US Government officials have been baiting the line of deceit for Huawei once again, this time half-accusing the vendor of maintaining backdoor entry to networks through its equipment.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the officials have suggested Huawei has access to backdoors built into communications infrastructure equipment which were intended for law enforcement agencies. It is not entirely clear how these backdoors have been built, how they have remained secret for so long, or why Huawei is the only company which can access them, but this is apparently the evidence the US has been hinting at for so long.
While it might sound like a ludicrous idea, the US Government knows it is possible to build backdoors into communications infrastructure equipment because it has done so frequently in the past. In 2013, Edward Snowden came forward with evidence to prove the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was spying on national and international citizens with zero accountability via products made by Cisco and Juniper Networks.
What is not entirely clear from the statements made from the US officials is whether Huawei is actually doing anything about it. The officials have told the WSJ that there are backdoors, and Huawei is aware of them, however, there is no assertion that any nefarious behaviour has been undertaken.
Huawei is yet to make comment on the matter for the moment, though the question remains whether it actually has to do so just yet. The US has been making these accusations for some time, and this might just be another twist on the argument. Until evidence of the backdoor is verified, or that Huawei actually spied on anyone at the behest of the Chinese Government, this is little more than another wave of US propaganda.
Although these claims are more specific than others which have been made in the past, it will be interesting to see whether it is validated by anyone else. European Governments have asked the US to present them with a smoking gun if they were to consider banning Huawei, and it has not done so yet. Presumably the US officials have approached counterparts in allied nations to coincide with this PR campaign through the WSJ, otherwise the credibility falls straight to the floor.
This might be one of the strongest accusations made by the US to date, but if European Governments are not taking action it is either because (a) the US officials have not presented this evidence to them, or (b) the evidence is not deemed sufficient to make a decision on banning the vendor. The coming days and weeks will fill in some of the blanks, but if no action is taken by European Governments, this should be chalked up as nothing more than a PR campaign to turn the tides of public opinion.
The US Government might be losing the battle to turn public opinion in Europe against Huawei, but that is because it has not yet presented anything aside from rhetoric and suspicion. And it is easy to understand why the US Government is so suspicious and worried over espionage from the Chinese Government, given its own rich history in the matter.