EU ‘should be wor­ried’ about China tech

Irish Examiner - - World News - Francesco Guaras­cio

The EU should be wor­ried about Huawei and other Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies be­cause of the risk they pose to in­dus­try and se­cu­rity, said the EU’ ste ch no logy chief, echo­ing con­cerns raised else­where in the world.

Huawei ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at EU tech com­mis­sioner An­drus An­sip’s com­ments, say­ing it had never been asked to in­stall tech­nol­ogy that could be used for spy­ing and never would.

“Do we have to be wor­ried about Huawei or other Chi­nese com­pa­nies? Yes, I think we have to be wor­ried about those com­pa­nies,” Mr An­sip said in Brus­sels, days af­ter a top ex­ec­u­tive at Huawei was ar­rested in Canada as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged bank fraud.

Huawei, which gen­er­ated $93bn in revenue last year and is seen as a na­tional cham­pion in China, faces in­tense scru­tiny from many West­ern nations over its ties to China’s gov­ern­ment.

Mr An sip said he was con­cerned be­cause Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies are re­quired to co­op­er­ate with Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, such as on “manda­tory back doors” to al­low ac­cess to en­crypted data.

He said the com­pa­nies pro­duced chips that could be used “to get our se­crets”.

“As nor­mal, or­di­nary peo­ple we have to be afraid,” he said, adding he did not have enough in­for­ma­tion about the ar­rest in Canada.

Huawei called such com­ments mis­un­der­stand­ings and de­nied it posed a se­cu­rity threat.

“Huawei has never been asked by any gov­ern­ment to build any back­doors or in­ter­rupt any net­works, and we would never tol­er­ate such be­hav­iour by any of our staff,” it said in a state­ment.

“Cy­ber­se­cu­rity needs to be ad­dressed jointly at a global level, and equip­ment ven­dors should not be treated dif­fer­ently based on their coun­try of ori­gin. Sin­gling out one ven­dor does noth­ing to help the in­dus­try iden­tify and ad­dress cy­ber se­cu­rity threats more ef­fec­tively.”

Sep­a­rately, sources with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said Huawei would spend $2bn as part of ef­forts to ad­dress se­cu­rity is­sues raised in a Bri­tish gov­ern­ment re­port ear­lier this year.

Ger­many, mean­while, said it op­posed ex­clud­ing any man­u­fac­tur­ers from the planned con­struc­tion of 5G mo­bile net­works.

How­ever, Bel­gian news­pa­pers L’Echo and De Tijd re­ported the coun­try’ s cen­tre for cy­ber­se­cu­rity was con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of ban­ning Huawei in Bel­gium. The com­pany sup­plies equip­ment to tele­com providers Prox­imus and Orange Bel­gium.

The EU is braced to launch a far-reach­ing sys­tem to co­or­di­nate scru­tiny of for­eign in­vest­ments into Europe fol­low­ing a surge of Chi­nese in­vest­ments and con­cerns about se­cu­rity and forced tech­nol­ogy trans­fer.

The ar­rest in Canada of Huawei chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer M eng Wanzhou re­lates to a US in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­leged scheme to use the global bank­ing sys­tem to evade US sanc­tions against Iran, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the probe told Reuters.

Euro­peans could also face pros­e­cu­tion in the US, which has with­drawn from an agree­ment with Iran on its nu­clear pro­gram.

Reim­posed US sanc­tions have al­ready forced many Euro­pean com­pa­nies to stop trad­ing with Iran.

Ms M eng was due to ap­pear in a court as she awaits a pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the US.

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