenry and thus not to foreign countries. China is justified in their actions from their perspective, but not ours. We should never have allowed their ascendancy.

> These American companies thought they could build their products for a fraction of the price in China and increase margins.

Perhaps a bit of an over generalization. Some were interested in licensing technology to Huawei as was the case with Akhan.


This case was especially alarming considering the dual-purpose potential of the IP.

I'm sure the quarterly reports looked good though!

Cough Cough .....short-termism.....Cough Cough

Not so much the yearlies, but the quarterlies!

I would note that these companies were likely paying a Chinese company's American subsidiary for these services.

Paying an American company—and such a subsidiary shell company, despite being purely a legal fiction, is still an American company—for its services, no matter who owns it, should not result in China being taught how to build your tech; and it's not the responsibility of other American corporations to ensure it is. If such bad things happen, that's the fault of the American government for allowing the business relationship between the foreign company and its American subsidiary to exist, in light of clear treaties (WIPO, for one) that require the American government to embargo trade with countries that don't comply with them.

By analogy: it's not your web browser's responsibility to protect its memory from other processes snooping on it. That's the OS's job. If another process can read your process's memory, it was a failure on the OS's part. The process shouldn't be expected to be spending resources securing its memory; it should be expected only to pay its dues to the OS (in e.g. context switches) such that this gets handled for it.

But a program has to request access to any resource from the OS so that the kernel is able to enforce those rules. That's not a good analogy to how individuals and companies in an open society interact with government and each other.

Corporations exist at a state's sufferance. If a Chinese company wants to create an American subsidiary that's going to predictably going to break the law, the state can (and, in fact, is probably legally obligated to) just not grant them a business license.

Or, after the fact, when the state realizes what is happening, they can dissolve the subsidiary's business license—just like with the DMCA, where the state can require local DNS resolvers to not resolve the domains of foreign companies found to be breaking local laws.

It's also surprising to see this classed as racketeering. Has IP piracy ever been prosecuted under RICO laws before?

You mean "for a few decades"? Modern China hasn't even existed for 50 years yet (and the revolution made sure that there is absolutely no way to even pretend that China's way of life before the revolution has _any_ bearing on modern China).

That might be the case for the companies, but what about the rest of us?

There's two ways this can end:

1. China becomes the global #1, we all get social credit scores, etc

2. Something is done to stop the ascendancy of China

Our losses far exceed the companies' short-term gains.

These US companies are making more money than ever before.

So I’m not sure what they have to complain about.

I guess the question is: how did the companies that did not do this fare? i.e. was it really an option not to do it?

These American companies thought that having them sign a confidentiality agreement would mean they would actually follow through with the agreement. It wasn't just a "send em the plans and get our widgets for cheap!"

I don’t feel sorry for them because those companies are engaged in something else that’s intrinsically bad.

But that doesn’t diminish my criticism for China and their culpability in egregious acts. Our greatest sin is ever working with any authoritarian country but their sin is they fundamentally deny what it means to be a human being.

Here’s the DOJ statement:


Also here's Huawei Technologies Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy talking to Maria Bartiromo:


That was a terrible interview - are they all like that? She was just shouting at him and every time he tried to elaborate on their testing mechanisms she just called him a communist. He asked for the evidence and she said that she doesn't need evidence... ??? !!!

As much as I assume that Huawei and co have backdoors in foreign electronics, I can't get over the racism and hatred for China shared by her and the comment section.

Are the comments real? Everyone is claiming that he's a traitor, a "Clinton friend", a liar, a commie, and that he should rot in hell. And the videos already got 80k views and a near perfect like/dislike ratio. Am I crazy for thinking this a bad interview, or does half the United States really feel this way?

It will get worse before it’s better.

Sometimes I wanted to get off this planet so I can get away from humans and all of those irrationality and hatred. But in retrospect I probably just need to get rid of the part of me that are engaging the same.

Bartiromo has become one of the nutjobs.

Wow, Maria really ruffled his feathers. I looked Andy up, and found that he's also a Board Member of George Mason Univ's Intl Cyber Center. He previously advised the white house on cybersecurity and a deputy director of DHS.


In a small town in Israel, called Hod Hasharon there was a company named "Toga Networks".

This company was paying as twice as you currenly earn, if you work at Cisco or Juniper. Just like that, as twice as, just ocme work with us.

One year went by, and it turned out that Toga Network is no other than Huawei.

So I do not know about stealing source code, but I know they looked after its IP which is in people's mind.

What exactly is so bad about hiring people with good résumés? Tesla hired people from Jaguar, BMW etc. is that nefarious as well?

