Australia’s top spy says Chinese tech is too good to be allowed near its key infrastructure. Here’s why that’s a hard truth for China

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Melbourne, Australia train station

Australia’s chief spy says Chinese telecoms are a threat to critical infrastructure and that’s why they were banned from Canberra’s growing 5G network.
That news may not come as a surprise to China, but the Ministry of Commerce and the Global Times expressed some shock, confusion, and hurt this week.
The problem China faces is this: it has built an incredibly elaborate and successful technocracy with state-embedded digital brands like WeChat, but uses them to help monitor its own population. Those efforts are likely to make it difficult for China to gain the trust of other countries.

The top spy in Australia has explained why Huawei and ZTE have been barred from the country’s 5G network and China is unimpressed.

Mike Burgess, the director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, said in Canberra on Monday that the ban on Chinese telecom firms like Huawei Technologies and ZTE was in Australia’s national interest and would protect the country’s critical infrastructure.

It is the first time the nation’s chief spy has publicly explained the move since August when Australia made the call to block the Chinese telecom giants from supplying equipment to the nascent Australian 5G network.

Burgess said that the stakes “could not be higher” and that if Australia used “high-risk vendor” supplies then everything from the country’s water supply and electricity grid to its health systems and even its autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles would be compromised.

In response, a miffed, but totally unsurprised China on Tuesday again called on Australia to drop “ideological prejudice” and “create a level playing field for Chinese companies doing business in the country.”

Australia is a member of the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance alongside Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, and while Australia is also a close trading partner, there is certainly an understanding to follow the US on sensitive intelligence issues that can compromise the alliance.

So that obviously puts the kibosh on allowing any access to critical infrastructure for any companies aligned with the Chinese state.

And since the Chinese government has been leveraging the state’s position, role and function within its growing portfolio of world-beating mega-tech companies, the decision out of Canberra to err on the side of caution — and Washington — would have surprised precisely no one.

But that didn’t stop China from responding the way it did.

In a restrained retort from the English language tabloid, The Global Times, China accused Canberra of …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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