US Government Asks Allies To Implement Huawei Ban

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American officials trying to persuade foreign mobile operators and ISPs to drop all Huawei kit

The US Government is trying to persuade mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs) in allied countries not to use equipment from Huawei Technologies.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the US move adds to the pressure on the world’s biggest telecom gear maker, which is already under intense scrutiny because of its alleged links to the Chinese government, and the possible danger it poses to national security.

It comes after the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, last month called for Bloomberg to retract an article that alleged that the Chinese had installed spy chips on numerous hardware platforms from US firms including Apple, Amazon and other tech giants.

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Huawei pressure

The WSJ article reported that US officials have been reaching out, behind the scenes, to their counterparts in allied nations where Huawei equipment is already in use.

The WSJ cited unnamed ‘people familiar with the situation’ as its source, and said the American’s were warning their allies about the cybersecurity risks when using Huawei equipment.

It should be remembered that earlier this month, senior officials in Germany urged the German government to ban the use of Chinese equipment, like that from Huawei, in their 5G networks.

The officials want Germany to follow the lead of Australia in banning Huawei technology altogether, and were said to be planning a last-ditch drive to convince the government to consider excluding Chinese firms because of national security concerns.

The British government also earlier this month wrote to telcos, warning them against using equipment makers such as Huawei when rolling out 5G networks, because of an ongoing security review of those Chinese firms.

Canada is thought to have refused to allow Huawei to be involved with the construction of a government communications network.

The US meanwhile has already largely barred Huawei from supplying to the government, and has placed restrictions on the sale of smartphones made by Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers.

In March, the US also blocked Broadcom’s planned hostile acquisition of Qualcomm, saying that the deal could only benefit 5G research plans by Chinese companies such as Huawei.

Financial aid

Huawei for its part has always denied engaging in espionage and has said the pressure against it is part of a political move, as a trade war between the US and China escalates.

In an effort to counter Western concerns, Huawei opened a security centre in the UK in 2010 to allow British authorities to examine its equipment.

Huawei is also reportedly opening a new security lab in Germany that will enable source code inspection.

But the US is keeping up the pressure, and the American government is reportedly considering increasing financial aid for telecommunications development in those countries that shun Chinese-made equipment.

The US government is said to concerned that countries that host American military bases, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, are using Huawei equipment.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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