The head of New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) reiterated the country had not imposed bans on any telecoms vendors, noting it makes an independent assessment of network security risks on a case-by-case basis.
In an annual update to the country’s Intelligence and Security Committee, GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton said it makes an informed assessment based on the information provided in notifications from operators.
“Our role is to assess network security risks, which includes considering the likelihood that a network operator’s proposal could lead to the compromise or degrading of the public telecommunications network.”
He said between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, the GCSB received 158 network change notifications, including the first for 5G, up from 123 in the year to end-June 2018. The country’s Telecommunications Act (TICSA) gives the agency regulatory oversight to protect New Zealand’s telecoms infrastructure.
“This is a well-established process which is serving New Zealand well, and it allows us to be responsive to ongoing developments in network security,” Hampton stated.
The majority of TICSA notifications did not flag network security risks, he said, adding in the event they did, operators either mitigated the danger or dropped their plans.
In November 2018, the government turned down operator Spark’s bid to deploy Huawei 5G infrastructure, citing significant national security risks.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in February 2019 raised the possibility Huawei could still play a role in building a next-generation mobile network in the country, after stating it would independently evaluate the risk of using the vendor’s gear.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back