Huawei denies helping government hack into Bobi Wine's phone, not spying on Ugandans


Chinese telecom giant Huawei has rejected the Wall Street Journal's report that claimed that Huawei helped the Ugandan government to hack into Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine's WhatsApp and Skype messages.

On August 14, the American newspaper Wall Street Journal (WSJ) issued a report in which they claimed that Huawei partnered with the Uganda Police and government to hack into the WhatsApp and Skype messages of presidential hopeful  Bobi Wine.

But in a press release issued on Thursday evening, the Chinese telecom powerhouse refuted the report  terming it as "inaccurate" and that they reject it completely.

The statement from the company reads in part that, "Huawei completely rejects the Wall Street Journal's unfounded and inaccurate allegations against its business operations in Uganda.

"Huawei's code of business conduct prohibits any employees from undertaking any activities that would compromise our customers or end users' data or privacy or that would breach any laws.

Huawei prides itself on its compliance with the local laws and regulations in all markets where it operates and will defend its reputation robustly in the face of such baseless allegations," says the release.

Huawei Technologies (Uganda) Co. Ltd is a private entity, duly registered and licensed to conduct the business of Information and Communication Technologies in Uganda.

Huawei also noted that compliance with local, regional and international laws is central to their business delivery with cyber security and privacy protection being part of their top priorities.

"To implement the above-said security assurance system, Huawei has:

General Privacy Protection Policy- which stipulates that Huawei strives to comply with applicable laws and regulations related to Privacy and Personal Data protection in countries where Huawei operates.

This Policy sets forth the basic principles by which Huawei processes the Personal Data of consumers, customers, suppliers, business partners, employees and other individuals, and indicates the responsibilities of Huawei business departments and employees while Processing Personal Data," they added.

Huawei noted that their policy complies with the laws and regulations of Uganda and other countries in which they operate.

About the CCTV camera claim

Huawei said that the Uganda Police CCTV Project is the ONLY security related project they have in Uganda whose scope is installing CCTV cameras, network, project command and data center for specifically public security surveillance and identification of criminal activities.

Huawei said that they also have also never developed any intelligence monitoring project for Uganda or signed any contract related to spying and intelligence related activities.

"The major purpose of CCTV project deployment is to identify criminal activities from wrong doers by CCTV camera surveillance and has already practically helped the Uganda Police to reduce the criminal rate in the city streets," they noted.

Adding, "We do not have any staff embedded to work at Police Headquarters as alleged by the Wall Street Journal. We categorically state that during the year 2017 Huawei did not accompany any Uganda officers for any technical training in Beijing and no Uganda police force officer visited Huawei Shenzhen headquarters,"

Huawei however said that they did sign the MoU with the Ministry of ICT in April 2016 which has already expired. Under the MoU, they said that they had to provide expertise and knowledge transfer to government, academia and the general public through workshops, seminar, forum, etc,; to support MoICT in joint events such as forums, donations, trainings, etc.; and to recognize Huawei as an ICT partner in their forums/events.

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