Tit for tat: China claims Cisco is aiding US spies

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Hey, remember when Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE were deemed security threats by the US? Well that tit has been met with tat as China accuses Cisco of helping out US spies.

According to Engadget, state-backed media outlets, including China Economy & Informatization and People’s Daily are saying that the US-based networking giant’s presence in large portions of its networking infrastructure could open it up to espionage.

The former even cites experts who claim that the US could take over Chinese communications in times of crisis. In response, says the magazine, state-owned telecommunications operator China Unicom is phasing out the use of Cisco-built technologies.

The publications also allege that members of the US congress with shares in Cisco have acted nefariously when it comes to spying on the Asian superpower, using the Patriot Act as cover.

As Engagdget notes, the fact that the publications are sponsored by the Chinese state means that the motivation behind the accusations is more likely politics than anything else.

Then again with Mike Rogers, the chair of the committee tasked with investigating the Huawei and ZTE in the US, saying things like “We simply cannot trust such vital systems to companies with known ties to the Chinese state, a country that is the largest perpetrator of cyberespionage against the US”, you’d expect at least some reaction from the Chinese.

As far as we’re concerned, the words of Huawei spokesperson William Plummer on the situation ring true for all the companies concerned. The allegations of spying, he says, “ignores technical and commercial realities, recklessly threatens American [and Chinese] jobs and innovation, does nothing to protect national security” .

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