At a glance.
- German authorities on the threat of Chinese companies' data collection.
- UK's Parliamentary S&T Committee grills Huawei.
- Canadian skepticism about Huawei?
- US finalizing exclusion of Huawei from Federal contractors.
- Integrator does not have Huawei among its approved vendors.
Today's policy notes focus on European and North American suspicion of Chinese companies.
German officials warn against the threat of Chinese data collection.
The AP says that yesterday's annual report of Germany's BfV, the domestic security agency, warned that consumers providing information to Chinese companies may also be providing it to the Chinese government. Thomas Haldenwang, the agency’s director, told reporters that “Any customer here in Germany who uses such a system shouldn’t be surprised if this data is abused in Beijing. We can only warn against this.” By “such a system” Herr Haldenwang meant not only obvious, big Chinese companies whose business deals in large quantities of information, companies like Tencent and Alibaba, but even smaller, easily overlooked outfits like bike sharing apps.
The grounds for the BfV’s suspicions are the legal obligations Chinese companies have to provide data to the Chinese government.
There are, however, other concerns being voiced in Berlin. Horst Seehofer, Germany’s Interior Minister, said that the government had yet to reach its political decision on whether to permit Huawei to supply equipment to the country’s cell service providers, but he sounded a distinctly cautious note. “When it comes to critical infrastructure, in the energy supply or now with 5G lines, we have to consider how we can protect ourselves,” he told reporters.
"Tied up in knots."
Huawei also received a grilling in the UK, where Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee heard from a company senior British executive, vice president Jeremy Thompson, who testified to the company’s willingness to permit its employees to freely express themselves, and that the company represented no extraordinary threat to civil liberties. His evasive answer, however, to a question by committee chair Greg Clark about his views of the new Hong Kong National Security Law undid much of the intended effect of his testimony, and probably did Huawei’s case little good in Westminster. The Telegraph bluntly says that Chairman Clark “tied [Mr. Thompson] in knots.”
Skepticism about Huawei grows in Ottawa.
And in one of the other Five Eyes, Canada, which had remained on better terms with Huawei than its four anglophone sisters, may be turning in the direction of a harder line. Global News reports that experts see official opinion moving toward a more restrictive approach to the company's participation in Canadian infrastructure.
US strictures against Huawei nearly final.
Reuters says that the US restrictions excluding use of Huawei equipment by Federal contractors are about to become final, and Defense News reports that a number of those contractors are saying that the final ban is coming too fast.
Some telecommunications integrators aren't waiting for an official ban on Huawei.
Another Reuters report cites two unnamed sources to the effect that Telecom Italia has decided to keep Huawei out of its equipment tender for the 5G core network it's preparing for Italy and Brasil. The list of vendors includes, according to one source, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Mavenir, and Microsoft-owned Affirmed Networks.