Huawei and ZTE, the two Shenzhen-based companies that have been embroiled in the many controversies relating to how they operate, saw their products banned from use within the U.S. government in August this year. Just a few months later, the U.S. government began persuading its allies, notably Germany, Italy, and Japan, to ditch Huawei’s equipment by briefing them about cybersecurity threats that it alleged were posed by the company’s products.
Although the U.S. government briefed its allies, it hasn’t – as far as public knowledge goes – made the evidence behind its concerns open to companies, or to the public.
At an event hosted at its headquarters in Shenzhen, the Deputy Chairman of Huawei, Hu Houkun (also known as Ken Hu), challenged the U.S. government and others accusing the company, and its equipment, of being a security risk to present proof.
Claiming that the accusations against Huawei are based on “ideology and geopolitics,” he said:
“If you have proof or evidence, it should be made known. Maybe not to Huawei and maybe not to the public, but to telecom operators, because they are the ones that buy Huawei.”
Hu also criticized Australia and New Zealand’s decision to ban Huawei’s equipment from their 5G networks, adding that such a move would “hurt consumers by raising prices and slowing innovation,” citing a forecast by the London-based research firm Frontier Economics.
Adding to his criticism, Hu said:
“There has never been any evidence that our equipment poses a security threat. […] We have never accepted requests from any government to damage the networks or business of any of our customers.”
It could be due to mistranslation; however, the statement implies that certain governments have requested Huawei to damage networks, which it then refused. “You can’t make yourself more excellent by blocking competitors from the playing field,” Hu added.
Huawei certainly seems committed to resolve the concerns that the various governments may have, going as far as committing $2 billion to solve the issues raised by GCHQ in the UK. Though, it continues to face warnings, concerns, and allegations worldwide, most recently from Czech Republic.
A few have also come to the defense of Huawei; the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an industry association of cellular service providers in India, notably stated that Huawei posed no threat to that country’s national security. That defense comes while the Indian government contemplates its move going forward, considering the concerns raised by other governments.
Arne Schönbohm, the President of the German Federal Office for Information Security, also recently stated that there is "currently no reliable evidence" against Huawei. "For such serious decisions as a ban you need evidence," he added.
As for Huawei's violations related to the U.S.-imposed Iran sanctions, Hu said he couldn’t discuss the matter as Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is in the midst of court proceeding in Vancouver.
Thanks for the tip Jazmac!