The intelligence agency GCHQ wants to better understand the threat situation surrounding Chinese technologies – like Huawei – within infrastructure and how they could impact businesses and society.
In a rare speech, the head of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, stated:
“As we made clear last week: the UK has not made a decision about 5G security supply chain rules. GCHQ is at the heart of the policy consideration underway and we already have a role managing Huawei’s presence in our existing networks. We think this is probably the toughest oversight regime in the world. It’s revealed significant problems with their cyber security practice … which have caused them to commit to a multimillion-pound remedial programme. And as I’m sure you will have seen, we’ve been crystal clear that with Huawei we will not compromise on the improvements we expect. But … and it’s an important one … 5G security is about more than just Huawei … that’s what the three pre-conditions for 5G security are all about. The final thing I’ll say here is that China’s place in the era of globalised technology is much bigger than just one telecommunications equipment company … it’s a first order strategic challenge.”
As Britain’s intelligence services grapple to understand the burgeoning Chinese tech threat, businesses are also facing uncertainty about deploying Chinese brands like Huawei within their own organisational critical infrastructure planning.