Conservative UK MP Tom Tugendhat and Republican US Representative Mike Gallagher see China’s dominance of 5G as a threat, they write in an opinion article published on April 19, 2019 in The Times.
Tugendhat and Gallagher point the finger at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, saying that:
“Chinese telecommunications companies pose a significant threat to the security of global 5G networks. Of particular concern is Huawei, with its history of bribery, corruption and sanctions evasion.”
The authors explain that “the vulnerability of one country’s network could undermine all its allies” when it comes to 5G technology, saying that the leadership that needs to be shown when it comes to managing the new network technology has to be at the level of Nato and the Five Eyes, the intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States:
“Making 5G networks secure will require the US and Britain to lead their Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partners — Australia, Canada and New Zealand — and Nato partners in ensuring that malign actors do not disrupt the unfettered, secure flow of information across the globe.”
Tugendhat and Gallagher go on to criticize Europeans looking for quick implementation of 5G at what they consider a risk:
“Britain and some European partners are reticent to ban Huawei. By focusing on the advantages of a rapid roll-out of 5G, many fail to address the longer-term strategic risk of putting Chinese equipment inside their networks. Britain might allow Huawei to participate in its 5G programme, having cited concerns about free market competition if the company was excluded. The German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she does not believe in excluding a company ‘simply because it’s from a certain country’.
But in the case of 5G, allowing Huawei to compete may end up damaging our ability to compete and innovate in the future. China has long used industrial policies and vast state subsidies to dominate markets at home and abroad. Once China establishes dominance in 5G it will be easier to maintain its advantages in future generations of wireless technology.”
The authors respond to the German chancellor, naming two reasons for challenging Huawei on the basis of country of origin: “China’s national intelligence law and its national cyber law both legally require Chinese entities to co-operate with the state.”
The authors conclude that “If we fail to check Huawei now and support a viable alternative of our own, little of our most sensitive information may be secure again.”