… banning Huawei from 5G altogether. Subject to certain restrictions, the Science and Technology Committee of the U.K. Parliament concluded “there are no technical grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from the U.K.’s 5G or other telecommunications networks,” the committee chair, Norman Lamb, wrote in a July 10 letter to the UK’s Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Citing witnesses during oral evidence taken before his committee, Lamb suggested Huawei’s gear has been largely kept out of mobile operators’ “core” networks to curtail “the impact that any potential threat could pose.”
“Although the Australian government has concluded that the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ elements of 5G networks will be less clear than for previous technology generations, we heard unanimously and clearly that a distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ parts of a 5G network will still exist,” Lamb stated.
He added the government should require Huawei is excluded “from the core of U.K. telecommunications networks” since network operators’ decision to do so has been voluntary.
In an open letter that The Wall Street Journal linked to in a 2011 blog, Ken Hu – the deputy chairman of the board of directors of Huawei Technologies – refuted allegations that his employer is closely tied to the Chinese military and threatens U.S. national security.
Huawei’s purported military ties, Hu said, are simply based on the fact that its founder, Ren Zhengfei, at one time served in the People’s Liberation Army. Zhengfei retired from the Army in 1983 and founded Huawei four years later, he noted.
“The allegation that Huawei somehow poses a threat to the national security of the United States has centered on a mistaken belief that our company can use our technology to steal confidential information in the United States or launch network attacks on entities in the U.S. at a specific time,” Hu wrote. “There is no evidence that Huawei has violated any security rules.”
In Washington, D.C., distrust of Huawei has only heightened. For instance, citing internal documents it obtained and “people familiar with the arrangement,” the Washington Post in July reported Huawei surreptitiously helped the government of North Korea build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network.
The Post questioned whether Huawei, which has incorporated American technology in its components, violated U.S. export controls to supply equipment to North Korea.
“5G-powered smart grids, telemedicine, autonomous vehicles and other advancements will dramatically improve productivity and energy efficiency, but we need to make sure that the network upon which these technologies are delivered is completely secure,” Ridge wrote in a June 25 article for RealClearWorld. “On this score, Huawei provides little comfort.”
Warner and four other senators in May introduced legislation (United States 5G Leadership Act of 2019) to bolster the security of 5G infrastructure and remove Chinese equipment from American networks. Intelligence firm Skopos Labs predicts the bill has a 25% chance of passing, according to GovTrack.us.
Among other provisions, the bill would:
- Establish a U.S. policy that American 5G networks should exclude equipment or services provided by Huawei, ZTE or their affiliates.
- Require the Federal Communications Commission to finalize its rulemaking that would bar the use of Universal Service subsidies to purchase equipment or services from providers who constitute a national security risk.
- Create a program to help U.S. communications providers remove Huawei gear from their networks, allocating up to $700 million from future spectrum auctions to support that objective, according to a May 23 news release from the office of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas).
“For a number of years, the federal government failed to …