Data Driven Futures

‘No tech grounds’ for Huawei ban: MPs

Written by Peter Walker

There are no technological grounds for banning Huawei, but ethical concerns must be taken into account, according to the Science and Technology Select Committee.

In a letter to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport about Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network, the committee’s chair Norman Lamb concluded that there are no technical grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from involvement in telecommunications.

“The benefits of 5G are clear and the removal of Huawei from the current or future networks could cause significant delays,” he stated.

“However, as outlined in the letter, we feel there may well be geopolitical or ethical considerations that the government need to take into account when deciding whether they should use Huawei’s equipment.”

He explained that the government also needs to consider whether the use of Huawei’s technology would jeopardise this country’s ongoing co-operation with major allies.

“Moreover, Huawei has been accused of supplying equipment in Western China that could be enabling serious human rights abuses – the evidence we heard during our evidence session did little to assure us that this is not the case.”

Lamb added that he hoped the evidence gathered by the committee helps the government as it completes its Telecoms Supply Chain Review, which must be published by the end of August.

In April, cabinet office secretary David Lidington said the UK government would not consider allowing high risk tech firms to supply parts for critical elements of the nation’s 5G data communications.

This followed reports that the National Security Council had decided to approve Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to provide ‘non-core’ parts of the high speed 5G network, sparking backlash from MPs concerned over allegations of spying by the Chinese government.