Chronology: what's going on with Huawei?


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The Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, has recently been under intense international scrutiny.

Several countries raised concerns about safety regarding their products. Germany has envisioned this week blocking its next-generation mobile network.

The company is also accused of stealing trade secrets in the United States and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is under house arrest in Canada.

What are countries worried about?

It is feared that China uses Huawei as a proxy in order to spy on rival countries and collect useful information. Huawei said it was independent and gave nothing to the country's government, apart from the corresponding taxes.

Critics are wondering how a big Chinese company can be freed from Beijing's influence. They point out that its founder, Renee Media, Ren Zhengfei, was a former army engineer from the country and joined the Communist Party in 1978.

Huawei is keen to present itself as a private company owned by its employees, with no connection to the Chinese government, if it is that of a law-abiding taxpayer.

Chronology of ups and downs

October 2012: US Congressional panel warns Huawei and rival ZTE pose security threat following investigation

July 2013: The company denies the claims of a former CIA chief who claimed to have spied for the Chinese government

October 2014: The company said that a ban on bidding for US government contracts was "not very important"

July 19, 2018: A UK government report says it's "only limited in assurance" that Huawei's mobile and broadband infrastructure equipment poses no threat to national security

July 30th: Huawei overtakes Apple to become the world's second largest maker of smartphones, market analysts say

August 23: Australia says Huawei and rival ZTE will be banned from next-generation 5G network, citing fears for safety

November 28th: New Zealand excludes Huawei from its 5G network

1st December: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou Arrested in Vancouver, Canada

December 7: At a hearing, it was revealed that Ms. Wanzhou was being sought in the United States for fraud and alleged violation of sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States.

December 24th: BT confirms that Huawei equipment is being removed from the heart of a communication system under development for British emergency services

January 4, 2019: Two Huawei employees are punished for posting a New Year's message on the company's Twitter account with the help of an iPhone

January 12th: Huawei fired an employee suspected of espionage who had been arrested in Poland. The company said Wang Weijing acted on his own

January 15th: In a rare interview, Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, denies that the Chinese authorities have ever asked his company to help spy on his clients.

January 16th: The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States is investigating Huawei for "stealing trade secrets" from US trading partners.

January 17: The University of Oxford confirms that it has suspended Huawei's new donations and sponsorships

How is Huawei independent?

Huawei can claim to be one of the biggest spenders in research and development. It invested more than $ 13.2 billion (£ 10.2 billion) in 2017 and said it would be even higher in 2018.

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Huawei is now the second largest smartphone maker after Samsung

Critics fear that the Chinese government could order the company to change its devices to be able to hack attacks, listen to indiscreet conversations or get high-level access to sensitive networks.

One wonders whether China would allow a technology firm deeply rooted in the infrastructure of rival nations to remain independent. Huawei is now the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.

Which countries have taken action?

  • In November 2018, New Zealand banned Huawei from providing a 5G network to a local mobile network
  • the WE and Australia had already closed the door on Huawei's participation in their next-generation mobile networks
  • Canada conducts a safety review of Huawei's products
  • United Kingdom The BT service provider removes the Huawei kit from the heart of its 5G network and infrastructure to be used by emergency services
  • December 7, the From the EU Technology Commissioner Andrus Ansip says countries "need to be worried" about Chinese manufacturers
  • The Ministry of the Interior of Germany says that it opposes the banning of any provider of its 5G networks, but it is now thought that the country is reconsidering its decision
  • The United Kingdom has not banned the use of Huawei equipment. However, the company's products are regularly subject to security testing by the British intelligence agency GCHQ.

    The cooperation agreement between the UK and Huawei includes a facility dubbed the Banbury Cell in Oxfordshire. There, the staff employed by Huawei but responding to the GCHQ is looking for security flaws in the company's products.

    The latest report produced by GCHQ indicated "failures" in the products, which meant that it could only give "limited assurance" that the company was not threatening.

    Huawei has previously accepted a series of technical requests from GCHQ that would strengthen its products against attackers.

    Why was a Huawei leader arrested?

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    Ms. Meng may be extradited to the United States for fraud

    Ms. Meng was arrested while she was making a connection between two flights in Vancouver, although her detention was only revealed by the Canadian authorities four days later, the day she first appeared in court. .

    The details of the charges were also not revealed at that time, after a Canadian judge granted him a publication ban.

    At a bail hearing before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a Canadian government lawyer said that Ms. Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to escape the sanctions imposed on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

    The court heard that she publicly presented an image of Skycom as a separate corporation.

    China has requested the release of Ms. Meng, insisting that she has not violated any laws.

    In a statement, Huawei said it was unaware of Ms. Meng's wrongdoing, adding, "The company believes that the Canadian and US legal systems will come to a fair conclusion.

    "Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations, including applicable export control laws and regulations and United Nations, United States and EU sanctions."