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Huawei in Spying Flap

Light Reading
Supercomm News Analysis
Light Reading
6/24/2004
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A major equipment vendor is accusing a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. employee of corporate espionage following an incident that occurred after the Supercomm exhibit floor closed on Wednesday, Light Reading has learned.

Sources close to the situation say the Huawei worker was caught at a competitor's booth where he was examining circuit boards taken from the vendor's displayed gear and taking photographs of the company's products.

Supercomm security was called and the vendor confiscated the Huawei worker's camera Memory Sticks and took photocopies of his passport, visa, and several pages of notes. On the worker's exhibitor badge, the company's name was listed as "Weihua," which a source interpreted as an attempt to obscure his employer. Supercomm management stripped the worker of his credentials and told him to leave the area.

The employee -- a technical engineer named Yi Bin Zhu -- says the incident is a misunderstanding. Zhu spoke to Light Reading through an interpreter on Thursday at Huawei's Supercomm meeting room. He says this is his first time traveling outside of China and he was not aware that photography was prohibited on the Supercomm show floor.

Zhu says the incorrectly listed name on his exhibitor badge was also a misunderstanding. He says the Chinese custom of listing surnames first caused him to fill out his show paperwork incorrectly, resulting in the mangled name.

But there was plenty more to explain. Zhu's notes contained two pages of proprietary diagrams of an AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) central office, a source familiar with the documents says. Also in his possession was a list of several vendors he had either visited or was about to visit, the source says.

The vendors on Zhu's list included Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), "Nothtel," Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC), White Rock Networks Inc., and Turin Networks Inc. Two specific products were singled-out in the list: FNC's Flashwave 4300 and Nortel's Optical Multiservice Edge 6500.

The contents of Zhu's Memory Sticks included photographs of the FNC 4300, with its casing removed, as well as some video clips of various company Supercomm presentations that were taken from what one source calls "surreptitious angles."

Zhu says his notes were just a guide to the vendors he was interested in. He denied pulling out any vendor's circuit boards to have a closer look.

David Swanston, Supercomm's director of communications, says that with more and more sophisticated devices, unauthorized photography is difficult to stop. "You can't prevent all of it," he says. "But we will prevent all we can."

At least two vendors on Zhu's list, upon being contacted by Light Reading on Thursday, say they're looking into what legal options are available.

In the past, Huawei has been accused of stealing intellectual property from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Huawei's own investigation found that rogue developers were at fault, concluding that the incident was isolated (see Cisco & Huawei Extend Stay). — Phil Harvey, News Editor, and Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading; and Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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bigbangtheory
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bigbangtheory,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:58 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
This guy was _probably_ acting alone (they couldn't be that stupid, could they?). But it brings up the fact that the Chinese operate very differently than people from other cultures. I've seen it over and over in 20+ years in the industy. I'm sure I will be accused of being a racist, but they will stop at nothing to get what they want.
-BB
Richard Hatch
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Richard Hatch,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:57 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
Hell, many startups were concerned about other US-based startup reps doing the same thing back in 1999-2000. That's why you 1) lock your chassis in glass cases 2) take important cards with you 3) use dummy boards on open gear or black out the proprietary chip names 4) hire a rent-a-cop to hang out at your booth after-hours. Seems pretty common sense to me.
slayer666
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slayer666,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:57 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
If you think Huawei is the only one doing this think again.

Israeli companies have been known for buying one and making many for years. But you can't say that on TV.

Nortel had a group (as do most companies) that pull apart competitors products to analyze assembly, components and anything else they could find out.

As a start-up, we sent an optical module for eval to JDS, but never got it back because they ripped it apart!

So, lesson here is don't leave stuff hanging around at trade shows, don't ship single units to competitors, or stick your head in the sand and pretend it doesn't happen.

BTW...done it myself on more than one occasion! Afterall, copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

And yes I have worked with Chinese Engineers and some are excellent, and some are A-Holes just like every other racial group, including WASPs.

Wasn't it TI who traced back their technology theft to French Agents? Wanna buy an Exocet?

Good story though!
oni_guy
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oni_guy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:57 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap




What "famous excident"? Where did you go to your
grade school, dude?

Why do you like Chinese engineers if they will
just steal?

I really like chinese engineers; however, it is a part of the culture, I guess. Stealing intelectual property is absolutely normal in China.
One of my previous companies was involved in a famous excident. The chineese engineer stole designs and drawings from his large company to join our startup. FBI has been looking for him for last 6 years or so.

