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Former Canadian Security Officials Warn Against Huawei; Best Buy USA Halts Device Sales

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Chinese hardware and smartphone giant Huawei continues to be under the microscope over fears of potential backdoors in its products, as American and former Canadian security officials voice opposition to the company, which has ties to the government in China.

Huawei

According interviews conducted by the Globe and Mail, former Canadian security officials are speaking out against Huawei:

Ward Elcock, John Adams and Richard Fadden are weighing in on the matter after the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency recently told the U.S. Senate intelligence committee that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat to American customers. U.S. spymasters say Huawei’s smartphones and networking equipment could be used to conduct undetected espionage, especially the next, advanced generation of 5G technology.

Elcock, a former CSIS director, told the Globe, “I have a pretty good idea of how signal-intelligence agencies work and the rules under which they work and their various operations and … I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada,”

Meanwhile, Adams, the former head of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s secretive signals intelligence agency, said he would be “very careful about getting engaged with Huawei.”

Former CSIS director and national security adviser to Prime Minister Trudeau and Stephen Harper, Fadden, said Huawei should not be a trusted partner when it comes to the country’s telecommunications networks.

Concern is also over the use of Huawei communications hardware, as the latter is currently running next-gen 5G network trials with Bell Canada, for example. In a statement to the Globe, Bell said “Huawei is one of our long-standing network infrastructure and mobile device partners.”

U.S. security officials suspect Huawei will be able to remotely spy, steal information or control systems through backdoors, through its products and 5G technology.

Best Buy USA to Stop Selling Huawei Phones, Laptops and More

Best Buy USA recently announced it would stop selling Huawei smartphones (via CNET), along with other products such as smartwatches, and laptops, along with phones from subsidiary Honor.

Today, Bloomberg released a feature story titled ‘Why America Is So Scared of China’s Biggest Tech Company’.

That article cites former CEO of WIND Mobile (now known as Shaw’s Freedom Mobile), Anthony Lacavera as saying “It was lower interest rates, deferred payments, don’t pay anything now,” saying “It felt like a retail promotion,” referring to when the company purchased Huawei equipment in 2009, which was cheaper than competitors.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement to the Globe last week, Huawei poses no risk to Canadian cyber security and is currently being monitored.

Clearly, American security officials are more concerned about Huawei than their Canadian counterparts, who don’t seem to be worried about the company, founded by a former member of the People’s Liberation Army in China.

In 2012, American officials continued to warn Canada about Huawei, whose hardware is being used by Bell, Telus, Sasktel and Freedom Mobile (formerly WIND Mobile).

What do you think? Should Canadians be concerned about Huawei?

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