Categories: DITOPolitics

Australian senator concerned with “Trojan horses” posed with China-backed DITO in PH

A senator from Australia voiced his concern that China might utilize the State-backed China Telecom and DITO Telecommunity as “Trojan horses” to infiltrate smaller nations in the Indo-China region.

Among these nations, Queensland Senator James McGrath mentioned the Philippines. He expressed concern over China Telecom’s 40-percent share in DITO Telecommunity, a recently-emerged telco in the Philippines.

“Many are concerned that DITO Telecommunity is a ‘Trojan horse’ for spying, including on the armed forces of the Philippines and its allies the United States and Australia,” explained McGrath.

“When we consider how many Australian companies house parts of their businesses in the Philippines, such as call centers, this should ring alarm bells with cybersecurity experts,” he added.

The senator’s concern is nothing new in the Philippines, as it remains an ongoing controversy. The latest one being the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) allowing DITO to set up cell sites within its military camps. This brought concern among the professionals and the public as DITO can obtain classified information from the AFP using its devices, equipment, and structures. The third telco, in response, assured that it would do no such thing as the connection with ChinaTel is limited to technical advice and support. The telco also added it had also submitted a cybersecurity plan during the bidding process to prove that the company’s network and facilities would not compromise national security and would abide by the National Cybersecurity Plan.

But according to the Australian senator, there’s an “iron silk curtain” drawn around the region as China expanded its influence.

“While China has continued with its wolf warrior diplomacy and while territorial concerns continue to be raised, including in seas off Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, the Chinese Communist Party government and its military arm have been quietly making strategic acquisitions of another kind,” he explained.

There are over 100 additional vessels spotted within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea this June, as per a geospatial intelligence firm, Simularity. They added the said vessels could likely be Chinese ships.

“We must be awake to the Philippines being one of the first dominoes at risk of falling to the nefarious influence of that evil regime in China,” said McGrath.

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Myra Santos Santos

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