As more countries scrutinize Huawei, the government is currently assessing potential security threats for local telecom network infrastructure
A government review into telecoms security which will recommend whether Huawei should be banned from U.K. telecom networks is expected to be completed in March, Sky News reported.
According to the report, the investigation being carried out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is set to be completed in March.
“It’s the right thing to do in my judgement to look at the supply-chain for telecoms, to make sure we’re confident that our security interests are met just as our requirements for efficient, effective technology are met,” Jeremy Wright MP, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, was quoted as saying.
“That’s what this review is doing and I want to make sure that we’ve given everybody contributing to the review the chance to say what they want to (…) When they have, we’ll have a look at the conclusions and decide what will go next,” he added.
“We’ve seen what other countries are doing, but I think it’s very important for the UK to consider carefully the evidence we’re collecting and then we’ll make a judgement.”
However a DCMS spokesperson later told Sky News that the review results may never be published due to its sensitive nature.
“We will need to consider the most appropriate mechanisms for demonstrating the outcomes of the review once it concludes in the Spring,” the spokesperson said.
A number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand have already taken certain steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations. In a recent press conference with international journalists, Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei said that his company does not spy for the Chinese government and that it would not respond to improper government requests for information.
“China’s ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” Ren added.
Meanwhile, UK telecom group BT said it already has plans to mitigate any impact from a potential restriction on Huawei’s equipment.
“I think the DCMS are doing a review on the telecom supply chain for all companies and the moment and we’re not going to prejudge the outcome of that, but we have plans to manage both the financial and logistical implications of a range of scenarios coming out it,” BT’s CEO Gavin Patterson recently told a conference call with investors.
“BT has a long-term relationship with Huawei but we’ve got also very clear architectural principles and very strong robust security controls. And these, we operate with close alignment with the NCSC to proactively manage how we use Huawei in our network.”
In related news, Swiss carriers Swisscom said it has no evidence of espionage by Huawei, according to local press reports.
“Today we have no indication that espionage is being operated on the networks,” Swisscom’s CEO Urs Schaeppi said during a recent press conference in Zurich.
“We are not completely blind when we operate the networks. We constantly monitor them and see what happens on the networks,” he added.
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