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Huawei security chief says firm is open to addressing US concerns

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Andy Purdy, chief security officer for Huawei USA, suggested in an interview with CNBC that the Chinese tech firm would be open to putting “risk mitigation measures” in place in order to do business in the United States and ease concerns over national security.

When asked about what kind of testing and oversight processes Huawei would be willing to implement to convince the US government that its technology would not be used nefariously, Purdy pointed to examples in which Huawei has worked with other countries in North America and Europe.

“In different countries around the world, we negotiate with the respective government on what kind of assurance framework they need, whether it’s testing of the products, whether it’s monitoring of compliance,” he said. “That’s what we did in the UK, that’s what we have operational in Canada, that’s what Germany is working on.”

While he said he couldn’t “pre-judge” what requirements would be necessary to do business in the United States, Purdy suggested that they could potentially involve restrictions such as not being able to sell to the government, or being barred from selling into critical infrastructure. He also suggested that such requirements could include agreeing to compliance monitoring or some type of code evaluation.

When asked if Huawei would be open to measures such as these, Purdy said he would be “astounded” if Huawei wouldn’t be open to risk mitigation measures.

“I can’t pre-judge, because the people who pay my check have not told me,” he said to CNBC. “But I’d be astounded if we wouldn’t be open to those kinds of risk mitigation measures.”

Purdy’s comments come after Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei recently said he would “ignore” President Trump when speaking with Bloomberg Television.

“The US has never bought products from us,” Zhengfei said to the network. “Even if the US wants to buy our products in the future, I may not sell to them. There’s no need for negotiation. I will ignore Trump, then with whom can he negotiate? If he calls me, I may not answer.”

Purdy appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box alongside Glen Nager, Huawei’s outside counsel and a partner at the firm Jones Day, to defend the company’s position on its lawsuit against the United States.

The company recently filed a summary judgement that seeks to declare the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act unconstitutional, a bill that bans government agencies from using Huawei’s equipment over security concerns. The company said in a press release that the US government has “provided no evidence” to show that Huawei poses a threat and called the decision to ban the Chinese tech firm’s technology a “distraction” from real security challenges.

Read more: Huawei is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month — here’s what’s going on

Earlier this month, Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist that prevents US companies from doing business with the Chinese electronics giant unless they obtain government permission. A number of US-based technology companies have cut ties with the firm, including Google — which operates the Android software that powers Huawei’s popular phones.

Huawei has been developing its own software to replace Google’s Android and has reportedly been stockpiling chips to power its future products. Purdy also touched on how the new US government regulations could impact Huawei’s business when speaking with CNBC.

“A year or two ago we ramped up our plan B to try and make sure we have components and the supplies ready,” he said. “Whether or not at the one year mark we’re going to have an impact on certain components, we’re going to have some difficulty. Our revenues may slow.”

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