Britain Yet to Decide on 5G Security Policy

Huawei Ryan Ding

Huawei Ryan Ding

The UK would be "naive" and "irresponsible" to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to contribute to the UK's next mobile phone network, a defence think-tank says.

In the UK, Huawei is monitored by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), a body that contains Huawei officials, UK Government representatives and mobile operators.

The RUSI report reached a similar conclusion, saying that although Huawei may be a private company, China's national security laws required cooperation with authorities when requested.

But the company has come under fire in Britain since a government report in July previous year found that technical and supply-chain issues with its equipment had exposed national telecoms networks to new security risks.

A United Kingdom defense and security think tank has claimed that it would be "naïve" and "irresponsible" of the government to allow Huawei to supply equipment to establish 5G networks in the country.

Huawei, though it is one of China's marquee worldwide companies, emphasizes it is not a state-controlled enterprise and says it would never spy on behalf of Beijing or anyone else.

"The maintenance of a "Five Eyes standard" of cyber security in telecommunications is a vital strategic and security interest, the loss of which would go far beyond a reduction in intelligence reports exchanged and might lead to the United Kingdom being excluded from work on developing future technologies for intelligence collection", the report said. But the Shenzhen-based company and the Chinese government say those concerns are unfounded. "The techniques the Russians used to target those networks were looking for weaknesses in how they were architected and how they were run".

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"We will not compromise on the improvements we need to see from Huawei", Martin said, according to a transcript of a speech he gave at a cybersecurity conference in Brussels.

"Any company in an excessively dominant market position will not be incentivised to take cyber security seriously", he said.

It's important not to let the telecom equipment supplier market shrink too much, Martin said. "We must assume that a global supply chain will have multiple vulnerabilities, whether intentional or, more likely, unintentional".

"Essentially, we will take the future standards and future requirements to rebuild our process of software production, and we are going to follow those future standards as we work to refactor our legacy code. No network can be totally safe".

"Some politicians have turned either 5G or cyber security into political or ideological discussions, which I believe are not sustainable".

Speaking when he addressed worldwide media corps from the United Kingdom last week, Xu cited the firm's collaborative partnerships with the UK Government as a key indicator of the commitment to maintain global ethical standards relating to technology solutions and applications.

"If you've built a telecommunications network in a way that the compromise of one supplier can cause catastrophic national harm, then you've built it the wrong way", he said.

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