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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 24, 2019 4:30am-5:01am BST

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to discuss iran with allies in the region. it comes as the us prepares to announce fresh economic sanctions on the country. he'll visit saudi arabia and the united arab emirates. turkey's president erdogan has suffered the worst blow to his political career after the opposition party won a re—run of the election for istanbul's mayor. ekrem imamoglu beat his rival by a far greater margin than in march's poll, which was annulled by electoral authorities. hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in the czech capital, prague, demanding prime minister andrej babis resign. he's facing a criminal investigation over european union subsidy fraud worth more than two million dollars. he denies any wrongdoing and says the claims are politically motivated. it's xx.
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—— it's liz30am. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk with me, zeinab badawi. how dangerous is the superpower rivalry in technology and information? well currently, there is much focus on the tensions between the us and china over the chinese tech giant huawei. soon, sg networks will be of critical part of our world in transportation, power supply, payment systems and so much more. washington says the chinese can't be trusted because they may use that technology infrastructure for spying. beijing says this is nonsense. my guest is the us top official on cyber information and security, ambassador robert strayer. he is on a mission to dissuade europeans from doing business with huawei, but is washington losing the cyber war? ambassador robert strayer, welcome to hardtalk.
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thank you for having me. what are your fears exactly about using chinese telecommunications technology? well, we are very excited about the promise of 56 technology because it's going to power all types of critical infrastructure, autonomous transportation networks, autonomous vehicles, telemedicine and traditional types of infrastructure like the delivery of electric power but we are concerned that in building those networks out, that a country like china, because of its national
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intelligence law, could cause a company like huawei to take action that is not in our interest or another country's interest like in the uk. we are concerned they could use their authority over that company to cause disruption of that critical infrastructure or the removal of data back to china. you make certain statements, as does the us secretary of state mike pompeo, when he said we are against allowing open doors for beijing's's spy masters. what evidence is there that they are doing this through huawei? we know there is a tremendous number of vulnerabilities in the system, as the uk's own oversight board found for huawei, hundreds of vulnerabilities, and to quote that report, there are serious and systematic defects in huawei's cyber security engineering and competence so there is really in effect what we could call a bug door, bugs and vulnerabilities that one could easily take advantage of.
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but couldn't that be said of lots of other telecommunications giants — cisco, for example, the us tech giant? there is no conflation of the authority of the government and its control over a company like you would see in china, where there is a deliberate direction without an independent judicial review that we have in the united kingdom and the united states. that is a fundamental difference when the entire company is in the direction of the chinese communist party, potentially. you know what huawei says, a spokesman for the company says, huawei is an independent privately owned company that has never been involved in a cyber security incident in 30 years of operation. it's got about 30,000 employees who own almost 99% of the company, they say they are not being used as a backdoorfor spying. 0ur concerns are when the time comes, if it is in china's advantage, they will then compel a company to take certain actions. there are chinese communist party members on the board, the founder of the company has committed his loyalty
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to the chinese communist party. again there is no... well, the founder of the company, ren zhengfei, told journalists injanuary that no law in china requires any company to install mandatory backdoors. it requires them to participate... a bit of tit—for—tat? in the end, the arbiter of that will be xi jinping and the chinese communist party so it is not the ability of mr ren to stop the mandate. you have these concerns and you have been on various missions trying to dissuade europeans from allowing huawei and other chinese telecommunications to be involved in the sg auction. what are they saying to you? a number of governments are understanding we are on this path of education together about the potential risks that can come from the supply chain. everyone knows we should increase our cyber security capabilities across telecommunications infrastructure but they realise with 56,
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because of what it presents, they need to be more careful about the supply chain and a number of countries are now saying they will exclude huawei from the core of the infrastructure of the future. we think that is insufficient because in the future, 56, there are going to be smart components, computing throughout, so no part of the network would you want to be subject to compromise by an adversarial power. what are they saying then? you're saying you don't want them to do this. you're saying they are not even allowing it. but france, italy, the united kingdom, germany, they have all said no equipment supplier including huawei may be specifically excluded from 56 auctions. they're not listening to you. i think they're beginning to listen. we're on a path together. what they are understanding is the potential threat from the supply chain to the future of the critical infrastructure they are going to be building. none of them have made final
