Tech

Huawei security chief, after court setback, says the Chinese tech giant needs to do more explaining

Key Points
  • Lawmakers have expressed worry that the Chinese government could use Huawei equipment for spying.
  • "We need to have the carriers and the operators call on the equipment suppliers ... invite us in to talk to the experts," Huawei's Andy Purdy said.
  • "Let's talk about what it is we do to provide assurance. Let's get the experts to hear the truth, the facts, let's talk about where we are and where we need to go," he added.
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Huawei USA security chief: 'We need to have a transparency initiative'

The chief security officer of Huawei USA said Wednesday the Chinese technology giant needs to have a transparency initiative now that a judge dismissed the company's challenge to a federal law.

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Tuesday rejected the company's constitutional challenge to the law that restricted its ability to do business with federal agencies and their contractors.

"We need to have the carriers and the operators call on the equipment suppliers ... invite us in to talk to the experts," Huawei's Andy Purdy said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"Let's talk about what it is we do to provide assurance. Let's get the experts to hear the truth, the facts, let's talk about where we are and where we need to go," added Purdy, a former top cybersecurity official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The judge ruled that Congress has the right to include the restriction in the National Defense Authorization Act, which bars federal agencies and their contractors from procuring its equipment and services. Huawei filed the lawsuit in March, claimiing the law was unconstitutional.

The decision comes as the United States has a wide-ranging effort underway to prevent Huawei technology from being used in sensitive telecommunications equipment in the United States or elsewhere.

President Donald Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have expressed worry about Huawei unfairly getting a foothold in U.S. markets for smartphones and next-generation 5G wireless networks on the back of Chinese government help and about the possibility of China turning around and using that equipment for spying.

Last May, the Trump administration placed Huawei and dozens of other Chinese firms on the Commerce Department's so-called entity list, citing national security concerns.

Huawei, the largest privately held company in China, has repeatedly said it would never help the Chinese government to spy.

"There's no national security reason," Purdy said. "It's blocking the ability of the U.S. to export this technology that's already cleared national security review."

Purdy said the U.S. government's issue is more with China than with Huawei, which can put data protection measures in place.

"We can't send data to China that we don't have access to," he said. "Regardless of what the Chinese government order us to do."

Purdy has said the U.S. government should implement risk mitigation programs for Huawei as it does for Finland-based Nokia and Sweden-based Ericsson. He said in August that those two companies also have "deep ties to China."

Other nations, like Germany and the United Kingdom, are taking those steps so Huawei can do business there, he said.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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Watch CNBC's full interview with Huawei USA security chief Andy Purdy