Huawei Still Considered a National Security Risk
Huawei's lawsuit against the FCC, which challenged a bill banning federal use of Huawei technology in the U.S., was dismissed in court. Even with the ban, however, the U.S. still fears a national security risk looms over the country. According to the White House's Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, the U.K.'s continued use of Huawei technology in its 5G infrastructure poses a risk to the U.S. In a speech at the Oxford Union, he stated, "Our governments share a tremendous amount of security information. We are very much concerned that integrity of that information is hardwired into your computer systems, and if you folks go forward with the decision to include Huawei, it will have a direct and dramatic impact on our ability to share information with you.”
Britain's spy agencies see no threat from employing Huawei technology. Even so, they plan to limit Huawei technology to 35% per mobile phone operator (Vodafone, O2, EE, and Three). The Chinese telecom company serves as Britain's main supplier to U.K. phone companies, so eliminating all Huawei technology would significantly impair the U.K.'s ability to keep up in the 5G race.
But will limiting Huawei technology to 35% be enough? Is Huawei truly a national security risk to the U.S.?
According to the FCC, it is. In November, the FCC released a report and order designating Huawei and ZTE as covered companies--companies that pose a risk to the national security of the U.S. According to the report and order, Huawei poses a security risk to the U.S. because "Chinese intelligence agencies have opportunities to tamper with their products in both the design and manufacturing processes." Huawei also offers services managing telecommunications equipment, which the FCC believes could be a front used to give operators access to large amounts of U.S. user data for malicious purposes. The FCC has cited Huawei's obligation under Chinese law to "assist with Chinese intelligence-gathering" as evidence that Huawei is required to—and could—fulfill Chinese government objectives.
Huawei has repeatedly denied these claims, but even so, the U.S. has reason to fear a security threat from the telecom company. Huawei is a national champion company, or one that helps support the Chinese government's aims. National champion companies receive benefits from the Chinese government, such as preference in government contract bidding.
Even if Huawei is a security risk, asking our allies to ban equipment that makes up the majority of their 5G infrastructure might be asking too much. While Australia has followed suit and has banned Huawei equipment, the U.K. is not completely eliminating Huawei. In the long run, our safest route is to bolster our cybersecurity. Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/19/us-very-concerned-over-huaweis-role-in-uk-5g-network, https://tech.co/news/huawei-safe-china-state-military-2020-01