updated 06:26 pm EDT, Wed October 24, 2012
Huawei says it's done a poor job of communicating
Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei has offered to open up access to the software powering its products in an effort to allay fears in the west that it is relaying information back to China. John Lord, chairman of Huawei's Australian arm, says that the company has been ineffective in communicating with regulators in the west, and that it must do a better job of that in the future. Lord has said that Huawei would be open to sharing its code in a controlled security environment in order to assure western legislators and companies that they have nothing to fear from its products.
Lord suggested setting up a national cyber-security center similar to one that exists in the United Kingdom. This center, as ABC News reports, would be an independent organization funded by telecommunications companies but operated by Australians with high security clearance. Such a unit would put all equipment produced overseas through a rigorous security testing regimen in order to ascertain its safety and appropriateness with regard to national security.
Should such a unit be developed, Huawei's Australian chairman said that the company would be willing to offer "complete and unrestricted access to our software source code and our equipment" for the satisfaction of regulators.
Huawei and another Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, have been under intense scrutiny in a number of western countries over fears that they are, in effect, spying for China through the products they sell. In the United States, congressional investigators have alleged that the companies' ties to the Chinese Communist Party amount to a national security threat. Meanwhile, regulators in the European Union have charged the two companies with receiving improper subsidies from the Chinese government, allowing them to dump products on foreign markets priced well below their competition.
Huawei has previously said that investigations in the United States would not impact its ability to do business overseas.