Officials Gather To Discuss 5G Security

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Countries from around the world discuss 5G security, but Russia, China and Huawei not invited

Security officials from nations around the world gathered in Prague on Thursday to discuss security threats as 5G networks are rolled out.

But there were some notable exceptions after Russia, China, and Chinese telecoms firms Huawei were not invited to attend.

The officials agreed that global co-operation was needed to to ensure security is maintained with the arrival of 5G.

Huawei

5G meeting

The gathering in Prague was made up of 30 nations from the European Union, as well as countries such as Australia, Japan, and the United States, Reuters reported.

They met to discuss an outline of practices that could form a basis for a coordinated approach to shared security and policy measures.

Russia, China and Huawei were not invited, although a number of participants reportedly said no single company or country was being singled out.

“It is an attempt to widen the discussion to a platform that should involve the entire Western civilization,” said one diplomatic source, and a non-binding summary on Friday is expected to provide principles for further discussions.

It is also reported that any conclusions from the conference would be informal as some participating countries were not ready to sign any documents in Prague because they had not concluded debates about the issue at home.

And a draft document seen by Reuters has revealed that participants have been discussing setting up certain security conditions for vendors that Chinese providers could find difficult to meet.

“Risk assessments of supplier’s products should take into account all relevant factors, including applicable legal environment and other aspects of a supplier’s ecosystem,” the draft said.

Global standards

Huawei meanwhile was reported as saying that it hoped the gathering would lead to a push for a more scientific and “unemotive” way of approaching technology.

“We fully support international standards, international verification that is based on facts and evidence,” Huawei Senior VP and Global Cyber Security & Privacy Officer John Suffolk told reporters.

Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States have already banned the use of Huawei kit for 5G networks. The UK has said it would allow Huawei limited access by supplying kit for non-core parts of the network, much to the frustration of the United States.

Huawei ban

There has been intense lobbying efforts by the United States to pressure its allies to ban Huawei and other Chinese suppliers from participating in the build-out of 5G networks due to fears the Chinese firm would be pressured to spy for Chinese intelligence services.

Huawei has always denied the US accusations, and in March it urged governments, the telecoms industry and regulators to work together to create a common set of cybersecurity standards.

That call came after officially opened a cyber security centre in Brussels to allow governments and companies to test and examine its products and source code. The Brussels Cyber Security Transparency Centre mirrors similar facilities in the UK, Germany, Dubai, Canada and China.

The UK centre, located in Banbury, actually opened in way back 2010, but it was only given official clearance by the British government in late 2013.

Essentially these facilities designed to allow officials from governments, as well as different companies, to test Huawei’s source code, software and product solutions for any backdoors or other vulnerabilities.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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