Daily Management Review

Britain’s MI6 Chief Alex Younger Suggest Against Total Ban On China’s Huawei


Britain’s MI6 Chief Alex Younger Suggest Against Total Ban On China’s Huawei
It is unlikely that the strongest action of an outright ban on the Chinese telecommunication equipment giant Huawei in the United Kingdom would be imposed which was hinted at by the head of the Britain’s foreign-intelligence agency. While talking to the media, he reportedly said that class for an outright ban on Huawei would not be made by him.
The UK is trying to strike a balance between the perceived risks to security and the development of the fifth generation of mobile communication network and the authorities are finding it hard for to get enough companies that can supply telecom equipment, said MI6 chief Alex Younger.
“There are some practical points about the number of vendors who exist at the moment,” Younger told reporters in Munich on Friday. “It’s not inherently desirable that we have a monopolistic supplier of any of our critical national infrastructure. We should be aiming for the maximum diversity as a matter of good practice.”
An evaluative report on the strength and security of the telecoms supply chains for the UK is slated to come to an end in March and that would be used for making recommendations to the National Security Council by Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright. Concerns and fears about the possibility of the equipment supplied by the Chinese firm being used by Chinese agencies for spying has resulted in Huawei being banned in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
“We need to take a principles-based approach to this and the first is around quality,” Younger said. “This has got nothing to do with the country of origin; we should be insisting on the highest level of quality in any form of technology platform or service we choose to use and in particular security quality.”
Younger said that the UK authorities would focus on the importance of maintaining high standards of cybersecurity and would notify the suppliers the areas of shortcomings.
There is a debate among UK officials about whether the Chinese firm should be managed through dialogue and oversight as has been the case for years now or whether to follow the footsteps of some of its allies of a complete ban on Huawei and completely preventing the use of the company’s equipment in the 5G telecom networks that are being built in those countries.
“I’m not pretending I have the answer on this,” Younger said. “It’s more complicated than in or out.”
There are however concerns that any middle of the road approach towards Huawei taken the UK could antagonize some of its closest co-operators of security which would also include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK who are the members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network.
He hasn’t “personally felt” pressure from Five Eyes allies, Younger said. “Everyone recognises that all countries are in different positions and we have the sovereign right to work through the answers to this,” he said.
In the area of development of 5G network in Britain, Huawei already secured contracts with all of the four major UK mobile networks for test running of the new technology which has helped the Chinese firm to get deeper into the UK telecom industry.