US warns against including Huawei in any part of 5G network

The U.S. is warning countries not to include equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. or other Chinese suppliers in any parts of their telecommunications network because there’s no way to fully eradicate cyber security risks, a top cyber official said yesterday.

The comments come as Britain appears set to toughen the rules under which Huawei operates in the country while stopping short of an outright ban on the Chinese telecom equipment maker. The measures are expected to involve closer state oversight and may restrict the vendor from some sensitive parts of the U.K.’s telecom networks.

“There’s no way we can effectively mitigate the risk to having an untrustworthy vendor in the edge of the network,” Rob Strayer, the State Department’s deputy assistant for cyber policy, said on a conference call, adding that potentially compromised equipment and software in any part of a network is “an unacceptable risk.”

“It’s the United States’ position that putting Huawei or other untrustworthy vendors in any part of the 5G telecommunications network is a risk,” Strayer said.

Strayer noted the U.K. has not yet announced a final decision on how to organize its 5G network but reiterated that the U.S. would re-evaluate intelligence sharing with countries that allow untrustworthy vendors into their networks.

“As our economies become more and more interconnected, including our digital economies, more data transmits between the United States and Europe than any other part of the world, which of course includes the United Kingdom,” he said. “It’s not just about the sharing of intelligence or the cooperating on information sharing. It’s about all of the services that we’re providing across the Atlantic today that could be disrupted.”

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