Europe is worried about 5G security, but it isn’t banning Huawei yet

March 26, 2019
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The European Commission recommended today that European Union countries work together to handle cybersecurity risks in next-generation 5G networks, but the commission stopped short of suggesting a ban on Huawei products.

The United States, which has been critical of Huawei, has pressed European allies to drop the company from their networks. But today’s report only suggested that EU countries create 5G risk assessments, which will then be used to create an EU-wide assessment. The decision on whether to exclude companies like Huawei on national security grounds will be left to each EU country.

The US government has branded the Chinese telecom giant as a potential security threat — one that could be manipulated by the Chinese government for espionage. The US has already banned the company’s equipment from use in the federal government, a policy that recently led to a lawsuit from Huawei.

While not the final word, the recommendations are a new hurdle in the US’s campaign. The country has already gone to great lengths to convince European allies to avoid Huawei: earlier this month, US officials suggested they would stop sharing some intelligence with Germany if the country allowed Huawei in its 5G networks.

Still, despite the US’s efforts, most countries have been less than convinced. As Huawei has repeatedly pointed out, the US has not produced public evidence of wrongdoing. The company has also denied that it is a national security threat or that it would cooperate in network spying.

”5G technology will transform our economy and society and open massive opportunities for people and businesses,” European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip said in a statement. “But we cannot accept this happening without full security built in It is therefore essential that 5G infrastructures in the EU are resilient and fully secure from technical or legal backdoors.”



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