The UK has banned Huawei from its 5G telecom network, reversing a January decision to allow the embattled Chinese tech company a limited role in building the country's super-fast wireless infrastructure.
According to The New York Times, arguing that Huawei created too much risk for such a critical, multibillion-dollar project, the British government said Tuesday that it would ban the purchase of new Huawei equipment for 5G networks after December, and that existing gear already installed would need to be removed from the networks by 2027.
“As facts have changed, so has our approach,” Oliver Dowden, the government minister in charge of telecommunications, told the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon. “This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the U.K.’s telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run.”
Brandon Hoffman, CISO, Head of Security Strategy at Netenrich, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of IT, cloud, and cybersecurity operations and services, says, “The idea of banning a Chinese company from participation in technology ventures across the world will continue to grow. Specifically, the Huawei concerns are amplified by recent events. From a security perspective, there have been several issues recently that have lead folks to believe that some of the technology coming from China, while serving its primary purpose, may also be serving other more sinister purposes. The most recent example we have of this situation is the video sharing platform TikTok. While there is no clear determination what is happening with the information, it is clear the app was designed to do far more, and gather far more information, than an app of that nature should need. It are these examples of clear privacy and security violations, combined with nation state activity and cybercrime activity originating from China, that is causing additional scrutiny. Aside from the technology point, certainly there are geo-political considerations highlighting the notion that China will use all resources available to meet their goals. It would be naive of us to think that cyber security and technology at large would be excluded from the arsenal.”
Thomas Hatch, CTO and Co-Founder at SaltStack, a Lehi, Utah-based provider of intelligent IT automation software, notes, “Any time that we build a reliance on specific technology it needs to be asked, who controls this technology and how much control will they have over it in the future? This applies not only to questions about nation-states but also for everyday domestic technology. When we look at the level of information available to major tech companies in the US today, it is right for us to question not only the current motives of any foreign power but what motives they could develop in the future. It is wisdom to be wary of allowing corporations associated with foreign powers who are ideologically opposed to us to have deep technical access to our communications infrastructure.”