Rob Spalding: UK’s Huawei 5G Deal Lets China ‘Influence Populations and Conduct Espionage’ Using Private Data

A billboard advertising 4G, 5G and fibre mobile telecommunication is displayed at Waterloo Underground Station in London on January 28, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a strategic decision on Jnauary 28, 2020 on the participation of the controversial Chinese company Huawei in the UK's 5G …
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom’s decision to work with telecommunications company Huawei for the development of its 5G network will increase China’s capacity to manipulate and surveil Western populations, said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding, author of Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept, and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Spalding joined SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host John Hayward on Tuesday to discuss the U.K.’s 5G partnership with Huawei.

Huawei employees have been known to pass its users’ information to the Chinese government, noted Spalding.

Spalding said, “We take the recent decision by the U.K. to allow Huawei to continue to build their network, there’s even arguments from the establishment within the U.K. that say, ‘Well, maybe Huawei isn’t under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party. Maybe Ren Zhengfeii really means what he says when he says he’s going to defy the Chinese Community Party if they ask for information.'”

Spalding continued, “Of course, you have all these instances where they’re actually giving up information of people. Whether it’s the African National Congress, or, I think, the Czech Republic, Poland, there are many examples of Huawei employees doing this. This is the beautiful lie that has been perpetuated by the sinologists that study China, and they’ve done it so that they can continue to receive visas and paid junkets to go to China to be considered experts.”

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“There are many arguments against having Huawei in the network,” Spalding said. “One of them is the idea that they have the ability to turn off a network, and of course, today, with the way electrical grids are essentially synchronized through the internet using software, and the engineers no longer have the capability or knowledge to manually balance the loads if the grid goes down. The network itself is critical to keeping the grid up, and to bringing the grid back up should it go down.”

Huawei’s involvement in the U.K.’s forthcoming 5G network gives China a kill switch over the U.K.’s electrical infrastructure, explained Spalding. “One argument is that, if you lose the network and you lose the grid, then the grid stays down, which can be devastating for a modern society of today.”

Huawei’s role in the U.K.’s rollout of 5G extends powers of surveillance and control to the Chinese government, warned Spalding.

“The big challenge is the challenge of data, and the use of data today — big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, e-commerce — all of those tools that Facebook, Amazon, and Google use to incentivize you to click on things and to buy things. The Chinese Communist Party has perfected not only the use of that to make money in their own society and other societies with Alibaba, Baidu, and TenCent, but also how to use those technologies to influence populations and to conduct espionage.”

Spalding went on, “So it’s much more insidious than, ‘The grid’s going to be taken down.’ It’s really about slowly creating the tools and the connections to be able to incentivize and influence a population to slowly disregard or move away from the principles and values that support our democracies. And so we see the rise of communism and socialism and the attractiveness of it, and we don’t really realize that there’s actually a connection between globalization and the Internet and this ability to foster these ideas not just in the universities, but in social media and other things. In many ways, the United States and Silicon Valley companies created these technologies and business models that have been adapted for perpetuating totalitarianism by the Communist Chinese Party.”

Mansour asked, “Using Huawei for their 5G network in the U.K. would really give China the ability to have all the data going over that network transferred back to them, right? They could potentially have hidden back doors in this network. They could potentially use it to modify or steal information, or conduct espionage. We are handing control over to them of our telecommunications. It’s just limitless access to all of our data — all of our communications, everything — if they are allowed to build this network. Am I right on this?”

Spalding replied, “Yeah, because 5G is so different from 4G in how it’s deployed. It really gives them further insight into the interactions you have on a day-to-day basis. So today, for example — and I tell people this — the phone, today, is how you primarily interact with the Internet. That’s the 4G world. In the 5G world, you’re going to interact with your surroundings. So rather than push a button on your phone to get an Uber, you’re going to just walk outside your door and say, ‘Uber,’ and the camera will read your lips, it will do facial recognition on your face, the car will show up, you’ll get charged, you won’t have to do anything. It will be all seamless to you.”

Spalding went on, “All that data — everything you do, how you interact, talking to people, meeting with people, the things you buy, how you react to stimulus around you — all those things can be used [by] machine learning and artificial intelligence to ascertain your behavior, your motivations, the things you like, the things you don’t like, the things you’re worried about, and then all of that information can be used — particularly if you are somebody that poses a threat to the Chinese Communist Party, or somebody that’s important in terms of a policy issue or some sort of financial or economic thing that they want to have. Now they have all the tools to begin to figure out how do they want to influence you to make a decision that is beneficial to the Chinese Communist Party. This is what the power of 5G unlocks for them.”

“Today, if you don’t want to be part of the 4G world, you carry a flip-phone or you don’t sign up for a lot of these cloud-based services,” added Spalding. “The world of 5G doesn’t really allow the opportunity to opt out, because it’s built around you and it’s watching you at all times.”

Mansour asked if the U.K.’s 5G partnership with Huawei will compromise U.S.-U.K. intelligence sharing.

Spalding explained how Huawei’s involvement with the U.K.’s 5G network compromises the security of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance developed after the Second World War comprising the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Today, essentially, we have insecure Internet everywhere,” Spalding noted. “I think the challenge we have is … it’s very difficult to say, ‘Hey, if we’re going to ban Huawei in our own country and share our intelligence information with another country who’s not willing to also do the same thing,’ then you have to ask the question, ‘Well, then why are we sharing with them and why are they part of the Five Eyes?'”

Protecting user data must be prioritized by the federal government, determined Spalding.

It clearly needs to be led by the United States government. Industry is not going to take us to a place where we have advanced secure 5G, because there’s no market incentive to do so. So government has to create the incentives, it has to take a leadership role in doing this, and to this point, because the economic side of the federal government has really thought that industry ought to be taking the lead — and of course industry has no incentive to — we remain in this kind of limbo state where from the time my report was leaked in January of 2018, we had really made no progress because government kept waiting for industry to do something and industry has no incentive to do something.”

Spalding remarked, “If we’re going to get back to our roots as a nation, we have to focus on the principles, the values, that this country was founded on and we have to get back to promoting free trade and market principles and democratic principles, and that’s what, really, I think it all comes down to. You boil that down, you just say, ‘Hey, we’re in a digital world, not a physical world anymore, and we need to build those principles into the fiber of the digital world,’ and that’s really about securing our data, encrypting our data, identity management across the network. All of these tools and techniques that we’re using in military networks, for example, to protect our data, these need to be deployed to the populations to kind of reset private property and self-determination and all of these values of the West that are essentially beginning to be eroded by this globalization-Internet challenge that we have.”

Government protection of private user data does not require granting the government access to said data, explained Spalding.

“When you have identity management, and that’s tied to encryption, the only person that has access to your data is you,” Spalding stated. “If your data is encrypted and you have the key, then the idea that somebody can look at what you’re doing or basically put your life on DVR and rewind it, that’s not possible, and so I think that’s the challenge.”

Spalding called for a system that treats digital data as private property tied to and owned by its creator.

“Most of our data today is not encrypted, and that’s why Facebook and Amazon and Google make so much money because they take your data and do whatever they want with it, but we [should] build a system that actually protects data from the beginning, so it’s tied to an owner, just like your home is tied to you as the owner, and the only way somebody can get access to it is by going through you,” Spalding determined.

Spalding concluded, “I’m not talking about the government having access to your data. I’m talking about the government instituting [a system] like we do today with real estate. You have a title to your property, [and] the government basically keeps that title and makes sure there are laws that protect your interests, and so we have to build the same thing into the digital fiber of our country.”

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

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