Huawei Caught Spying On Politicians
Huawei Technologies who is still trying to convince the Australian Government that they can be trusted after being banned from supplying carriers because of spying concerns has been exposed spying for African political leaders.
Huawei dominates in African markets, where it has sold security tools that governments use for digital surveillance and censorship. Now former employees of the Chinese Company have revealed, according to the Wall Street Journal, that the Chinese Company personally helped African governments spy on their political opponents, including intercepting their encrypted communications and social media, and using cell data to track their whereabouts.
In Kampala, Uganda, last year, a group of six intelligence officers struggled to contain a threat to the 33-year regime of President Yoweri Museveni.
His opponent, a pop star turned political sensation, Bobi Wine, had returned from Washington with U.S. backing for his opposition movement, and Uganda’s cyber-surveillance unit had strict orders to intercept his encrypted communications.
According to Huawei officials, an intelligence team, based on the third floor of the capital’s police headquarters, spent days trying to penetrate Mr. Wine’s WhatsApp and Skype communications using spyware developed by an Israeli company, but failed.
Then they asked for help from Huawei, Uganda’s top digital supplier.
“The Huawei technicians worked for two days and helped us puncture through,” said one senior officer at the surveillance unit.
The Huawei engineers, identified by name in internal police documents reviewed by the Journal, used the Israeli-made spyware to penetrate Mr. Wine’s WhatsApp chat group, named Firebase crew after his band.
The Journal’s investigation included classified police documents and parliamentary committee documents, and interviews with more than a dozen senior security officials working with Huawei in African countries, and with diplomats, cyber-defence officials and opposition activists who say they have had their communications compromised.
Uganda’s government confirmed Huawei technicians were working with its police and intelligence agencies to bolster national security but declined to comment on the allegations of intercepting communications.