> IP which is in peoples mind

I think a general term for acquiring that IP is called employment.

when you target crowd from 2 specific companies and offer 2x market value salaries it is more aggressive than just "employment".

Yep, it's called job poaching.

Are you saying Toga Networks was always Huawei and they hid that fact, or that 7 years after they were founded Huawei just bought them? (like it says on the front page of their website [1])

[1] - http://toganetworks.com/

exactly that. was told so during interviews back in 2011.

What year was that?

Huawei bought Toga in 2016.


Toga started 2008. Was owned 100% by Huawei - in a chain of holdings. The came out of the closet in 2016 once established.

While this doesn't directly have to do with the CCP having backdoors in Huawei products, it does seem a bit too coincidental that the DOJ is just happening to go after them since corporate espionage is a common theme when dealing with China.

Hopefully this reflects a changing of the tides when it comes to enforcing IP laws in China rather than just an excuse to target a single company. I don't even like IP laws but if we are going to hold the rest of the industrialized world to the letter of the law then at some point China will have to be brought into the fold.

I think the perception that people commonly have of IP protection in China is out-of-date by several years.

From what I've read, the level of IP enforcement has increased dramatically since about 2014, to the point where there are more IP cases heard in Chinese courts now than in any other country. Likewise, more patents are now filed in China each year than in any other country. It's also not as if local companies always win disputes - foreign companies apparently have a very good track record in Chinese courts.

There's a description of the changes in recent years here:

1. https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/05/07/rapid-changes-chinese-...

2. https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/chinas-progress-on-intellect...

Back when China was in the earlier stages of industrialization, it really didn't care much about IP. But things aren't the same any more: China spends about as much on R&D as the US, and it has its own IP to protect. IP law was not on their radar before, but it very much appears to be now. But you can imagine how difficult it is to set such a system up. They've had to create an entirely new legal system, train judges, etc. China has changed so rapidly that it's difficult for these sorts of systems to keep up.

China protecting their own IP does not preclude China conducting industrial espionage in other countries; for that matter, the US NSA conducts industrial espionage in other countries for the benefit of US companies.


Parent comment asks when China will start respecting IP. I addressed that.

>I don't even like IP laws but if we are going to hold the rest of the industrialized world to the letter of the law

But we have proof that the NSA steals and shares secrets with US companies so throwing rocks in a glass house maybe?

I think the train on Huawei has already left the station. The most likely scenario is a U.S. maybe a few states highly dependent on U.S. security assurances vis-a-vis China toeing the line and everybody else using some combination of Huawei and Nokia/Ericsson in various combinations within their infrastructure based on how close they align with the U.S. or China.

This whole thing looks just like AIIB a couple years ago where the U.S. made a huge stink about not joining the club and in the end everybody but Japan and Taiwan signed up.

> "Huawei is alleged to have stolen source code for Company 1’s routers, which it then used in its own products."

I've never really understood how IP theft works. I've been a software engineer for a long time and I know that Reading and making sense of an existing million line code base is a hella of a lot harder than just writing new code from scratch. Why on earth would anyone want to steal source code from a competitor?

Million lines of code from scratch is not easy in any way. Especially if you are talking about battle-tested code, which had already faced and accounted for many corner cases.

Maybe the best way is to write it yourself and when you face an issue you try to see how they solved it? It's fairly doable to understand a small part of the code until you see what they needed to do. I wouldn't call it reading all the millions of lines,I agree with OP that that would most likely take longer.

That's a great article i read a long time ago. :)

But, That's different. We're not talking about rewriting an existing codebase that already exists and has a ton of legacy behavior that needs to be maintained.

They're supposedly writing new code with new functionality, and instead of writing it themselves, the implication is that they'd rather use someone else's smelly old legacy code, rather than write it themselves. I would love to have seen the look on those engineers faces when some spy dropped off the packet of code they were supposed to integrate. I just don't see that happening.

Reading existing code bases is hard enough. But then to go and try to integrate another company's codebase into your own, especially if it's millions of lines of code, I'd say thanks but no thanks.

>Charges also Reveal Huawei’s Business in North Korea and Assistance to the Government of Iran in Performing Domestic Surveillance //

Surely evidence would reveal that, but this DOJ press release doesn't appear to be concerned with that.

>As revealed by the government’s independent investigation and review of court filings, //

Mwah-ha-ha-ha! They know how to tell 'em.

