Huawei has tracked visitors to its booth, including competitors.

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After the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2, 2023, several visitors to the Huawei exhibition booth noticed that the badge that was placed at the entrance contained markers. A technology assumed by the Chinese manufacturer, but which took the organizers of the MWC by surprise.

Mobile World Congress 2023 took place in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2. // Source: Frandroid

This is bad press that Huawei would have done without. As the Mobile World Congress 2023 trade show (February 27-March 2) in Barcelona had just ended, several visitors to the exhibition booth of Chinese manufacturer Huawei noticed that the badge they were given at the entrance contained various tracers of data.

According to specialized online media LightReadingReporting this finding since Friday, March 3, Huawei would have asked all visitors to wear this badge mandatory inside the stand, to then return it at the exit.

Analyze the time spent in front of your products

One of these visitors is none other than the Vice President of Nokia Europe, Rolf Werner. In a photo shared with LightReading, we see that the small round plastic block attached to the nameplate contains a small green printed circuit. A circuit that, according to statements by the manager to the specialized media, can be used as a tracer.

Source: Light reading

If this discovery surprised visitors, however, this technology would be indicated on the back of the borrowed badge. A text specifies that the Chinese manufacturer used ” RFID and Bluetooth technology to collect the passage of this Huawei card at the entrance of the Huawei exhibition area, the real-time location and stay time of this Huawei card holders in the Huawei exhibition area. This information will be collected and processed solely for the purpose of analyzing the general interest of our guests in our products in order to improve the quality of our service. We will protect this information in accordance with our privacy policy.»

A context of European distrust

asked by LightReading, Huawei reiterated that the badge should only be worn at its booth and that the company does not need to collect location data. Despite this promise and this message full of transparency, the choice to track visitors can be criticized, especially if it allows you to accurately measure the interest shown by visitors who are members of competing companies in your products.

Above all, this new case fuels the doubts of European governments and companies towards Huawei, accused of wanting to collect personal data from its users or of spying on Europeans for the Chinese government. Doubts that had caused numerous bans on Huawei’s 5G antennas in Europe.

In the case of this follow-up badge, it was by chance a Nokia executive who noticed: the Finnish brand is a direct competitor to Huawei in the 5G infrastructure market (15% market share, compared to 30% of the Chinese).

an investigation is open

The presence of this shield surprised even the organizers of the MWC in Barcelona. questioned by LightReadingthe GSM Association said it was surprised:Sure, you know some vendors require booth visitors to remove their lanyards and competitor branding for obvious reasons, but the idea of ​​tracking devices is a serious indictment. We are looking into this but have no details to share at this time.»

A situation that seems to bother the organizers. how do you rememberLightReadingthe GSM Association gets most of its revenue from the MWC, of ​​which Huawei is the 3rd largest sponsor…with Nokia and Ericsson.

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