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Allegations of Huawei spying at Mobile World Congress

by on07 March 2023

Hidden trackers in the security badges

The Chinese manufacturing company Huawei is in hot water after it was alleged that it was tracking visitors at its booth at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023.

It was claimed that Huawei had hidden trackers inside the security badges called the “Huawei Pass.” The passes included a lanyard, badge, and a plastic container, and had to be returned at the company booth by their owners. However, some visitors forgot to do so and found the badge rather suspicious.

Nokia’s Senior Vice President of Europe Rolf Werner took apart his badge and found circuits that could potentially be used as a tracker. There is a remote chance the company could be using Beacon Technology to track visitors up to 70 meters using low-power signals.

The back of the Huawei pass also talks about local area radio systems that could help in tracking as it mentions:

“We use RFID and Bluetooth technology to collect the swipe time of this Huawei Card at the entrance of Huawei exhibition area, real-time location information and the residence time information of this Huawei Card holders within Huawei exhibition area, such information will be collected and processed only for the purpose of analyzing the overall interests of our invitees in our products to enhance our service quality. We will protect such information according to our Privacy Policy."

However, Huawei makes a very good point when it says its pass is used only in the booth and returned when visitors get out. Tracking visitor location is pointless.

However, the GSM Association (GSMA) which is responsible for organising the MWC elaborated that these allegations are serious and added that they are investigating the matter “but don’t have details to share at this moment.”


Last modified on 07 March 2023
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