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Huawei offers Australia 'unrestricted' access to hardware, source code

The Chinese giant is opening up its hardware and software in a transparency push in Australia, after it was previously barred from competing for government contracts in the country.

Huawei has offered to give the Australian government "unrestricted" access to the firm's software source code and hardware equipment in an effort to dispel security fears, months after the Chinese telecoms giant was barred from supplying infrastructure equipment for the country's national broadband network.

The Australian government barred Huawei from bidding on contracts for the network earlier this year, saying it had a "a responsibility to do our utmost to protect [the network's] integrity and that of the information carried on it".

John Lord, Huawei's Australian chairman, said on Thursday that the company is attempting to dispel myths and misinformation, according to the BBC.

"Huawei has done a very poor job of communicating about ourselves and we must take full responsibility for that," said Lord said at an Australian National Press Club speech.

Huawei needs to be more open, according to Lord, and plans to give the Australian authorities "complete and unrestricted access" to its hardware and software source code, the BBC reports.

Lord proposed that Australia should set up a "cybersecurity evaluation center," where network equipment and even source code is given a security assessment, ZDNet reports.

In 2010, Huawei opened its own security evaluation center in Banbury, Oxfordshire to allow the U.K.'s intelligence services to test and examine the firm's equipment for threats and security vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, the company still faces scrutiny in the country: earlier this month, the U.K. Parliament's intelligence and security committee said it would investigate Huawei's relationship with the U.K.'s largest telecoms provider, BT, which uses Huawei equipment.

Announcement of the probe comes only weeks after British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei to Downing Street after the company pledged to plow $2 billion (£1.3m) into the country's economy through research and development, and procurement over the next five years.

Both Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecoms equipment maker, came under fire this month from the U.S. House Intelligence committee after lawmakers said U.S. businesses should not use technology from the two Chinese companies, as it could pose a "national security threat."

In a 52-page report, the committee said the two Chinese giants did not fully address their concerns. "Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities. Neither company provided specific details about the precise role of each company's Chinese Communist Party Committee," the report said.

However, a subsequent White House report appeared to refute the U.S. House committee's fears , saying it had conducted a review that found "no clear evidence of spying" by Huawei, according to Reuters. However, the White House denied that any such investigation took place.