What/Who is Huawei and why are (most) countries worried about them? To start, they are a HUGE manufacturer of technology components, (reportedly) capable of “invading” the industry globally. The problem is, they are based in China whose government has relationships with the rest of the world on shaky ground these days.
Morning Brew, my newest addiction, has listed five (potential) reasons (from the MIT Technology Review) in today’s edition:
Kill switches: Huawei builds networks carrying data for power grids, financial markets, etc. And some fear the Chinese government could sneak “back doors” into Huawei’s gear with the ability to weaken or disable networks in foreign countries if a crisis occurred.
Data snooping: Chinese spies could theoretically gain access to Huawei’s networks undetected to extract sensitive info from people and businesses. Another possible avenue for espionage? Smartphones—Huawei’s one of the top manufacturers in the world.
The 5G rollout: The next generation of wireless networks is arriving fast…and the last thing the U.S. wants is for Huawei to connect the world with 5G. As the authors note, “This will dramatically expand the number of connected devices—and the chaos that can be caused if the networks supporting them are hacked.”
Defying U.S. trade rules: Huawei’s CFO is accused of tricking American banks into doing business with Iran, which would be a violation of U.S. sanctions. More of that activity could happen.
Chinese government influence: The U.S. and allies suspect Huawei’s execs are cozy with the Chinese government, which is the reason they’ve taken such a hard stance.
Making headlines around the world last week, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who just happens to be the daughter of founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada for reason #4 above. After all, Canada is one of USA’s allies, and is (should be) equally concerned for the same list of reasons.