Normal component/module companies never send any samples to Huawei, even hermetically packaged.
Balet
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Balet,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:57 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
A friend of mine is involved working with Colgate.
He mentioned that Colgate's tooth paste and other products have about 70% of Chinese market. The funny thing is that according to him, Colgate pulled out of China a few years ago and do not supply any of those products.
calipers
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calipers,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:56 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
I saw more than one person taking pictures of products, even boards during the exhibit hours. Is that allowed?
lighten up!!
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lighten up!!,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:55 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
Not sure what all the flap is about, since every company gathers competitive intelligence one way or another at trade shows. With SMT components on multilayer circuit boards today, what good is a photograph going to do. It's not like they'll take a picture and come up with a working schematic. I think these people are becoming too paranoid. Yes, I agree IP theft is a problem, but taking pictures, gimme a break. Every company wants to know about its competition and competitive intelligence gathering is one of the main attractions at trade shows. You'd be naive to think that people go there to collect pens and lollypops.
Upside_again
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Upside_again,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:55 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
It's not sensational until we blame Huawei and the chineese? This stuff has been going on for years and years. I remember many a San Jose product manager coming back from a show with pages and pages of competitive notes for the company. He played like he was a customer or analyst (with multiple false badges) and raked all he could get.

stop being silly.

whyiswhy
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whyiswhy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:54 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap
"Tsk, tsk, tsk..... When will China learn to play fair?"

Not defending Huawei (as anyone who follows LR knows, i am not one of their fans) but this smacks of child-like aping of criminal behavior they see us do: allowing, no encouraging, US international bankers to arbitrage the Yuan to Dollar exchange rate, and the resulting offshoring of US jobs and technology.

I mean under Bush, we are literally giving it away; venture money, technology and jobs! What's a few pictures and engineering notes? I tend to agree with an earlier post: Huawei is really getting cheap. They should at least have the courtesy of buying a rack before tearing it apart. 1000:1 odds the locval police, our vaunted home security agency, FBI and CIA will ALL look the other way, as Bush tells them to.

Vote the greedy traitorous lying bastards out of office!

JMHO

-Why
bobcat
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bobcat,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:30:54 AM
re: Huawei in Spying Flap

I read statements like " this is a way of culture"? Please!

Look.., the US did it, to the Russians (back when it was CCCP, and USSR Eastern Block countries, and our own Allies) and did.., and, (do) it as some one stated, in the Motion picture industry (music, gamming) and the fashion industry.., to name a few, rather than just telecom. The obvious one is the defense industry. Especially now.., and it was all about technology.

Don't act like we don't do it. You bet your (american (red, white, and blue, commie)ass we do it. Like it or not. Even if you don't want to hear it. Get real. Companies do it all the time. Sometime everytime someone switches companies. Why is there an NDA?

This is nothing new. This is NOT new territory.
Sometimes (or most (internally)) it is done by Americans.., to further a retirement account. It's about money. A college fund for kids, a retirement fund for mom and pop, and medical expenses (typically). If at all.

Using the presumption of innocence here.

Look this is real and always has been., look at the "72" Olympics if you think about terrorism.
It happened and we forgot because it didn't happen here. Look historically even earlier about espionage. The Romans stole Archecture, and art, and music.

I don't approve of it, but how do you comdemn it when you know our own government or company does it( Northrup(not anymore), Boeing, General Dynamics, etc.). It happens. Sometimes you get caught, sometimes you don't, sometime you just get suddenly blind in one eye. Ask around, you must know someone in defense, fashion, fast food or high-tech. We are here so when it happens here, it is a big ta-doo.

When it happens there, do you hear or read about it? Do Americans read Taiwaneze, Japaneze, or Mandarin, or Panamainian, etc. Its a big world boyz and girls, with big playas. And by the way we rely heavily on French foreign intelligence (and don't forget who gave us the statue of liberty, like every country we helped gave us one) especially for intelligence in African nations (Freakin Legionares (with respect) are in most African nations) and are doing a hell of a job we won't do but throw money at. No oil.., just desert, lions, tigers and, snakes, and Gorillias. Not exactly a be all you can be picture. Unless you are a Bioligist, Botonist, or zooligist.

Damn too bad we didn't listen to the French about Cambodia and, Viet Nam. They were there first.

So.., do you care? They (Asians) invented gun powder, silk, and reverse engineering to an art form. So we do it, (we did it to the German rocket program) then they do it second, and so on.

Sometimes, the other-way around. We kept Russian Mig jets for their turbine engines and radar technology, and ships (subs), (just like Iran to the Brits.) and technical stuff just because of the opportunity. It's not about people unless.., you convert them. And don't justify it. It has nothing to do with justice or god. (Two wrongs don't make a right. It just makes buisness sense.)

So be innovative, protect where and when you can and dream on. Change passwords, and don't leave equipment unattended. Pretty basic and, pretty sound.

But stop insulting my intelligence. We're still fighting Castro's Cuba, and North Korea, for cryin' out loud. So much for being a super power. Russia is still fighting, Gerogia, Groznyy, and Chechnnya. Sometimes you need a smaller hammer. Right tool for the right job

Say whaaat!

Some 30+ years fighting the Cuban missle crisis and it still feels like yesterday to you??? Oliver North, and others did a job we thought was dirty and, disgusting and, un-American (B&W Tv, and Reagen are dead). Get a better arguement than "it's their culture".
I'll sell ya a bridge not even the Brits.., wanted.
Oh yea, don't forget the beer brewmiester spies, gotta love those guys..
Brew on. Brew on.


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