UK's Huawei fears may take five years to address

Responding to claims that the company could use its equipment to spy for the Chinese government, the Chinese tech firm has told the UK government its concerns will take three-to-five years to fully address

7Feb

It will take three-to-five years for Huawei to address the concerns raised by the UK government over the security of its equipment and its potential to be used for espionage by the Chinese government, the telecommunications giant explained in an open letter to MPs.

The UK government's report in July 2018 concluded that it has "only limited assurance" that Huawei's broadband and mobile infrastructure equipment poses no threat to national security, adding that "significant work" was needed to tackle the concerns. The investigation revealed shortcomings in Huawei's engineering process which may have "exposed new risks in UK telecoms networks". Responding to the allegations at the time, the company acknowledged that there were "some areas for improvement".

In the letter, delivered last week to MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee but made public on Wednesday, Huawei stated it has earmarked $2bn (£1.5bn) to fully address the allegations against it.

In the letter, Ryan Ding, president of Huawei's carrier business group, stated that the company "has never and will never" use its equipment to assist espionage activities for the Chinese government.

"Huawei is a closely watched company," he added. "Were Huawei ever to engage in malicious behavior, it would not go unnoticed – and it would certainly destroy our business."

The UK is far from being alone in its fear that the company is complicit in spying for the Chinese government. Germany has recently put pressure on Chinese tech giant Huawei to guarantee it will keep data secure and will not hand it over to the Chinese government. Australia, New Zealand and Japan have all banned Huawei as a wireless network provider over similar security concerns.

The fears stem partly from China's 2017 National Intelligence Law which states that Chinese organizations must"support, cooperate with, and collaborate in, national intelligence work", but the Chinese firm has denied all claims that its products present a security risk.

The UK government has yet to find evidence of Huawei equipment being used for spying.

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