Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities, leaves her home to attend the third day of a court hearing in Vancouver, on Wednesday September 25, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canada Spy Agencies Split Over Proposed Huawei 5G Ban Canada's spy agencies are divided over whether or not to ban Chinese technology giant Huawei from fifth generation (5G) networks over security concerns, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) were tasked with conducting a cybersecurity review to evaluate the risks as well as the economic costs to Canadian telecoms and consumers of blacklisting the equipment supplier.
The Americans and Australians -- who are partners with Canada, Britain and New Zealand in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network -- have warned that Huawei may be compelled under Chinese law to help Beijing spy or sabotage Western networks.
The Globe and Mail, citing an unnamed source, said the spy agency CSIS and the electronic eavesdropping agency CSE disagree on how to proceed.
The CSE reportedly supports an outright ban while the CSIS believes the risks can be mitigated with robust testing and monitoring of equipment.
The office of the minister of public safety, Ralph Goodale, declined to comment on Huawei specifically as it relates to its evaluation of emerging 5G technologies.
But it said in a statement that the government's review "includes the careful consideration of our allies' advice" and it "will ensure that our networks are kept secure."
A decision is expected in the coming months, but could be delayed amid strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing over the arrest in Vancouver of a senior Huawei executive on a US warrant last December and the detention of two Canadians in apparent retaliation.
Huawei is already prohibited from bidding on government contracts and core network equipment such as routers and switches.
An outright ban could cost Canadian telecom firms millions of dollars in extra costs, they have said.
Two of Canada's three largest wireless carriers, Bell and Telus, would have to replace Huawei equipment in their existing networks. Both have also signalled plans to use Huawei gear in upcoming 5G rollouts.
Rogers, the nation's top carrier by number of subscribers, meanwhile, has said it planned to buy 5G equipment from Sweden's Ericsson.
Huawei, Barred in US, Offers App Inducements in Europe By Jules Bonnard
Blacklisted in the United States, Chinese telecoms group Huawei is on a charm offensive at Europe's biggest tech gathering, wooing app developers to embrace its own operating ecosystem.
Having this week announced plans to spend $40 billion on European supplies, after being shut out of buying US-made chips and technology, the company has been a prominent player at the Web Summit in Portugal.
Never mind US allegations that its products -- especially in 5G networking -- offer back-door access for Chinese spies: Huawei's stand has pride of place at the pavilion entrance and its current chairman, Guo Ping, gave the keynote address during Monday's opening night.
Huawei executives held an afternoon-long briefing for about 300 developers for smartphone apps, followed by a dinner for those who had the stamina to hear more.
The message: Huawei can offer in-house expertise and price reductions to developers who have to pay a hefty chunk of their revenues in order to sell games and apps on Google's Android and Apple's iOS systems.
"We want to make sure that no developer feels left out or feels that the hurdle to enter our developer program is too high," said Jervis Su, vice president of mobile services at Huawei.
It is part of a strategy to lessen Huawei's reliance on US supplies and technology, following the offensive launched on the company by President Donald Trump's administration amidst a Sino-US trade war.
Huawei hotly denies it is in cahoots with Chinese intelligence, and has been building up a robust share of the next-generation 5G market in Europe and Asia.
Nevertheless, Huawei has for now lost access to Google services on its phones because of the US sanctions, and is working on an alternative operating system for a broad range of interconnected devices, called HarmonyOS.
Huawei, Guo noted, is investing $1.5 billion over five years on training programs in universities and startups around the world and another $1 billion to encourage innovation among developers -- all with a view to extending its market penetration away from Washington's reach.
"5G upgrades our communication infrastructure and AI (artificial intelligence) provides us with the most powerful computing engines," he told the Lisbon conference.
"However, the applications and software are what generate true value."
- Escaping the US vice -
On its smartphones, the Chinese group has its own App Gallery, which was launched in Europe last year and currently counts about 50,000 applications.
Adnan Selimovic, senior software architect at Austrian company TeleTrader, said Huawei had actively solicited his firm's entry into the App Gallery.
"Then they asked us to collaborate further by integrating more functionalities like push notifications" and interactive widgets for mobile trading, he said.
TeleTrader already has separate development teams for its Android and iOS apps. The support of Huawei's own developers meant it did not have to hire a costly third team.
To try to entice more games apps, Huawei has cut the commission it takes from developers for in-app purchases to 15 percent, half that charged by Google and Apple.
