How Huawei Helped Kim Jong Un Develop A Surveillance-Friendly 3G Network

Huawei Built North Korea 3G Network

It’s another day and another bunch of reports that say more dark clouds have come over Huawei. The Chinese company has already become infamous after the US government put it on the Entity list — stopping Huawei from doing business with American companies.

Now, a new collection of leaked documents allege that Huawei has secretly helped in building a government-censored 3G wireless network in North Korea, according to the Washington Post. For that matter, the company worked with the Korean tech firm Koryolink. The network has been in use since the year 2008 and Huawei is responsible for providing cellular infrastructure.

Why is Huawei in trouble again?

The new revelation has rung the bell again because in doing so, Huawei has violated the sanctions imposed by the US government against doing business with North Korea. It wouldn’t have mattered at all if the Chinese company wasn’t doing business in the US and didn’t have US-made technology in its products.

Huawei has also partnered with Chinese-government backed firm Panda International, which has already been blacklisted by the US government. The two companies worked on different projects over a span of eight years. However, it’s not known how much involvement Huawei had in North Korea.

The internal documents were leaked by a former Huawei employee to The Post on the condition of anonymity. A Huawei spokesperson told the publication that the company has “no business presence” in North Korea. However, he refused to verify the documents but also didn’t question their authenticity.

“We’ll have to find out,” said President Donald Trump on Monday when asked about Huawei secretly building a wireless network in North Korea.

In a separate incident, Huawei has been charged by the US Department of Justice for violating US sanctions against Iran.

Either way, it can’t be said how much this news will affect the ongoing trade war between the US and China. The US government recently expressed its plans to ease restrictions on the Chinese smartphone maker.

Surveillance in North Korea

North Korea is an Asian country run by the communist leader Kim Jong Un and is known for isolating itself from the rest of the world. On top of that, there have been various reports of mass surveillance happening throughout the nation in an attempt to keep the government’s stronghold over the lives of North Korean citizens.

North Korea is known to have operated a national intranet comprising of just 28 websites that are not accessible from the outside world. The citizens don’t have access to web services available in other parts of the world as well.

It is widely believed that the said 3G network plays a vital role in performing various surveillance activities, making it possible to intercept calls, text, and data. Initially, it was known to cover around 2,500 targets and was later expanded to cover 5,000 targets.

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