Huawei Sees Resolution of U.S. Security Concern Taking a Decade

Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest phone-network equipment maker, said it may take a decade to resolve the cybersecurity concerns that restrict its access to the U.S. because the company is held to a “higher bar.”

“America has genuine concerns, and it’s Huawei’s responsibility to satisfy those genuine concerns,” John Suffolk, the company’s global cybersecurity officer, said in a phone interview today. “We will continue to work with our American colleagues to satisfy their needs and concerns and we believe we can do that.”

Huawei is fighting to gain access to markets including the U.S. and Australia. To address concerns, the company today released its second white paper detailing its approaches to cybersecurity and calling for governments and industry to develop globally consistent standards.

A U.S. congressional committee last year said Huawei and crosstown competitor ZTE Corp. provide opportunities for Chinese intelligence services to tamper with telecommunications networks for spying. Huawei was barred by the U.S. in 2011 from participating in building a nationwide emergency network.

Australia in March 2012 banned Huawei from bidding on a national broadband network citing “national interests.”

It’s unacceptable for Huawei to create the backbone of telecommunications networks as the company is likely to share with China’s government knowledge of the foreign systems it is involved with, Michael Hayden, the former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, said in July.

Government Cooperation

Huawei denied Hayden’s claims at the time, and again in today’s cybersecurity paper.

“We have never received any instructions or requests from any Government or their agencies to change our positions, policies, procedures, hardware, software or employment practices or anything else,” Ken Hu, Huawei’s deputy chairman who leads the company’s Global Cyber Security Committee, said in the report released today.

“We have never been asked to provide access to our technology, or provide any data or information on any citizen or organization to any government.”

To help improve understanding of cyber security requirements, Huawei said it plans to publish a list of the top 100 issues its customers have raised relating to security.

Suffolk joined Huawei in 2011 after serving as the U.K. government’s chief information officer for seven years. Huawei is employee-owned, with about 74,000 of the total 150,000 workers holding shares, according to the report.

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