Theft Dubious Ethics Welcome To Huawei’s New World
As Australians move to flog their Huawei smartphones due to security concerns and the fact that Google has pulled the plug on future Android updates for the devices, the Chinese Company is bleating that they are not a security concern despite evidence to the contrary.
The Wall Street Journal has exposed several incidents involving Huawei personnel and their collection of information and trade secrets.
In Australia the Chinese Company has moved to splashing the cash taking journalists along with their spouses to Paris, London and other far off Cities in the hope that they get favourable reviews for their smartphones that consumers around the world are trying to sell just to get away from the brand.
They WSJ recently reported that on a summer evening in 2004, as the Supercomm tech conference in Chicago wound down, a middle-aged Chinese visitor began wending his way through the nearly abandoned booths, popping open million-dollar networking equipment to photograph the circuit boards inside, according to people who were there.
A security guard stopped him and confiscated memory sticks with the photos, a notebook with diagrams and data belonging to US carrier AT&T , and a list of six companies including Fujitsu Network Communications, and Nortel Networks.
The man identified himself to conference staff as Zhu Yibin, an engineer.
The word on his lanyard read “Weihua”—an accidental scramble, he said, of his employer’s name: Huawei Technologies.
While he didn’t come across as somebody who was scheming to do something wrong, he was clever enough to put on that persona said people at the time.
The Chinese Company who has openly lied to ChannelNews in the past has been dogged by allegations that its gains came on the back of copying and theft.
Even at a consumer level in Australia the Company has openly tried to mislead media with false claims
At a recent press conference in Sydney for their all new Huawei P30 the Company presented two slides that they claimed represented the quality of their camera. One was shot by an old Apple phone and the other appeared to have been doctored with journalists who were present during the shoot claiming the “earth was not that red”.
The WSJ identified 10 cases that are in U.S. federal courts, and dozens of interviews with U.S. officials, former employees, competitors, and collaborators suggest Huawei had a corporate culture that blurred the boundary between competitive achievement and ethically dubious methods of pursuing it.
Huawei’s accusers describe a wide-ranging, brazen, and opportunistic appetite: the targets of the alleged thefts range from long time tech peers, including Cisco Technology, and T-Mobile, to a musician in Seattle barely making minimum wage in his day job.
In one case, a relative of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei who worked at Motorola is alleged to have brought secret details of the U.S. company’s technology to a meeting in Beijing.
Another suit alleges complicity by Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu in secrets theft.
The problems for Huawei exploded last week when the US Trump administration said “enough is enough” and banned US companies from dealing with Huawei.
The administrations belief and that of the Australian Federal government is that Huawei, like all Chinese companies, has no choice but to abide by orders from Beijing––and that its standing as the No. 1 global telecoms player makes it a powerful tool for China’s ruling Communist Party, which U.S. officials believe has grown increasingly authoritarian in recent years.
Alarm bells included the discovery in 2012 of secure rooms impenetrable to electronic eavesdropping built in Huawei’s U.S. offices, akin to facilities in intelligence stations around the world, American security officials say.
In several Countries Huawei has settled several civil cases without admitting fault, and is contesting others.
The diversity of the allegations span Huawei’s business, from the science behind 5G signals to the music in Huawei’s smartphones, from the text in user manuals to technology that supports artificial-intelligence applications.
“They spent all their resources stealing technology,” said Robert Read, a former contract engineer from 2002 to 2003 in Huawei’s Sweden office.
“You’d steal a motherboard and bring it back and they’d reverse-engineer it.”
Another case outlined by the WSJ was that of Rui Oliveira, a 45-year-old Portuguese multimedia producer, he told Journal reporters that he flew to Huawei’s Plano offices in May 2014 to meet Huawei executives, who were interested in his patents for a camera attachment to smartphones.
In a conference room, surrounded by a dozen empty chairs, Mr. Oliveira recalls, two Huawei executives listened as he shared data on his product which he hoped to license manufacturing to Huawei. He recommended pricing it at $99.95.
“We’ll talk later,” he says Huawei told him.
Three years later, a friend in Portugal asked him why Huawei was selling “his camera.”
“Huawei? That’s impossible! What?” he remembers saying.
Then he saw pictures right down to its beveled edges and rounded corners, the Huawei product was virtually indistinguishable from Mr. Oliveira’s patent. Huawei’s retail price? $99.99.
“I felt robbed,” Mr. Oliveira said.
When he tried to discuss the matter with Huawei, Mr. Oliveira said its executives put up delaying tactics.
The case is now before the Courts.
In another case of attempted information capture Jesse Hong, a software architect at Huawei’s California unit, said in a lawsuit that his bosses ordered him in November 2017 to use fake company names to register himself for an industry conference organized by Facebook Inc. The social-media giant had invited other companies to a Telecom Infra Project meeting, a collaboration on network design, but excluded Huawei. The suit was confidentially settled in April.
Mr. Hong said he refused to carry out the directive, leading his supervisor to unleash a stream of abuse and a threat: “If you don’t agree on this, then you quit right now.”
After Mr. Hong declined, Huawei fired him. The company says it acted in good faith.
In Australia Huawei has already been banned from building out 5G networks for carriers. Now they are lobbying to be let back in.