An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Huawei’s chief executive has proposed selling its current 5G know-how to a Western firm as a way to address security concerns voiced by the U.S. and others about its business. Ren Zhengfei said the buyer would be free to “change the software code.” That would allow any flaws or supposed backdoors to be addressed without Huawei’s involvement. Huawei has repeatedly denied claims that it would help the Chinese government spy on or disrupt other countries’ telecoms systems, and says it is a private enterprise owned by its workers.

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei made the proposal in interviews with the Economist and the New York Times. It would include ongoing access to the firm’s existing 5G patents, licenses, code, technical blueprints and production engineering knowledge. “[Huawei is] open to sharing our 5G technologies and techniques with U.S. companies, so that they can build up their own 5G industry,” the NYT quoted Ren as saying. “This would create a balanced situation between China, the U.S. and Europe.” Speaking to the Economist he added: “A balanced distribution of interests is conducive to Huawei’s survival.” A spokesman for Huawei has confirmed the quotes are accurate and the idea represents a “genuine proposal.” South Korea’s Samsung and China’s ZTE are other alternatives. “Huawei misunderstands the underlying problem,” Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, from the European Centre for International Political Economy, told the BBC. “The issue is not the trustworthiness of Huawei as a vendor but the legal obligations that the Chinese government imposes on it.

“China’s National Intelligence Law requires Chinese businesses and citizens to surrender any data or ‘communication tools’ they may have access to, under strict punitive sanctions,” said Lee-Makiyama. “Any equipment or software that Huawei licenses to an U.S. entity would still fall under this obligation, and there is no way that the licensing entity or the intelligence agencies could scrutinize millions of lines of code for potential backdoors.”

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