Chinese Tech Giant Huawei Gives Source Code To Australia
October 24, 2012

Chinese Tech Giant Huawei Gives Source Code To Australia

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

On Wednesday Chinese technology giant Huawei offered the Australian government unrestricted access to its source code and even hardware equipment. This wasn´t an effort to outdo the competition while looking for a government contract, but rather as an effort to dispel any lingering security fears after the Chinese company was accused of spying for the Chinese government.

Huawei is the second largest supplier of routers, switches and other telecom equipment by revenue in the world after Sweden´s Ericsson, but one area of concern has been that there remains little public information about its global operations.

This company was one of two Chinese-based firms, along with ZTE, that the United States House Intelligence Committee had recommended earlier this month to avoid.

Huawei responded that such accusations were baseless and in a statement said that the company, “has a well-demonstrated track record of responsibly adhering to local laws and regulations in the markets in which it does business.”

Now just over a week after the accusation was made, a source who claimed to be close to the matter reportedly told Reuters that the White House found “no evidence” that Huawei was in fact engaged in any espionage.

In what is widely seen as an effort to continue to clean its name, John Lord, chairman of Huawei Australia, stated, “Huawei is willing to offer complete and unrestricted access to our software source code and our equipment in such an environment.”

This “environment” reportedly refers to the transparent framework that foreign vendors can be subjected to security testing procedures, and the company noted that this system would allow products made overseas to be independently evaluated. The United Kingdom is one example of a country that has a system of such in place.

However, this is unlikely to change matters in the United States, where the Congressional Intelligence Committee has declared that any efforts would fall short of addressing underlying security concerns, especially given the scale of the U.S. telecoms market. As such the committee has called for Huawei and ZTE to be in essence locked out of the market.

The report followed the Australian government´s announcement earlier this year that it barred the Chinese telecom supplier from participating in its $38billion high-speed broadband network. The actions of Australia and the United States have now prompted Canada and Britain to look deeper into these issues.

The suspicions of Huawei are rooted in the fact that its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former People´s Liberation Army officer. “Officially” Huawei is an employee-owned and unlisted company, which denies any links with the Chinese military and has long stated that it is a purely commercial enterprise, the fact that it runs its operation in the People´s Republic of China, the world´s largest communist power, has been a basis of concern.

The company has made efforts to distance itself from those concerns, which included bringing in Lord to run the Australian operations, which was formed in 2004. He is one of several figures hired by Huawai in Western markets to reassure foreign governments.

Despite these efforts Huawei and ZTE came under fire when the House Intelligence Committee released its 52-page report, which noted that the two Chinese giants did not fully address their concerns.

“Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities,” the report stated. “Neither company provided specific details about the precise role of each company's Chinese Communist Party Committee.”

The White House has since released a subsequent report that appeared to refute the committee´s fears.