HUAWEI STAFFERS allegedly collaborated with China's military on research projects related to artificial intelligence (AI) and radio communications.
So says a report at Bloomberg, which claims that some Huawei personnel co-authored at least 10 studies with researchers affiliated to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The studies, which were uncovered through a trawling of Chinese academic paper database CNKI.net, include a joint effort with the investigative branch of the Central Military Commission to extract and classify emotions in online video comments, and an initiative with the elite National University of Defence Technology to explore ways of collecting and analysing satellite images and geographical coordinates.
While it's hardly uncommon for tech firms to team up with defence departments on research papers, Huawei has long strived to distance itself from the Chinese military given US gov concerns that close ties between the two pose a threat to national security.
This has no doubt been heightened by the fact that Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, who has long dismissed allegations that his firm's products were being used to spy for China through built-in backdoors, served as an engineer in the PLA before setting up the company.
Unsurprisingly, Huawei has also been quick to dismiss Bloomberg's report. In a statement, it stressed that it "does not have any R&D collaboration or partnerships with the PLA-affiliated institutions," adding: "Huawei only develops and produces communications products that conform to civil standards worldwide, and does not customize R&D products for the military."
China's defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told Reuters the ministry does not comment on academic research.
This report, which comes a month after Huawei was blacklisted through its addition to the US gov's 'entity list', isn't the only bad press the firm is getting today.
Security outfit Finite State (us neither) claims to have found numerous vulnerabilities across the company's entire product line; more than 55 per cent of devices scanned had "at least one potential back door", and at least 29 per cent had at least one default username and password stored in the firmware. µ
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