Over the weekend it was revealed through classified documents that the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei. According to documents provided by whistler-blower Edward Snowden, it was revealed that the NSA stealthily infiltrated the servers in Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China in 2010. Huawei has operations across the globe – including Africa, and recently overtook Ericsson to become the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world.
In one of the documents, the NSA details their plans- “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products. We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products to gain access to networks of interest,” the document said.
The New York Times, which broke the story, added that the NSA was hoping to find a connection between the technology manufacturer and China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“One of the goals of the operation, code-named “Shotgiant,” was to find any links between Huawei and the People’s Liberation Army, one 2010 document made clear. But the plans went further: to exploit Huawei’s technology so that when the company sold equipment to other countries — including both allies and nations that avoid buying American products — the N.S.A. could roam through their computer and telephone networks,” the New York Times writes.
Huawei is still to officially comment on the leaked documents, but William Plummer, a senior Huawei executive in the US, commented to New York Times that Huawei had no reason to believe they were the target of spying.
“The irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us. If such espionage has been truly conducted, then it is known that the company is independent and has no unusual ties to any government, and that knowledge should be relayed publicly to put an end to an era of mis- and disinformation.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor