German Chancellor Angela Merkel would allow Huawei’s 5G technology in her country, ignoring the EU’s warning about the risk of espionage presented “when there are no democratic and legal restrictions” by component suppliers.
The German Federal Network Agency published a draft of new security requirements for telecommunications networks on Oct. 15 reported The Wall Street Journal, without banning the participation of Huawei, a company linked to the Chinese communist regime, about which warnings have been issued by the European Union and the United States.
The German daily Handelsblatt was even more precise in reporting, “Chancellor Angela Merkel feared a fight with China” and so her office intervened to exclude a clause preventing Huawei’s participation in the supply of materials, citing government officials as sources.
Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German Foreign Affairs Committee said: “There is no technical security on this issue, so trust is the decisive criterion,” for him Huawei is “decisively state-controlled” and therefore not trustworthy, according to the German media.
Robert L. Strayer, deputy assistant secretary for cyber and international communications at the U.S. Department of State, immediately criticized the measures put forward by Germany.
“We need to ensure we only have trusted vendors inside the 5G network,” said Strayer for whom confidence in the suppliers of equipment involved in installing this advanced telecommunications network is critical, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Looking at the source code cannot ever address this issue. Testing will never get all the potential vulnerabilities in the code. There needs to be an inherent trust relationship,” explained Strayer quoted by WSJ.
He also warned that if the Chinese company Huawei intervenes in the 5G system in Germany, the United States would rethink the exchange of intelligence and security with them.
In search of protection for the national security of their respective countries, the United States urged its allies to abandon Chinese network technology. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan have introduced restrictive clauses.
In a nonpublic risk analysis document used by EU member states, governments envision specific security threats posed by telecommunications equipment vendors, particularly from countries that “do not have democratic and legal restrictions in place.”
The analysis mentions possible interventions that imply an attack on national security, “The possibility that a provider may insert hidden hardware, malicious software, and software failures in the 5G network,” or also “uncontrolled software updates, manipulation of functionalities, inclusion of functions to circumvent audit mechanisms, backdoors, features of undocumented evidence left in the production version, among others,” increasing the risk of espionage, The Wall Street Journal reported.
White House said on July 2 that the Chinese firm Huawei will continue to be unable to commercialize 5G technology in the United States, although it will be able to sell small components to U.S. companies as a result of the recent commercial truce between Beijing and Washington.
Similarly, in mid-May, the Treasury Department blacklisted Huawei, which prevents U.S. companies from obtaining original components without government approval, because of suspicions that the Chinese firm might use those systems for espionage.
The new generation 5G Internet would provide faster connection speeds and the ability to connect many devices, including home accessories and even personal medical devices.