Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei continues to deny all allegations relating to his company spying for Chinese authorities, insisting that his company had never been asked to spy on clients.
In a rare interview with just six journalists from foreign media, Mr Ren told the them, “I love my country. I support the Communist Party. But I will not do anything to harm the world.”
“China’s ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” Ren added addressing suggestions that Huawei might make it possible for Chinese spies to extract data directly themselves.
“I personally would never harm the interest of my customers and me and my company would not answer to such requests,” he said.
A number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Austria, and Germany have already taken steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations.
In December, 2018 UK telecoms company BT confirmed it was removing Huawei equipment from key areas of its 4G network after concerns were raised about the Chinese firms presence in critical telecoms infrastructure.
Also in December 2018, MI6 (UK’s Secret Intelligence Service) Chief, Alex Younger spoke at St. Andrews University of 4th Generation Espionage, saying that the “UK has difficult decisions to take regarding China, which is leading the way in worldwide technological and telecoms innovation.”
“We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken quite a definite position,” said Younger. “It’s not wholly straightforward.”
Huawei is developing 5G technology.
This week Vodafone have joined in.
During a conference call with investors, Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read said “We are predominately using Huawei in radio. We are continuing to use them in radio for 5G. However, in the core, we have put them on pause. They are not significant in the scale of our operations in the core, and therefore it’s not a big financial implication.”
Mr Read said that Huawei is a key company in the telecoms equipment market and added that the debate about potential security issues with the Chinese company was taking place at a “simplistic political level.”
He continued, “We’re putting the call on pause. We’re not replacing at this stage, because now is the moment to engage with the security agencies, with politicians and with Huawei to improve everyone’s understanding and make it clear these steps Huawei are doing in terms of the engineering processes that they are committing through for the security agencies.”