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New Zealand becomes the third Five Eyes member to ban Huawei from the 5G network

A man talking on the phone next to a Huawei billboard with 5G technology in Beijing, China, on September 26, 2018.


New Zealand bans Chinese Huawei on the basis of national security to supply equipment for next-generation mobile networks, and thus it became the third party to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to take action against the huge telecommunications company in Shenzhen, a manufacturer.

New Zealand’s transition leaves Canada and Britain as the only Five Eyes members who haven't banned wireless operators from installing 5G technology from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., despite strong pressure from the United States. Recently, however, the UK raised concerns about the safety of China-supplied telecommunications equipment from companies such as Huawei.

The US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are members of the Five Eyes Alliance, who share intelligence to combat espionage, terrorism and global crime.

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Back in August, Australia banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment, citing a threat to the security of its infrastructure. The United States also banned Huawei, and it lobbied partners for Five Eyes and telecommunications firms in related countries to avoid Huawei equipment.

On Wednesday, one of the New Zealand special services rejected the request of the telecommunications service provider Spark New Zealand Ltd. use 5G Huawei equipment.

“I informed Spark that a significant security risk was identified,” said Andrew Hampton, general director of the New Zealand Public Affairs Bureau, on Wednesday. This organization is the New Zealand equivalent of the Canadian Telecommunications Security Institution (CSE).

Mr. Hampton and Andrew Little, the Minister of Intelligence of New Zealand, refused to discuss the specific security risks due to secret intelligence. However, Mr. Little explained that 5G technology poses a higher national security risk than conventional mobile technologies.

"The main difference between 5G technology and traditional 4G and 3G technologies is that conventional technology has an infrastructure core, and then peripheral technologies such as mobile phones, etc., and they can be stored separately, but you don’t you can do this with 5G, "he said." Each component of the 5G technology, each component of the network is integrated, and therefore access to one component can lead to access to the entire network. "

According to Chinese law, companies in China “must support, cooperate, and cooperate in national intelligence” at the request of Beijing, and security experts in the United States and Canada warn that equipment manufactured by companies such as Huawei may be on behalf of ruling party of China.

It is not known what constitutes a danger to the security of New Zealand. Earlier this month, however, the Australian newspaper, citing an unidentified source of national security, reported that the Chinese government used Huawei to hack a foreign network, using the access codes of the manufacturer of telecommunications equipment for this. Which country was hacked was never identified, and Huawei denied involvement in espionage.

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5G is the next stage in cellular technology and will require a huge increase in infrastructure in countries to ensure faster download speeds.

Under pressure from Washington, the Canadian government announced that it is conducting a national security review to determine whether Canada should join Five Five's other partners in banning Huawei.

On Wednesday, Ralph Hudal’s public security office declined to comment on New Zealand’s decision and whether Ottawa was aware of a specific security threat that led to the ban. Also, the minister’s office would not say when Ottawa will decide whether to prohibit Huawei from 5G networks. Instead, all questions from The Globe and Mail were transferred to the new Canadian Cybersecurity Center CSE.

“CSE and Cyber ​​Center continue to work closely with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, both domestically and abroad, and will continue to contribute to the development of advanced cybersecurity practices that can be promoted in the interests of Canada’s national and economic security. . This includes New Zealand, ”said Ryan Forman, CSE spokesperson. “Of course, we are following developments on this issue. As the government expects the introduction of 5G infrastructure in Canada, the experience and experience of the Cyber ​​Center will be important for assessing cyber threats and risks, as well as providing advice and recommendations on possible mitigations. ”

Conservative national security critic Pierre-Paul Goose said that now there is no excuse for Canada’s indecision about whether to follow the United States, Australia and New Zealand. “It is crystal clear. We must act. We must ban Huawei, ”he said.

Huawei Canada Vice President Scott Bradley told The Globe that Huawei is not a threat to national security, and the company's “highest priority” – and always has been – the security and privacy of the networks we help equip here in Canada.

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“Huawei Canada will continue to work with the Canadian government, carriers and other national stakeholders to take any steps necessary to ensure and protect the integrity of Canada’s national telecommunications infrastructure, including the introduction of 5G technology,” Mr. Bradley added.

Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee of the United States – Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Marco Rubio – wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October in which he urged him to exclude Huawei from Canadian telecommunications companies with 5G technology. Senators warned Mr. Trudeau that providing Huawei with Canada’s wireless infrastructure in the next era could hinder intelligence sharing between key allies and worsen cross-border telecommunications cooperation between the US and Canadian firms.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington launched a high-level campaign for foreign allies, trying to convince wireless and Internet providers in these countries to avoid Huawei equipment due to national security concerns.

In Canada, the country's two largest wireless operators, BCE and Telus, refuse to disclose whether US national security officials asked them to avoid Huawei’s telecommunications equipment when building their 5G mobile networks. Rogers Communications, for its part, says it was not contacted.

BCE, Telus and, to a lesser extent, Rogers use Huawei equipment in their cellular networks, and since the Chinese company has attacked the Canadian market in recent years, carriers have begun to rely on it to stimulate more competitive prices in which it requires constant investment.

Huawei-funded testing is being conducted in Canada and the UK, which analyzes the company's equipment for possible rear doors that may allow Beijing to monitor or shut down systems. Last July, the British government revealed that it had identified technical problems and supply chain problems with equipment manufactured by Huawei, which exposed British telecommunications networks to new security risks. In October, the British government sent a letter to telecommunications firms saying that it was considering whether the country depended too much on one supplier of equipment. The Financial Times reported that the target was Huawei.

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Former Canadian security intelligence officers Richard Fadden and Ward Elcock and John Adams, the former head of the CSE, told The Globe in July that Ottawa should leave Huawei of 5G in Canada.

With Reuters files

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