GCHQ Warns of Chinese Tech 'Threats'

The UK’s cybersecurity agency highlighted the risks of using Chinese technology.

The Government Communications HQ Director, Jeremy Fleming, has emphasised the importance of understanding the potential “opportunities and threats” of the UK working with Chinese firm Huawei.

In a rare speech, Fleming highlighted the need for improved cybersecurity measures in the telecoms industry, expressing that it will be a “hugely complex strategic challenge”.

The warning follows pressure from the US to not use Huawei’s technology to build new 5G networks, with officials expressing concerns that China could be using Huawei products to spy on other countries.

"We have to understand the opportunities and threats from China's technological offer - understand the global nature of supply chains and service provision, irrespective of the flag of the supplier," said Fleming.

Vodafone, EE and Three have been working with Huawei to develop 5G networks. These are currently awaiting a government review, expected in March or April, which will decide whether or not the work will be allowed to continue.

Fleming said: "Take a clear view on the implications of China's technological acquisition strategy in the West, and help our governments decide which parts of this expansion can be embraced, which need risk management, and which will always need a sovereign, or allied, solution."

However, according to Gartner Senior Research Directive, Sylvain Fabre, investing in 5G is important to the UK governments to ensure Britain remains competitive, adding that “it sounds like all options are still on the table”.

Huawei’s rotating chairman, Guo Ping, has denied allegations that the company’s equipment is being used for spying, saying: “Huawei will never, and dare not, and cannot violate any rules and regulations in the countries where we operate”.

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