Is information technology provider Huawei being held to a "higher bar" for cybersecurity than other companies? An executive from the China-based company thinks so, as Huawei released on Friday a new white paper on its cybersecurity policies and its recommendations for global standards.
In an interview with Bloomberg news service, Huawei global cybersecurity officer John Suffolk acknowledged that the U.S. has "genuine concerns, and it's Huawei's responsibility to satisfy those genuine concerns." Suffolk, the former CIO of the government of the United Kingdom, said that obtaining the necessary clearance to fully participate in the U.S. market could take a decade.
Huawei is attempting to gain access to U.S. and Australian markets. Last year, a U.S. congressional committee said that the company, as well as compatriot company ZTE Corp., could provide opportunities for China's spy agencies to utilize American telecommunications networks for intelligence gathering. In 2011, Huawei was banned from participating in efforts to build a U.S.-wide emergency communications network in the U.S., and, similarly, Australia has barred the company from bidding on a major broadband network in that country.
'Part of a Company's DNA'
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden said in July that Huawei was likely to share information about American telecommunications with the Chinese government, a claim that Huawei has denied.
In the white paper released Friday, entitled Cyber Security Perspective, the company lays out "a set of integrated processes, policies and standards" to make cybersecurity "a part of a company's DNA." Among other things, the white paper recommends the creation of independent testing labs to rate new technology products for their cybersecurity.
Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu is quoted in the paper as saying that his company has "never received any instructions or requests from any government or their agencies" about any technology, data or policies. He added that the company has also never been asked by the Chinese government to provide "access to technology" or data.
Independent Testing Labs
Some observers have suggested that, in the wake of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about extensive telecommunication-based spying by that agency, concerns against Huawei may not have as much weight as they previously had. That thinking appears to be that, since the NSA has made a policy of technology-based snooping, why be suspicious of a company like Huawei, which just supplies technology?
Some cyber attacks on U.S. companies and governmental agencies have been identified as originating in China, and that government has demanded access to user information from foreign companies operating there, such as Google.
The concerns about China-based companies affect companies besides Huawei and ZTE. For instance, new reports indicate that China-based computer maker Lenovo is seriously considering making a bid to buy Canada-based smartphone maker BlackBerry. But one of BlackBerry's largest customers is the U.S. government, which might choose another vendor if Lenovo took over.
Posted: 2013-11-11 @ 6:55am PT
"That thinking appears to be that, since the NSA has made a policy of technology-based snooping, why be suspicious of a company like Huawei, which just supplies technology?"
That's not thinking, just plain stupid.