U.S. Charges Huawei with Racketeering and Conspiracy

DOJ says the world’s largest telco company stole trade secrets

What: The DOJ just handed down a huge indictment against Chinese tech giant Huawei.

How: A multi-departmental investigation alleges that the company enters NDA agreements only to steal secret information, deals with forbidden countries, and lies about all its actions.

Why Do You Care: Huawei is a giant tech company that still provides components to other tech companies around the world, as well as a wide array of mobile technology to consumers. The U.S. government has already been nudging the company out of U.S. markets. This indictment means, if you live in the U.S., it’s unlikely you’ll ever hold a piece of Huawei tech in your hands.

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The U.S. Department just dropped a hammer on the head of Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications technology company. In a 16-count indictment, it charges the company with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

The DOJ alleges that Huawei and several its subsidiaries have been engaged in a decades-long effort to steal intellectual property from, among others, six U.S. technology companies. According to a release on the indictment, “The misappropriated intellectual property included trade secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing technology.”

Huawei employees would allegedly enter into confidentiality agreements, gain access to proprietary information, and then violate the agreements by misappropriating the information for use in Huawei technology.

The DOJ charges that Huawei created a bonus program for employees who obtained competitors’ confidential information.

The company may also have stonewalled FBI, Congress, and other U.S. officials, denying any wrongdoing when confronted with evidence from the investigations.

Since last year, the U.S. government has been pressing American companies to sever ties with the Chinese company. At issue is its potential close ties to the Chinese government. The company denies a special relationship but has reportedly received $75B in support from the government. If Huawei does maintain any kind of close relationship with the Chinese People’s Republican Army (the U.S. recently charged four members of the Chinese military with responsibility for the massive Equifax Hack), the allegedly purloined U.S. tech company secrets could’ve ended up in official Chinese hands.

Huawei also makes crucial 5G technology that U.S. companies can no longer legally integrate into their products.

The DOJ notes that the investigation is ongoing, but, in the meantime, any dreams you have of owning a Huawei P30 Pro likely just vanished.