Guillermo Christensen quoted in WSJ in How Cellphone Chips Became a National Security Concern
PUBLISHED ON: 03/07/2018
Partner Guillermo Christensen was quoted in Wall Street Journal article, "How Cellphone Chips Became a National Security Concern" regarding how the worries about foreign control of wireless supply chain fuel U.S. review of Broadcom’s bid for Qualcomm.
From the article:
"The U.S. made clear this week that containing China’s growing clout in wireless technology is now a national-security priority. Telecommunications-industry leaders say such fears are justified—but question whether the government’ s unusual intervention in a corporate takeover battle that doesn’t even involve a Chinese company will make a difference.
The committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a panel that reviews foreign takeovers on national-security grounds, laid out this week a number of reasons why it was probing Broadcom Ltd. ’ s $117 billion hostile bid for rival cellphone-chip maker Qualcomm Inc. It said an overarching goal was to ensure the U.S.—not China—remains the world’ s innovation hub and No. 1 destination for top engineers.
Many wireless executives and security experts don’t consider a takeover by Singapore-based Broadcom an immediate threat to U.S. capabilities. But they believe the American government has legitimate long-term fears.
“These are not things that have immediate consequences in the next six months or year, but the government is looking five years, 10 years down the road,” said Brian Fleming of law firm Miller & Chevalier, who as a former Justice Department counsel reviewed CFIUS transactions for the U.S. The thinking is “if we don’t act now, we’re going to have a serious problem.”
Those worries are rooted in how modern communication works. Cellular-tower radios, internet routers and related electronics use increasingly complex hardware and software, with millions of lines of code. Hackers can potentially control the equipment through intentional or inadvertent security flaws, such as the recently disclosed “Meltdown” and “Spectre” flaws that could have affected most of the world’ s computer chips.
Those were unintentional weaknesses, overlooked by manufacturers for years. But the difficulty finding them underscores the vulnerability of the world’s software and hardware to sabotage.
“Unless you have tight supply chains, you can insert insecurity at the base of every device,” said Guillermo Christensen, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and a lawyer specializing in CFIUS issues for law firm Brown Rudnick."
To read the full article, click here.