A recent decision by prime minister Theresa May to involve the Chinese tech firm Huawei with ‘non-core’ parts of the UK’s 5G network has caused the US to threaten to withhold information from British Intelligence.
The leak from the UK government regarding the decision to let Huawei building certain non-critical parts of 5G networks has been met with some push back, as Digital minister Margot James tweeted, “In spite of cabinet leaks to the contrary, final decision yet to be made on managing threats to telecoms infrastructure.”
While May allowed Huawei to help with non-core parts of the UK’s emerging 5G network, the prime minister did stress that the UK has banned the tech company from having any part in constructing ‘core’ parts of the new internet infrastructure.
The US and Australia have both banned Huawei from selling parts in their respective countries due to security concerns posed by the close relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government, and the fear the equipment may be used for espionage over high-speed internet lines.
While there is a fear by the US that the Chinese tech company will be used for spying purposes, there has not been enough proof to prompt Germany or Poland to block Huawei equipment being used in their construction of 5G infrastructure.
Rob Strayer, deputy assistant secretary for cyber and international communications at the US State Department, said it is unwise for countries to trust Huawei enough to let them have a hand in any part of their infrastructure. Strayer said “We think there’s unacceptable risk in letting untrusted vendors provide that base infrastructure because they could disrupt any of those critical services. In addition, we’re concerned about the ability for a government that has the track record… that China has, to potentially have access to that massive increase in data, personal data in many cases, that could be used in nefarious ways.”