Just when we thought that Huawei’s name has been somewhat cleaned up, a new report, coming in from The wall Street Journal, states that an investigation revealed Huawei has been helping out African governments to spy on their political opponents.
The investigation did not find any evidence that the company’s executives in China were aware their employees were using cell data to track the location of the African politicians or that they were intercepting their encrypted communications and social media.
The Wall Street Journal found that a number of Huawei employees used the company’s technology in Uganda and Zambia to benefit domestic spying within the two countries.
According to the investigation, Huawei technicians who were working in the Ugandan police headquarters were asked by the police’s cyber team to help them get a hold of the encrypted messages of activist Bobi Wine, after the team had failed to do so. The Huawei employees obliged and used a Pegasus-style software to retrieve the information they needed.
Huawei was not happy with the report and released a statement that said:
“After a thorough and detailed internal investigation on the points raised by the WSJ’s reporting team, Huawei rejects completely these unfounded and inaccurate allegations against our business operations in Algeria, Uganda and Zambia. Our internal investigation shows clearly that Huawei and its employees have not been engaged in any of the activities alleged. We have neither the contracts, nor the capabilities, to do so.”
A representative for Zambia’s ruling party confirmed to The Wall Street Journal however, that the Huawei technicians have helped them before: for example, to fight against news sites that had opposing views to their own.
“Whenever we want to track down perpetrators of fake news, we ask Zicta, which is the lead agency.” The representative said. “They work with Huawei to ensure that people don’t use our telecommunications space to spread fake news.”
The company has been under constant scrutiny in both the U.S and Europe over concerns that it might be using its technology to spy other countries for the benefit of the Chinese government.
While Huawei has denied vehemently that is was being used for espionage by the Chinese government in the U.S and The Wall Street Journal found no evidence the Chinese government was responsible for spying in Africa, this new information will most likely not go down well with either the U.S or European governments.