Britain to review cyber-security agreement with Huawei

Jul 18, 2013

The British government said Thursday it would look again at how it safeguards its telecommunications networks from feared security risks posed by the involvement of Chinese giant Huawei.

Britain, the United States and Australia have all raised concerns that Huawei's alleged ties to the Chinese state could see telecoms equipment supplied by the company used for spying and cyber-attacks.

Parliament's intelligence and committee warned last month that the British government must take more action against risks posed by a decade-old deal between Huawei and BT, the company which manages much of Britain's networks.

Huawei agreed in 2010 to invest in a Cyber Security Evaluation Centre, known as the Cell, to test updates to hardware and software for vulnerabilities before they are deployed.

But the committee expressed concern that this Cell was funded by Huawei and staffed by company employees.

The government has now agreed to the committee's request to review the effectiveness of the Cell as a matter of urgency.

"We have robust procedures in place to ensure confidence in the security of UK ," a spokesman for the Cabinet Office department said.

"However, we are not complacent and as such we have agreed to the main recommendation of the report to conduct a review of Huawei's Cyber Security Evaluation Centre to give assurance that we have the right measures and processes in place to protect UK telecommunications."

Huawei denies it has any direct links to the Chinese state, but the US Congress last year called for its exclusion from US government contracts, while Australia has barred it from involvement in the country's new broadband network.

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