Thursday , October 6 2022

Canadian universities continue to collaborate with Huawei in R & D funding



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Canadian universities financed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. They have turned a decision by the Oxford University to stop taking research money from the Chinese telecommunications giant, at the same time that this movement and other recent developments have not changed their relationship with the # 39; company

Oxford, one of the most important academic institutions in the world, said on Thursday that "it will not pursue new financing opportunities" to underline research or donations, citing "the public concerns raised in recent months" related to the company's associations in Britain .

Similar concerns have had consequences in Canadian universities since last May, an investigation by Globe and Mail revealed that Huawei had established relationships with leading universities working in research in Canada to create an intellectual property pipeline which the company is using to strengthen its market position in the next generation, 5G wireless communications. The company has committed about $ 50 million to 13 universities and about 100 teachers and postgraduate students to work on Huawei-funded projects, which have also been rated by millions of dollars in government grants. Many scholars, whose jobs are subscribed by Canadian taxpayers, assign all intellectual property rights to Huawei. The Department of Global Affairs of Canada has routinely granted export permits to Huawei to transfer the investigation to China.

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Canadian universities told The Globe that they will not follow the leadership of Oxford for their own will. "We have not had any change in working with Huawei Canada," said Vivek Goel, vice president of research and innovation at the University of Toronto, the faculty of electrical and computer engineering signed a financing agreement of 3 Millions of dollars with Huawei in 2016. He said that, unless the federal government indicates it, and the relationship remains intact.

"We have previously said that we trust the federal government to indicate which companies are appropriate to work and we have not had any change in this signal," Goel said. He noted that Canadian telecommunications providers continue to use Huawei equipment and the company remains eligible for government programs, including research and development tax credits and matching subsidies for research projects sponsored by the Research Council on Natural Sciences and Engineering.

The Waterloo University, McGill University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Carleton, which also have research funding relationships with Huawei, provided answers similar to The Globe, while Huawei Canada spokesman , Jake Enwright, said that his company had not received any communication from the Canadian university partners of any change in its research funding relations.

"We will continue to evaluate all the research and research investment projects with national and international partners about their merits and are willing to accept and act with advice and guidance from the Government of Canada on issues of national security," said the spokesman of the University of Waterloo, Nick Manning. .

Canada and Britain are reviewing whether they should follow their partners in the information exchange network of Five Eyes (United States, Australia and New Zealand) and prohibit or re-use the equipment of Huawei in 5G home networks. The largest operators in Japan and the Taiwanese government have also said they will not use Huawei's 5G technology, and that the Czech Republic, Norway and Germany consider doing the same.

"What Canada needs is innovation and cyber-strategies that not only serve our goals of prosperity and security, but also guide publicly funded institutions for how they must meet these goals," said Jim Balsillie, former president and executive coffer of Research in Motion Ltd. (now BlackBerry Ltd.), which is one of the main advocates of policies that are favorable to Canadian innovators. "It is irresponsible that decisions affecting the national interest are outside the individual institutions or researchers. In addition to transferring thousands of Millions of dollars at these organizations every year, the Canadian government needs a strategy to ensure that these publicly funded institutions carry national priorities. "

Three former Canadian intelligence leaders have warned that the use of Huawei products and 5G technology in telecommunication networks could provide China with the ability to perform remote spies and modify or steal information or even close systems

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The heads of six US intelligence agencies reported in February in February that Huawei's 5G technology could be used by espionage and "put pressure and control" on US infrastructure. The officials of the Security Intelligence Service of Canada warned the vice-presidents of research from a group of Canadian universities that the fall of last year would be cautious about their relations with Huawei in the midst of a growing concern about cyber-intelligence.

The tensions between Canada and China have increased in the last two months by another subject related to Huawei: arrest in Vancouver of the financial director of the company, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the founder of the company, Ren Zhengfei, on request Of the US authorities that want it they face charges related to Iran's sanctions.

China warned of "serious consequences" against Canada if Ms. Meng was not released and arrested two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. A Chinese court of appeal ruled this week that the Canadian Robert Schellenberg, previously sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking, has to face the death penalty.

Huawei is under pressure somewhere else. US prosecutors launched a criminal investigation against Huawei this week about allegations that stole trade secrets from the United States. Earlier this month, Poland arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security officer on allegations of espionage. This followed a call last month by Huawei's president, Ken Hu, for the United States and its allies to prove that it represents security risks and is a pawn of the ruling Communist Party of Beijing.

This week, the Chinese ambassador in Canada, Lu Shaye, said that his country retaliated if Ottawa prohibited that Huawei supply 5G equipment. Canadian universities have expressed concern at the fact that the diplomatic rupture with China could negatively affect the enrollment of Chinese students, which account for one-third of all foreign student enrollments in that country.

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