Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, who sided with Apple on several occasions, says he considers the Cupertino-based tech giant his role model for all its efforts over protecting user privacy.
In an interview with the Financial Times cited by CNBC, Zhengfei explains that Huawei tried to embrace a similar approach in its relationship with the Chinese government, as the company doesn’t provide user data to Beijing authorities.
Pretty much like Apple did when requested by the US government to share user information and unlock devices, he suggested.
“We will never do such a thing. If I had done it even once, the US would have evidence to spread around the world. Then the 170 countries and regions in which we currently operate would stop buying our products, and our company would collapse,” he said.
“After that, who would pay the debts we owe? Our employees are all very competent, so they would resign and start their own companies, leaving me alone to pay off our debts. I would rather die,” he continued.
Huawei banned in the US
Apple has refused to unlock a series of iPhones that the US authorities wanted to break in as part of criminal investigations. The iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter is one of the devices that Apple refused to hack, explaining that doing so would have compromised the security of all customers.
Huawei, which has often been accused of spying for the Chinese government, claims it has no control over users’ data, and founder Zhengfei explains that carriers actually have more information on customers than his company does.
“Data is owned by our customers, not us. Carriers have to track every user, otherwise no phone calls could be made. It’s a carrier’s duty to track user data. We, as an equipment provider, don’t track any data,” he said.
Huawei is no longer allowed to work with American companies according to a US executive order signed by President Donald Trump in mid-May.