Huawei is facing accusations that it had the access and ability to monitor all the calls made on KPN’s wireless network, one of the largest in the Netherlands.
Huawei has been facing accusations for years that it serves as a conduit for Beijing to spy on governments and companies around the world. The US ultimately banned the Chinese firm from participating in its networks, and many of its allies did the same.
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant saw a confidential report prepared for KPN in 2010 by the Capgemini consultancy firm. According to The Guardian, the report found that Huawei and China could have monitored calls by then prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, as well as Chinese dissidents.
KPN has downplayed the report, saying it “never observed that Huawei took client information.” At the same time, it did acknowledge that one of its suppliers had “unauthorised, uncontrolled or unlimited access to our networks and systems”.
The report was originally commissioned after the Dutch intelligence service warned of potential espionage. Despite the findings, KPN continued to use Huawei for its 3G and 4G deployments, although it excluded the company from its 5G network.
The report concluded that the findings put “the continued existence of KPN Mobile in serious danger” since customers “may lose confidence … if it becomes known the Chinese government can monitor KPN mobile numbers.”
It remains to be seen what fallout KPN may still face now that the report has become public.