Huawei’s charm offensive continues. Today it issued a white paper on security in which it denies stealing state secrets.
The paper, penned by global cyber-security officer John Suffolk, states:
.. we have never damaged any nation or had the intent to steal any national intelligence, enterprise secrets or breach personal privacy...
It also makes the rather unchallengeable point that “with the eyes of the world always upon us,” it’s less likely to be spying than those not under the same level of scrutiny.
Its other argument is that in the global supply chain, national boundaries blur. More than 25% of Cisco’s gear is made in China, and CEO John Chambers has expressed the ambition of Cisco “becoming a Chinese company.” A third of Alcatel-Lucent’s global manufacture is made by its China subsidiary, while of Nokia Siemens’ ten worldwide plants, five are in China and two are in India.
The rest of the paper goes over familiar territory about network threats and the need for a “coordinated international approach,” yada yada.
You may not find it convincing, but it's a lot more persuasive than this post on the Digital Dao blog, a classic in the guilt-by-association genre.
Of the five points that supposedly mark Huawei as a "security threat", two relate to alleged IP theft – the well-documented Cisco case in 2002-04 and another involving Nortel in 2004. Whatever their validity, they don’t make Huawei a national security threat in 2012.
Another is that chairwoman Sun Yafang was a former employee of the Ministry of State Security and – a sure sign of a security hazard - “helped the young company secure loans form [sic] the Chinese government.”
This is a fantasy view of Huawei and its history. It was a bootstrapped startup with zero government support and, as mentioned in my previous post, several state-owned firms were ahead of it as designated champions. The idea that Chinese spooks would send a junior staff member to a struggling private firm in Shenzhen as part of a scheme to infiltrate the world’s networks is just ludicrous.
If I didn’t know better, I’d suggest that these credulous claims were in fact concocted by Chinese state security because they play to the China narrative that the world is “blocking the rise of China.”
Huawei's in it for the money, and it doesn't owe Beijing any favours. Those who think otherwise need to come up with reality-based evidence.