5G and the Enemy of the State: China


Josh Long

Josh Long

By Josh Long

Fueled by concerns from Congress, government officials and cybersecurity experts, the narrative in the United States has been building momentum for years.

Chinese telecommunications companies can’t be trusted to form the backbone of high-speed networks that are revolutionizing how the world communicates and power next-generation applications from smart automobiles to the electrical grid.

At stake, the U.S. government says, is the nation’s security, intellectual property and the privacy of American citizens. The rhetoric has escalated amid a worldwide race to build fifth-generation wireless networks at a time when Huawei Technologies leads the market for certain mobile infrastructure.

The Trump administration in May added Huawei to an entity list, a move Reuters reported banned the telecom leviathan “from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.” Also in May, President Trump issued an executive order that was reportedly a blow to Huawei.

Sen. Mark Warner (Va)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va)

Trump declared “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, which store and communicate vast amounts of sensitive information, facilitate the digital economy, and support critical infrastructure and vital emergency services, in order to commit malicious cyberenabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people.”

With China and the U.S. in a separate fight over trade, some members of Congress have raised concerns that the Trump administration would use Huawei as a bargaining chip, and they warned against use of Huawei equipment.

“Allowing the use of Huawei equipment in U.S. telecommunications infrastructure is harmful to our national security,” Sens. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), an intelligence committee member, cautioned Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer in a June 17 letter.

Trump last week told reporters the United States would not do business with Huawei, although a White House official later clarified the president was referring to a ban on U.S. government purchases of Huawei equipment, Reuters reported. Requests for sales by U.S. companies are still being evaluated, the news agency said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

“In no way should Huawei be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations,” Rubio and Warner wrote to Pompeo and Lighthizer. “Instead, the U.S. should redouble our efforts to present our allies with compelling data on why the long-term network security and maintenance costs on Chinese telecommunications equipment offset any short-term cost savings.”

Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, warned in July that Great Britain’s intelligence sharing relationship with the United States will be harmed if Britain allows Huawei to build Britain’s 5G network, the Telegraph reported.

“Everyone’s excited by 5G,” the newspaper quoted Ridge, “but along with the promise of 5G, there’s peril.”

The United Kingdom doesn’t seem keen on …

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