Chinese supplier Huawei is not a UK security threat according to a board comprising representatives from the UK government and intelligence agencies.
Huawei, under suspicion by various governments that it might be involved in China-backed cyber hacking – something which the firm has always denied – set up the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) in the UK to try and allay fears.
The ‘oversight board’ of HCSEC, in its first annual report to the UK’s national security advisor, said it was convinced of the centre’s impartiality in investigating the supplier’s equipment and operations.
“HCSEC fulfilled its obligations to provide assurance that any risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated,” said the report.
In the UK, a 2013 report by the UK’s Intelligence Security Committee, a parliamentary body, criticised what it saw as the lax manner in which China’s Huawei was allowed to get “embedded” in the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI).
While the committee found no evidence that Huawei was guilty of any cyber espionage or wrongdoing, the report noted that when BT appointed Huawei as a supplier over a decade ago “the process for considering national security issues…was insufficiently robust”.
Huawei has found government-level resistance elsewhere, most notably in the US and Austria, on the grounds of perceived risk to national security.
Much is made by Huawei’s distractors that the company was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The Chinese company has always maintained, however, that it has never been asked to provide access to its technology, or indeed provide any data or information on any citizen or organisation to any government or their agencies.