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Monday, June 24, 2019
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Luczon: Tech wars

Pencalibur

“There can they call for every kind of fruit in peace and security.”

- Surah Ad-Dukhan: 55

THERE is something about Huawei communication devices that there was not present in Samsung and Sony; not even on an Oppo or Vivo. And that “something” has made the United States government wants this Chinese company not to exist as much as possible.

The recent move by Google severing ties with Huawei by not providing the latter with its Operating System (OS), is another indicator that the US government is keen on pinning the tech giant from the East.

To simply put it for those who are still in limbo understanding the whole scenario, Huawei is accused by the US government of producing devices and technology that threatens national security because of allegations of espionage, among others.

In the middle of this ongoing feud, a friend would share that her husband who used to work with Huawei in Indonesia, would explain that they can allegedly “look” into the telecommunication towers in the Philippines remotely.

The Huawei-US rift, would then trickle down to political, economic, and diplomatic friction over time, since Huawei is not just a brand, it is a multi-billion tech giant which is a de facto commercial ambassador of China to the world; the similar vein of Apple for the US.

The US’ move against Huawei, as it pressures US based companies and allied nations to gang-up on the tech company also came in a time where Apple products, like the iPhone, sell lesser over Huawei in international markets over the years. Coincidence?

On December 1, 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei’s Chief Finance Officer, Meng Wanzhou, over some allegations of bank fraud in the US that requires her extradition. The arrest not only indicative of thicker plot, it also created more tensions between China and the US, putting Canada also at risk for playing pawn with its neighbor country.

There were consequences, of course, and as we try to avoid further escalation of conflict between the giants of East and West, what’s at stake here is not only the mobile phones and its OS.

So, where will this put us, Filipinos?

Philippine society, albeit seething with problems of poverty and politics, is still a top patronizer of technical advancement. Like Apple, Huawei also have entered the Philippine market, and Filipinos like its phones and other devices. This can set precedence in the future, in a time that the current Duterte Administration is friendly to Beijing, while the West Philippine Seas islands are at stake of being taken over.

Primarily, it is but a tech issue, but with Huawei and US government associations, given political and economic perspectives, this is still not an ordinary case of commercial ban.

In a world wired to the digital age, it is uncommon that even a middle class tech geek can infiltrate databases and systems in their backyards.

And given Huawei do keep tabs for its Chinese government, what’s not stopping other tech giants Apple, Google and Samsung, etc. not to do so?

We have long been naked since the digital era began.

(nefluczon@gmail.com)


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