Tech Company Suspected of Government Spying Is Suddenly a Big Fan of Your Privacy

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Huawei is one of the first major Asian tech firms to speak out.Photo: LLUIS GENE

Huawei isn’t a well-known brand in the U.S., but it is the world’s third-largest smartphone-maker, behind Apple and Samsung. It has failed to gain a foothold in the North American market in part because it’s come under suspicion of using its smartphones to spy on consumers (both foreign and domestic) for the Chinese government. Yet today, after Apple said it’d fight an order to unlock the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook and a former federal judge announced his intent to file a legal brief supporting the government on behalf of the victims’ families, Huawei Technologies Co. announced it would back Apple, citing consumer-privacy concerns.

Personally, I support Apple’s — Tim Cook’s — idea,” Huawei CEO Richard Yu told Bloomberg Television on Sunday. “[Privacy is] the top one, the most important thing to the consumer. We should really protect the consumer’s privacy and security.” Huawei is one of the first major Asian technology companies to speak out on the debate. It has, of course, vehemently denied all claims that it’s been colluding with the Chinese government, calling network security one of the company’s “fundamental interests,” but the accusations have nonetheless dampened American consumer confidence. Yu assured Bloomberg Businessweek consumers would “become more open” to Huawei products in the future — as open as Farook’s iPhone will be when the Feds get their hands on it.