Canadian Intelligence warns against buying tech from state-owned companies

According to documents obtained by the Canadian Press, the Canadian government has been warning against investing in technology served up by state-owned companies as it’s highly likely that the hardware could be used as a conduit for corporate espionage.

From The Globe & Mail:

The RCMP organized two workshops last March — one in Calgary, the other in Toronto — to raise awareness about threats to critical systems, including espionage and foreign interference, cyberattacks, terrorism and sabotage, newly disclosed documents show.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service materials prepared for the workshops advise that “non-likeminded countries,” state-owned enterprises and affiliated companies are engaged in a global pursuit of technology and know-how driven by economic and military ambitions.

The papers surrounding the RCMP and CSIS’ warnings were heavily redacted: there’s no mention of any specific countries that want to take a peek at what Canuck corporations have to offer. However, we’ve still got a good idea about some of what they were talking about. According to The Canadian Press, the document had a chunk of text in it pulled from a US government report that China and other competing countries have been swiping “hundreds of billions of dollars” worth of intellectual property every year. Additionally, back in 2016, CSIS warned Canadians that maybe allowing Huawei Technologies to have any part in the building of Canada’s 5G telecommunications network might be a really bad idea. According to a number of intelligence sources, Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government run deep.

It’s fun to be reminded that billion dollar concerns like tech and oil companies have just as much to worry about with phishing, sloppy security practices and other digital hazards as everyone else. This feels like as good a time as any to remind you that reading Electronic Frontier Foundation’s primer on digital surveillance self-defense is a great first step towards hardening your digital world’s security, no involvement from the Mounties required.

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