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Huawei 5G: UK spies believe that risks can be managed

The National Cyber ​​Security Center, part of the British intelligence service, has concluded that there are ways to limit the risks of using Huawei to build the next-generation wireless network, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, has been on the defensive in recent months, as the US government has been pushing for the company's technology to be banned and claiming it can be used by China to spy. Australia and New Zealand have already blocked mobile operators from using Huawei for 5G networks, and other governments, including Britain, are examining the situation.

Huawei has strongly denied that its equipment poses any security risk and has criticized movements to shut it out of networks as "irresponsible decisions" for political reasons. Industry leaders and analysts say US pressure on Huawei risks delaying the deployment of 5G networks in key markets, as the company is well ahead of its competitors in developing the technology.

The National Cyber ​​Security Center refused to comment on Monday about the details of the Financial Times report but said in a statement that it has "a unique overview and understanding of Huawei technology and cyber security."

The intelligence service plays an important role in a broader British government service examining the security of technology that operators plan to use in 5G networks in the country.

"The review looks at a number of options and will be completed in the spring. No decisions have been made and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect" The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement Monday.

Monday, a spokesman for Huawei said the company advocates an open dialogue on security.

"Cyber ​​security is a problem that must be dealt with throughout the industry," said the chairman in a statement. "We are still focused on working with our customers to help them deliver world-leading technology."

A potential split for Five Eyes?

If the British government decides that Huawei equipment can be used for 5G, it is likely to affect relations with Washington.

The United Kingdom is part of a close intelligence sharing alliance with the United States called Five Eyes, which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The approval of the Huawei technology by a member of the group would undermine the US offensive against the company.
  The United States is increasing pressure on Europe to dig Huawei

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that the United States has been "very clear" with their security partners about the threat from Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies.

"We need to protect our critical telecom infrastructure and America urges all our security partners to be vigilant and to reject any company that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or our national security systems," Pence told the Munich Security Conference participants.

New 5G networks are set to increase the speed of wireless internet on smartphones and allow a larger number of internet enabled devices to communicate with each other more effectively. It could develop plans for things like smart cities where connected cars can communicate with traffic systems.

A British government's control panel overseeing Huawei's operations in the UK warned last year that it could only provide "limited assurance" that the company's telecom equipment does not pose a threat to national security.

The control panel also said that "technical problems" had been identified in Huawei's technical processes, leading to "new risks in the UK's telecommunications network."

Huawei has responded promisingly to invest $ 2 billion to address these issues through improvements in its software development. The company said in a new letter to British lawmakers that it could take as long as five years before the upgrade shows "concrete results".

Great Britain could influence others

How the Huawei prices in the United Kingdom can influence decisions by other governments that have intensified the review of its products, such as Germany.
  UK Telecom Manager: We have not seen any cause for concern for & # 39; over Huawei
BT Group ( BT ) operating one of the largest UK mobile operators, said in December that it would not use Huawei equipment in the heart of its 5G network, launched this year in 16 British cities. The company said at that time that it would keep Huawei as a "major non-core equipment supplier," using its equipment in areas considered "benign", like masters or towers.
In an interview with CNN Business earlier this month, a top BT manager said the company has not seen any evidence that Huawei technology is a security risk.

"Over the years we have worked with Huawei, we have not yet seen anything that gives us cause for concern," says Marc Allera, CEO of BT's consumer brands.

Samuel Burke helped report.

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