Huawei: why business does not trump security

It seems some leading business people have well and truly lost the plot.

I was reading an article (£) in the Sunday Times that claimed that some businesses had petitioned the government not to ban the use of Huawei equipment from core networks because such a move would cost a lot of money and delay introduction of the 5G networks.

The long-running saga is whether Huawei is subject to a degree of control by the Chinese government and whether its equipment has the potential to provide back-door access to information networks.

The US, Australia and New Zealand have already curbed the use of Huawei equipment. The UK may follow – or may have to follow if it is to retain access to the Five Eyes security partnership.

I am, of course, in no position to comment on the security of Huawei equipment. But if we assume that those who know about these things decide that a security risk does indeed exist, what or earth are businesses doing when they say that such a finding should be ignored because otherwise it will cost money and cause delay.

Last time I looked, the UK’s armed forces and security forces all cost money – a lot of money. Some of it doubtless paid for by corporate taxes which cost corporations money. Should we also abandon all of that because it costs money?

When business leaders start to claim that the nation’s security is of less relevance than that which will cost them money or delays bringing new technologies onto the market, they really have moved off to live on a different planet.

Fortunately, not all telecoms leaders are such a shower. Vodafone has ‘paused’ the installation of any Huawei equipment in its core networks across Europe until the issue is resolved.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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