In particular, it is helping develop 5G networks with military applications in mind.
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With worries over cyberwar and digital snooping, just how possible is a Chinese cyber-attack enacted through consumer tech devices? Timothy Heath believes it is entirely plausible:. The Chinese state has the authority to demand tech companies like Huawei turn over useful information or provide access to the communications and technologies owned and sold by Huawei.
Chinese authorities can use this information and access to facilitate espionage or cyber attacks over Huawei communications technologies. Consumer tech devices like phones that rely on Huawei technologies will be easier for Chinese authorities to penetrate and exploit for these reasons.
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While US, UK and Australian governments block Huawei technology from official use, none of them have yet pointed towards a line of code or piece of hardware that shows genuine evidence of Chinese state snooping. But still, the concern remains that the Chinese government is intimately involved in the running of Huawei. Huawei employees during their morning exercises whilst on hardware training at Songshan Lake, Dongguan. According to a Huawei spokesperson speaking to Australian IT News , no government entity holds any of the shares.
Indeed, Chinese law requires that committees from the Communist Party exist within all Chinese businesses. According to the US Select Committee on Intelligence, these committees are the vehicles for the Party to exert influence and pressure on companies and monitor their performance. As a rule, they have less independence from the state, simply because, in China, everything is connected to the state.
In return, the Party keeps a close eye on companies to ensure they are pulling their weight and meeting their growth targets. With Huawei, this relationship goes even further. In return, the government gives these companies easier access to financing and preference in government contract bidding. Magnus also notes that the Chinese government directly sets these companies goals that need to be fulfilled. Here, too, tech companies have a part to play.
Credit: Studio Incendo. China relies on such companies in its efforts to develop a massive surveillance state and spy on potential threats in China and abroad.
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It is certainly true that there are aspects to the way Huawei operates and interacts with the Chinese government and the Party that western governments, businesses and everyday consumers might find concerning. Huawei continues to develop 5G communications for the Chinese military, as well as for civilian use. Of course, at a time of heightened trade tensions between the US and China, tech companies can be used as proxies in a war of words between governments.
And the suspicion goes both ways. Can Huawei compete with the likes of Apple? These products demonstrate a remarkable propensity for innovation and growth considering that less than forty years ago, Huawei was making telephone line switches for offices in regional China. But, once you begin to dig deeper, alarm bells begin to ring.
We reached out to Huawei spokespersons for comment on this article, but received no response.
We're sorry this article didn't help you today — we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at contact tech. Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech. Tom covers everything from cybersecurity, to social media and website builders when he's not reviewing the latest phones, gadgets, or occasionally even technology books. Home News. How Did Huawei Begin?
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