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decisions and the european union commission as well as a conference held in prague came out with sets of intervals which said that we need to pay attention to the threat from a third country over the telecommunications vendor. that is a positive sign. they pay attention to that criteria and it should lead them to excluding a company like huawei which is under the direction of a foreign power. you said if a trusted vendor has been used by any western country, you would have to reassess the united states ability to share information with that country. does this mean the us would not share intelligence with western allies anymore if they did use huawei? it's really a hypothetical. we have to reassess... not really a hypothetical, given what you are saying. it's a hypothetical over how it's going to be inserted into the network. it's very important we protect that intelligence information. people literally die when our intelligence information is leaked out. we have the very high
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responsibility to make sure we don't lose control of that intelligence information. other sensitive personal information we are sharing all the time, so we would have to reassess how our sharing is conducted with countries that have huawei in their 56 networks. it sounds like you are almost issuing a threat to the europeans — if you are to use huawei in your non—core, even 56 technology, we're not going to share intelligence. that's a threat. our partners like the uk, which is our closest security partner, as well as all our partners in europe, understand we can have a frank dialogue. we want them to understand how serious this concern is to us and how important to have a reassessment of our intelligence sharing because of what we think is at stake. have you made any progress in your talks with other members of the administration? are they beginning to say, hmm, you've got a point, we're going to ostracise huawei.
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a lot of countries are saying they don't want huawei in the core of their networks. we think it should be anywhere, that is information or the critical infrastructure taken down which is riding on the part of the network, even if it's not considered the core anymore. but what you're saying here is slightly tempered by presiden trump. you say you've said this to the uk and otherfriends in europe. but when he visited and was asked whether he would limit the flow of us secrets over his position, he said no, because we are absolutely going to have an agreement on huawei and everything else, we have an incredible intelligence relationship and we will be able to work out any differences. yep, i couldn't agree more. it sounds very concillatory. 0n the one hand you are saying don't use it, on the other,
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good friends, this won't come between us. over time with the uk, we always find a way to move forward , we are the closest of partners. where as we talked about huawei, but where are the biggest risks to cyber security coming from? because, it's quite a big field, it's notjust the use of telecommunications. telecommunications is the underlying infrastructure but as we were seeing since 2017, an increasing number of destructive cyber attacks. two of those were in 2017, the wannacry attack which caused systems to be locked up in the uk including hospital systems and we saw the russians launched the notpetya attack, which was initially launched against the ukraine but affected transport networks around the world including the distribution of drugs in the united kingdom. those types of destructive and debilitating attacks caused billions of dollars of damage and that is why nation states feel empowered to use those tools against civilian populations.
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the kremlin of course says it has not been involved in these attacks you've cited, we must point out, but you're pointing the finger at russia, is responsible? the wannacry attack was north korea, other countries joined us in that attributionm and the notpetya attack, 10 countriesjoined with united kingdom in attributing that to russia so an increasing ability for us to join together among a number of like—minded countries to attribute that to russia and we had the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons, an attack, 22 countries joined together to attribute that to russia. we saw in 2007, the estonian authority said that russia had launched this cyber attack which nearly shut down their systems and really debilitated them. and in terms of these kind of attacks, the secretary general of nato, jens stoltenberg, said a cyber attack on a member could lead to article 5 being invoked.
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there would be a response from more nato members. he's just said that. is that a position the united states supports? it is a nato—wide position agreed to. if there was a cyber attack to be significant enough to be a use of force, it could trigger what they call article 5 which is the collective response mandate of nato. what would constitute that? threat to life or actual life being lost? typically under, and i don't want to get into the passing of international law here, typically it is the destruction of property and loss of life. have seen a number of disruptive attacks which haven't risen to the level of which we would call the use of force. that may not necessarily be a military or cyber response. there are other ways we can respond to bad activities. taking the example of what happened with the poisoning of the skripal... the russian attack...
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the russian attack on the russians in salisbury, england, the skripals, that was responded to in a way that did not involve a similar manner to where the attack occurred. we expelled a number of their so—called diplomats in countries around the world in response. we could think about other responses. like what? like non—military means? the wayjens stoltenberg was painting it, invoking ideas of the mutually assured destruction we had in the cold war, when we were talking about nuclear attacks. nuclear tit—for—tat. just obliterating everybody. we are not talking about that, about mad. countries such as the us and uk adhere to armed conflict law where we must respond proportionally. we will put on the table a full range of options, including military depending on the type
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of attack and what it means for our societies but in between, there are law enforcement efforts to prosecute the individuals or companies involved, sanctions can be put in place against individuals or entire sectors of economies and there are other tools that we could use to affect that country in negative ways to change their calculus, how they think about doing that kind of attack in the future. that's part of our overall effort to have cyber deterrence in the future. is this hypothetical or has it actually happened ? have you managed to prevent this type of attack happening? what we've done so far is done this attribution together, a collective action of naming and shaming which has some impact. it hasn't stopped all malicious cyber activity, but we are seeking to build an understanding about norms of responsible state behaviour, and they should act in cyberspace, not in ways that cause damage or disruption to critical infrastructure so that is one of the most important normative behaviours that we want to establish. over time, we can start bringing together consequences with a range of other countries against malicious state actors.
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all right, but you don't want to specify who, where, any potential attacks that you've thwarted, were coming from. i will say, of course, we've responded to russian and chinese actors by having sanctions and indicting individuals and also iran by indicting individuals so we're taking action is sending a message, about the types of activity they were undertaking. there is also a different kind of warfare, going to call it information warfare, and it doesn't rely on technical ability and i'm referring to, for example, the us special counsel report by robert mueller, looking at russian interference in the american presidential election in 2016 and obviously his long—detailed report showed that there was, and you know, you had misinformation being put out on the internet and so on. it's always possible so we have to be prepared for it. and are you prepared for it? yes, we think we're prepared
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but we know that the actors on the other side are dynamic and we need to be able to respond to them so we need to keep upping our defences. we think we were successful in 2018 in our mid—term elections but we know 2020 is a different level of election with the presidential election at stake and so we need to be able to dynamically respond to the threats that we are seeing coming from adversaries that might seek to use information operations against our very open societies. when it comes to this kind of information warfare, the united states is also accused of also being at it. i mean, russia's national security strategy in 2015 very clearly set out in its report that it sees the united states and its allies as seeking to contain russia by exerting, "informational pressure in an intensifying confrontation in the global information arena." it's not just one perpetrator, is it? we can't draw an equal footing here between the united states and russia.
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russia's activities during the 2016 election and their other types of online activities are quite malicious in the sense that they, in 2016, stole documents and then released them through cutouts in various venues online. they've also basically used their computational abilities of our platforms to leverage their message against us. we do not participate in similar kinds of activities against russia. but what do you do when you make these kinds of statements about fake news and deep fake videos and so on when you have the recent example of the speaker of the us house of representatives nancy pelosi with this fake video of her, showing her purportedly drunk while she's making a speech and it's retweeted by the president of the united states? you can re—tweet things, that doesn't cross any lines as far as i know and it doesn't usually indicate support for something.
