Sunday, 12 July, 2020

U.S. officials to visit Britain, pushing for Huawei 5G ban

MI5 chief dismisses UK-US security fears over Huawei US officials tell UK that using Huawei to build a 5G network would be 'madness'
Deanna Wagner | 14 January, 2020, 16:26

Andrew Parker, the head of the domestic Security Service MI5, told the Financial Times this month that he had "no reason" to believe intelligence-sharing with the USA would be harmed by a decision to allow Huawei in.

US government officials presented the British government with new evidence on Monday about the risks of using Huawei equipment, branding it "madness", according to reports.

Huawei has consistently denied that it has ever been asked by the Chinese government to introduce secret "back doors" into its technology, and has even offered to sign a "no spy agreement" with countries adopting it.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under intense pressure from US President Donald Trump to prevent Huawei from playing a role in building Britain's 5G telecoms network on grounds of security.

The US has upped the rhetorical ante on its largely unfounded claims that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will severely compromise a country's cyber security if it is allowed to work on any of the world's burgeoning national 5G networks.

The UK's security establishment had also repeatedly advised British prime minister Boris Johnson that any security risks can be contained.

The spokesman confirmed that British and United States "national security officials" were holding a meeting Monday in London following a report that the talks were a last-ditch bid by Washington to stop Huawei playing a role.

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The U.S. government itself banned Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese-manufactured devices in federal agencies, due to the same espionage worries.

The UK mobile phone operator Vodafone said previous year that a ban on using Huawei gear would delay 5G deployment and lead to larger costs - Huawei's kit is reported to be cheaper and more advanced than fellow 5G network firms Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia from Finland.

The US delegation is expected to include deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, the two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

US President Donald Trump described Huawei as a "security risk" at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in December.

In a briefing following talks with Cabinet ministers, one official said it would "be nothing less than madness to allow Huawei to get into next generation tele- communication networks and vacuum up personal data".

The U.K. for months has been debating how much, if any, access to grant Huawei to its broadband market in the future amid the suggestion the USA may be more wary of sharing intelligence if it uses Chinese equipment.