Home Networking company Huawei’s greater involvement in surveillance, report says

Huawei’s greater involvement in surveillance, report says


Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has always claimed it is not actively partnering with the Chinese government to collect intelligence on individuals in China, but a report from The Washington Post This week, showing that the company appears to have marketed surveillance technology to government customers challenges the company’s claims.

The report comes as much of the big company’s operations remain severely restricted by sanctions imposed by the United States under former President Donald Trump, which have been renewed, and in some cases strengthened, by President Joe Biden. .

The newspaper obtained more than 100 PowerPoint presentations which were briefly posted on a public page of the company’s website. The mine of documents suggests the company was marketing various surveillance-related services, including voice recognition technology, location tracking, and facial recognition-based area surveillance.

The presentations say the company was also marketing systems to monitor prisons, such as those in which China currently holds countless numbers of Uyghurs in western Xinjiang province. The system tracked inmates’ work productivity, as well as their time spent in re-education classes and data that might indicate the effectiveness of those classes.

Additionally, the documents appeared to market workplace monitoring tools, intended to monitor employee performance in the workplace and to spot workers who spend time resting or using personal electronic devices on the job. clock.

denial of huawei

In a statement provided to VOA, a spokesperson for Huawei said: “Huawei has no knowledge of the projects mentioned in The Washington Post report.”

He continued, “Like all other major service providers, Huawei provides cloud platform services that meet common industry standards. Huawei does not develop or sell systems targeting a specific group of people and we require our partners to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and business ethics. Protecting privacy is our top priority and we require all parts of our business to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate.

the To post, in his article, noted that the company’s official watermark appeared on the pages of the PowerPoint presentation, and that several included a page that said “Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Copyright.

FILE – Mobile phone masts can be seen in front of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, January 28, 2020. Britain is among the countries which, for security reasons, have started to withdraw Huawei equipment which already had been installed.

Electronic security experts said the revelation of PowerPoint presentations linking Huawei to state security was not surprising, despite the company’s denials.

“Huawei has been closely tied to the security services from the start,” Jim Lewis, senior vice president and director of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told VOA.

Lewis said warnings about the company have come from US officials since George W. Bush was president, but had only been taken seriously in recent years when China has become more aggressive in asserting itself on the world stage. .

“What has changed is the audience,” Lewis said. Between China and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s behavior, people are willing to hear about the issues with Huawei in a way that they were not before.

Punitive sanctions

The United States has been warning for several years that Huawei poses a security risk to the United States and its allies. Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, US officials believe the company has close ties to Chinese state security agencies and that its telecommunications products could be used to gather information or disrupt the activities of rivals. Chinese.

Officials also report a law in China that requires private companies to cooperate with government agencies in collecting data deemed important to state security.

In 2019 and 2020, the United States began to act aggressively against Huawei on several fronts.

The Trump administration has fought against the company’s efforts to commercialize the network equipment needed to deploy 5G wireless technology. 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity and is expected to dramatically improve the ability of internet-connected devices to communicate, facilitating everything from autonomous vehicles to remote surgery.

The United States has said, among other things, that it will stop sharing intelligence with allies that allow Huawei to provide critical pieces of their country’s telecommunications infrastructure, arguing the company poses too great a risk for it. Security.

As a result, a number of countries have excluded the company’s technology from their 5G systems and others, including Britain, have started the costly process of removing Huawei equipment that had already been installed.

FILE - A smartphone with a Huawei logo is seen in front of an EU flag in this illustration taken on September 28, 2021.

FILE – A smartphone with a Huawei logo is seen in front of an EU flag in this illustration taken on September 28, 2021.

smartphone decline

Until recently, Huawei was one of the biggest sellers of smartphones in the world and almost completely dominated the Chinese market. However, other sanctions imposed on the company seriously affected this company.

The United States has banned companies from licensing or selling the company’s technology essential to some of its products. This included Google, which said in 2019 that it would no longer license its Android operating system – the world’s most popular – for use in new phones made by the company.

Intel and Qualcomm, two big chipmakers, have been banned from selling their most advanced technology to Huawei. The ban extended to contract chipmakers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., the world’s largest.

The result has been a drastic drop in sales of Huawei smartphones, both globally and in China.

“The heart of their device business was smartphones, and their market share has been steadily declining,” Ryan Reith, vice president of International Data Corporation, told VOA.

Reith said the recovery outlook did not look good for the company’s smartphone business.

“We don’t see any way for the brand itself to turn around,” he said. “So he’s probably on the verge of disappearing. “

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