One of the reasons why the US government had initially blacklisted Huawei was because they expressed their concerns about how by using Huawei’s technology, it would allow China to potentially spy on them. Are these fears unfounded, or was it an excuse for the US government to bargain for a better deal with China?
As it turns out, those fears weren’t completely unfounded. According to multiple reports from both the Washington Post and 38 North, it seems that Huawei had been instrumental in building North Korea’s Koryolink, which for those unfamiliar, is the country’s cellphone network.
While Huawei building networks for other countries isn’t new, what stands out from this report is how the network actually allows the spying on its users. Through the network, it allowed the government to potentially spy on its people where they were able to pull all kinds of information, such as calls, text, data, and even faxes. It also allowed the country’s government elites to enjoy a greater degree of privacy where their calls were encrypted and could not be monitored.
In response to the reports, Huawei told the Washington Post that it “has no business presence” in North Korea. However, some have pointed out the use of past tense in Huawei’s statement, suggesting that while Huawei could have helped build the network, they are no longer doing business with the country, which would technically make their statement accurate.