Developing countries sign Huawei deal despite US spy warnings

Huawei’s U.S. intelligence warnings have failed to dissuade governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America from hiring the Chinese tech group for cloud infrastructure and e-government services, a study has found.

The Washington-based think-tank CSIS report seen in the Financial Times identifies 70 agreements in 41 countries between Huawei and governments or state-owned businesses for services from 2006 to April this year. year.

Cloud infrastructure typically aims to deploy data centers, while e-government is primarily involved in automating administrative functions such as licensing, health care, legal records and other government processes.

“Huawei’s cloud infrastructure and e-government services manage sensitive data on citizens’ health, tax, and legal records, ”the study concluded.

“As Huawei carves out a niche as a provider to state -owned governments and businesses, it creates a strategic position to provide Chinese authorities with vital intelligence and even force use , “added the study.

Most of the countries involved in such an agreement with Huawei are in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America, and 77 percent of them fall into the categories of “not free” or “partly free”, as valued by Freedom House, a The democracy watchdog group funded by the United States government.

“With the surge in deals announced since 2018, including numerous announcements during 2020, it is clear that warnings against Huawei’s security risks will not convince decision-makers of the emerging countries, ”the CSIS report, written by Jonathan Hillman and Maesea McCalpin, said.

“As a cloud infrastructure and service provider, Huawei does not own or control any customer data,” Huawei said in a statement.

“All customer data is owned and fully controlled by our customers.”

“Cyber ​​security and the protection of user privacy remain top priorities at Huawei,” the company added.

The US has always accused Huawei of spying for the Chinese government, sometimes by taking advantage of telecoms as the “back door” of its equipment. Washington has also put Huawei and most of its partners in a “entity list“, Which prevents the sale of critical technologies such as the company’s semiconductors.

China has consistently dismissed these baseless accusations and accused the U.S. of an “abuse of national power” in imposing sanctions against Huawei. The Chinese champion, which is the largest maker of telecommunication equipment in the world, must cut making the smartphone due to lack of supply.

The CSIS report cites several examples of security vulnerabilities related to Huawei cloud infrastructure and e-government services. A 65-page report funded by the Australian government found a data center built by Huawei for Papua New Guinea glaring errors that could have been the health of the hacks.

Huawei also won a contract to install communications equipment inside the Union Union headquarters in Addis Ababa in 2012. Africa Union officials followed. accused China to hack into building computer systems every night for five years and download confidential data.

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