Despite spy raps, DepEd taking China computers

By: Dona Z. Pazzibugan, August 6th, 2013 05:33 AM


MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education (DepEd) will go ahead and accept the donation of a cloud-based computer network from Huawei Technologies Co. despite allegations linking the Chinese telecommunications giant to espionage activities for Beijing.

In a statement on Monday, the DepEd said it had “security protocols in place” that allowed new computer hardware and software to be installed by outsiders.

Nevertheless, the DepEd said the system Huawei was donating to the DepEd central office “will be subjected to scrutiny as it is being installed and used.”

“Donations to the DepEd are accepted in good faith. Those involving computer hardware and software are checked by our ICT unit. We have taken steps to ensure the safety and integrity of our data. We have safety protocols in place for our internal network,” the statement said.

“Moreover, the system will be subjected to scrutiny as it is being installed and used. Part of the agreement is to determine first how best to use the equipment,” it added.

On July 26, the DepEd formally accepted a donation from Huawei Philippines of 50 computer units that would operate on a virtual desktop cloud-based infrastructure system.

The system will be installed in the DepEd central office within the month, according to the memorandum of agreement.

The DepEd was unaware that a week before the memorandum signing, the former head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Michael Hayden gave an interview where he said Huawei had spied for the Chinese government.

Hayden, a former general who also served as head of the National Security Agency, said intelligence agencies had hard evidence that Huawei supplied sensitive information to Chinese officials.

“We were not aware of this allegation when we signed the MOA with them and accepted their donation,” Education Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario Deriquito said on Friday night.

“We consider this a serious matter. We will look into this and study the matter very well before we do anything,” he said. The governments of the US and Australia have barred Huawei from doing business in their respective countries, while the United Kingdom is investigating the allegations.

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