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no, i mean, he didn't mention it was a fake though, that's the point. and he retweeted it, so when you come here as the us top official on information technology and so on and so forth and you say that this kind of interference we've had from russia is unacceptable and yet you have the president re—tweeting a video like that, it does kind of undermine your position somewhat? well, i would say it's a very important distinction to remember here is that that was done in an open transparent way. transparency is key. you knew in that case who was re—tweeting. in many cases of the russian involvement, in almost all cases, they did not disclose it with someone from russia seeking to influence people in the us. but when facebook itself says we don't have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on facebook must be true, is that acceptable? because that's where the video was put up. there's an ongoing debate with our platforms and within our government about how we should approach platform companies and their duties and responsibilities and we're
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talking to a number of our partners in europe as well about this issue about what is responsible behaviour for these platforms. there's been a number of efforts, of course, to take down extremist content, to take down truly illegal content, which would include child pornography and other sources but when we get to this other category of incorrect information that's in those platforms, there needs to be a longer discussion because of course at the end of the day, we don't want the government being the arbiter of our speech. but it seems like the era of self—regulation may be over, as nancy pelosi herself said? there are a lot of bills in our us congress and a lot of discussion about this topic. i am not able to give you more at the moment. so we'll see. we're going back to where we started, ambassador strayer, with huawei. one key aspect underscoring this kind of rivalry, if i can put it this way, between superpower united states and superpower china, is that the us is trying to protect its technology market from competition from china and as the chinese foreign minister wang yi put it, this amounts to economic bullying.
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and that's essentially what's at the core of this. so we think that's fundamentally not true. i would just point out with regard to who is building out the sg networks, that is at what they call the radio layer, the area that is closest to the consumer, where really this dispute is about. the leading sellers into that market are from finland, sweden and south korea, not the united states. so we do not benefit from a trade sense in this. this is something that's been pushed out by the propaganda within the chinese government as an area that we are afraid of their technology and we're afraid of their economic prowess. this is not that, it is about the security of the united states and about our partners in europe and around the world, all of their security. now, it is true that we did put huawei on what is called a restricted entities list which prohibits the export of us technology to huawei but we did that because of their sales to iran over
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a number of years. 0ver more than a decade in fact. they conducted wire fraud and bank fraud in addition to obstructing justice, to avoid being caught for selling products to iran. no other company could participate in that, they would have to get a license so they were engaging in very unfair competition. but, it does, nevertheless, the situation is this, that the chinese are really far, far advanced compared to the united states when it comes to the technology. the us—based information technology and innovation foundation, in a report this year, shows how in category after category, china is investing more in science and technology and there is no american firm that can offer an alternative to huawei's 56 technology.
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we fundamentally believe those companies that are going to build out 56 in the united states, were the first to move into area and are going to actually build out 90 deployments by the end of the year, are just as far ahead as huawei. we don't think they're ahead. with regard to all these other categories, of course, china, by state—directed financing can cause there to be more r&d put into different topics, but the beauty of our capitalist system is that in places like silicon valley or all places in the world where there is tech development, that's being done by the private sector. they're guiding the investment, they're putting the dollars on target the most important innovations that nee to happen in the future. we can't expect state planning for the internet. it hasn't worked in the last 30 years to get where we are today, we can't expect state planning to benefit us in the future. but they're really stealing a march from you. 0ne us telecoms executive says the white house keeps on asking why we can't do what huawei does and how long it would take for us to be able to do so. they don't seem to understand that we gave that capability up a long time ago. that was in part through a series of mergers that ended up with our former lucent technologies being in the hands of nokia today. but in the future, we're going to see developments that move
