Tommy Zwicky, the face of Huawei in Denmark, says he could no longer look at himself in the mirror
By Drew Harwell
Feb. 2, 2021 at 6:31 a.m. GMT+8
A Huawei executive who resigned following revelations of the Chinese tech giant’s work on a “Uighur alarm” system that could track minorities is speaking out for the first time, saying the company failed to take seriously matters of public surveillance and human rights.
Tommy Zwicky, a vice president of communications for the company’s Denmark office, resigned in December after a Washington Post report detailing Huawei’s test of face-scanning software that police could use to identify Uighurs, the predominantly Muslim minority group that Chinese authorities have detained by the hundreds of thousands in reeducation camps.
Zwicky said he had pushed the company to speak out more forcefully against the potentially oppressive technology and that he chose to abruptly resign because he believed the company was only interested in making the story go away.
“I was told very clearly, ‘We will not admit we made a mistake,’ ” he said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I stayed.”
Zwicky spoke with The Post on Monday, the first day he said he was no longer contractually bound. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Zwicky, a former journalist and host of a Danish children’s TV news show, had been hired six months earlier to serve as the face of Huawei’s communications in Denmark, where the company has pushed to negotiate lucrative opportunities building the 5G mobile networks that could power the future Internet.
Zwicky had worked to defend Huawei against allegations that the company fueled oppressive surveillance measures. But after The Post and the research organization IPVM revealed documents detailing the artificial-intelligence camera system, Zwicky said, “I read it and I immediately had that knot in the pit of my stomach. … I was always daring Huawei’s detractors to come up with any proof. And here it was.”