A Huawei executive hit the US where it hurts by making fun of the NSA and bringing up whistleblower Edward Snowden during a no-holds-barred speech at the world’s biggest mobile conference.
Guo Ping, Huawei’s rotating chairman, was giving a keynote speech at MWC Barcelona when he made joking reference to the US data gathering program, PRISM. Ping’s remarks were an apparent response to US allegations against the Chinese tech company that their devices pose a risk to US national security – accusations the company has strenuously denied.
“PRISM, PRISM, on the wall, who is the most trustworthy of them all?” Guo said, pointing out the irony of the US claims.
“If you don’t understand that, you can go ask Edward Snowden,” he added, referring to the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-exiled whistleblower who exposed the extensive US government surveillance program in 2013.
Huawei currently has contracts to roll out its 5G technology in nearly 30 countries, but is facing an expected ban in the US over concerns it could constitute a threat to national security, with the US warning its allies that it could reconsider its military relationships with them if they use it.
Former CIA acting Director Michael Morell told CBS that because of its speed and ability to allow such a large data flow, 5G “enhances the capabilities of an intelligence service to steal data.”