Security: Back to the "Made in the USA" Tradition

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jayson Wylie

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The phrase is not original, nor is it a new concept. 

A few great campaigns have come and gone with the theme of US made goods having better quality. 

Around 2000 it was more of a patriotic act for the US Auto Manufacturers… Buy American!

Years have gone by, and the American markets look for cost savings on goods manufactured or assembled in countries where the labor is cheap and laws protecting the workers may be minimal or non-existent.

I don’t have much concern with the garment industry’s practices, or the quantity of counterfeit goods coming from all over the globe on American intellectual property, because it’s not a security issue.

However, outsourcing foreign technology for the US markets should be scary when the designs and manufacturing are beyond the country’s control.  Electronics are very complex and not always reverse engineered.

The US government’s Department of Defense had, and may still have, issues with counterfeit components being procured and used in military weapons, vehicles and equipment.

It’s a national security issue when the supply chains are compromised by weakness and the scam is getting low quality goods past the judges.

There is more foreign competition for American military contracts than those coming from domestic companies.  Fair bidding processes dictate the lowest price usually wins with heterogeneous offers.

There was a recent article about the ZTE Android phone and news that they contained a back door, which could be a nefarious thing, or just be a fancy feature we don’t have to pay for.

You really do get what you pay for, and sometimes we will get more than we pay for as cyber activities escalate and all actors are looking for the edge or options to be able to conduct subversive acts with ease, or at least through advantageous features.

We need to reign in the contracts and suppliers to those who openly share their designs and and assure the product is exact. As consumers, we should wonder about where the best deals off the Internet are coming from.

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