Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. says that Congress has denied the company fair treatment by deciding Huawei is "a pawn of the Chinese government" and treating Huawei as a hostile threat, which is different from the due process of law other Chinese companies get in the US.
Huawei files lawsuit due to denied sales
The Shenzhen-based manufacturer filed a lawsuit on Wednesday before a Texas federal judge in response to the congressional expansion of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed last year, that forces government officials to not purchase Huawei products (including telecom routers, for example, or mobile devices such as smartphones). Congressional expansion of the law has yielded section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, and Huawei says it is section 889 that has defamed Huawei's reputation as a political enemy of the US, closed existing contracts that American companies had with Huawei, and forces Huawei to hurt financially in the process.
Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act prohibits government purchases of video surveillance and certain types of telecommunications equipment. It's likely that telecom routers would also be prohibited too.
Additionally, Huawei is also hurt behind US claims that the company is controlled by the Beijing Government there (which is Communist) and is guilty of internet espionage.
Why Huawei shouldn't sell product or service in the US
Software vulnerabilities and loopholes remain unfixed
Huawei says it's being denied the right to sell its products and services in the US in unfair treatment, but that isn't the case. Huawei's devices have been found to have numerous software vulnerabilities. A report from Finite State says that there are "potential backdoors" in 55% of Huawei devices, and a security report from the Huawei-backed Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre said earlier this year that Huawei has yet to fix vulnerabilities it has known about for over a year. A company that won't fix its software vulnerabilities and security issues yet wants to sell its products in the US cares more about the bottom line (profit) rather than giving its clients a quality experience.
Huawei's closed-source telecom software
Next, there is suspicion regarding Huawei's telecom software. The company refuses to open-source its telecom software, claiming that it won't be able to innovate as much if everyone has access to its software for free. A new report out says that Huawei should open-source its software to remove suspicions regarding its software in general. Huawei's new HarmonyOS is open-source "to encourage adoption," Huawei says in its press release, but Huawei needs to open-source all its software. With all the software vulnerabilities mentioned above, Huawei needs all its software open-source so that vulnerabilities can be found and it can fix them.
When a company refuses to fix its software vulnerabilities that can put user data and the devices themselves at risk, that company is showing its true colors. Believe them.
Doesn't respect the Trump Ban or US Law
Huawei's problems go beyond is software vulnerabilities. The company has had what some would call an "unhealthy" ambition to sell phones in the US. Huawei even partnered with Google on the Nexus 6P because Google promised it would secure Huawei a place among US carriers (the Nexus 6P would sell with all four, Huawei was told). The Nexus 6P sales were disappointing to say the least, but that didn't quench Huawei's thirst for the US market.
The company tried again some months ago to get its phones secured with AT&T and Verizon, the two top national carriers, to sell them in the US. To their dismay, Congress got to the two carriers and told them to remove Huawei phones from carrier shelves and back down from the deal. And so, Huawei's phones were again denied admission into the US.
So Huawei decided to go for plan "C" — that is, "criminal." Having been denied admission into the US phone market, Huawei decided it was time to try a more criminal plan. US authorities uncovered a plan last month that said Huawei was anticipating illegal sales in the US by shipping their phones to Mexico, getting them "painted" so as to disguise the "HUAWEI" branding, then shipping them to the US for sale.
This smartphone smuggling plan might seem like a bright idea to Huawei, but it's a criminal act expected of criminals. Huawei wants to be given due process of law in the US, but how can the company go to court and claim it's being denied its rights when, on the other end, Huawei disobeys the law and shows little respect for it? How can you claim rights under a law when you don't even respect the law you're claiming rights under? Such utter disregard for the Trump Ban shows that Huawei doesn't want to take "no" for an answer.
When a company cannot take "no" for an answer and has to try to circumvent the law to get what it wants, the company in question is a threat to the society in which it is trying to sell. If Huawei will deny the Trump Ban in this way, who can think it farfetched that the company would spy on American citizens? If it disrespects the law in one way, who's to say it won't disrespect it in additional ways?
Digital surveillance in African Governments
A new reason has surfaced that provides good evidence for why the government is banning government purchases of Huawei products and services: Huawei's digital surveillance operations in the African governments of Uganda and Zambia.
The Wall Street Journal article posted this week regarding Huawei's Africa operations is troubling, alarming, and even frightening. The same Huawei that cannot fix its software loopholes (or claims ignorance in doing so) is the same Huawei whose technicians were able to crack open encrypted messages in WhatsApp for political opponents on behalf of an African government in just two days. This same Huawei has set up over 700 "safe cities" that feature digital surveillance tools to keep down the political opposition. Huawei is able to discover the plans of political enemies of African governments and comply with authorities to put a stop to protests and arrest protest leaders.
And Huawei isn't just doing this for money, either. It's doing this to put its Chinese-state surveillance stamp across the globe. Whenever Huawei does business with African governments, "Chinese government officials" are always going with Huawei employees, the WSJ says. Chinese government officials are present at business talks, Huawei executive meetings, and are even giving tours of the Chinese state surveillance model to African governments. Huawei affixes its logo to the wall of the Uganda police headquarters as it does to technological research published in partnership with the Chinese military.
The "safe cities" of digital surveillance are Huawei's indirect way of conducting espionage for the Chinese State. If Huawei sets up the safe cities, Huawei knows how to monitor them all the time. With all the reports of information that says that Huawei has actually imported user data back to China, don't think it's doing anything different with Uganda and Zambia.
Huawei is another Chinese company, but its differential treatment is justified
Huawei says that it is treated differently from other Chinese companies, but it is because of its criminal activities. The US, as I've said many times before, is not opposed to Chinese OEMs competing in the free market here in the States. OnePlus, Xiaomi, and others can come here and earnestly contend for consumer dollars if they comply with US Law. Americans believe in fair competition, which is the reason why Samsung, for example, is a bigger seller in the US market than say, Google, and why Samsung competes with Apple every year in the US market.
The issue with Huawei is that it is the one Chinese manufacturer beloved by the Chinese state, that receives government subsidies, who has a name that means "the advancement of China" (Huawei). Huawei is the one company whose employees are largely ex-military or former members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei, worked in telecommunications while in the PLA. Huawei publishes technological papers with the Chinese military, affixing the Huawei logo to them as some form of authentication. Chinese government officials go to every place that Huawei does, even to Uganda and Zambia to see the work of Huawei going on there. And Huawei's clients, particularly the Uganda police team, travel back to Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen for training.
Huawei wants to be treated like every other Chinese company, but doesn't act like every other Chinese company. That's the problem. Huawei isn't being denied its rights to sell here, but the company's espionage acts prove dangerous to a country that believes in free speech, truly privately-owned businesses, and some measure of freedom where the government doesn't control everything said and done. To let them into America's 5G networks, to purchase Huawei's telecom gear that we know is designed for espionage, is no different than a homeowner giving a thief the key to his or her house and saying, "Come on in, I'll show you where the money is."
It's technological takeover at its finest, the new form of imperial expansion in the twenty-first century digital age.