>the new charges in this case relate to the alleged decades-long efforts by Huawei, and several of its subsidiaries, both in the U.S. and in the People’s Republic of China, to misappropriate intellectual property //

Aren't new charges a new case? Aren't these extending speculations rather leading for a case that is in process, shouldn't they make the allegations and present any evidence - if they wish - rather than make extended claims bracketed by "allegedly". I can't believe that this has been written as anything other than a chance to make unsubstantiated claims ... have the courts hear the charges and then expound at length about the conviction.

I thought these sorts of things from one of the main parties involved (the USA government) were strongly decried by courts as they tend to colour juries and judicial bodies; aren't the DOJ perverting the course of justice here with such a diatribe?

>"Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets and other sophisticated U.S. technology were successful. Through the methods of deception described above, the defendants obtained nonpublic intellectual property relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology and robotics. As a consequence of its campaign to steal this technology and intellectual property, Huawei was able to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage."

That may all be true, but if you're currently prosecuting a case and have to determine if it's true it would be nice, as a DOJ, to not making statements that -- despite legal ass covering -- is clearly intended to presuppose the guilt of the defendant.

When USA decided to go after Huawei to bolster their own telecoms companies, I wondered if they realised they'd end up stooping so low?

All indictments are written like this. Of course the prosecution thinks the defendant is guilty, that's why they're bringing the charges. In an adversarial legal system, it's their job to make the case for guilt.

>is clearly intended to presuppose the guilt of the defendant

This does not presuppose guilt in a way that would represent a direct conflict of interest in the US Justice system.

The Department of Justice is an executive agency whose directive is to bring indictments like this to trial - like a District Attorney.

The US court system, or the judicial branch, have no obligation to agree with the Department of Justice's position and are actually often don't side with them on matters like this where they test the precedent and definition of the law.

Ironically, the Chinese court system on the other hand has the rule of 3 Supremes - in that the views of the Communist party takes precedent over written law in judgements. In China, if a similar charge levied by the executive branch, this actually means guilt is presupposed in those passing judgement due to their lack of separation.

Huawei clearly is on parity with western technology. The evidence is here:


And in particular, with its 5G modem:


Some news about this:


And also for the base stations:


It's clearly ahead in some respect and behind in others. Particularly ahead in 5G where it's the clear world leader, behind in video recording though. The P30's EIS is seriously garbage compared to iPhone.

Well here is one comparison:


iPhone 11 and Pixel 4 do seem better, but I would be careful declaring it "garbage". I just think they have reached parity- where each vendor could leapfrog the others for any particular feature for successive generations.

The evidence is a Huawei product announcement?

This was a convenient find on the web.. better is that their equipment (for base stations anyway) has been through equipment evaluations.

>In one case, a technology company looking for a partnership with Huawei sent over a presentation deck with confidential information about its business in order to generate commercial interest with Huawei. From the indictment:

> Immediately upon receipt of the slide deck, each page of which was marked ‘Proprietary and Confidential’ by Company 6, HUAWEI distributed the slide deck to HUAWEI engineers, including engineers in the subsidiary that was working on technology that directly competed with Company 6’s products and services. These engineers discussed developments by Company 6 that would have application to HUAWEI’s own prototypes then under design.

Well, yeah, what the hell else are you supposed to do when some supplier sends you a highly technical slide deck, except discuss it with your engineers working on the same thing? I seriously can't fathom why anybody involved here would have any expectation to the contrary.

Copying successful technology is a goes-around, comes-around cycle. In 1780-1850, the USA was the premier pirate, stealing the world's premier technology and know-how, from Britain. By 2050, the Chinese will be fighting the very same battle with someone else (Nigeria and Angola maybe?), and bitterly bemoaning IP theft in the same terms.

<quote>and using proxies such as professors working at research institutions to obtain and provide the technology to the defendants</quote> You know this talk about using American Professors as proxies for exfiltrating information reminds me of this: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00291-2

Any lawyer that can pitch in? I don't think that this fits the spirit of the RICO laws.

Since when do lawyers care about the spirit of a law, instead of what the law makes possible.

Which is their billing rates.

Pretty clearly Huawei is now the cow that the US and China will be fighting over. Meng is now likely to be caught up in this as well regardless of how the current charges go. The US standing right up to China and punching it the nose. It's an inflection point for the world economy.

This another example of what is called the Master-Slave dialectic from Hegel, an 18th century philosopher. Something that I studied in a philosophy class and had a profound influence on my understanding of work. Please take 10' to understand it and it applies to the relationship between engineers and salespeople, to the relationship now between China and the USA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_dialectic

Can you explain how this relates to this story?

so what does this mean? do they haul all the executives and workers into court? what happens if they are found guilty? do the executives go to jail, is the company forced to shutdown, or do they just have to pay a fine and all is good. hell, do they even have to pay the fine?

so many questions :(

Well, I am not an expert on that particular subject, but Huawei's CFO was arrested in Canada by the end of 2018. It seems US upped the ante a little and really decided to bring her in to face charges.

