Our closest military allies have banned HuaWei from further involvement in the supply of communications equipment over fears the Chinese Government could use its systems for espionage. The USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Japan, has been most vocal in calling for the UK to have no further dealings with the Chinese technological giant.
Britain’s MI6 Chief has said the UK should avoid relying on a monopoly provider of equipment.
Under the Chinese National Law, HuaWei is legally bound under the constitution like all Chinese companies & nationals to provide any information Beijing or the Chinese Communist Party demands. It has no choice in the matter.
It is also an ongoing fear that through HuaWei, Chinese hackers would find an easy way into Western intelligence shared information. The US Government is also trying to prevent Western companies using Huawei’s routers and switches.
Against this background, Britain has reportedly gone against the flow and told its intelligence partners that it will maintain its HuaWei relationship but confine it to the ‘peripheral’ part of 5G ie the RAN (Radio Access Network), known as the ‘dumb’ part of the network. This is because the smarter software, although handling a greater volume of traffic, will not actually affect the data.
So the UK believes by banning HuaWei from the core, and confining it to the RAN, this makes its involvement more manageable.
However, I agree with those cyber security experts who maintain that over time the ‘edge’, the name given to the boundary between the core and the periphery, will gradually disappear, as more sensitive operations are done closer to users.
How then will it be possible to exclude HuaWei, and obviously the Chinese State, from the network’s secret areas?
China has made no secret of her political and territorial aims. These are hostile to the best interests of the Western Alliance. Some say there is little doubt that certain elements of the British establishment have been seduced by Beijing and continue to overplay the benefits of expanding economic ties while greatly underestimating the security risk.
Quo Vadis Mr Johnson?