"Huawei is striving to escape the (American) vice they're in," commented Francois Candelon, a telecoms expert at Boston Consulting Group.
"In order to succeed in Europe, they are going to try to attract the maximum number of developers because they don't have another choice," he said.
Indeed, Washington's offensive is deepening as regulators prepare to vote on November 19 on rules that would block US telecom carriers from buying supplies from Huawei and another Chinese tech firm, ZTE, and to remove any of their equipment already in place.
Huawei Pushes 5G in SEAsia, Brushing Off 'Tech War' With US Chinese phone giant Huawei said Sunday it was ready to roll out 5G infrastructure across Southeast Asia, dismissing US warnings its tech could be used to hoover up data for Beijing.
The firm has emerged as a key protagonist in the wider US-China trade war that has seen tit-for-tat tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.
President Donald Trump's administration has warned Huawei's equipment could allow China to spy on other countries and has effectively blocked American companies from selling US technology to the firm.
But the company has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying it is the victim of tech envy.
Thailand and the Philippines have shrugged off the cybersecurity warnings in a rush to exploit the ultra-fast 5G network promised by the China's biggest smartphone maker, while Vietnam has edged away from Huawei.
"China and the US now is in the trade war and also there is some kind of technology war (which) Huawei is very focused on at the moment," said Huawei vice-president Edward Zhou at the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) summit on Sunday.
"We are here to support the ASEAN (in) the development for the 5G."
Encompassing hundreds of millions of people, the 10-member bloc wants the next-level technology to help businesses, infrastructure and transport compete globally.
Host country Thailand has welcomed Huawei with open arms, allowing it to set up a test bed at a major university near the Thai capital.
A Huawei spokesperson previously told AFP it had invested $5 billion in the trials and has been invited to conduct similar tests in other Southeast Asian markets.
Elsewhere the Philippines' Globe Telecom said this summer it was launching Southeast Asia's first 5G broadband service using Huawei technology.
Both Thailand and the Philippines are historic US allies and some see the tangle over 5G as a challenge of influence between the two powers.
But not all countries have been eager to sign up.
Vietnam has quietly sided with the US on the issue, shunning the Chinese firm in favour of alternative providers for 5G technology, including Ericsson and Nokia.
The country's military-owned telecoms giant Viettel hopes to be the first to roll out 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and has said it plans to to do so without Huawei, citing security concerns.
Zhou reiterated past statements by the company brushing aside the US claims.
"There is not any cybersecurity issues for us. There is no evidence for the US to say that," he said.
China Slams US for 'Economic Bullying' of Huawei China on Tuesday blasted as "economic bullying" a US proposal to block telecom carriers buying from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said on Monday that the proposed rules -- which also require carriers to remove any existing Huawei and ZTE equipment -- were part of an initiative to "safeguard the nation's communications networks".
The two Chinese firms have been accused of posing a national security threat because of their close ties to the Beijing government, claims both have denied.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed the US proposal as an attempt to "oppress certain Chinese businesses with groundless accusations".
Geng said at a regular news briefing Tuesday that the move would ultimately hurt US businesses.
"The United States' economic bullying goes against the market principles which the US has always trumpeted," he said.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the new plan would bar communications companies from using any support they receive from the government's Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies "posing a national security threat", including Huawei and ZTE.
The proposal -- to be voted on November 19 -- marks the latest effort by Washington to penalise Huawei, a major telecom infrastructure provider and smartphone maker that is already on a blacklist preventing it from access to certain US tech products and services.
"When it comes to 5G and America's security, we can't afford to take a risk and hope for the best," Pai said in a statement.
"We need to make sure our networks won't harm our national security, threaten our economic security, or undermine our values."
Pai said that as the US upgrades to fifth-generation wireless networks, "we cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communications networks".
Huawei says Washington has provided no proof of any security risks posed by the company.
The rules would do little to improve information security and blocking access to Huawei gear would only harm US telecom networks, the company said in a statement.
"In 30 years of business, Huawei has never had a major security-related incident in the 170 countries where we operate," the statement said.
"Banning specific vendors based on country origin will do nothing to protect America's telecommunications networks."
In May, Washington said it would blacklist Huawei from the US market and from buying crucial US components, though it has twice extended the company 90-day reprieves, the latest coming in August.
The United States has expressed concern that Huawei equipment could contain security loopholes that allow China to spy on global communications traffic, and has pressured US allies to block the use of Huawei equipment.