Huawei responds to security concerns, rejects spying claims

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Telecoms manufacturer Huawei has rejected claims that its technology can be used to spy for the Chinese government and reaffirmed its commitment to security in an open letter sent to UK lawmakers.

The firm has been under pressure for some time after several countries placed restrictions on use of its hardware amidst concerns about its relationship with Beijing. While the UK has not yet imposed formal sanctions, this could change in the coming months when the government announces its next Supply Chain Review.

With several experts warning about the security implications of using Huawei hardware in the country's next generation of 5G mobile networks, the company has now sought to respond to questions asked of it by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

In an open letter to the committee's chairman Norman Lamb, president of Huawei's Carrier Business Group Ryan Ding highlighted the firm's "strong track record", noting that it has provided solutions to nearly 1,500 telecoms operators across 170 countries and has experienced no major security incidents.

"The governments in some countries have labelled us a security threat, but they have never substantiated these allegations with solid evidence," Mr Ding continued.

However, he did acknowledge there is some room for improvement to ensure security in its design process, and while it has pledged to invest $2 billion (£1.55 billion) over the next five years to address this, Mr Ding said it could take three to five years to see results.

He also suggested that restrictions placed on Huawei by several countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have been misconstrued and exaggerated by the media.

Mr Ding said: "Even in the US, existing legislation only restricts the use of federal funds to buy our networking hardware and services, there are no legislative restrictions on Huawei’s business activities."

Seeking to provide reassurances that the firm is not a security threat, the executive said the firm "has never and will never" use hardware, software or data in the UK or anywhere else in the world to help other countries gather intelligence.