GCHQ: UK Must “Understand the Threats” of Chinese Technology
GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said the UK needs to “take a clear view on the implications of China’s technological acquisition strategy in the West”.
GCHQ, the UK’s cybersecurity agency, insists that Britain must come to terms with the “opportunities and threats” that Chinese technology may pose.
Speaking at an event in Singapore, GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said the UK’s telecommunications sector requires more stringent cybersecurity practices to mitigate risks to national infrastructure.
Fleming’s comments follow calls by prominent political figures to prevent the use of Huawei equipment in 5G infrastructure projects over fears that backdoors could be used by the Chinese Government.
A string of UK companies, including Vodafone, EE and Three have worked closely with Huawei on 5G projects. A government report due later this year will decide whether or not UK firms will be allowed to use Huawei equipment.
Concerns over spying are not restricted to the UK, however, with the US and other EU nations all heeding warnings over Huawei equipment.
“We have to understand the opportunities and threats from China’s technological offer – understand the global nature of supply chains and service provision, irrespective of the flag of the supplier,” Fleming said.
“Take a clear view on the implications of China’s technological acquisition strategy in the West, and help our governments decide which parts of his expansion can be embraced, which need risk management, and which will always need a sovereign, or allied, solution,” he added.
Last week, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said risks posed by the use of Huawei equipment could be managed, an announcement that appeared to contradict perceived common wisdom in government.
A spokesperson for the Centre said: “The National Cyber Security Centre is committed to the security of UK networks, and we have a unique oversight and understanding of Huawei engineering and cyber-security.
“As was made clear in July’s Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) oversight board, the NCSC has concerns around Huawei’s engineering and security capabilities. We have set out the improvements we expect the company to make.”