Britain yet to decide on the 5G security policy: official

FILE PHOTO: A 5G sign is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain has as yet been no decision on the security of the policy for national 5G networks, the head of the uk’s National Cyber Security Centre said on Wednesday, amid a furor over the alleged risks of the use of Huawei telecom equipment.

Speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Brussels, NCSC head Ciaran Martin said the equipment made by the chinese Huawei was subject to a detailed supervision in great Britain and the government had a strict control over where it was used.

“It is not in any sensitive networks – including those of the government. The kit is a part of a balanced chain with other suppliers,” he said, adding that a political decision would be later this year, after a government analysis is completed.

“Our regime is perhaps the toughest and most stringent control of the regime in the world for Huawei,” said Martin, of which NCSC is a part of the british GCHQ spy agency.

Huawei, the world’s largest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West about the relationship with the Chinese government and accusations of” enabling state espionage, with the United States to call for his allies not to make use of the technology.

No evidence in the public and the company has repeatedly denied the claims, but the accusations have led several Western countries to limit Huawei’s access to their markets.

Pressure grows on Huawei in Britain, one of the most important markets in Europe, since a government report in July last year showed that the technical and supply-chain problems with the company’s equipment had exposed national telecom networks to new security risks.

Commenting on the report, Martin said: “As we said then, and repeat today, these problems are about the standards of cyber security; they are not indicators of hostile activity by China.”

Martin said Huawei had promised to tackle the problems, but recognised that this would still be a number of years.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Foo Yun Chee; writing by Jack Stubbs; editing by Georgina Prodhan

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