The US Department of Justice and the FBI announced today that it has filed 16 charges against Huawei, mostly having to do with the theft of trade secrets from US companies.
The Chinese company is being charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO. The Justice Department says that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used NDA’s with American companies over the past two decades to access trade secrets. Then Huawei used those trade secrets and intellectual product, to fund Huawei’s business.
One example shows Huawei stole source code that it then used in its own routers
The charges cite an example of Huawei allegedly stealing source code from “Company 1” routers, which it then used in its own products.
Now given the context here, it likely is referring to Cisco as “Company 1”, though that is not confirmed. However, with the indictment saying “a US technology company headquartered in the Northern District of California”, that doesn’t leave many other companies. Not to mention the fact that the lawsuit that Cisco slapped Huawei with in 2003 sounds very familiar to this.
While that sounds bad, and did take some work by Huawei to actually steal. It has done it in some other simpler forms, according to the DOJ.
Apparently, at a trade show in Chicago, a Huawei-affiliated engineer “was discovered in the middle of the night after the show had closed for the day in the booth of a technology company… removing the cover from a networking device and taking photographs of the circuitry inside. Individual-3 wore a badge listing his employer as ‘Weihua”.
Basically, the badge had the syllables of Huawei mixed. Not very creative or easy to hide from. Huawei did say that this person did this in a personal capacity. And it appears to have taken place way back in 2004.
Huawei offered bonuses to those that got confidential information from its competitors
The Department of Justice published a statement about this policy, stating that it “instituted a bonus program to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors. The policy made clear that employees who provided valuable information where to be financially rewarded.”
Huawei is also being charged with working with Iran and North Korea – similar to what ZTE got caught doing a couple years ago. Huawei tried to cover its tracks by working with other companies in those countries.
This is just a continuation of the Trump Administration’s onslaught against Huawei, and keeping them out of the US. While the spying allegations haven’t brought forward any proof yet, the IP and trade secret theft allegations have plenty of proof. A handful of which were in the court system many years ago.