New Zealand Spy Agency To Vet Network Builds, Provider Staff

Patrick W. Gilmore patrick at
Tue May 13 21:52:58 UTC 2014

On May 13, 2014, at 17:47 , Tony Wicks <tony at> wrote:

>> Cc: NANOG list
>> Subject: Re: New Zealand Spy Agency To Vet Network Builds, Provider Staff
>> I didn't see the NSA telling us what we had to buy are demanding advance
>> approval rights on our maintenance procedures.
>> Owen
> Try to get approval to land a submarine cable onto US soil using Huawei DWDM
> kit and then come back to us.

Hey, now, that's not fair. The NSA is just doing what any large player who dominates their space does - try to block out the competition!

Copy/pasting from a friend of mine (he can out himself if he likes):
 - But while American companies were being warned away from supposedly 
   untrustworthy Chinese routers, foreign organisations would have been 
   well advised to beware of American-made ones. A June 2010 report from 
   the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development department is 
   shockingly explicit. The NSA routinely receives or intercepts routers, 
   servers, and other computer network devices being exported from the US 
   before they are delivered to the international customers.

 - The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the 
   devices with a factory seal, and sends them on. The NSA thus gains 
   access to entire networks and all their users. The document gleefully 
   observes that some "SIGINT tradecraft is very hands-on (literally!)".

 - Eventually, the implanted device connects back to the NSA. The report 
   continues: "In one recent case, after several months a beacon 
   implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA 
   covert infrastructure. This call back provided us access to further 
   exploit the device and survey the network."

 - It is quite possible that Chinese firms are implanting surveillance 
   mechanisms in their network devices. But the US is certainly doing the 

 - Warning the world about Chinese surveillance could have been one of 
   the motives behind the US government's claims that Chinese devices 
   cannot be trusted. But an equally important motive seems to have been 
   preventing Chinese devices from supplanting American-made ones, which 
   would have limited the NSA's own reach. In other words, Chinese 
   routers and servers represent not only economic competition but also 
   surveillance competition.

Makes you proud to be an UH-mer-e-kan, dunnit?


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