Sat, Oct 19, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Huawei rejects handing over any customer data

SECURITY RISK?Set up by a former engineer in the PLA, the company’s doubters have hindered its US growth and entry into the Australian market

AP, BEIJING

Chinese tech giant Huawei (華為) said in a report yesterday on cybersecurity that it has never been asked to provide information about a citizen to any government.

Huawei Technologies Ltd has spent recent years trying to allay fears in the US and some other countries that it is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or might be a security risk. Its statement yesterday that it does not aid official information-gathering follows an outcry over disclosures about the role of Internet and telecoms in sweeping US government surveillance.

“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,” Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu (胡厚崑) said in a foreword to the report.

The report, written by a Huawei executive who is a former British official, calls for companies and regulators to cooperate in setting global standards and for customers to press suppliers to improve security.

“The challenge is that we are producing too much guidance, too many frameworks, too many policies, but not really coalescing around the small number of things that make the biggest difference,” the company’s cybersecurity officer John Suffolk said.

He spoke by telephone from Seoul, where he was attending industry event “Seoul Cyber 2013.”

Huawei, founded by a former Chinese military engineer in 1987, has grown to become the world’s second-largest supplier of telecoms network gear after Sweden’s LM Ericsson. The company reported earlier its profit last year rose 33 percent over the previous year to 15.4 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) on sales of 220.2 billion yuan (US$34.9 billion).

Huawei says it is owned by its employees and denies being controlled by the CCP or Chinese military. Suspicions about its activities have slowed its expansion in the US and it was barred from bidding for a role in an Australian broadband network.

Since then, the industry has been shaken by disclosures by former US National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden about US government surveillance, and the role of Internet and telecoms that say they were legally compelled to cooperate.

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