Huawei Pressed In The UK, Australia On Telecom Cybersecurity Issues


China-based telecommunications giant Huawei continues to be pressed on multiple fronts regarding allegations its equipment could be used to provide cybersurveillance capabilities for the Chinese government.

In the latest in what has become a full-court press against Huawei, the U.K. government confirmed to the BBC that it is probing the Cyber Security Evaluations Centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, which was set up by Huawei to assess possible cyber risks related to the company's equipment.

Meanwhile, the former head of the CIA and National Security Agency told the Australian Financial Review that he believes Huawei is a "significant security threat" to both the U.S. and Australia.

 

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These actions, which follow an October report by the U.S. Congress that found equipment from Huawei to be a potential security threat in the U.S., form a serious triangle of resistance to Huawei's telecom market expansion despite being the world's second-largest telecommunications provider.

In the U.K., the government this week said it is reviewing the security arrangements provided by the Cyber Security Evaluations Centre, known as the "Cell," in the wake of a June report by the Intelligence and Security Committee that found serious issues with how the Cell was managed.

The Cell in 2010 was set up and funded by Huawei as part of a 2005 agreement between it and British Telecom related to a government contract. All Cell personnel except its head, a former deputy director of Government Communications Headquarters, are from Huawei as well.

The BBC quoted a Cabinet Office spokesperson as saying that the government takes threats to its critical national infrastructure seriously, and that it has robust procedures in place to ensure confidence in U.K. telecommunications networks security.

"However, we are not complacent and as such we have agreed to the main recommendation of the report to conduct a review of Huawei's Cyber Security Evaluation Centre [the 'Banbury Cell'] to give assurance that we have the right measures and processes in place to protect UK telecommunications," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, in Australia, where Huawei is working to promote its telecom equipment as a safe offering from a company independent of the Chinese government, the Australian Financial Review on Thursday published an interview with Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and NSA, in which Hayden said he is certain Huawei supplied sensitive intelligence to China in his "professional judgment."

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