In July, Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA, raised the issue again, by saying that based on his intelligence experience, he believed that Huawei would have at least shared "intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with" with the Chinese government. In a worst case, some commentators worried that Huawei might have built backdoors into its products at the behest of the Chinese government, although many hacking experts have long argued that there are so many bugs in today's software applications and hardware firmware that any would-be attackers -- nation state or otherwise -- need not bother building backdoors.
Needless to say, a lot has happened in the world since then. Leaked details of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs -- the breadth, extent and depth of which have surprised even the world's most respected information security experts -- have called into question the extent to which U.S. technology hardware, software and service vendors -- or the cryptographic standards on which their products rely -- can be trusted to be free from NSA influence or tampering.
Faced with this trust deficit -- and evidence that the NSA analyzes their every communication -- some governments and national telecommunications providers have reacted with plans that just six months ago would have seemed laughable. Brazil, for starters, has proposed laying its own fiber cable to Latin America. Germany's Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, launched an "Email Made In Germany" program in August that promises "to automatically encrypt data over all transmission paths and offers peace of mind that data are handled in compliance with German data privacy laws."
Given that information security and trust landscape, is the time right for businesses, at least, to begin funding independent testing and certification labs, backed by policymakers holding technology vendors accountable for the quality of their code?