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Head of UK’s MI6 stuck between competitive and security concerns on Huawei

By Jules Wang February 18, 2019, 7:45 am

The chief of United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service is weighing multiple concerns in contemplating whether Huawei equipment should be excluded from the nation’s 5G network build-out.

Alex Younger, attending the Munich Security Conference, told reporters in a rare public briefing that a decision about the telecom supplier isn’t purely an “in or out” affair.

“What I want is a proper conversation about this because it’s not inherently desirable that any piece of significant national infrastructure is provided from a monopoly supplier,” Younger said.

The MI6 leader also said he was not being pressured by ally nations in the Five Eyes intelligence exchange. The US has deemed Huawei equipment as a threat as it may be compelled to allow the Chinese government a “backdoor” through the encryption on its network equipment. Australia, having banned Huawei’s involvement in its 5G networks, purportedly found the company accessing a network featuring its equipment. Meanwhile, Canada is also struggling with a potential Huawei ban on its 5G network while New Zealand already has.

BT stated in December that it would be excising Huawei equipment from its existing cellular network and not include new Huawei equipment for its 5G network.

Huawei has been putting on a charm offensive to many governments and has denied all charges of keeping security loopholes open. As carriers continue to roll-out 5G, Nokia may become the primary consideration for equipment tenders.


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