Even though the UK and the United States recently joined forces to accuse Russia of being behind last year’s NotPetya cyber attack, the two allies aren’t exactly on the same page when it comes to dealing with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.
Despite the U.S. placing a ban on the use of Huawei devices by government employees citing the firm’s deep links with the Chinese government, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre continues to collaborate with the smartphone giant.
Back in January, a report by Reuters revealed that the U.S. government was considering the development of a nationalised 5G network in order to keep citizens’ data secure from the Chinese government, even though there were concerns that such a network could be ‘expensive and duplicative’. According to an administration official, the network would not be controlled by Chinese network infrastructure firms like Huawei and ZTE.
The government had previously banned both Huawei and ZTE from participating in the development or testing of 5G networks following an investigation into a possibility of China carrying out large-scale surveillance using equipment sold by the two firms in the U.S.
Despite Huawei not enjoying much confidence in the United States, the phone maker is in the middle of a robust partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK to develop future technologies while managing cyber security risks at the same time. The firm also runs a cyber security centre in the UK that analyses threats and backdoors in its own products.
Despite concerted efforts in the U.S. to ban Huawei products, the National Cyber Security Centre has affirmed the importance of its partnership with Huawei and has given no indication about there being any concerns about China carrying out surveillance in the UK using Huawei’s devices.
“Huawei is a globally important company whose presence in the UK reflects our reputation as a global hub for technology, innovation and design. This government and British telecoms operators work with Huawei at home and abroad to ensure the UK can continue to benefit from new technology while managing cyber security risks,” an NCSC spokesman told The Telegraph.
“Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities. We are committed to openness and transparency in everything we do,” a Huawei spokesman said.
Last year, there were concerns that Huawei could be banned from selling its smartphones in the UK after the firm, along with Samsung, lost a High Court fight with a little-known American company over a piece of technology said to be essential to the 4G mobile phone communication system. Unwired Planet, the American technology firm, had alleged that Huawei and Samsung had infringed a patent it held on a piece of data transmission technology.