Addressing UK Security Concerns in Huawei Products May Take 5 Years, Exec Says

Huawei’s been having a rough time recently. After the US, New Zealand and Australia prevented the telecom company from working on their 5G mobile networks for fear it would spy for the Chinese government, the European Commission expressed concern over potential backdoors that could threaten national security and lead to a ban. Then, Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Canada over alleged Iran sanctions violations.

Huawei may now face another blow: even though the company committed to invest some $2 billion to assuage UK government security concerns over issues with Huawei products, it may take the company years to get everything in place, writes The Guardian.

Ryan Ding, Huawei’s carrier business group president, said measures needed to ease the concerns, raised in a 2018 Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board annual report mandated by the UK, constitute “a complicated and involved process and will take at least three to five years to see tangible results. We hope the UK government can understand this.”

“Modern communications networks are complex systems that keep evolving in new and innovative ways,” Ding wrote in a letter to UK MP Norman Lamb, the chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. “Enhancing our software engineering capabilities is like replacing components on a high-speed train in motion.”

The report by the oversight board stated that a technical and security evaluation of Huawei products on the UK market revealed a number of issues “leading to new risks in the UK telecommunications networks.”

MI6 chief Alex Younger has also voiced his concern about integrating Chinese companies into the country’s telecom infrastructure.

“We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a very definite position,” Younger said.

Huawei further denied accusations of misappropriating data collected in the UK by handing it over to foreign intelligence agencies.

“Were Huawei ever to engage in malicious behavior, it would not go unnoticed – and it would certainly destroy our business,” Ding said. “For us, it is a matter of security or nothing; there is no third option. We choose to ensure security.”

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