The US has been “spying on other countries for quite some time” – Huawei hits back in extraordinary fashion

Huawei have been under well-documented US scrutiny for some time now, but the Chinese telecoms giant has today fired back. The company has released a statement which addresses the US’ own murky history of “covertly accessing telecom networks worldwide”.

“US allegations of Huawei using lawful interception are nothing but a smokescreen – they don’t adhere to any form of accepted logic in the cyber security domain,” the Huawei statement reads.

The US, the company goes on to allege, has been “spying on other countries for quite some time”.

Related: US says Huawei has “backdoor” into mobile networks, as 5G row deepens

The company cites the Snowden leaks as a pivotal piece of evidence and asks the US to produce any evidence that Huawei itself has conducted any similar espionage-related activity.

This is the clearest indication yet of the level of outrage at Huawei, with the company also taking aim at The Wall Street Journal in the statement. It was a recent WSJ piece that seemingly provoked the release of the statement. Ultimately a statement like this is far from conventional.

Huawei’s annoyance was likely worsened by the UK’s recent decision to exclude the network from its core 5G infrastructure, a decision that will have widespread consequences, including costing Vodafone £169m.

Many credited the decision to US pressure on the UK government, though US officials wanted the UK to go even further in its policy.

The statement, in its entirety, is well worth a read. It’s the most revealing insight we’ve had into Huawei’s position on the whole saga so far. Take a look below:

As evidenced by the Snowden leaks, the United States has been covertly accessing telecom networks worldwide, spying on other countries for quite some time. The report by the Washington Post this week about how the CIA used an encryption company to spy on other countries for decades is yet additional proof.

“US allegations of Huawei using lawful interception are nothing but a smokescreen – they don’t adhere to any form of accepted logic in the cyber security domain. Huawei has never and will never covertly access telecom networks, nor do we have the capability to do so. The Wall Street Journal is clearly aware that the US government can’t provide any evidence to support their allegations, and yet it still chose to repeat the lies being spread by these US officials. This reflects The Wall Street Journal’s bias against Huawei and undermines its credibility.

“Huawei’s role as a telecoms vendor is to provide equipment that follows 3GPP/ETSI standards, just like every other vendor. We are obligated to follow industry-wide lawful interception standards like 3GPP’s TS 33.107 standard for 3G networks, and TS 33.128 for 5G. This is where Huawei’s obligations with regards to lawful interception end.

“The actual administration and use of lawful interception interfaces is conducted solely by carriers and regulators. Interception interfaces are always located in protected premises on the operator’s side, and they are operated by employees who are vetted by the government in the countries where they operate. Operators have very strict rules to operate and maintain these interfaces. Huawei doesn’t develop or produce any interception equipment beyond this.

“Huawei is only an equipment supplier. In this role, accessing customer networks without their authorization and visibility would be impossible. We do not have the ability to bypass carriers, access control, and take data from their networks without being detected by all normal firewalls or security systems. In fact, even The Wall Street Journal admits that US officials are unable to provide any concrete details concerning these so-called “backdoors.”

“Cyber security and user privacy protection are Huawei’s top priorities. The remarks made by US officials completely ignore the huge investment and best practices of Huawei and carriers in cyber security risk management. We are very indignant that the US government has spared no efforts to stigmatize Huawei by using cyber security issues. If the US does discover Huawei’s violations, we again solemnly request the US to disclose specific evidence instead of using the media to spread rumours.”

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