Tech Firms Resist India on Software Code Secrets – another example of western hypocrisy?
India has bee under security Threats for a long time and that to from its neighbors and hence for the past few years, hence India has made so strict rules regarding the import of technologies in the country. In the past year India suspended all imports from Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems by temporarily blocking the import of new network gear in to the country. The Indian Government suspects that these equipments may contain some harmful code embedded in them that may be used by foreign countries for spying on india which is not at tolerable in these times, and hence gave the reason that it needed to set up a procedure to detect any software embedded in the machines, which is quite reasonable in front risk to national security. India has for now loosened restrictions and is no longer blocking imports altogether but is now requiring equipment makers to obtain government clearance on a case-by-case basis. Or vendors can agree instead to several conditions including depositing source code — the underlying software instructions for the equipment — with the government, as well as having the equipment tested by independent consultants, much like getting their tech Audited.
According to the New York Times a Western telecom vendor, who spoke on the matter refers the code as an ‘secret ingredient’ which makes his recipe stand out in the merciless competitive market, he further added that Companies invest billions of dollars in research to coming up with innovative ways to develop their ‘secret ingredient’. American companies on the other hand said, “Handing over that vast amount of data, that executive and others in the industry said, may also violate American technology transfer laws for software developed in the United States, as well as software licensing agreements the equipment makers have made with other companies”. In a letter to the government last month, the American Chamber of Commerce in India, whose members include Motorola and Cisco Systems, warned that the new rules were “severely affecting the ability of American as well as other global companies to do business in the telecom sector in India and also the growth of India’s telecom industry.” According to the Industry officials, India is particularly concerned about the import of equipment made by Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, which India fears have close ties with the Chinese government. India and China have long had an uneasy relationship, including border disputes unsettled since a 1962 war.
But on the contrary there is an irony in the situation India is not alone in its wariness of Chinese companies. Lawmakers in Washington have tried to block the use of telecom equipment from China on national security grounds. An American government panel blocked Huawei’s joint bid with Bain Capital to acquire 3Com in 2008 (Scrutiny for Chinese Telecom Bid). In this case eight Republican lawmakers have asked Obama’s administration to scrutinize a bid by one of the biggest corporations in China to supply telecommunications equipment to Sprint Nextel in the United States In a letter to the top administration officials, expressed their concern over claims that the company had sold equipment to the regime of Saddam Hussein and had a close business relationship with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran. The senators also said the company, Huawei Inc., had close ties to the People’s Liberation Army in China. Sprint Nextel supplies important equipment to the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, and it offers a broad array of devices, systems, software and services to the private sector and the United States Government is concerned that Huawei’s position as a supplier of Sprint Nextel could create substantial risk for U.S. companies and possibly undermine U.S. national security. Several Chinese companies, including Huawei, have repeatedly been discouraged or blocked in recent years from doing business with American companies because of national security concerns, decisions that have angered Chinese officials and business leaders.
In an interview, Gopal Krishna Pillai, secretary of the Home Ministry, said the rules were not meant to single out China. He said that India had found some imported equipment that contained malicious software, but he declined to disclose details. Sachin Pilot, India’s junior minister for communications, defended his government’s policy, which he said would be streamlined soon, as justified on security grounds. And he said that India imported $20 billion of telecom equipment a year for its wireless networks, some of which were owned by foreign companies like Vodafone of Britain. “It is a little unjustified when someone raises a question on the openness of the Indian economy and the telecom space,” he said in an interview at his home in New Delhi. “We have allowed competition. We have allowed openness.”
Notably, Huawei and ZTE, operating under the new rules, have recently won contracts to supply third-generation wireless gear to Indian companies.
Global concerns about the threat of sophisticated malware were also raised by reports that Iranian computers and industrial equipment may have been the target of a malicious computer program, known as the Stuxnet worm that was created by a foreign government. To protect the country’s sovereignty India cannot afford to give in to the demands of the foreign Manufactures and like the USA it has to take a stand. The Indian democratically elected government cannot compromise with national security any more as history as our evidence we have seen losses of such loop holes in security can be greater than the dividends.
Source : The NY times