On Tuesday, Chinese tech giant Huawei devoted part of its keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, to launch what seems like a carefully crafted campaign to portray the US government as an untrustworthy cyber espionage force. The effort is a response to the US government’s boycott of Huawei 5G networking products and its call upon US allies to do the same.
“PRISM, PRISM, on the wall, who is the most trustworthy of them all?” Huawei’s speaker, rotating chairman Guo Ping, asked the audience in Barcelona, referring to the NSA PRISM program that made it possible for the US government to collect data on US firms like Microsoft, Google and Apple. “If you don’t understand that, you can go ask Edward Snowden,” he added, because the former NSA Contractor exposed the surveillance program in 2013. On Wednesday, Guo took things a step further in an article for the Financial Times, by claiming that the US boycotted Huawei because the use of the Chinese firm’s telecommunications tech across the globe would undermine the US government’s surveillance ambitions. “Clearly the more Huawei gear is installed in the world’s telecommunications networks, the harder it becomes for NSA to ‘collect it all’,” Guo wrote.
The accusations come at a critical time, since the US and China are currently in the final stages of negotiations that aim to and the trade war between the two countries.