While some recent public commentary has left an impression there was disquiet and regret that Huawei had emerged as a key player in the UK’s telecom industry, delving into the facts provides a sharply contrasting reality.
The coverage quoted a UK Parliamentary report written by politicians in 2013 criticising the information flow between the security agencies and the Minister when Huawei first became a supplier to British Telecom (BT). The administration and effectiveness of the UK Cyber Security evaluation centre was also questioned.
Unfortunately, there was no mention of the official UK Government response to the report which explained:
“…the global reality is that virtually every telecommunications network worldwide incorporates foreign technology. Huawei equipment, for example, is now used in 140 countries and Huawei is a valued investor and employer in the UK. The Government has managed any potential security concerns through: increased engagement with the company; expert assistance to its customers, the Communication Service Providers (CSPs)”
The recent media reports also failed to cite the then UK Chancellor George Osborne’s comments about Huawei at the time. Osborne, one of the Government’s senior ministers who was firmly entrenched as leading Conservative figure, stated Huawei was a “great high-tech company” and went on with a thinly veiled gibe in Australia’s direction by saying:
“There are some Western governments that have blocked Huawei from making investments. Not Britain. Quite the opposite.”
The latest coverage also selectively failed to mention any of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 annual reports by the UK’s National Security Adviser on the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC). These reports – which aren’t hidden by any means and are freely available online – show no evidence of regret or wishing to reduce Huawei’s role in the UK telecom industry. In fact latest report (2017) declares:
“It is evident that HCSEC continues to provide unique, world-class cyber security expertise and technical assurance of sufficient scope and quality as to be appropriate for the current stage in the assurance framework around Huawei in the UK.”
And if that was not enough to convince you, in an article in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper early this year (20/2) titled “UK cyber security agency sticks with China’s Huawei despite US spy fears” the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre goes ON THE RECORD stating:
“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.”
Also overlooked was the British Prime Minister, Theresa May’s meeting with Huawei’s Chairwoman Madam Sun Yafang in February this year to announce Huawei’s new £3 billion, five-year commitment to the UK. So much for the regret.
Huawei understands cyber security is critically important and we need to have a public discussion, but let’s have one based on facts. It is important that everyone looks for the full story. Not just the vested interests, pushing a line without any evidence to back it up. At Huawei we know we have to let people know more about us. We have a big job to do. But what we have found, no matter where we have operated around the world, is that the more people know about who we are and how we work, the more they like us.