American IT Company Accuses Huawei of Stealing Their Tech

Written by Bill Toulas
Published on August 13, 2021

A Californian IT solutions provider and Cloud strategy consultant named ‘Business Efficiency Solutions’ (BES) is suing Huawei Technologies for allegedly stealing their trade secrets and using them in its products. As the plaintiff describes in the lawsuit submitted on the U.S. District Court of California, the case goes back to 2015 when BES and Huawei were competing as tech suppliers for a Pakistani government project named “Safe City,” which would involve the overhaul of law enforcement systems in the city of Lahore.

Allegedly, Huawei lacked the technical knowledge and expertise to undertake the project, so they sought to partner with BES and submit a single bid. BES agreed to that and shared their technical expertise for the proposal, so the two submitted a $150 million bid. After winning the contract with the Pakistani government and after Huawei obtained access to BES’s full solutions portfolio, the Chinese allegedly refused to pay their American subcontractor any money. Instead, according to the lawsuit, they just used BES’s proprietary software, trade secrets, and LLDs (low-level designs) as if they were theirs.

BES goes a step further to accuse Huawei of actually planting a backdoor on these products, allowing them to collect and view data from Pakistan’s police and even spy on Pakistani citizens. After 2018, Huawei promoted “Safe City” to other Pakistani cities and pursued similar contracts with other local governments. BES claims that Huawei coerced them to comply with these acts, or their payments would have been withheld.

BES claims that the Wi-Fi cards inside CCTV systems installed in Pakistan and uncovered in 2019 were used for data exfiltration. Huawei at the time explained that these modules were used for remote diagnostics, not as a backdoor. However, CCTVs were only one small part of the set of systems installed by Huawei in Pakistan, which includes the following:

All in all, BES launches very serious allegations, and the case will definitely be interesting to follow. If Huawei is confirmed to have planted backdoors in the tech they installed in Pakistan, it will be a vindicating moment for previous and current U.S. governments who have pushed an aggressive agenda to ban all Huawei tech in the country.

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