Concern growing in #EU capitals over #USA action against #Huawei

| April 23, 2019

Efforts by the American administration to persuade European governments to ban equipment manufactured by Chinese company Huawei from next generation 5G networks is causing growing concern in EU capitals.

5G will change the way we live. It is not just the successor to the 4G mobile phone network, but a quantum leap in technology which will allow all manner of devices to operate in an “internet of things”, ranging from driverless cars to home automation.

The USA, which has a 5G network by deployed by Verizon, claims that European communication networks containing Huawei equipment will pose a security risk, possibly allowing the Chinese government to spy on Western sensitive communications.

European officials and experts are beginning to suspect that their objections are more to do with the US-China trade war rather than any real security risk from using Huawei equipment.

Donald Trump’s invitation to Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis to visit the White House and tour the CIA is seen as an attempt to use the Czech government to influence the European Commission’s recommendations on cyber security, with a follow up conference on Cyber Security in Prague on 2 and 3 May with invited representatives from NATO, the European Union and “related countries”.

It is seen as intended to bring pressure on the European Commission and EU members to exclude Huawei from future EU 5G networks on security grounds.

But the European Commission, Germany and the United Kingdom have said they will not ban Huawei outright.

The UK has set up a special unit within the British spy agency GCHQ to investigate and monitor any threat to UK critical infrastructure from using Huawei equipment.

Based on the oversight board report, no backdoor has been found in Huawei’s equipment

Huawei has set up “Transparency Centres” with European customers to allow them to investigate Huawei equipment and software and search for any security flaws.

In a special TV documentary programme by the respected BBC Current Affairs investigative programme “Panorama” on 8th April 2019, the head of the UK spy agency’s National Cyber Security Centre Dr. Ian Levy said

“The threat of spying appears to be overstated. We can find no evidence of Chinese state malfeasance “

Abraham Liu, President of Huawei’s EU office, said:

“We are pleased that GCHQ agree that Huawei does not pose a security threat.  Huawei has never been asked by any government to build any backdoors or interrupt any networks, and we would never tolerate such behaviour by any of our staff.

Cyber security has always been our top priority and we have a proven track record of providing secure products and solutions for our customers in Europe and around the world. Today, the ICT supply chain is highly globalized. Cyber security needs to be addressed jointly at a global level, and equipment vendors should not be treated differently based on their country of origin.

We are always open to a dialogue with all EU governments. We are part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

Any ban would come at huge cost to Europe. Scott Petty of Vodafone UK, one of Europe’s largest mobile companies, told BBC Panorama “If we were to be prevented from using Huawei from 5G networks then first we would have to replace it in all 4G base stations with new equipment. This would take a huge amount of money and time.”

Huawei has invested billions of euros into research and development, and their patents and equipment is at least 18 months ahead of any competitor. Some believe that this is the real reason the USA is trying desperately to prevent Huawei being used in European 5G networks, as any ban would give USA companies time to catch them up.

Politicians are also concerned at what they see as the bullying tactics of Donald Trumps government.

British Member of Parliament Norman Lamb, chairman of the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee said

“We should take our decision on robust analysis. We should not blindly follow the Americans.

If governments want 5G delivered in a timely and affordable basis then equipping with Huawei equipment will be necessary”

The EU is aware and sceptical of Trump’s tactics of trying to divide and rule Europe by trying to reach a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic on Cyber Security.

But the European Commission is unlikely to allow this to happen.

It appears that the US has been making groundless allegations but have not been able to bring up any evidence. Their approach is unprecedented. People need to ask what is their real intention?

The campaign, which has been stepped up in recent months, is more likely to be part of the USA’s trade battle with China.

 

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