Code Confidential: The V.i. Labs Blog
Is the House Intelligence Committee Right To Worry About Huawei & Software Piracy?
We investigate the US House Intelligence Committee’s charge that Huawei uses pirated software.
Last week, the US House Intelligence Committee released a report labeling Huawei a national security threat and possibly in violation of a number of US laws. Some of the allegations against the Chinese telecom giant are firsthand accounts from former employees suggesting that Huawei “does not appropriately purchase software applications for use by its employees,” or – in other words – that they pirate software.
Critics have charged that the Committee’s report fails to back up its claims with evidence; Huawei has issued a response saying that, “the report released by the committee today employs many rumors and speculations to prove nonexistent accusations.” This despite a history of documented intellectual property infringement cases including:
- February 2003: Cisco Systems sued Huawei Technologies for IP theft
- June 2004: A Huawei employee was caught after hours diagramming and photographing circuit boards from Fujitsu
With annual sales of $21.8 billion, Huawei is clearly an aggressive, highly competitive and successful company. This will naturally attract lawsuits and competitor attacks (see Apple v. Samsung). However, since V.i. Lab’s customers see 60% of pirated use coming from Chinese businesses, actual software usage data could reinforce the committee’s concerns.