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Huawei under suspicion of tracking and spying on visitors at its MWC 2023 booth

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The Chinese manufacturing company Huawei is now under suspicion for allegedly tracking visitors at its booth at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023. The MWC is a major tech event, and this year it was held in Barcelona. Many companies including Google, showcased their upcoming features and products at the event.

While the company booth seemed to attract a lot of attention, there were reports that Huawei had hidden trackers inside the security badges called the “Huawei Pass.” The passes included a lanyard, badge, and a plastic container, and had to be returned at the company booth by their owners. However, some visitors forgot to do so and found the badge rather suspicious.

Circuit inside the Huawei Pass that could be used as a tracker
Inside the Huawei Pass

Nokia’s Senior Vice President of Europe Rolf Werner took apart his badge and found circuits that could potentially be used as a tracker. According to Light Reading, there is a chance the company could be using Beacon Technology at its booth which can track distances up to 70 meters using low-power signals. The back of the Huawei pass also talks about local area radio systems that could help in tracking as it mentions:

“We use RFID and Bluetooth technology to collect the swipe time of this Huawei Card at the entrance of Huawei exhibition area, real-time location information and the residence time information of this Huawei Card holders within Huawei exhibition area, such information will be collected and processed only for the purpose of analyzing the overall interests of our invitees in our products to enhance our service quality. We will protect such information according to our Privacy Policy."

On the other hand, a Huawei spokesperson mentioned “the Huawei pass is used only in the booth and returned when visitors get out. There is no need to track location." The GSM Association (GSMA) which is responsible for organizing the MWC elaborated that these allegations are serious and added that they are investigating the matter “but don’t have details to share at this moment.”

Earlier this year, Huawei was also having issues with the US government as it stopped approving licenses for US businesses that allowed them to export to the company. Hence, the tensions continue to grow for Huawei.

Source and image: Light Reading

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