Britain yet to decide on 5G security policy

British security officials had not been supporting an entire ban of Huawei's network devices from national telecom services despite United States disputes claiming the Chinese firm could have been used for espionage on behalf of China, at least two sources familiar with the subject matter revealed on Monday, the 18th of February, 2019.

Britain can handle the security risks involved with using mobile networks made by China's Huawei, the cybersecurity chief said Wednesday, adding to a growing debate among countries on whether the company should be banned, as the US wants. Huawei has said the cost will be around $2 billion.

He noted that there had been Chinese state-linked cyber attacks.

The U.S. lacks a leading corporate player in the 5G supplier game, fuelling suggestions that Washington's drumbeat of fear is propelled by commercial worries as much as security and legal concerns. "The two billion USA dollars would be used primarily for legacy code refactoring, training or upskilling of R&D engineers, so that in the next three to five years, Huawei can truly build products that would be trusted by governments and by customers, so as to support and sustain Huawei's long-term development.", concluded Mr. Xu.

"Huawei is a closely watched company", he added.

"In the 1,200 or so significant cybersecurity incidents the NCSC has managed since we were set up, the country of origin of suppliers has not featured among the main causes for concern in how these attacks are carried out", he said.

Meanwhile, Politik website has reported a "secret agreement" between the previous National government and the United Kingdom meant the British would test "all equipment and computer code that Huawei was planning to deploy in New Zealand".

Mr Martin described the current landscape for managing risks around cybersecurity as "complicated", but did lay out three rules for ensuring the security of 5G networks, the next generation mobile communications networks expected to begin rolling out later this year.

British officials appear to be taking a more measured approach.

"We understand the efforts of government and DoT for 5G". The Financial Times first reported on the story on Wednesday. Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini last month warned that politicians should be "careful not to become a tool in a trade war or a fight between competitors". It wasn't quite the briefing that I got about them (Huawei).

Large amounts of money and resources are at stake as Huawei is deeply involved in European telecoms networks. The two largest USA telecom providers, Verizon and AT&T, have effectively barred the company from their systems.

And in view of the well-known fact revealed by WikiLeaks and whistle blower Edward Snowden that the world's major hackers and cyber spies are U.S. intelligence agencies, he provided an interesting slant on some of the possible motives for the campaign.

"We should not make unreasonable guesswork and randomly label other countries", he said at a daily media briefing.

  • Eleanor Harrison