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Is the Huawei ban just hypocrisy?

29 November 2018

The NZ government has stepped in and told Spark that it can't use Huawei gear to build its 5G cellular network.

Hmmm... I thought we lived in a free society where companies were able to make decisions on commercial grounds, rather than be directed by political overlords.

Apparently, Huawei equipment represents an unacceptable risk to the nation's security and there are fears that a 5G network built from such gear could open the doors to Chinese government surveillance.

Because, as we all know, that's *so* much worse than being constantly monitored and spied on by our Five Eyes friends eh?

What a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites!

How dare they say "We are the only ones who are allowed to spy on the people of NZ".

Just look at the track record of the GCSB, the ones who have effectively created this ban on Huawei.

I've seen no concrete evidence that China has spied on NZ citizens via the communications infrastructure they use but there is a mass of irrefutable evidence that the GCSB has done so... in clear violation of laws designed to protect us from such surveillance.

And, given the human rights abuses (Gitmo, Australia's treatment of whistle-blowers, etc) demonstrated by too many of our Five Eyes friends, I think I might actually be more comfortable being spied on by China than by the Aussies or Yanks.

If, as part of Five Eyes, the NZ government is worried that its deepest, darkest secrets might be uncovered by Huawei snooping via its network gear, then perhaps the government should use an encryption layer. In fact if they're not already using an encryption layer on *all* communications, I'd have to ask why the hell not?

And let me regurgitate the words that have effectively been rolled out by successive governments when it comes to the issue of surveillance and loss of privacy as a result of intrusive government activities here in NZ: "Only those with something to hide have anything to fear". How come we are supposed to accept this without challenge -- but the government lives in fear of the very same thing happening to it?

Okay, to be fair... we would not want information crucial to our economy or private industry being lost to China -- but again I say, use encryption if you're worried!

This ban smacks of political game-playing to me and when politicians start constraining the rights of free enterprise in a democracy then we have real problems that go far beyond the visible.

I would like an explanation from the NZ government as to why Spark can't use Huawei gear if it wants to. I would like government to explain why they believe that a third-party encryption layer wouldn't nullify the ability of China to snoop on traffic (if this really is a thing). I would like the government to explain why it's okay for other countries to spy on Kiwis (with their blessing) but not for China to do so?

Who is sleeping with who here?

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