Economist: US ban on TikTok and UK sanction on Huawei aimed at undermining China
PETALING JAYA: The potential ban on TikTok by the US and the exclusion of Huawei from developing 5G technology in the UK over claims of national security concerns represent a long-standing race in technology between China and the West.
Universiti Tun Abdul Razak economist Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai (pix) said as 5G technology is considered very new, the UK may claim to have its own version of 5G technology, but with extra security put in place to assure users of security.
“The UK and the US are a good team, they are an Anglo-Saxon faction that seeks to undermine China’s growth and advanced technology by imposing all these restrictions,” he told theSun yesterday.
He also said it was a race towards determining who will be the biggest, fastest and best in the world, and Malaysia would do well to learn how to diplomatically manoeuvre between China, India and the US.
“Malaysia must capitalise on our relationship with China, but also remain friendly with India and also develop a strategy to consult the US.”
He also said the recent Asean + 8 trade agreement was hampered by the fact that India pulled out at the last minute. Otherwise, with the signing of the agreement, 50% of the world economy would go to China and India.
LE Global Services Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and cybersecurity consultant Fong Choong Fook questioned the potential ban of TikTok and exclusion of Huawei, saying the US and its allies are engaging in a witchhunt on Chinese technology, going after their software and apps rather than just the hardware.
“If they claim that people using TikTok will have their data sent to the Chinese government for surveillance purposes, what about sharing information on Facebook? Is it also equivalent to sharing data with the US government?”
He said concerns about surveillance and spying is no longer important as people voluntarily send data to Apple and Google, two of the major tech companies in the world, based in the US.
“The US is questioning other countries on the basis of national security, but are we under surveillance of the US government?”
Fong said Huawei recently revealed the source code to its 5G firmware, which is equivalent to giving out the secret recipe of a really good dish.
“For Huawei to openly reveal the source code, can we really think that it is using 5G for surveillance purposes? I have not seen any US firm expose their source code to the world.”
He said the crux of the matter is whoever controls the networks, controls the world, adding that with China’s rise, the West fear losing control.
“TikTok has been around for a number of years and there is no suspicious activity coming from them,” he said.
Meanwhile, a TikTok spokesman said tens of millions of Americans use TikTok for entertainment, inspiration and connection, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are fully committed to protecting our users’ privacy and security. TikTok has an American CEO, a chief information security officer with decades of US military and law enforcement experience, and a growing US team that works diligently to develop a best-in-class security infrastructure.
TikTok US user data is stored in Virginia and Singapore, with strict controls on employee access. These are the facts,” the spokesman told theSun yesterday.
Meanwhile, Huawei UK spokesman Edward Brewster said the move would be bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone.
“It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of ‘levelling up’, the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.”
He said Huawei’s future in the UK has become politicised, and this is about US trade policy, and not security.
“Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers.”
He added that Huawei will conduct a detailed review of what the announcement means for the business and will work with the UK government to explain how they can continue to contribute to a better connected Britain.
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