Huawei has reportedly requested a backdoor to be installed in an entire city-wide security system in Pakistan. Evidence is still lacking to confirm the facts.
In a lawsuit opposing Huawei and an American company, the Chinese firm on the decline at the international level is again accused of espionage. She would have asked for the installation of a backdoor into a security system bound for the city of Lahore, Pakistan.
“Safe city” project
In 2016, Huawei won the tender of the city of Lahore for the project “ safe city », Beating Nokia and Motorola. It is a video surveillance system with facial recognition deployed in the streets. For this, Huawei called on the Californian firm Business Efficiency Solutions LLS (BES) to take care of certain software aspects of the system.
Relations between the two companies have nevertheless soured and here they are at loggerheads launched in lawsuits against each other. During one of these trials, BES assures that Huawei asked it to install a backdoor in order to be able to collect private data. Thisbackdoorwould take the form of a copy of the system’s database – containing Pakistani citizens ‘identity cards, foreigners’ registrations, tax records and criminal records – in the city of Suzhou in China.
In order to set up this installation, BES would have asked Huawei to obtain an authorization from the Pakistani government, indicates the Wall Street Journal, citing emails exchanged between the two companies. Huawei would then have indicated to have obtained this approval, while refusing to show any evidence of it.
The evidence is lacking
During an interview, Huawei refused to engage in espionage. “Huawei respects the intellectual property of others, and there is no evidence that we have ever implemented a backdoor in our products.“. Huawei nevertheless confirms that it has set up a copy of the Lahore system in China in order to test the system, which is commonplace. The Chinese company nevertheless promises that this version is physically isolated from the Lahore system and that it is impossible to recover data from the network of the Pakistani city.
The authorities responsible for implementing the Lahore security system, however, have started investigations into the allegations and have implemented a data security check to ensure that Huawei has not installed a backdoor. “At this time, there is no evidence of data theft by Huawei.“.
A fragile reputation
These allegations once again strike a blow at huawei image, repeatedly accused of espionage, without proof. It was on the basis of such accusations that the Trump administration mounted an embargo on the Chinese company, with the consequences that we know about him. It will be hard to restore its image.
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