Arun Sudhaman 16 Dec 2020 // 2:24PM GMT
SHENZHEN — Huawei's communications heads in Denmark and the UK have stepped down, with one of the departures believed to be linked to facial recognition software the Chinese tech giant has reportedly tested to identify Uighurs.
A Washington Post report last week alleged that the software that could send automated “Uighur alarms” to government authorities when its camera systems identify members of the oppressed minority group.
Tommy Zwicky, who became Huawei Denmark's VP of communications in July of this year, has since stepped down after telling a Danish journalist that he couldn't explain the reports, in a deleted post on Twitter.
Zwicky, who previously spent several years as a journalist before joining Huawei, told PRovoke Media that he would disclose more details regarding his resignation when he leaves the company in February.
Meanwhile, Huawei UK communications director Ed Brewster is also leaving, after eight years with the company. Brewster, who relocates to New Zealand in January, said on LinkedIn that his one regret is "the outcome for the company in the UK", after the government banned Huawei from its 5G networks.
"I believe the UK should always choose the best technology, but too often we’ve heard an overly simplistic assessment of Huawei and have failed to appreciate that private enterprise from China can also be ‘world-leading’," added Brewster. "The technologies and issues are complex and that simplistic analysis does all of us a disservice."
Meanwhile, French footballer Antoine Griezmann has severed ties with Huawei following the Washington Post report. Griezmann had been a brand ambassador for Huawei since 2017.
"Following strong suspicions that Huawei has contributed to the development of a 'Uighurs alert' through the use of facial recognition software, I am immediately ending my partnership with the company," he said on Instagram.
Huawei has strongly denied the claims in the Washington Post story. The company did not respond to request for comment on the departures.