24 May, 2006

Congress vs the Cylon Menace

Just a year after preventing China from buying fungible resources, the US Congress has won another victory against the Red Chinese menace. The State Department will no longer be able to use IBM-branded computers on its networked systems.

In the face of pressure from Congress, Foggy Bottom decided that the state-linked Lenovo is too much of a security threat to be used. The Shanghaiist, using citations from the NY Times, sees this an example of idiotic xenophobia.:

Red IbmFears and concerns that exist only in the minds of a deluded few (or many?) on Capitol Hill, as most industry watchers agree that the placement of any malicious hardware/software is extremely unlikely. But, that didn’t stop House members from patting each other on the back.

“Frank R. Wolf, the chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the budget appropriations for the State Department, Commerce Department and Justice Department said the security concerns about the State Department’s use of Lenovo computers had been brought to his attention by two members of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan group appointed by Congress. “They deserve the credit for this.”"

Credit for what? For showing zero faith in the State Department’s IT security staff in detecting possible implanted “mal-ware”. Or was it for further cementing America’s reputation abroad as an overly paranoid, increasingly xenophobic and completely out of touch nation in disarray? If so, thanks guys! A job well done indeed!

China is the final assembly point for a wide number of laptops and electronic devices, including AsiaPundit’s iBook. AP recommends that Congress consider all of these devices an equivalent security threat and removes all networked devices assembled in China or with major components made in China. This may not help with real world security concerns, but it should protect the country from the Cylon menace.

in Beijing’s tech corridor of Zhongguancun, Tyler Rooker notes that making a PC these days is like making a TV, and sees how China may have cause to revisit its desire to ditch Microsoft.:

The reason the State Department chose Lenovo in the first place is that there is a competitive bid process, and Lenovo’s computers were the cheapest, the fastest, and the best value. In times of budget deficit and current account deficit (not to mention trade deficit), the State Department should be commended. But it is being condemned.
Back to China. Why would the government fund its own Linux-based operating system and programs? Among many reasons, one is that there are existing fears about Microsoft and Dell, both American companies, that their software code and computers, respectively, contain secret code and hardware that will email secrets to Washington. What a far-fetched, feckless fear, I used to think.

by @ 1:20 am. Filed under Uncategorized, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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