Huawei asks Australia to lift spying ban

Huawei, which was banned from tendering for work on Australia’s national broadband network over security fears, has urged the former British colony to stop discriminating against foreign communications companies.

According to Reuters, the company is miffed that both the US and Australia have been refusing to let it bid for lucrative telecommunications work over fears that it might install spying software.

In this case, Australia would be following the US direction as the UK is completely happy with its chums at Huawei.

Huawei can’t win business in the United States and other markets due to government security concerns. Last year it was blocked from participating in Australia’s $38 billion broadband network (NBN).

Huawei Technologies Australia chairman John Lord told an Australian parliamentary intelligence committee in Canberra that he had been summoned to the Attorney-General’s at short notice. However, it was never explained why it was not getting the contract. It had also not been given a chance to respond to any concerns.

Lord said that his company was worried the new laws could discriminate against companies from a particular country, with no benefit to improving communications security.

He called on the Australian government to bring in a principle of non-discrimination. Companies should have the chance to address specific security concerns.

There might be other pressures. In April, China’s Ministry of Commerce expressed its concern about the Australian government decision to ban Huawei from the broadband project, labelling the decision as unfair.

China could start bringing in embargoes of its own against Australian goods and companies.

But Lord said that Huawei is independent and had no links to the Chinese government. It had no say in the running of the company and was 100 percent owned by staff.

This week, Huawei testified before a US House committee on intelligence in Washington to try to appease them.