United Kingdom intelligence agency says Huawei 5G ban probably isn’t warranted

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US representatives as talks come up fast against a March 1 deadline. POOL  AFP  File  Andy Wong
UK security chiefs: Huawei risk in 5G can be contained

20 February, 2019

The recommendation from the National Cyber Security Centre is said to have come after a review of "5G" mobile technology and the potential risks it poses.

The report will include recommendations on how to respond to Chinese espionage risks from Huawei to 5G networks, according to a source cited by the FT.

The decision may have wide-reaching effects across Europe, the FT suggests, noting that the United Kingdom is the only European member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, in which the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada share intelligence data.

"Whether such an approach can prevail in Canada in the face of USA pressure is the question for us, as it is for Britain and Europe", Wark said Monday.

Huawei, meanwhile, says this is all "pride and prejudice" and that it isn't doing any spying, although that latter announcement was somewhat undermined by the inclusion of praise for Donald Trump as "a great president".

Some security analysts argue that a Huawei role in 5G could give it access to a wide range of digital data gleaned from how, when and where Canadian customers use their electronic devices.

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If the government of the United Kingdom decides against a Huawei equipment ban, it's likely to have at least some effect on the decision-making process here in Canada.

Wark pointed to Huawei's history of fostering technological innovation in Canada and supplying quality gear to major telecommunications providers as reasons to assess the security risks on rational, technical grounds.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada in December and faces possible extradition to the US. The U.S. has accused her of fraud and violating global sanctions against Iran, which she and Huawei have both denied.

"China has not and will not require companies or individuals to collect or provide foreign countries' information for the Chinese government by installing backdoors or other actions that violate local laws", said Geng.

While NCSC did not directly comment on the FT report, it reiterated earlier concerns about Huawei's engineering and security capabilities.

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