Over the past two years, Huawei has been billed as a potential threat to national security by agencies in the United States and United Kingdom. It has seen the Chinese firm being placed on an entity list by the US government and consequently impacted the company’s ability to do business across the globe. While Huawei has long denied any infringement, this latest report by The Guardian does little to dispel those rumours.
This as the firm has been accused of monitoring calls of customers belonging to Dutch network KPN.
The monitoring calls claim is being made by Capgemini consultancy firm on behalf of KPN and dates back to 2010, where as many as 6.5 million users are said to have been listened to without their knowledge or consent.
“Conversations that Huawei staff in the Netherlands and China could have monitored included calls made by the then prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, and Chinese dissidents, the report claimed,” writes the Guardian’s Jon Henley.
In a statement issued earlier this week, KPN says that it, “never observed that Huawei took client information,” adding that none of the network’s suppliers had, “unauthorised, uncontrolled or unlimited access to our networks and systems.”
Naturally Huawei fired back and maintains the same position it has whenever any security concerns about the company’s tech or affiliation to the Chinese government have been raised. “We have never been accused by government bodies of acting in an unauthorised way,” it said in a statement to the British publication.
“KPN started using Huawei technology in 2009 and commissioned the report after the Dutch domestic intelligence service, AIVD, warned of possible espionage. The report also found Huawei could access numbers being tapped by Dutch security services,” adds Henley.
These recent accusations of monitoring calls also place the future of KPN at risk as the integrity of its operations are now being questioned. As suhc it will be interesting to see whether KPN will still be allowed to operate should these claims turn out to be true. If that is the case, Huawei’s operations in Europe, which is a key territory in terms of 5G rollout, are also in jeopardy.
With the US recently announcing the removal of fellow Chinese company Xiaomi from a blacklist, it looks like Huawei is far from reaching a similar outcome.