updated 09:22 am EDT, Fri July 19, 2013
Statement from executive follows claims from ex CIA boss, UK government
Huawei has fought back against security risk accusations by authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Huawei vice president of external affairs William Plummer has said in a statement that it is time for those accusing the company of helping state-sponsored hackers in China to provide proof of their claims.
A statement by Plummer received by The Verge talks about how the accusations are a "flimsy bright and shiny object to distract attention from the very real compromising of global networks and information that has been exposed in recent weeks." He goes on to fight against the accusations, asking those with proof of a Huawei-related threat to "Put up. Or shut up," and that the claims without evidence are "politically-inspired and racist corporate defamation, nothing more."
Following on from earlier accusations and rebuttals, the former head of the CIA and NSA Michael Hayden yesterday claimed to the Australian Financial Review that he believed Huawei to be providing sensitive information to Chinese officials in his "professional judgment." Hayden said that intelligence agencies in the west held details relating to Huawei's activities, and accused it of sharing "with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with," at a minimum.
In a similar move, the British government told the BBC that it would be investigating the company's involvement at a cybersecurity center. A Parliament intelligence committee's concern over staff working at the center being employed by Huawei has forced other government agencies to look into staffing at the facility, with the Intelligence and Security Committee suggesting that it the center should instead be staffed by the GCHQ British intelligence agency.
Huawei responded in stating that it "shares the same goal as the UK government and the ISC in raising the standards of cybersecurity in the UK and ensuring that network technology benefits UK consumers." While it is lessening its involvement in the US, declaring in April that it was "not interested in the US market anymore," it continues to have a significant presence in the UK and Europe, as well as other countries around the world.
The founder and president of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, was forced to make a rare public appearance in May to refute earlier claims that Huawei was involved, but this has done little to stop the flow of accusations from commentators.