Britain's 5G network security review ongoing: PM May's spokesman

Ann Santiago
February 20, 2019

The conclusion, which contradicts US claims about "risks" posed by Huawei equipment, has been reached by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), according to the sources cited by FT.

Huawei, along with another Chinese network equipment company ZTE Corp, has been accused by the United States of working at the behest of the Chinese government.

Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa intelligence expert who closely studies the 5G issue, says if Britain gives Huawei a cautious green light, it will allow Canada some breathing room to resist the US campaign. The Trump administration has been putting pressure on allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei Technologies, threatening the company's access to markets for next-generation wireless gear.

Huawei, on the other hand, vehemently denies these allegations. The United States has said their equipment could be used to spy on Americans.

The conclusion reached by Britain would "carry great weight" with European leaders, the FT reported, citing a source. "The review is looking at a range of options and no decisions have been taken", the spokesman said.

Even Oxford University has cut ties with the company in recent months. In late December, Reuters published an article in which it reported that President Donald Trump was considering an executive order to ban us carriers from using equipment made by Huawei.

The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in late 2018 set off a global firestorm.

Last month Ms Meng, who is the daughter of the Huawei founder, was charged with wire fraud that violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. That has prompted some industry analysts to suggest Washington is trying to use security concerns to handicap Chinese competitors.

Hannigan argued that British security officials had never found evidence of Huawei involvement in Chinese state-sponsored cyberespionage, and that political fashion or trade wars should not eclipse rational assessment of risk.

While NCSC did not directly comment on the FT report, it reiterated earlier concerns about Huawei's engineering and security capabilities. It will be up to the country's government to decide whether to take the NCSC's advice on board.

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