According to a recent WSJ (opens in new tab)report, the U.S. government has claimed it has proof (it hasn’t made it public yet) that Huawei has backdoor access to U.S. telecommunications companies’ networks. The twist is that this backdoor was actually created for the U.S. law enforcement to spy on various U.S. suspects. This doesn't help the U.S. government’s recent arguments (opens in new tab) that encryption backdoors can be made secure and with only trustworthy people accessing them.
The U.S. government claimed for years (opens in new tab) that Huawei has access to backdoors in U.S. telecom equipment but has never shown any proof, leading some to question if concern was just being used as leverage in U.S.-China trade disputes. However, according to U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, there is hard proof.
"We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world," he told WSJ.
Huawei Denies Allegations
Perhaps to no one’s surprise, Huawei has denied the allegations that it has used the backdoors the U.S. government asked it to create for its own purposes or for espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
"No Huawei employee is allowed to access the network without an explicit approval from the network operator," the company said in a statement sent to WSJ.
Historically, Huawei has denied such allegations, even at times where there was at least some public proof (opens in new tab) that it delayed fixing security issues with its hardware.
A Threat by the Feds' Own Design
Where's the Evidence Already?
The U.S. government has only shared whatever evidence it claims to have with UK and Germany last year, WSJ reported , but for some reason, those two countries are also among those looking to buy Huawei’s networking equipment (opens in new tab).
Meanwhile, we look forward to the U.S. government making whatever evidence it says it has public. If the WSJ report proves true, new evidence could kill any future attempt to implement backdoors in U.S. communications systems. The feds may be forced to decide if it cares more about national security or having a backdoor through which it can access citizens' communications.