Sunday, 24 March 2019 16:17

Europe set to ignore US calls for Huawei ban Featured

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Europe set to ignore US calls for Huawei ban Courtesy Huawei

The European Commission is set to urge countries within the European Union to ignore calls from the United States to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies from playing a role in 5G networks within the political bloc.

A Reuters  report, citing people who were familiar with the matter, said the 28 nations within the EU — Britain is set to leave soon, with a date not yet set — had been asked to share more data to tackle any risks that were associated with the rollout of the next-generation of telecommunications technology.

The report said the head of digital for the EC, Andrus Ansip, would make the recommendations on Tuesday; while not binding, they will have the necessary political heft which could finally end in legislation.

For nearly two years, the US has been pushing countries it considers allies to avoid using equipment from Chinese companies, Huawei foremost, in 5G networks. But Washington has produced no proof to back up its claims that these products could be used to spy for China.

Only Australia and New Zealand have fallen in line with American dictates, but Wellington has now indicated that the initial refusal for telco Spark to use Huawei gear is not the end of the matter. Huawei sued the US on 7 March, seeking to be reinstated as a telco supplier in the country.

Whether the EU directives will be followed by the UK or not is uncertain, given that London is set to leave the bloc soon. But last month, the head of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, told a conference in Brussels that any likely risk posed by Huawei was manageable.

"Because of our 15 years of dealings with the company and 10 years of a formally agreed mitigation strategy which involves detailed provision of information, we have a wealth of understanding of the company," Martin said.

"We also have strict controls for how Huawei is deployed. It is not in any sensitive networks – including those of the government. Its kit is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers. Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei."

Ansip is set to tell EU nations to use processes detailed in the directive on network and information systems which was adopted in 2016 and also the recently introduced Cyber Security Act, the report said.

An EU-China summit on 9 April is expected to discuss this and other related topics such as gaining broader access to the Chinese economy.

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Sam Varghese

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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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