Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei – involved in a $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband project in New Zealand – is almost certainly a front for Chinese intelligence, a defence analyst claims.
That’s the collective view of the security community in the US, Britain and Australia, according to Auckland-based defence analyst Paul Buchanan, who says it would be prudent for Prime Minister John Key to listen to them.
Dr Buchanan worked for the US Department of Defence before imigrating to New Zealand.
Huawei has been blocked from bidding for the national broadband network in Australia. In the US it is blocked by Congress in 2008 from buying networking company 3Com, and in 2010 Congress blocked them from bidding on telecommunications gear for Sprint.
It is of some significant concern that Australia has blocked Huawei, seemingly on security grounds, but I think there is a whiff of paranoia that all Chinese companies are controlled by the Red Army or PRC Government.
Huawei is actually 100% privately owned by its employees, and has been around since 1987. It has 110,000 employees and US$28b in revenues so this is not some small fly by night operator. It works for 45 of the world’s top 50 telcos.
One of its partners is Symantec.
The blocking of it in the US doesn’t mean a lot because politicians in the US use security issues as a form of trade protectionism. It is concerning that Australia has blocked them, but to this day I am unaware that anyone has ever discovered that equipment supplied bu Huawei has some sort of secret backdoor built into it – if they did, that company would probably lose every customer within weeks.