Poland has arrested Huawei’s sales director for espionage a few days ago. Huawei, which vehemently denies being an agency that serves China’s security services, promptly fired that employee saying that it “complies with all applicable laws in the countries where it operates, and require every employee to abide by the laws in the countries where they are based”.
Although not an explicit admission that it agrees its sales director may have been a spy, this latest development does lend increasing credence to concerns in the west that Huawei technology sold to governments is a Trojan horse for Chinese interests.
In and of itself Malta may not seem to be a likely target for spies for any country. But as an EU member state with open borders with the rest of Europe, Malta too has security responsibilities that go beyond its shores.
The government is also still accountable to other institutions in delivering on its responsibility to keep the country and its infrastructure safe.
Huawei are delivering experimental facial recognition technology in Malta that collects information that could be dangerous in the hands of our own government, let alone the government of another country.
The way the project is being handled in Malta does not allay suspicions either. Although supposedly a law enforcement tool the project is out of the hands of the police or the Interior Ministry.
Instead the project is being handled by the Tourism Ministry which is less odd than that looks at face value when one is reminded that the Tourism Minister is Konrad Mizzi, broker of most major corrupt deals the government has been involved in since he came to office. In addition Konrad Mizzi’s China-based wife, Sai Mizzi, is credited by the government to have secured the Huawei deal for Malta.
In spite of several western countries imposing limits on the penetration of Huawei technology in their strategic telecommunications network, Malta’s government has refused to re-examine its “collaboration agreements” with Huawei that commit Malta to use Huawei 5G technology for future telecommunications.
Malta’s Parliamentary Opposition has not raised any questions about this initiative which seems to be proceeding in Malta without any controversy.