Angela Merkel Demands Espionage Guarantees From Huawei

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Angela Merkel - Shutterstock - © 360b

Denmark expels two Huawei staff, and Norway’s intelligence boss issues warning about the Chinese firm

Western distrust of Huawei Technologies continues with the news that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued demands for the Chinese firm, if it hopes to compete in the local 5G networks rollout.

Merkel’s demand comes amid reports that Denmark has expelled two Huawei employees after checks revealed they had flouted work and residence permit rules.

And to add Huawei’s difficulties, the head of Norway’s intelligence service (PST) has joined other nations when she issued a warning about about the company.

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“One has to be attentive about Huawei as an actor and about the close connections between a commercial actor like Huawei and the Chinese regime,” the PST’s head, Benedicte Bjornland, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“An actor like Huawei could be subject to influence from its home country as long as China has an intelligence law that requires private individuals, entities and companies to cooperate with China,” she reportedly added.

Meanwhile in Germany, where senior officials have already urged the German government to ban the use of Chinese equipment in their 5G networks, there remains a slim chance that the Chinese networking giant could still participate.

But only if Huawei guarantees that it would not obey the Chinese law that requires it to co-operate with the Chinese government, if requested to do so.

Speaking on a visit to Japan, Angela Merkel was quoted by Reuters as saying on Tuesday that Germany needs guarantees that Huawei will not hand over data to the Chinese state, before the telecoms equipment supplier could participate in building its 5G network.

Merkel reportedly said that due to security concerns, it was important to speak to the Chinese government so “the company doesn’t just simply hand the data to the state”.

She reportedly told students in a discussion at Keio University that security was important if firms wanted to work in Germany and it must be made clear that the Chinese state cannot access all the data in Chinese products.

The German government has yet to make an official announcement on whether it will ban Huawei kit on security grounds.

Huawei exclusions

The British government meanwhile is currently conducting a review into telecoms security, and its conclusions will be announced in March.

However the British government last November already warned telcos against using equipment makers such as Huawei when rolling out 5G networks.

BT pledged to remove Huawei equipment from the next-generation emergency services communication network it is developing for the government

Poland has recently banned Huawei equipment from its 5G network following the arrest last month of an alleged spy who had been employed by the Chinese company.

The US government has repeatedly asked its allies not to use equipment from Huawei, and a large number of nations have signalled their intention to ban the Chinese kit.

New Zealand for example has banned the use of Huawei kit. It should be remembered that New Zealand is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing network that consists of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Australia has also banned the use Huawei technology altogether.

Huawei has always denied claims about the security of its products.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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