As more and more people move to smart homes, it is important that they understand the security risks. One of the biggest threats comes from China – a country with no privacy laws whatsoever.
With the ban on Telecom Operators like Huawei who has been the spying eyes of world for the PRC. Huawei had almost crippled the Australian and the Dutch Communication system. Huawei, which produces over half of the world’s smartphones and other electronics, has been banned by American & EU carriers because they are too close to Beijing. No, they are the extensions of Beijing.
Their next frontier is “Smart Home and Home Automation Products”.
I have been observing the trend since last 18 months, and Chinese espionage industry has opened a new front, Home Automation! Chinese Home Automation and Smart electronics companies are being cropping up like anything.
This blog post will highlight why Chinese company is a no-go for home automation in home security system industry.
Why a Smart Home user should Worry?
As more and more people embrace this cutting-edge technology, it is important that they understand
-what their data may be used for? How much information can a homeowner expect to get from automating his or her home? What percentage of your personal private data will companies use in order to derive insights about who’s using the system and how often are they interacting with it. And where do all these pieces come together anyway- on which devices do we store our most sensitive details like passwords, pin numbers etc.?
How Chinese are infiltrating?
A new trend has emerged, we see a lot of companies with US and European Sounding Company name. The look and feel of these companies’ websites, LinkedIn profiles pages gives an appeal of being an American or European, while they have completely removed the Chinese references.
Recently I was astonished by couple of companies which looked so genuine, and When I looked at the Wikipedia, No references, reddit no references, but their website full of Genuine fake reviews, some Chinese analyst may be reading this and planning a flood of messages to be posted on reddit and other prominent forums.
Another trend is, Chinese companies buying US and European businesses to use as a front, Dragon has been clowned to look like an Eagle!!! But at the Back it still a Dragon.
2018-2019 has seen Chinese investments spike up in German start-up ecosystem as well as precision equipment machinery:- targeting automobile and 3D Printing.
Chinese economical might have risen on manufacturing capability opposite of US and Europe which relied on Intellectual Property and Algorithms. Manufacturing being a labour intensive, Process and automation oriented. It is all about dishing out the same copy.
While the research is very low in China. Once the Technology demonstrator is out. China is on lookout for copycat. In the early 2000’s it was plain and simple stealing of technology and IPs. Later, Chinese go about purchasing the Companies. The real intension is not about building or nurturing the US-EU companies but to access the technology and feed the mammoth Chinese assembly line with the technology.
Failed start-ups or the ones in need of funding are the prominent target of Chinese Venture Capital Arm. Another key observation, Majority of start-ups embrace opensource technologies for obvious reasons. But just to clear up.
- Opensource reduces the software development cost.
- Tests the waters where the industry is going with the tech adoption.
- Easier to find talent as there are many adopters for opensource tech.
While these are good for saving the money, but at the same time open source code allows people to know that nothing malicious is going inside the software.
But Have you ever seen a Chinese company open sourcing their source code?
Most of their work is derivate of opensource code. But if you observe very keenly. They will provide their hardware with pre-flashed images of firmware.
The software binaries/firmware are infused with espionage and tracking software.
How Europeans Handle Data and the Laws around it?
Europeans have the best data-protection laws, which are broadly viewed as being among the most effective. In fact, Europeans often feel unsatisfied with how their private data is handled by American companies and are increasingly adopting new technologies coming out of Europe like 5G, AI, and AR.
In the past, they have fined Apple for storing all of its WiFi passwords. Another incident of Apple slowing down their processors led to another fine from regulators. They have also had a long-standing tussle with Google and Facebook over how these companies use personal data without understanding what it means or even that they are being tracked on the internet completely. But lawmakers and committees have provided guidelines as to how this data can be used commercially when people know about it so marketers can comply with legislation. China is all too happy to provide a good example.
While US have stumbled upon many times with these. But at least US policy-makers are making headways by making the noise and tightening the noose.
Why fear China?
China is a monopolistic government, with no watchdog whatsoever. Even the Chinese citizens don’t have basic Data Privacy Rights… People are thrown to Jail just for criticizing the government.
A recent example of Jack MA. The billionaire was stripped of its capital and company rights. Not only that he was under house arrest for 6 months and Ant Holdings Financial IPO for $300 billion was stopped and the full wrath of Chinese regulators on the company’s operations.
China has no privacy laws and the government can access any citizen’s private information without their knowledge or consent.
Huawei was banned by Australia in 2018 for national security reasons
This might be the next frontier of Home Security!
And it would make sense why Trump had restricted them because some people are not able-
– Snooping is not just a privacy concern; it’s also an issue of safety. It can be used to spy on people and invade their homes, as well as steal data and extract useful information. – China has no privacy laws whatsoever with the government requiring companies operating in mainland China to store user’s personal data within the country’s borders. This means that all sensitive information is now stored under Beijing rule rather than Western law. – Huawei was banned by American carriers because they are too close to Beijing according for them being state owned company (This article does not say how often this occurred or when). What will happen if we allow home automation systems from China without regulations? Where our sensitive data goes then
“Banned from sale on Amazon, Google Store, BestBuy etc.” – This may not stop Chinese companies but at least we have alerted you to their dubious practices so that if they come calling with an offer – even one seemingly innocuous as home electronics – you know what to ask: “Do I really want my personal data going into your hands?”