security warnings the government has given the green light to the Chinese
tech giant to provide ‘non-core’ equipment to help build Britain’s new 5G network.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper
reported Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa
May, has agreed to allow Huawei access to ‘non-core’ parts of 5G mobile infrastructure
such as antenna, despite senior members raising concerns about the approach.
Such a decision would mean Huawei
would not supply equipment where tasks such as checking device IDs and deciding
how to route voice calls and data take place.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer
of telecoms equipment, is under intense scrutiny from the US due to fears that Huawei
would have no choice but to hand over network data to the Chinese government if
asked for it.
The US campaigned to its allies in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence grouping (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) urging them to also ban the company. Already siding with Washington, Australia has spoken of “Serious concerns over Huawei’s obligations to the Chinese government and the danger that poses to the integrity of telecommunications networks in the US and elsewhere.”
Huawei, which is waiting on a formal government announcement on the UK’s 5G plans, said it was “Pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work,” adding it would continue to work cooperatively with the government and the industry.
Digital Minister Margot James responded
to the reports about Huawei by tweeting: “In spite of Cabinet leaks to the contrary,
final decision yet to be made on managing threats to telecoms infrastructure.”
With the fifth generation of cellular
mobile communications set to support technologies from driverless cars to smart
cities, the decision to allow Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network is
arguably one of the most significant long-term national security decisions this
government will make.