Thursday, June 01, 2006

On my way home from school, I heard on NPR a piece about the lenovo (I.E. IBM Thinkpad) being produced in china scandal.

The bottom line is this.

1) All personal computers today, contain at least *some* chips that are produced overseas. Most companies (Apple, HP) are entirely built overseas. US designers, foreign manufacturers. IMHO, any personal computer has about the same chance of having a "bug" installed because the actual construction is done outside the country. Who owns the company on the paper has very little to do with any of this.

For the few that are "assembled" in the US (dell), they still buy their chips and components from overseas. So it is entirely possible that china snuck in the "bug" before it even arrived to dell.

It is entirely possible for someone to "drop in" a "bug" while they are putting the parts together. Not to mention that most of the common chipset designs have become standardize and therefore, some were designed in china as well.

2) Even if there was a company that built and manufactured all of its own components and chips in the USA, It is entirely possible for a Chinese agent to sneak in and put bug into that operation. You could even go on and say the same thing if the government went out and made their own machines in house for the same reasons.

Is it possible technically for there to be bugs? Yes, just as it is possible for there to be bugs in our clothes, food and cars. Just because they can, doesn't mean they are going to. The major problem facing the US intelligence agencies today is that they have *too much* information. They don't (or can't afford) enough computers and workers to sift through the countless hours of material they have. Once they hear of a problem, they can go back and search but they can't just passively look for "problems" and expect to have a effective return on the thousands of man hours necessary.

So this is entirely a publicity stunt by US politicians, who don't know about the issue, trying to look like they are "protecting" America. They are just being too paranoid on what little they know. To be honest, if it was really that big of a security issue one of the Three Letter Agencies would have already stopped them.

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