China’s Huawei Technology is willing to sign a “no-spy agreement” with the British government so that UK authorities and politicians can be assured of the company that its technology would not be allowed to be used for surveillance, said the company chairman.
Huawei had no intention of conducting surveillance on western consumers and that reports about Chinese laws that would force the company to adhere to the direction of Chinese intelligence agencies were blown out of proportions, said Liang Hua while speaking on a visit to London.
“We are willing to sign a no-spy agreement with the UK government,” the company’s chairman told reporters. “No spying, no back doors,” Liang added. This is the first time that such a commitment in public has been made by him.
The Chinese government had not asked the company to conduct any surveillance, said the Huawei senior executive, and added that there were “no laws requiring the companies to collect intelligence from foreign governments”.
There is a raging political controversy in the UK over whether or not to allow Huawei to participate in the roll out of and construction of the new 5G mobile technology in the country and it has alsobeen under pressure form its traditional ally the United States to ban the Chinese company over concerns of the company’s equipment being possibly used for spying on western countries by Chinese agencies.
It was reported last month that a broad decision had been taken by the UK’s National Security Council (NSC) to allow Huawei to participate in the 5G technology roll out but limit its activities and participation to the non-core areas of the new network. It was also reported citing source information in the the media that objections to this decision was raised by five cabinet minsters present at the NSC meeting. Days within days of the publication of the reports, UK Prime Minister Theresa May sacked the defence secretary Gavin Williamson over allegation of leaking information about the meeting to the press.
Liang said there was “some sense in that statement” when he was asked whether western concerns about the law were blown out of proportions. It was not possible to enforce the law into practice because because “there is no law that says if we refuse to enforce it [a request from Chinese intelligence agencies], it will be a crime”.
Earlier in the day, another executive of Huawei had commented that the company founder would “shut the company down” if China’s communist regime asked him to conduct surveillance on mobile phone calls for Chinese agencies. That statement was supported by the Huawei chairman.
The Chinese government had never asked the Huawei to undertake any form of surveillance or spying activities despite the intelligence law, said Tim Watkins, the company’s vice-president for western Europe. He insisted that Huawei would never conceded to any such demands.
“Our founder, Mr Ren [Zhengfei], has made it clear that he has never been asked to hand over any customer data or information, and he has made it clear that if asked he would refuse and if it was attempted to be enforced he would shut the company down,” Watkins said.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)