Huawei’s problems in the west have gone from bad to worse after Polish security authorities arrested a Chinese employee of the company and a Polish national on allegations of espionage.
Polish broadcaster TVP reports authorities raided Huawei’s offices in the country, local operator and workplace of the Polish national Orange Polska, and telecoms regulator Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications.
“The Chinese national is a businessman working in a major electronics company … the Pole is a person known in circles associated with cyber business,” Maciej Wasik, the deputy head of Poland’s special services, told state news agency PAP.
Orange Polska confirmed that materials related to one of its employees had been gathered, while Huawei said it was aware of the situation and that it would not be making any comment at this time.
“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” a Huawei spokesperson told TechRadar Pro.
Scrutiny of the use of Huawei’s kit in sensitive infrastructure such as telecoms have increased in recent months as a number of governments and security agencies have expressed their concern.
Huawei has effectively been frozen out of the US market, although it does provide equipment to a number of smaller players in the country, while Australia has banned its operators from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts on national security grounds. It has also been reported that the US is urging its allies to take similar actions.
The main basis for these fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company’s equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage. These fears are heightened by 5G because of the sensitive information these networks will carry.
Huawei has repeatedly denied such accusations, pointing out that it works with security agencies around the world and that it sells products to more than 500 operators in 170 countries without issue. This includes the UK, where BT, EE, Vodafone and Three are all customers.