Huawei UK

No Technological Grounds for Huawei ban, say UK MPs

A committee of UK MPs on the science and technology committee has reported there are no technological grounds to completely ban Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G infrastructure, but there could be legitimate geopolitical and ethical reasons to do so.

The US has warned its allies that it believes Huawei’s equipment is untrustworthy and poses a security risk to any nation’s infrastructure it is installed within.

The committee’s chair Norman Lamb MP wrote:

“The government also needs to consider whether the use of Huawei’s technology would jeopardise this country’s ongoing co-operation with our major allies.”

The committee called for the government to ban Huawei equipment from the core infrastructure of the UK’s telecoms networks, the network switches, gateways, routers, and bridges which control how and where data is sent.

However part of the generational advantage of 5G is that it blurs the distinctions between “core” and “non-core” elements of the network, with elements towards the edge also being able to provide some critical functionality.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the US deputy assistant secretary for cyber security, Robert Strayer, said Washington would have to reassess its information sharing with the UK if Huawei was allowed any role at all in its 5G infrastructure.

He said:

“One of the most important responsibilities that we have as US government officials [is] that we protect our sensitive information, sensitive information that we’ve acquired.

“And people put themselves sometimes at substantial risk to acquire that information. Therefore, we need to ensure that that information is only transmitted on high security environments.

“We consider Huawei to be a substantial risk to the communications infrastructure.

“Therefore any country that deploys Huawei equipment in any part of its 5th generation infrastructure will be a network… that we need to assess ourselves and make a determination about how we will respond going forward.”

In the face of criticism and suggestions of impropriety, Huawei has consistently pointed out that there has never been any evidence suggesting its equipment is more faulty or suspicious than that of its competitors.

A spokesperson for Huawei said:

“We have always said if people have evidence around the accusations they should publish them and we’d be happy to address those concerns.

“To date no one has published that kind of evidence, there’s never been any evidence in 30 years of operation of the business that our equipment has been used for espionage.”

Following the publication of the science and technology committee’s report, the joint committee on the national security strategy announced its own inquiry into the national security impact of the government’s decision on Huawei.

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