IEEE freezes out Huawi and affiliated individuals Ending it's function as a Global Standards Body
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defined the POSIX standard named by Honorary doctorate Richard Stallman. This makes this global coordinating standards-body's decisions important to free software users. The IEEE is based in the US and as a US corporation it is subject to US laws. Sections deployed as a strategy in the US trade-war against China have now made the IEEE cut Huawei and affiliates off from participation in the IEEE.
"IEEE complies with U.S. government regulations which restrict the ability of the listed Huawei companies and their employees to participate in certain activities that are not generally open to the public. This includes certain aspects of the publication peer review and editorial process."
IEEE media statement on May 29th, 2019
Standards set by the IEEE affect everyone. You are reading this text now because you connected to this website through network equipment which works thanks to IEEE-defined standards for how ethernet devices talk to each other. WIFI would not be very useful if access-points from Cisco could not talk to phones from Apple. Standards matter and the IEEE is responsible for defining everything from Bluetooth and WIFI standards to basic programming interfaces used by operating systems.
A standards body needs to be independent from government influence. A globally coordinating standards body which freezes out countries at one governments whim is no longer a global standards body. That is exactly what the IEEE is doing. British publication The Register reports that when it comes to Chinese entities "In effect, they are banned from seeing anything that is not already public, or earmarked to become public". The move have made Chinese professors leave the IEEE in disgust
The potential long-term consequences aren't great. Perhaps there won't be any. Today it's a given that a laptop or a phone will be able to connect to the airport or hotels WIFI network regardless of what country you visit. It just works thanks to standards. It would be a shame if that's no longer the case 5 years from now due to overly aggressive trade-war tactics.
Honorary doctorate Richard Stallman gave us this comment from his speaking tour in Europe:
"I am not sure what that means, concretely. So all I can say is that China is a tyranny that is a harmful influence in the world."
Richard Stallman, in an e-mail on Sunday June 2nd, 2019
last edited 2019-06-03
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