In 2019, Chinese-owned smartphone and telecommunications company Huawei Technologies was accused of cyber-espionage when reports of a Huawei smartphone, handset, and its Chinese 5G network equipment were allegedly transmitting sensitive data from its users back to China. This led multiple countries such as the United States and New Zealand to block business activities with Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese telecommunications companies.

These allegations were seemingly debunked in 2019 when German and British intelligence agencies examined 5G Chinese technology and found no evidence of spyware or anything that could transmit user data back to the Communists in Beijing. However, allegations of backdoor exploitation of the technology in 2020 would soon stir up the topic of espionage and data leaks again when it was found that a Huawei data center in New Guinea used out of date encryption software that would be easy to breach(by China) without setting off alarms inside the company. Huawei could plausibly deny ‘giving’ information to the Communist government in this way.As a result, the United Kingdom banned Huawei’s 5G technology and reported that it would strip all Huawei equipment from British telecoms by 2025. The United States would also place export restrictions on Huawei and would ban any American company or individual from owning shares from Huawei.

Huawei Ottawa Research & Development Centre. (Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Scalable Grid Engine, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Well, it turns out the Chinese aren’t done with us yet.

In a 2021 letter addressed to US Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo from US Senator Chris Van Hollen, it was discovered that the Telecommunications Industry Association investigated Chinese-owned Yealink and found several security threats that could be detrimental to US users’ security.