Now that would bring some fireworks. I am not convinced China would not respond in kind.

> I am not convinced China would not respond in kind.

Indeed. In diplomatic retaliation, China responded to the Huawei CFO's arrest in Canada by quickly arresting two Canadians on charges without evidence or explanation. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. These Canadians have been in Chinese detention for over a year without access to a lawyer or the ability to speak to family or loved ones. Canadian pawns in a USA-China game.


I assume it's mostly symbolic, like when Chinese military personnel were charged with cyber crimes. It's mostly outside of our jurisdiction, it just elevates the international rhetoric beyond "we don't trust you guys" to "we have hard evidence that you're committing crimes". Could have an impact on Europe's usage of Huawei infrastructure, for example.

Something seems off.

If China steals all the US IP, why are US technology companies still so valuable?

For example, Apple is a very valuable US technology company that also has extensive dealings in China.

I see it this way, apologies if it seems off topic or judgmental but....

The third world is a place where many people have an idea of astuteness that differs from intelligence.

Intelligence is the ability to design, build, create, manage, or otherwise achieve something in a novel way.

Astuteness is the ability to take an advantage when one presents itself. Think Diego Maradona, or Aladdin.

US technology companies have a great deal of creative intelligence, institutional knowledge, trust from customers, access to talent, and freedom to execute on corporate strategy.

But even the company you mention, Apple, is arguably being outdone by Samsung (moved production out of China) and Huawei (Chinese).

> why are US technology companies still so valuable?

Marketing plays a big role.

Two things come to mind: 1) Consumers want an iPhone, not an iPhone equivalent from China, 2) Apple might have enough influence and connections to evade blatant theft.

>The superseding indictment also includes new allegations about Huawei and its subsidiaries’ involvement in business and technology projects in countries subject to U.S., E.U. and/or U.N. sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea – as well as the company’s efforts to conceal the full scope of that involvement. The defendants’ activities, which included arranging for shipment of Huawei goods and services to end users in sanctioned countries, were typically conducted through local affiliates in the sanctioned countries. Reflecting the inherent sensitivity of conducting business in jurisdictions subject to sanctions, internal Huawei documents allegedly referred to such jurisdictions with code names. For example, the code “A2” referred to Iran, and “A9” referred to North Korea. edit from this superseding indictment itself:

>For example, an official HUAWEI manual labeled “Top Secret” instructed certain individuals working for HUAWEI to conceal their employment with HUAWEI during encounters with foreign law enforcement officials.

>Beginning in or about 2000, the defendants HUAWEI and FUTUREWEI misappropriated operating system source code for internet routers, command line interface (a structure of textual commands used to communicate with routers) and operating system manuals from a U.S. technology company headquartered in the Northern District of California (“Company 1”), an entity the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury, and incorporated the misappropriated source code into HUAWEI internet routers that FUTUREWEI sold in the United States from approximately April 2002 until December 2002. Toward this end, HUAWEI and FUTUREWEI hired or attempted to hire Company 1 employees and directed these employees to misappropriate Company 1 source code on behalf of the defendants.

>In or about July 2004, at a trade show in Chicago, Illinois, a HUAWEI employee (“Individual-3”), an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, was discovered in the middle of the night after the show had closed for the day in the booth of a technology company (“Company 3”), an entity the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury, removing the cover from a networking device and taking photographs of the circuitry inside. Individual-3 wore a badge listing his employer as “Weihua,” HUAWEI spelled with its syllables reversed. In official correspondence with Company 3 shortly after this incident, HUAWEI claimed that Individual-3 attended the trade show in his personal capacity and that his attempted misappropriation occurred “without Huawei’s authorization.” According to a purported official statement published in Reuters, HUAWEI claimed, “This is a junior engineer who had never traveled to the United States before. His actions do not reflect the culture or values of Huawei.” Notably, a resume that Individual-3 submitted to the U.S. government in approximately 2012 stated that he had been a “senior R&D Engineer” at HUAWEI from 1997 until July 2004, the time of the incident.


US political and militarized forces protecting corporate interest for the sake of...what again? Upholding ridiculous IP law?

Is it naive to think that IP law should be disintegrated? How would the world, and more specifically the digital landscape, look if there was no concept of IP.

There'd be little incentive to invest in long-term R&D projects. Where's the profit in research on a new drug if you'll have to immediately compete with other pharma companies in selling it?

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