Huawei under fire after new eavesdropping allegations

Huawei logo
Huawei logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A new report claims that Huawei had the ability to eavesdrop on all numbers in the Dutch KPN network.
  • This discovery was made as part of risk assessment by KPN in 2010.
  • A Huawei spokesperson said, "Huawei has at all times worked under the explicit authorisation of KPN."

Huawei has been accused of using its position as a telecoms component supplier to eavesdrop on all conversations taking place over the KPN Network, as reported this weekend by the Dutch de Volkskrant. The findings date from a 2010 risk assessment report commissioned by KPN. The company later refused to share these findings for unclear reasons.

Courtesy of The Telegraph:

The report, which was obtained by Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, suggested that publishing these findings could severely damage KPN's reputation. The operator had 6.5m subscribers at the time.The report said: "The continued existence of KPN Mobile is in serious danger because permits may be revoked or the government and businesses may give up their confidence in KPN if it becomes known that the Chinese government can eavesdrop on KPN mobile numbers and shut down the network."

The report is likely to have given ammunition to Huawei's geopolitical critics and made it less likely that bans on the company's equipment in countries like the UK will be eased.

The UK's Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former conservative leader who had previously campaigned for a sped-up timetable with regard to the removal of Huawei equipment from the country, shared his reaction with the Sydney Morning Herald, saying:

The Dutch report on Huawei's capability to intercept telecommunications even up to the highest level is appalling.This admission makes a mockery of the UK government's argument at the end of 2019 that they could control Huawei if they were embedded in the UK's 5G system.The campaign that many including myself mounted to get rid of this Chinese-government-controlled company from our systems has now been fully vindicated by this report.

Huawei continues to deny any accusations of wrongdoing. A Huawei spokesperson said:

Huawei employees have not had unauthorised access to KPN's network and data, nor have they extracted data from that network. Huawei has at all times worked under the explicit authorisation of KPN.

Aside from the UK, Huawei equipment has also been banned from Sweden.

Michael Allison