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way past these companies indeed. we're going to see all kinds of new software—driven solutions to what is really stuck into a hardware mindset today. but, you know, i can keep giving you more and more quotes. robert mayer, senior vice president of cyber security at ustelecom says the cost of replacing an entity on the scale of huawei would be prohibitive. the genie‘s out of the bottle. i mean, they really are just far, far ahead of you in this war for superiority in cyberspace. we don't agree that their technology is any better. we need to demystify what huawei provides. we're talking about semiconductor chips which mostly come from united states companies. we are talking about switching, routeing and fibre optics, which are all things we know today and we need to disaggregate those. these are all things that other companies make all the time. huawei is not ahead in the number of even trials out there. ericsson, according to gsma which is the trade association for the wireless industry. that's the swedish telecoms giant, yeah. it says that ericsson exceeds the number of trials in the field of any company in the industry. all right, finally, ambassador robert strayer, technology and control of data, not military power, is going to determine who is the superpower
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of the 21st—century, isn't it? and i put it to you that if that's the case, china is ahead. so, i don't concede that point, of course. what is important to think about is how data will influence all of our future industry and how we are ensuring that there are human values, human rights, applied to how that data is processed and used and that's why we recently signed on to a set of principles about artificial intelligence with a global group of countries. it's important that we guide the future in ways that our democracies appreciate and will ensure that technology serve our democratic values and interests. but the country who controls it will be the superpower. i think we need to ensure that there is cross border data flows around the world. we need to stop the efforts of countries like china to put up barriers to further balkanize the internet. we want them to allow a free flow
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of information across their borders. it does not inevitably lead to data ending up in one country. data needs to be shared because there will be supply chains and people working across the globe. ambassador robert strayer, thank you very much indeed for coming on hardtalk. thank you, thanks for having me. thank you. hello. more of a feel of summer in the weather this week but, with some fairly humid weather over the next few days, comes a real risk of severe thunderstorms. not everyone will see them but, where you do, an increased risk of some flash flooding around. later this week though the sunnier side of summer will return. most places dry, blue skies overhead, but the highest of the temperatures will be later in the week, friday into saturday in particular. 0ut there at the moment, we've got some fairly humid air
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with us as this weather system works its way northwards. we've seen some thunder and some lightning attached to this rain, pushing into parts of scotland for the morning. some of the rain here could be heavy and persistent, with quite a south—easterly breeze to go with it. there could be minorflooding, as i said, and that could give some travel disruption. further south, big puddles left in the wake from the overnight storms. and look at that — temperatures starting the day at around 18 celsius in central london. the atmosphere for monday is finely balanced. we've got the rain pushing northwards across scotland, still with some rumbles of thunder. we mightjust see one or two isolated, sporadic thunderstorms break out through the day but it's a worst—case scenario in that we see a larger storm blossom across central southern england push their way northwards as we go through into the afternoon. if that happens, again, flash flooding, some gusty winds
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and frequent lightning is possible. away from it, though, when we see the sunshine come out, it will feel pretty warm, especially in the south. not as warm as the weekend across northern and western scotland. more cloud here, still some outbreaks of rain, and a bit of a breeze. some heavy, thundery rain into the evening and eastern scotland but then another batch of storms out from france which could be more severe, particularly across parts of central, eastern england. a bit of uncertainty about where they will be but frequent lightning, risk of flash flooding and some gusty winds to go with it, and a fairly oppressive night across the country with humidity levels continuing to creep up. so it will be a humid start to tuesday, could be some impacts from the storms across central—eastern england in particular. maybe some in northern england during the morning rush hour, too.
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they will gradually ease away and things gradually turn quieter as we go through tuesday. one or two isolated storms can't be ruled out but most are becoming dry. still a fair bit of cloud but, when the sunshine breaks through, with increased humidity, temperatures 25—27 in the south—east corner, 22—23 in western parts of scotland. a ridge of high pressure builds in for wednesday, doing a few things, clearing away some of the cloud, a lot more sunshine around, dropping the humidity levels in the north, cooling things in eastern coasts. high—pressure pushing to the east of us, dragging our air in off western parts of europe with record—breaking heat over the next few days. we could see temperatures climb to 26 to 28 in western scotland, above 30 in the south.
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this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: a serious setback for turkey's president erdogan as his candidate loses the re—run election for istanbul mayor. this is the biggest blow to recep tayyip erdogan. it was a watershed moment for this country. an uprising in morocco could break out at any moment — that's the warning in the results of the biggest ever survey of the arab world. a year since the thai cave rescue that captivated the world —

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