Monday, 06 July 2020 08:20

Ericsson under cloud after US places its Chinese partner on blacklist Featured

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Ericsson under cloud after US places its Chinese partner on blacklist Pixabay

Australian telecommunications companies will have to limit their 5G purchases to one company — Finland's Nokia — if the government accepts US advice about Chinese military connections to a number of companies, including Huawei.

A list released by the Department of Defence a few days back also lists Panda Electronics Corporation as a company that has links to the Chinese military. Sweden's Ericsson partners with Panda in China.

Nokia is also partnering with a Chinese state-owned organisation but that organisation has not been named by the Pentagon.

Ericsson Panda includes as shareholders the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Committee while Nokia Shanghai Bell is a joint venture with state-owned China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication.

Canberra has taken any advice issued by Washington about the 5G rollout very seriously, hence there is no reason to expect that it will disregard this latest tip.

ericsson

The list released by the Pentagon.

The DoD compiled the list under a 1999 law that mandated the creation of a list of Chinese military companies which had operations in the US, including those which are owned or controlled by the People's Liberation Army and provide commercial services, or are involved in manufacture, produce or export.

The two big telcos in Australia, Telstra and Optus, are both using equipment from Ericsson to build their 5G networks.

A Telstra spokesperson said: "Telstra does not have any equipment from Chinese network vendors in its network now, nor have we in the past. We work closely with our network partner Ericsson to ensure all components of our network are secure. We also engage closely with the Government on security measures but cannot comment on specific discussions."

An Optus spokesperson responded: "Optus complies with the national security arrangements imposed under TSSR." (the Telecommunications Sector Safety Reforms).

The Department of Home Affairs was contacted for comment. In its response, a spokesperson said it would not comment on specific companies.

"Given the importance of 5G networks to Australian society, the security of these networks is paramount," the spokesperson said. "The Australian Government has taken steps to secure Australia's critical networks and infrastructure, in particular Australia's 5G networks.

"Under Australian law, network operators are required to protect telecommunications networks, including 5G networks, from unauthorised access and interference.

"Our security controls for 5G networks are not targeted at particular countries or companies and were determined following a comprehensive and objective review of the national security risks unique to 5G networks in Australia.

"These controls apply equally to all nations and vendors. The Australian Government stands by its guidance on 5G security provided to Australian Carriers on 23 August 2018.

"The Australian Government respects the rights of other countries to make decisions based on their own assessment of their specific needs and national interests."


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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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