Sunday, 16 June 2019

Huawei reiterates commitment to transparency, as UK MNOs ask govt for clarity on 5G security

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Tuesday 11 June 19

A BBC report suggested that the heads of the UK's big four MNOs have written to the government asking them to clarify the role that Huawei can play in their future 5G rollout plans

Huawei's senior security official has said that his company remains fully committed to "openness and transparency", as he gave evidence to a parliamentary select committee in the UK. Britain's Science and Technology Committee will report back to the UK government on the extent to which the Chinese tech giant should be allowed to be involved in the country's 5G network rollout…

Huawei's senior security official has said that his company remains fully committed to "openness and transparency", as he gave evidence to a parliamentary select committee in the UK.

Britain's Science and Technology Committee will report back to the UK government on the extent to which the Chinese tech giant should be allowed to be involved in the country's 5G network rollout.

Huawei has found itself under intense pressure from the US in recent months, who claims that the company's network infrastructure poses a direct risk to its national security. The US is in the process of trying to rally its allies to exclude Huawei from their networks, with little success.  

Huawei has been heavily involved in the UK's telecommunications sector for the past 15 years and works closely with at least three of the country's big four mobile network operators. It was instrumental in launching 4G services across the country.

A new mobile industry report, cited by industry news site Tech Radar, said that banning Huawei from Europe's 5G rollout plans could delay the launch by 18 months and cost operators €55 billion.

In a wide ranging and probing session, Huawei's global cyber security and privacy officer, John Suffolk, answered a swathe of questions from the Committee, seeking to allay fears that Huawei's equipment was any less secure than that of its rivals.  

"We allow any company and any country to come and review and inspect our products – not because we expect them to find 100 per cent of the issues - because if we did that we wouldn’t be in the telecoms business, we'd be in the software engineering business – but because we believe passionately that the more people there are looking at our products, the more people we have inspecting and poking and prodding, the more chance you have of finding something," Suffolk said.

"We believe in full openness and transparency – we want people to find things – whether they find one or one hundred we don’t care. We are not embarrassed by what people find – people have talked about poor coding or poor engineering – but we stand naked in front of the world. It may not be a pretty sight all of the time but we would prefer to do that, because it enables us to improve our products and services," said John Suffolk.

Suffolk withstood robust questioning from the committee, repeatedly stating that Huawei obeyed the laws of the land in the 170 countries in which it operates.

The UK government is expected to reach a decision on Huawei in  the coming weeks.

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