Britain Allows Huawei 5G Network Access Against US Advice

The UK Government has decided to give the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei a significant role in building the UK’s 5G phone and data network. 

The US Government has repeatedly warned the UK that the Beijing-based firm poses a security risk and that any access to Britain’s 5G would put in jeopardy US-UK intelligence sharing and possibly any post-Brexit trade deal. In the biggest test of his post-Brexit foreign policy to date,

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled that "high-risk vendors" would be allowed into the "non-sensitive" parts of 5G networks, but their involvement would be capped at 35 per cent. The UK National Security Council gave it limited access to the UK network on Tuesday 28th January.

Huawei will be excluded from the sensitive core of networks, where data is processed, and they are not allowed into any critical networks and sensitive locations such as nuclear sites and military bases, the government said.

Boris Johnson has been told that he is potentially disrupting relations with the US and he been warned that he’s now on the road to a diplomatic war with Donald Trump. However, Britain’s most senior intelligence officials believe that they can manage any risk posed by Huawei, which has played a role in the UK’s 3G and 4G networks for more than a decade.

MI5 intelligence chief Sir Andrew Parker and GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre have advised ministers that there will be no extra threat if Huawei’s role is restricted to non-core parts of Britain’s new mobile network.

Non-core equipment refers to the antennas and base stations that sit on masts and rooftops, considered less vulnerable than the core servers and systems where customer information is processed. With only two other companies, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, able to provide the necessary equipment and expertise for 5G in the UK.

Senior government insiders believe that excluding Huawei would cost billions more and impose serious delays on the technology rollout.

Several American senators and members of congress have warned that failing to ban Huawei, as Australia and New Zealand have, could lead to repercussions in crucial trade talks between the US and UK.

British Cabinet ministers, including defence secretary Ben Wallace and home secretary Priti Patel have privately expressed concerns about Huawei. Members of the opposition in the House of Lords welcomed the restriction of Huawei's role to the network's periphery but said questions remained to be answered by the Government.Opposition

Labour spokesman Lord Griffiths called for early legislation in an area where technological developments happen quickly, warning against getting "behind the curve" and other critics of the decision expressed concern over the possibility of  disruption to UK-US intelligence sharing.

GOV.UK             CNN:       Huffington Post:      BBC:        CBC

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