Daily Management Review

Criminal Investigation Possible Into 'Unacceptable' Huawei Leaks, UK Minister


Criminal Investigation Possible Into 'Unacceptable' Huawei Leaks, UK Minister
Conducting a criminal investigation in relation to the "unacceptable" leak of confidential discussions surrounding the role of China's Huawei Technologies in the construction of the 5G network supply chains in the United Kingdom could not be ruled out, said British culture minister Jeremy Wright on Thursday.
The largest manufacturer and supplier of telecom equipment in the world, Huawei, has been under severe pressure in recent times especially after the United States pressurising its allies to ban the company from participating in the development and construction of 5G networks in the countries because of fears that its technology could be used for spying by Chinese agencies. The US has already banned the company from doing business there while similar measures have also been taken by Australia and New Zealand. All such allegations have been denied by Huawei on multiple occasions.
According to reports published in the UK on Wednesday, Huawei has been decided to be barred by the National Security Council (NSC) of Britain from the company participating in construction of all core parts of the 5G network in the country. Huawei would only be allowed to supply its equipment in the non-core parts.
There has been anger in parliament by the public revelation of the information from a meeting of the NSC because the committee's discussion is supposed to be secret. The leaked information was first reported in British national newspapers.
"We cannot exclude the possibility of a criminal investigation here," Wright said, speaking in response to an urgent question on Huawei in parliament.
"I do not think that the motivation for this leak matters in the slightest. This was unacceptable and it is corrosive to the ability to deliver good government."
The ability of the committee to get unequivocal and frank security advice from experts is endangered by such leaks, Wright said. The committee comprises of senior ministers and its role is to regularly hear from heads of intelligence agency on security issues.
"Decisions will get less and less properly-based if we can't trust people to keep private what should be kept private," he said.
There were no comments on the leaks or questions on leak enquiries provided to the media by a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May. The spokesman however said that "the prime minister is clear that the protection of information on matters of national security is of the highest importance."
After the committee decides on the conclusion of the review of the 5G supply chain, the results would be reported to the parliament by him, Wright said.