Are Huawei Smartphones Safe And SecureThis is one of the big questions in the gadget and tech industry today. Are Huawei phones safe? There have been a number of allegations levelled at the Chinese tech giant in recent months and the US has been putting pressure on other governments to reject deals with the company. It seems that the storm surrounding the company isn’t entirely down to the potential for devices and tech to be used to collect data or spy, and may be fuelled by the political motivation of countries who have an interest in Huawei failing in the west.
Most notably, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO was detained in December 2018, on the request of United States authorities. The conditions of her arrest themselves are vague and potentially politically motivated. On May 9th 2019, the US President himself said that her release could be negotiated if it would help with Chinese trade talks. This signals that Wanzhou’s arrest is being used as a tool in a greater political game, and discredits any evidence of Huawei’s alleged Chinese interests. It could be said that the US government is using Wanzhou’s imprisonment to gain leverage over China and Chinese business. Another factor to mention is that, although Meng Wanzhou is the CFO of Huawei in her own right, she is also the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei.
Are Huawei spying?
This is another area where accusations that Huawei are spying, and are part of a Chinese espionage plot falls apart. Huawei have no history of leaking, stealing, or selling data to political parties (Which is more than can be said for big american tech companies). Facebook, that big company we all trust, being the main one.
So where does the idea that Huawei can’t be trusted come from?
Well, no one really has an answer.
The United States Government can’t produce any evidence to suggest that the company is a threat. The justification seems to simply be that they are Chinese, and the Chinese government COULD take advantage of the Telecoms giant, maybe. This is a weak argument. In reality, Huawei has been providing telecoms solutions to the US for over a decade, without sending any sensitive information back to the Chinese government.
Yes, there are certain companies in China that are state owned and that the government has a hand in - but Huawei isn’t one of them. It has always been a private company under the direct control of Ren Zhengfei, but even Zhengfei seems to be an issue for Huawei’s Critics. Zhengfei joined the People’s Liberation Army in China (“joined” is the wrong word because it was required by law). Apparently this is enough to justify distrust.
However, he never held military rank and was never a member of the Comunist Party. He wasn’t a soldier, he was a scientist, an award winning technologist and went on to start a tech company.
There is such little evidence to suggest that Zhengfei (and Huawei) could be collaborating with the Chinese government. There is far more evidence to suggest that these accusations of security safety are fabricated by the US to protect their own tech infrastructure is much stronger.
Why would Huawei spy?
Why would Huawei risk a data breach or give data, recordings or information back to the Government? Would China gain more from shadowy espionage than operating a tech giant on the world stage?
The simple answer is no.
Of course, China are interested in the success of Huawei. It is a company that creates thousands of jobs in China and generates tax revenue from all over the world. Private Chinese companies aren’t shadowy organisations that are trying to dismantle the west, they’re just like any other companies, and China’s economy wouldn’t have grown to the size it is now without them.
The US government on the other hand, has a rich history of international espionage and data misuse, but iPhones are prolific. No one is concerned about Apple passing data back to the US government. You just buy your iPhone and get on with it… (There have even been cases where the US government have tried to get access to tech company data) Because of this evidence against the US, Huawei have responded to accusations stating that
What’s the real problem with Huawei?They’re a competitor. Huawei has a strong history of creating great quality tech devices and solutions that have been used all over the world since 1997. Espionage isn’t what makes Huawei dangerous to the western world, it’s the concept that they’re making better, cheaper phones that does. Governments don’t want Huawei muscling in on their territory with better solutions, when telecoms is such a backbone of many countries economy. And why would you want the Chinese Government spy on your citizens, when you’re doing a really good job of it yourself? (Come on, the US and UK are constantly criticised for mass surveillance. Just take a look at the most frequent players in these Global Surveillance programmes)
Another reason that the US have reason to quell Chinese companies on the world stage is the fact that the two nations are locked in a trade war. Each country keeps raising tariffs on the import of goods from the competing country. Holding Huawei to ransom and not allowing them to trade in the US essentially cuts them out of their largest potential market, whilst keeping American phones in the hands of Americans.
So, Are Huaweis Safe?
There is zero evidence to suggest that Huaweis are unsafe. All the evidence suggests that the fear of Huawei stems from the political implications that come with the US and China trade war. It is undeniable that the US is using Huawei as a pawn in a larger political game - Trump’s statements on the release of Wanzhou show that clearly. Huawei also have no history of data breaches or using data for suspect reasons, at the end of the day, they’re just another Chinese company that make good tech.
The question of safety is answered, you don’t have anything to worry about. The real question is do you want a phone that is so good that it is swallowing up market share and becoming so popular that it is threatening big tech companies across the world like Samsung and Apple, for a fraction of the price?