Huawei controversies timeline

America's accusatory tone against Huawei is nothing new - read on for our extensive list of controversies pinned to the company

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"Some other people argue that if Huawei equipment was used in those countries, US agencies would find it harder to get access to information of those people, or find it harder to intercept their mobile communications ... I believe in the wisdom of 7 billion people in the world, and I figure they clearly can see those different types of possibilities."

February - Huawei risk manageable according to British intelligence

According to the FT, an as-yet-unpublished report from the NCSC concludes that security threats from Huawei are manageable. This, added the FT, could well influence security policies across the rest of the EU.

February - Ren Zhengfei says US can't "crush" Huawei

In an interview with the BBC, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei hit out at the American criminal charges levied at the firm.

He said that there is "no way the US can crush us," adding that "the world cannot leave us because we are more advanced".

"Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit," he said.

February - Trump tweets about 5G and 'even 6G'

In a pair of tweets, the president of the USA, Donald Trump, said that he wants "5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible."

"It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind," he said.

According to Washington correspondent for CNBC Kayla Tausche, in the same month, Trump also signalled that he would be discussing the possibility for dropping the charges against Huawei as part of a trade deal.

Huawei's Guo Ping said at Mobile World Congress that Trump was right to be concerned about America lagging behind in 5G.

"I think his message is clear and correct," he said.

March - UK watchdog says Huawei poses 'long-term security risks'

The UK's Huawei oversight board has delivered a damning assessment of Huawei's security failings in its annual report on the Chinese tech giant.

The government-led board set up to vet the firm cited "serious and systematic defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security competence" that "significantly increased risk to UK operators."

It claimed that the company had made "no material progress" to address the issues previously reported and that "further significant technical issues have been identified in Huawei’s engineering processes".

The oversight body, which is funded by Huawei and chaired by the head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, stopped short of calling for a ban on using the company's equipment in the UK's 5G networks, but its findings will influence the government reviews of Huawei bids for 5G contracts.

Matthew Green, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, explained in a Twitter thread that other manufacturers probably have similar defects, those vendors don't face the same need to gain the government's trust.

April - CIA says it has 'proof' of Huawei-Chinese state link, according to anonymous Times leak

According to a leak in Britain's The Times newspaper, America's spy agency the CIA has warned that Huawei has received funding from Beijing's national security apparatus as well as the People's Liberation Army - however, the proof it said was offered to British officials has not yet been openly published anywhere.

The anonymous source told The Times that Huawei had additionally taken money from a third branch of Chinese state intelligence.

While not evidenced publicly, the claims can be seen as a tightening of the screws by American intelligence against one of its key allies in the Five Eyes network, the name given to a spying and surveillance agreement between the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Huawei has denied the claims. In a statement cited by the Times, a spokesperson said: "Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources."

April - British PM proceeds with Huawei's 'non-core' 5G infrastructure equipment

Britain's National Security Council, chaired by prime minister Theresa May, has decided to allow Huawei to provide some of the UK's 5G infrastructure, although it was described as "noncore" technologies such as antennas.

According to a report in The Telegraph, which broke the story, senior figures from the British government raised concerns about the agreement, including home secretary Sajid Javid, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, defence secretary Gavin Williamson, international trade secretary Liam Fox and international development secretary Penny Mordaunt.

Fears over cyber security will be discussed by the Five Eyes countries at a conference in Glasgow.

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said on the BBC's Today programme that differentiating between core and non-core technologies in a 5G network could prove difficult, and also tweeted that the decision could "cause allies to doubt our ability to keep data secure and erode the trust essential" to the Five Eyes grouping.

A spokesperson for Huawei commented that the company was "pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work" and that it will "continue to work cooperatively with the government".

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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