Huawei in Second Cyber-Security Report: We're No Government Mole
Chinese telecom firm Huawei continues to try to clear its name and compete as a respected vendor in the worldwide market, after the U.S. House Intelligence Committee last October warned that Huawei poses a security risk. The Committee advised U.S. businesses involved in critical infrastructure, such as financial and utilities, not to use components from Huawei or ZTE, another Chinese firm.
Huawei released its second cyber-security white paper Oct. 18, which it used to describe how it's making cyber-security a part of its DNA, and to insist that the company has no ties to the Chinese government and has never spied, as has been suggested.
Ken Hu, deputy chairman of the Huawei board and chairman of Huawei's Global Cyber Security Committee, addresses the matter directly in a foreward to the report. He wrote: "We can confirm that we have never received any instructions or requests from any Government or their agencies to change our positions, policies, procedures, hardware, software or employment practices or anything else, other than suggestions to improve our end-to-end security capability. We can confirm that we have never been asked to provide access to our technology, or provide any data or information on any citizen or organization to any Government, or their agencies.
"We confirm our company's unswerving commitment to continuing to work with all stakeholders to enhance our capability and effectiveness in designing, developing and deploying secure technology," the report continued.
Huawei defended itself after the U.S. House Intelligence Committee report—in which lawmakers said that they tried to work with Huawei and ZTE, but both provided "incomplete, contradictory and evasive responses.
Huawei spokesperson William Plummer said in a statement that suggestions that Huawei "is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber-mischief ignore technical and commercial realities."
Plummer again came to the company's defense in July, after U.S. Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), told an Australian newspaper that hard evidence exists that Huawei has spied on behalf of the Chinese government.
"God did not make enough briefing slides on Huawei to convince me that having them involved in our critical communications infrastructure was going to be okay," Hayden told the Australian Financial Review.
He added later in the interview, "At a minimum, Huawei would have shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with."
Plummer shot back with accusations of racism, saying in a statement shared with The Verge: "Misdirecting and slandering Huawei may feel okay because the company is Chinese-based—no harm, no foul, right? Wrong. Huawei is a world-proven multinational across 150 global markets that supports scores and scores of American livelihoods and thousands more, indirectly, through $6 billion a year in procurements from American suppliers. Someone says they got proof of some sort of threat? Okay. Then put up. Or shut up. Lacking proof in terms of the former ... this is politically inspired and racist corporate defamation. Nothing more."
Huawei's Hu concluded his forward with a gentler tone. "We firmly believe that the world is a better place when the innovations brought about by the use of technology are maximized, they improve people's lives and they improve economies," Hu wrote. "Huawei will continue our open and transparent approach and responsible position to its operations and everything we do."