As the world’s top telecom supplier and a
major phone manufacturer, Huawei has been placed in a precarious situation due
to its close ties with China’s government. In response to potential spying
allegations, many countries have banned the use of the Chinese company’s
networking equipment, throwing a wrench in the manufacturer’s plans to become
an even bigger global force in the telecom industry.
To make matters even more suspicious for
Huawei, its founder and president, Zhengfei Ren, worked as a military
technologist for the People’s Liberation Army before his company’s founding in
1987. It’s a common theory that Huawei is actually state-owned, even though the
company maintains that it is employee-owned.
What’s the Situation So Far?
In January 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray
warned consumers against purchasing Huawei phones. In the months following, it
was revealed that Facebook had provided Huawei with special access to user
data, and Huawei had also cheated on a benchmark test.
In January 2019, Huawei was indicted on 23
counts of alleged trade secret theft and fraud. A few months later in March, a
British watchdog organization confirmed that Huawei products were at a much
greater risk than other devices. In April, Vodafone revealed the existence of
hidden backdoors in equipment provided by Huawei; furthermore, the CIA stated
that the Chinese state security were funding Huawei, which is suspicious to say
In May, the United States president issued a
national security executive order that practically banned Huawei devices. This
proclamation was called Securing the Information and Communications Technology
and Services Supply Chain. According to the United States Department of
order prohibits transactions that involve information and communications
technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by
persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of
a foreign adversary whenever the secretary of commerce determines that a
transaction would pose a threat to national security."
Basically, this was meant to deter companies
in the United States from using technology produced by companies that were
deemed to be a threat to national security… in other words, Huawei.
Huawei’s Response to the
It’s no surprise that Huawei is not a
proponent of these restrictions. Besides denying its products create security
threats, the company has gone on the record implying that its inability to do
business in the United States could affect the 5G cellular revolution. Huawei
also claims that these restrictions could cause Americans to lose jobs.
In late July, more than 600 workers were laid
off at Futurewei, Huawei’s research and development subsidiary in the United
States. Either way, there is a considerable amount of pushback in the
technology industry regarding this ban on sales, which have since led to
decreased measures instigated against Huawei. The company’s chairman, Liang
Hua, has expressed interest in implementing a “no-spy agreement” with the
What are your thoughts on the way that this
Huawei situation is being handled? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to
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