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Huawei answers on Cybersecurity

Five questions from Laurens Cerulus of Politico ahead of the European Parliament debate on 16 October 2019

Q1.   Huawei has pitched cybersecurity centers as a way to mitigate security risks in Europe. The one in Brussels includes access for operators and governments to Huawei’s source code. Does the company have any similar mechanisms to review software and hardware security in China? How does the Chinese government conduct its security checks?

A. Huawei has a Cybersecurity Lab in Shenzhen. For the second part of your question, please consult the Chinese government.

Q2.   You have suggested “no-spy deals” to governments including India, the UK and elsewhere. The German rules would also include such a pledge. Are you willing to be held liable for damages if your equipment is found to be used for espionage purposes?

A. We indeed stand ready to sign no-spy agreements with all governments that would wish to do so. On Germany specifically, we welcome that the Bundesnetzagentur is taking a technical and ambitious approach on 5G Cybersecurity issues.  

Q3.  Dutch operator KPN in April said it had struck a “preliminary agreement to start preparations with Huawei” for its 5G network but added the deal “can be adjusted or reversed to align it with future Dutch government policy” in case The Hague decides to limit Huawei’s market access. Does this agreement include a provision for Huawei to pay for parts of the losses in case of Dutch restrictions that hamper the rollout?

A. We cannot comment on preliminary agreements.

Q4.  The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said Huawei is “objectively worse” on cybersecurity compared to Western counterparts. You pledged $2 billion to fix the software and hardware vulnerabilities the NCSC identified. Can you ensure European operators that the equipment that enters the European market today doesn’t suffer from these identified vulnerabilities?

A. Huawei is the only ICT vendor engaged in a structural dialogue on Cybersecurity with the UK government. This is a continuously ongoing process and helps ensure Huawei is and remains the industry leader on cybersecurity. Huawei is present in Europe for nearly 20 years and the confidence of our customers can be seen as an expression of trust in Huawei’s top-end cybersecurity standards.

Q5. Huawei updated its entry in the European Commission’s transparency register yesterday, but its figures for money spent on EU lobbying still date back to an estimate from 2017. What would be your estimate for money spent on lobbying in Europe since January 2019?

A. In accordance with the rules and obligations of the Transparency Register, we will complete the annual review of our entry by 15 November 2019. Stay tuned.