As noted by The Telegraph, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has approved Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, to help build “non-core” parts of the UK’s infrastructure, including network components and antennas.
The recent decision by the UK’s National Security Council, which May chairs, has drawn sharp criticism from those who fear Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government may endanger British citizens, companies and government agencies to espionage or cyberattacks.
Indeed, having the Chinese telecom company build infrastructure is no small matter. Huawei has already been banned in the US, Australia and New Zealand due to similar security concerns.
In the US, the current administration has banned domestic government agencies and contractors from using Huawei products and also tried to get allies to do the same, according to The Verge.
In Australia and New Zealand, Huawei products have been banned from domestic telecom infrastructure, with New Zealand even banned any Huawei equipment to be used in the country-wide 5G rollout.
Numerous industry experts have weighed in on the dangers Huawei poses to the countries it works in:
US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said: “Huaweu is a Chinese state-directed telecom company with a singular goal: undermine foreign competition by stealing trade secrets and intellectual property… the US must be vigilant in preventing Chinese state-directed telecoms companies, like Huawei and ZTE, from undermining and endangering America’s 5G networks.”
Likewise, US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) noted: “There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception.”
Huawei itself has said that the ban is unconstitutional and is fighting the US government ban in court. Only time will tell how Huawei fares in the UK.