Daily Mail

MI6 boss: My fears over China build­ing our 5G mo­bile net­work

- By Jemma Buck­ley De­fence Re­porter Politics · Secret Intelligence Service · China · United Kingdom · Andrews University · Australia · New Zealand · Huawei · the Australian government · European Union · United Arab Emirates · The Gulf Cooperation Council · Jamal Khashoggi · Russia · Russian Empire · Harare · Alex Younger · Matthew Hedges

THE head of MI6 has raised con­cerns about Chi­nese com­pa­nies build­ing high-speed mo­bile in­ter­net net­works in the UK.

In a rare pub­lic ap­pear­ance, Alex Younger said the coun­try will have to de­cide how ‘com­fort­able’ it would be with the Chi­nese own­ing its fu­ture 5G in­fra­struc­ture.

China is cur­rently a world leader in de­vel­op­ing the next-gen­er­a­tion mo­bile in­ter­net tech­nol­ogy that prom­ises to de­liver much faster down­load speeds and could rev­o­lu­tionise con­nec­tiv­ity.

Mr Younger – who is known by the co­de­name ‘C’ – told stu­dents at St An­drews Univer­sity, his alma mater: ‘We’ve got some de­ci­sions to take. This is about how 5G will, by and large, be based on Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy.

‘We need to de­cide the ex­tent to which we are go­ing to be com­fort­able with Chi­nese own­er­ship of these tech­nolo­gies and these plat­forms in an en­vi­ron­ment where some of our al­lies have taken quite a def­i­nite po­si­tion.

‘We need to have a con­ver­sa­tion – it is not wholly straight­for­ward.’

Aus­tralia and New Zealand have both re­cently banned the Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firm Huawei from pro­vid­ing 5G equip­ment on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds.

The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment said there were con­cerns about the coun­try’s in­ter­net net­works be­ing pro­vided by com­pa­nies ‘likely to be sub­ject to ex­tra­ju­di­cial di­rec­tions from a for­eign gov­ern­ment’. The tech­nol­ogy, which will su­per­sede 4G, could speed up the cre­ation of ‘smart cities’ with linked net­works of ev­ery­thing from traf­fic sig­nals to driver­less cars.

In his sec­ond ever pub­lic speech since be­com­ing head of MI6 in 2014, Mr Younger said the UK must ad­just to a new po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity as ‘power, money and pol­i­tics are go­ing East’.

He also raised the prospect of a tech­no­log­i­cal arms race, say­ing the evolv­ing threat from na­tion states comes largely from their ‘in­creas­ingly in­no­va­tive ex­ploita­tion of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy’.

He added: ‘Sim­ply put, we’ve got to in­no­vate faster than they can. In­deed, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions would not for­give us if it were oth­er­wise.

‘Cy­ber is now our fastest-grow­ing direc­torate. We are shift­ing our fo­cus to the nexus be­tween hu­mans and tech­nol­ogy.

‘But my or­gan­i­sa­tion will need to adapt even faster if it is to thrive in the fu­ture and that will re­quire peo­ple with new per­spec­tives, ca­pa­ble of har­ness­ing their cre­ativ­ity in ways that we can’t yet even imag­ine.’

How­ever, Mr Younger stressed that in­tel­li­gence gath­ered by agents in the field will be­come even more im­por­tant in the dig­i­tal age.

He also said that af­ter Brexit Bri­tain will con­tinue to work with al­lies be­cause our se­cu­rity ties in Europe are ‘in­dis­pens­able’.

Close work with Euro­pean in­tel­li­gence agen­cies had pre­vented ‘mul­ti­ple’ planned at­tacks by Is­lamic State that would have re­sulted in ‘sig­nif­i­cant loss of life’, he added.

In his wide-rang­ing speech, he also said he was ‘per­plexed’ by the jail­ing of Bri­tish aca­demic Matthew Hedges for spy­ing in the United Arab Emi­rates.

Mr Hedges was freed last week but of­fi­cials in the Gulf state, a Bri­tish ally, per­sisted in calling him an MI6 spy – a claim de­nied by fam­ily and col­leagues.

Mr Younger said: ‘I gen­uinely don’t un­der­stand how our Emirati part­ners came to the con­clu­sions they came to. They are im­por­tant part­ners of ours, so there are some frank con­ver­sa­tions ahead of us.’

He also said ‘frank con­ver­sa­tions’ were needed af­ter the ‘shock­ing’ mur­der of Saudi Ara­bian jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi in the Arab state’s con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

The MI6 boss also used his speech to sin­gle out Rus­sia over the ‘fla­grant hos­tile act’ of the Sal­is­bury nerve agent at­tack against for­mer spy Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia in March.

He said MI6 would no longer take the state at its word, adding: ‘I urge Rus­sia or any other state in­tent on sub­vert­ing our way of life not to un­der­es­ti­mate our deter­mi­na­tion and our ca­pa­bil­i­ties.’

‘Power and money are go­ing East’

 ??  ?? Tech­no­log­i­cal arms race: Alex Younger yes­ter­day
Tech­no­log­i­cal arms race: Alex Younger yes­ter­day

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