Of all the techno-gadget makers in the world, which one has your back for privacy and security? At the consumer and enterprise level, I like to think Apple is doing a good job because only Apple makes money the old fashioned way. It sells hardware.
Yet, Apple manufactures the iPhone in China, a country that does not have a good reputation when it comes to either privacy or security. Just a few weeks ago U.S. lawmakers asked AT&T to cut commercial ties with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei. Diane Bartz:
U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market
AT&T caved in. Why? Security concerns. The U.S. government is paranoid about Chinese influence. Verizon followed suit and scrapped plans to sell Huawei smartphones in the U.S. Jacob Siegal:
In addition to blocking the popular and feature-rich Huawei Mate 10 Pro from being sold directly by the country’s two most popular carriers, the government is also slowing down progress on establishing the next generation of mobile networks.
Paranoid much? Listen, if everyone is out to get you, paranoia is the right attitude to have.
Yet, not everyone thinks the Chinese government or Chinese technology makers are spying on Americans? Why not? It’s not good for business and in China, the government is all about business. Chinese business. Jason Perlow:
There’s no question that the relationship between China and the US is a highly complex one, and that China possesses one of the most sophisticated security apparatus in the entire world, rivaling that of Russia, the US, and other western nations. Just as the US routinely spies on many countries, China’s security agencies also spy on the US and other nations of interest.
We all spy against each other. I get it. That’s the nature of technology, paranoia, and selfish national interests. So, why is the U.S. blocking Huawei?
Well, we can’t prohibit American firms from doing business with Chinese companies or foreign firms that use Chinese-made components just because we are nervous they might use their products to spy on us. We can set internal procurement controls on certain types of products and have rigorous monitoring and testing of stuff before it ends up being used in government agencies, but that’s about it.
Does that not sound like what Apple has done with iPhone manufacturing? Trust. But verify.
Do we need to be concerned about spy malware in products manufactured in China? Who should be the final arbiter of an issue that does not have public instances of massive spying?
Let American consumers decide which products they want to buy. Legislation that prevents competition is not only stupid and unproductive but also puts our citizens at a disadvantage by not allowing them to purchase inexpensive products that other countries can freely and easily access.
What about those solar panels made in China? Deb Haaland:
President Donald Trump just slapped a whopping 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports… An analysis by the Solar Energies Industry Association forecasts a near-term loss of 23,000 American jobs, because billions of dollars of investments will be cancelled now that solar panels just got a lot more expensive. That means that the many American workers who are busy manufacturing tracking and mounting systems, high-tech inverters and other hardware here in the U.S. will be out of jobs.
I appreciate Apple’s efforts to provide customers with improved privacy and security because I’m having a difficult time figuring out who really is on our side these days.