Report finds ‘no technical grounds’ to ban Huawei from UK networks

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Despite this, the UK government should exclude Huawei from the core of UK telecoms networks, according to a new report from the UK Science and Technology Select Committee.

However, the parliamentary group finds no technical reason to ban Huawei throughout networks.

In a letter to Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, in response to the Telecoms Supply Chain Review, Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, chair of the Committee, writes, “We have found no evidence from our work to suggest that the complete exclusion of Huawei would, from a technical point of view, constitute a proportionate response to the potential security threat posed by foreign suppliers.”

The report from the Committee takes into account views from UK operators and notes that they have not seen any evidence that Huawei imposes an increased security risk.

Geopolitics and ethics

However, the letter also notes that its conclusion is restricted to technical considerations. It adds, “There may well be geopolitical or ethical grounds for the Government to decide to enact a ban on Huawei’s equipment.”

The Committee also suggests that the government should consider establishing something similar to the Huawei Cyber Evaluation Centre for other vendors, such as Ericsson and Nokia, whose kit is likely to be present in core networks.

Non-technical considerations

Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP said, “Following my Committee’s recent evidence session, we have concluded that there are no technical grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from the UK’s 5G or other telecommunications networks.

“The benefits of 5G are clear and the removal of Huawei from the current or future networks could cause significant delays.

“However, we feel there may well be geopolitical or ethical considerations that the Government need to take into account when deciding whether they should use Huawei’s equipment.

“The Government also needs to consider whether the use of Huawei’s technology would jeopardise this country’s ongoing co-operation with our major allies.

“Moreover, Huawei has been accused of supplying equipment in Western China that could be enabling serious human rights abuses.

The evidence we heard during our evidence session did little to assure us that this is not the case."

The Telecoms Supply Chain Review is due to be published by the end of August.