Why is Microsoft working with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company that is under federal investigation for carrying out espionage against America?
Senator Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio penned a letter to Microsoft on August 7. The letter demands answers from Microsoft because they have been working with Huawei and the Chinese government to develop listening devices that could eventually be used to spy on millions of Americans, right in their own home.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Huawei products from American homes. Not only does Huawei work closely with the Chinese government to monitor citizens through technology and AI, but they are also under investigation for working to subvert the U.S./Iran nuclear arms agreement. Blacklisted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations Entity List,” Huawei is set to experience $30 billion in revenue losses in 2019.
Microsoft temporarily complied with the Huawei ban and stopped selling the company’s laptops online. However, after evaluating the extent of the regulations, Microsoft agreed to continue selling existing inventory of Huawei laptops in their Microsoft store. Microsoft is actually proud of its work with the telecommunication industry in China, which must comply with the communist Chinese government.
“Today, our most complete subsidiary and largest R&D center outside the United States is in China,” says Microsoft’s official website. “Microsoft boasts a robust partner ecosystem with 17,000 partners. For every RMB that Microsoft earns in China, Microsoft partners earn 16.” Due to its local product strategy and “commitments to helping Chinese partners” Microsoft boasts itself as one of “The Companies Remaking The Chinese Economy.” Their success in China comes at a cost, as they please the Chinese government and help develop products that compromise privacy, which implicates American security, at home and abroad.
As the Trump administration ramps up its trade war with China, many American companies have removed their manufacturing from the communist country. Microsoft, however, said they will keep their manufacturing in China — a necessary price they are willing to pay in order to protect their relationship with Communists.
Microsoft’s Greater China Region Chairman, Alan Crozier, boasted at a 2018 press conference in Beijing that Microsoft is the first global partner to “provide a fantastic, compliant, and legal cloud with Azure and Office365 in China.” Microsoft has designed the first Windows 10 for the Chinese government and their state-owned enterprises. In order to become compliant with the Chinese government, Microsoft had to severely compromise American values. Microsoft has to follow China’s strict rules governing internet policy. Microsoft had to build the new Windows 10 in a way to comply with the Chinese Communist party, which prohibits speech that is critical of the authoritarian state.
Going against freedom of speech, Microsoft also had to compromise American values on privacy and allow the authoritarian Chinese government the power to interfere in company policies and conduct state surveillance of all users. These compromises have paved the way for Microsoft to partner with Chinese universities to create an AI platform for training government bureaucrats. The universities in China operate under the principle of “civil military fusion,” an idea incorporated into the Communist’s Party’s doctrine by Xi Jinping. These means Microsoft is collaborating with these universities to indirectly assist the Chinese military.
Due to Microsoft’s assistance, China’s National University of Defense Technology has been able to develop three AI projects that will be run by China’s military. Ultimately, the Chinese military is using an American company (Microsoft) to persecute ethnic minorities and political dissidents and to enforce subservience to their communist dictatorship. Microsoft is also working with China on drone software and voice recognition systems that will track and monitor citizens and abuse them in their social ranking system.
(Related: Evil tech giants planning China-style “social score” rollout across America; red-flagged people to be denied access to restaurants and public events.)
“It is deeply disturbing that an American company would be actively working with the Chinese military to further build up the government’s surveillance network against its own people—an act that makes them complicit in aiding the Communist Chinese government’s totalitarian censorship apparatus and egregious human rights abuses,” Marco Rubio said in April 2019.
The questions for Microsoft now are: How has its relationship with the communist country undermined America’s national security and what are the unintended consequences going forward?