Friday, 24 August 2018 13:06

Huawei slams Australia ban as being 'politically motivated' Featured

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Australia's decision to ban Huawei Technologies from playing a role in the country's 5G networks is "politically motivated, not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision-making process", a spokesperson from the company's headquarters in Shenzhen says.

In a lengthy and impassioned statement on Friday, the spokesperson said the decision was "not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people, and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available".

The decision to keep Huawei, and its fellow Chinese firm ZTE, from playing any role in the 5G rollout Down Under, was announced in a joint statement on Thursday by Acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

The Huawei spokesperson said the lack of competition among 5G providers would increase network construction costs and have "a lasting effect" on Australia's transition to a digital economy.

"In the end, everyday businesses and consumers are the ones who will suffer the most from the government's actions," the spokesperson added.

"Huawei is one of the core developers behind 5G. The Australian Government recognises the massive benefits that 5G technology will bring to Australia's economy, and yet it has restricted the use of Huawei's technology," the spokesperson said.

"Innovation works because innovators are rewarded for their work, but the government has effectively denied Huawei a right to compete for a return on our investment."

In a sharp rebuke to the legal interpretations made in Australia, the spokesperson said that interpreting Chinese law should be left to qualified and impartial legal experts.

"Huawei has presented the Australian Government with an independent, third-party expert analysis of the Chinese laws in question: Chinese law does not grant government the authority to compel telecommunications firms to install backdoors or listening devices, or engage in any behaviour that might compromise the telecommunications equipment of other nations.

"A mistaken and narrow understanding of Chinese law should not serve as the basis for concerns about Huawei's business. Huawei has never been asked to engage in intelligence work on behalf of any government."

The spokesperson also pointed out that there was no fundamental difference between 5G and 4G network architecture with the core networks and access networks still separated.

"Moreover, 5G has stronger guarantees around privacy and security protection than 3G and 4G. We urge the government to take an objective and fact-based approach to security issues, and work together on effective long-term solutions. Open dialogue, joint innovation, and close collaboration are essential to the ongoing development of the telecommunications industry.

"For any country, fair and robust market competition is essential to strong economic growth. The Australian Government's actions undermine the principles of competition and non-discrimination in fair trade.

"The government has not issued any specific concerns about Huawei's governance, security, or suitability to safely and securely conduct business in Australia, so we’ve been given nothing to respond to. We will continue to engage with the Australian Government, and in accordance with Australian law and relevant international conventions, we will take all possible measures to protect our legal rights and interests."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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