German regulators released on Tuesday a set of network security guidelines allowing companies developing 5G infrastructure to engage China’s Huawei.
Huawei will not be excluded explicitly on the basis of the Federal Network Agency guidelines. Guidelines do require network contractors and suppliers to prove they are trustworthy and will not transmit confidential information abroad.
Under Chinese law, organizations can be forced to hand over data to the state if requested to do so, but Huawei has denied claims that its presence in 5G networks would act as a back door for China.
However, the US has warned that Huawei technology could be used as a backdoor for Chinese espionage and has warned that dealing with Huawei will disrupt security cooperation with the US. Australia and New Zealand have already banned the company from their domestic networks. The UK has not made a similar pledge.
Huawei currently holds the largest number of 5G technology patents and excluding means staying behind in the race for developing new infrastructure. Germany’s minister for energy and economy Peter Altmaier said Tuesday that 5G technology is “critical infrastructure for the technology of the future” but the government does require the “highest security standards” both for hardware and software.
Deutsche Telecom is already in the test phase of its 5G network in Bonn and Berlin, while Hamburg, Munich, Darmstadt and Leipzig are expected to follow, with the objective of being in operation in Germany’s 20 biggest cities by the end of 2020. 5G data networks transfer data 1,000 times faster than current 4G networks.
“Politicizing cybersecurity will only hinder technology development and social progress while doing nothing to address the security challenges all countries face,” a Huawei spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in May that he would not block Huawei or any other company from 5G procurement, although the country had restrictions in place to preserve its national security.