HUAWEI EMPLOYEES are alleged to have assisted African governments in much the same way that the company has been repeatedly accused of abetting the Chinese government.
A report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that operatives aided the governments of Uganda and Zambia to spy of their political opponents. The investigation did not find evidence that this was in any way related to Huawei itself and that the employees were ‘bad actors' working outside their remit.
Nevertheless, it's another bit of mud that Huawei has managed to find to stick to itself, and will doubtless be weaponised in the battle between the US and China over Huawei's alleged collaboration with Bejing.
The report says that there was no evidence to suggest that anything about the Huawei equipment made it especially suited to the task, nor that the employees were acting on behalf of the Chinese authorities.
Technicians working in Uganda's police department were able to crack the encrypted messages of dissident rapper Bobi Wine.
Huawei has stated categorically that it is not and never was involved in ‘hacking activities, adding that the reports are "unfounded and inaccurate" (not for the first time):
"Our internal investigation shows clearly that Huawei and its employees have not been engaged in any of the activities alleged. We have neither the contracts nor the capabilities, to do so."
This is slightly worrying because if the rumours turn out to be true, Huawei is either lying or has a very scant grasp on what its remote technicians are up to. Either way, it's not a good look given the big picture.
At present, no decision has been taken over Huawei's position as a supplier of equipment for the UK's 5G network, but the FiveEyes have warned the UK that it could damage the intelligence-sharing agreement if it allows core parts of the 5G infrastructure to be supplied by Huawei. μ
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