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Huawei swears – again – that its phones don’t spy on you

Published Jun 18th, 2018 6:56PM EDT
Huawei Security Concerns

One of Huawei’s key opinion leaders, Israeli-based tech blogger and adviser Hillel Fuld, tells BGR he thinks some of the pushback that Huawei gets over ties to the Chinese government and fears that its devices could be used to snoop on users are, at a minimum, ill-informed.

It’s a fight that Shenzhen, China-based Huawei once again finds its embroiled in, as the tech giant is the subject of new reports that it could be blocked from new 5G infrastructure in Australia. News headlines there in recent days cite intelligence community sources as identifying Huawei as a cyber-espionage risk to key infrastructure.

Fuld thinks such fears stem in part from competitors’ lobbying. “Their devices are far superior to the competition,” he says of Huawei, such that he thinks they even pose a threat to the status quo of the U.S. smartphone market. “There has been precisely zero evidence to the fact that there was any sort of spying being done through their devices. This is all speculation, so I will add my speculation to their speculation and guess that this is a result of lobbying.”

Huawei coming under fire in Australia follows the company taking similar heat in the U.S. earlier this year. Six U.S. intelligence leaders said during a Senate committee they would encourage Americans not to use any Huawei products. FBI director Christopher Wray said the concern stems from “the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.”

At Mobile World Congress this year, Huawei CEO Ken Hu blasted statements like that as “groundless suspicions.”

The company certainly has its fans. You can get a sense of that just from all the YouTube unboxings and reviews of shiny Huawei tech like the Mate 10 Pro.

The news out of Australia shows this fight between the company and its public image in some circles is nowhere near over. “We are a private company, owned by our employees with no other shareholders,” writes Huawei Australia chairman John Lord, along with board directors John Brumby and Lance Hockridge, in a letter published online. “In each of the 170 countries where we operate, we abide by the national laws and guidelines. To do otherwise would end our business overnight … We have an open invitation for Australian officials and security agencies to meet with our world-leading research and development teams to better understand our technology.”

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.