Huawei fends off more spying claims and faces UK security review

Huawei continues to face pressure over security issues from both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Asia, as the Chinese vendor was forced to fend off more assertions that it had spied for China and faces an inquiry into its UK cyber centre by the British government.

According to various media reports, Huawei has strongly denied reported remarks by Michael Hayden, a former head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, that it is likely to have spied for the Chinese government.

In an interview published on Thursday, the retired four-star general told The Australian Financial Review it was his "professional judgment" that Huawei supplied sensitive intelligence to Chinese officials.

In a statement sent to Dow Jones Newswires, Huawei said it challenged the individuals and organisations that make these accusations to present the evidence publicly.

"These tired, unsubstantiated defamatory remarks are sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage--industrial and otherwise--that demand serious discussion globally," Scott Sykes, Huawei's head of international media affairs, told Dow Jones Newswires.

William Plummer, vice president of external affairs at Huawei, gave a blunter response: "Someone says they got some proof of some sort of threat? OK," Plummer, told The Verge. "Then put up. Or shut up."

In October, a U.S. congressional report recommended that U.S. carriers avoid using Huawei's equipment, saying it could be used by Beijing to spy on Americans. As a result, Huawei is effectively shut out of the U.S. telecom market for network equipment, Dow Jones Newswires noted.

The reports come as Huawei continues to deal with security questions in the UK, which is a key market for its mobile broadband equipment, along with Europe. The government said Britain will review security at a cyber centre in southern England run by Huawei to ensure that the British telecommunications network is protected, Reuters reported.

Huawei said it supported the government review of its security centre. "Huawei shares the same goal as the UK government and the ISC (Intelligence and Security Committee of parliament) in raising the standards of cyber security in the UK," it said in a statement. "Huawei is open to new ideas and ways of working to improve cyber security."

For more:
- see this Australian Financial Review article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (via Total Telecom)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this The Verge article

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