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Trump administration claims Huawei equipment has backdoor for spying

US officials have long argued that Huawei is duty-bound by Chinese law to spy on behalf of the country's ruling Communist Party

AP | PTI  |  Washington 

Donald trump
Donald Trump while giving the State of the union address.

The Chinese company can secretly tap into communications through the networking equipment it sells globally, a US official charged as the White House stepped up efforts to persuade allies to ban the gear from next-generation cellular networks.

The US national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, made the statement at an Atlantic Council forum on Tuesday evening after The Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying can access sensitive and personal information in systems it sells and maintains globally. O'Brien did not provide any evidence to support the claim.

US officials have long argued that is duty-bound by Chinese law to spy on behalf of the country's ruling Communist Party.

Huawei denies that claim and issued a statement Wednesday saying the company has never and will never covertly access telecom networks, nor do we have the capability to do so. The Trump administration has been lobbying for more than a year to persuade allies to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation cellular networks, known as 5G.

Britain and the European Union have declined to impose an outright ban, however. London has prohibited Huawei from supplying equipment used in the core of its 5G network but not the periphery. The EU last month unveiled security guidelines that, similar to measures already in place in Britain, are aimed at reducing cybersecurity risks.

Independent cybersecurity experts say the intelligence services of global powers including the United States routinely exploit vulnerabilities in networking equipment regardless of the manufacturer for espionage purposes.

The United States and other countries require that so-called lawful intercept capabilities be built into networks, though the equipment manufacturers are not supposed to have secret access to them.

Many analysts consider Washington's intense anti-Huawei lobbying efforts as much about seeking global technological dominance as deterring Chinese cyber-espionage, which is already rampant and equipment agnostic.

They also note that the has previously infiltrated Huawei equipment as well as network devices of other manufacturers as detailed in documents disclosed in 2013 by former contractor Edward Snowden.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 23:38 IST