Huawei’s US lawsuit will either backfire or prove its innocence

Huawei's lawsuit against the US government is a bold gamble that will either backfire or prove claims about the Chinese firm are unfounded.

The company has been embattled with the US for many years but has recently come under increased pressure ahead of 5G rollouts. Huawei filed a lawsuit against the US government earlier this month for what it called ‘unconstitutional’ treatment.

The US has been pressuring its allies not to use equipment from Huawei citing national security concerns that Beijing could request the firm to conduct surveillance.

Huawei has denied these allegations, and an official argued last year the firm would not be complicit in such activities as being caught even once would be terminal for its global business.

The US is yet to make any evidence about Huawei public, which has led some to wonder if any exists or whether the claims are part of the wider ‘trade war’ against China from the Trump Administration. Huawei must feel confident of their innocence as evidence will come to light as part of the case.

He Weifang, a professor at Peking University, told the South China Morning Post:

“It would be fantastic if the US judicial system could help to reveal Huawei’s ownership structure and its relationship with the Chinese government, which has remained mysterious to the Chinese public.

The US doesn’t conceal the judicial procedure from the public. The legal reasoning and adversary system in the United States is charming, the process of the case will be a great legal education to the Chinese public and its authority.”

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has often been the focus of concerns due to his service as a high-ranking general in the People's Liberation Army. In a rare interview with the BBC, Zhengfei acknowledged Huawei has a Communist Party committee although highlighted that all companies must as a matter of law.

Critics have claimed that companies are compelled by law to comply with state requests to conduct things such as surveillance. Huawei maintains no such law exists, and Zhengfei said he'd “shut the company down” before complying with such a request.

“It’s hard to see why Huawei decided to sue the US government. If there is no chance of winning at all, they would not have taken this action,” added He.

“However, Huawei might also end up with defeating itself if there is enough evidence for the US government to prove it harms US national security.”

Speaking to a committee recently, German intelligence officers said Huawei is ‘untrustworthy’ based on “past security-related events” which suggests the Germans have evidence against the company. As close security partners, this may be the same as held by the US.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claims allegations of security threats posed by Chinese companies were being used to suppress their growth.

“We urge relevant parties to cease the groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictions toward Huawei and other Chinese companies, and create a fair, good and just environment for mutual investment and normal cooperation by both sides’ companies,” Chunying said.

Some Trump administration members have urged the president to sign an order banning Chinese equipment but it appears set to be decided by the ongoing trade talks. US operators are currently able to use Huawei equipment although most choose not to as it makes them ineligible for government contracts.

The president said at a press conference last month: “I don’t want to block out anybody if I can help it. If there is a security issue, we don’t have a choice. It is something we will talk about, but I want fair competition.”

Telecoms will keep you posted on all developments in Huawei’s lawsuit against the US government.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more.

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