Stuart Ross, MD of digital agency Hallam and former digital director at Boots, considers whether Huawei presents a credible threat to the UK’s national security.
Huawei has found itself at the centre of a political firestorm that has dominated the UK’s press this past month. The UK Defence Secretary has been sacked, and now there is a new scrutiny and focus on the future of the security of the UK telecoms networks.
Huawei, the Chinese technology company, is actually the world's biggest manufacturer of telecoms equipment used to build 4G and 5G mobile networks and all the telecoms equipment - masts, antennas, cables, routers and software – that send mobile traffic to smartphones. Not to mention, they sell more smartphones than Apple.
Huawei has been on the media’s agenda in 2019 because of 5G. The technology is set to significantly increase the speed and capacity of wireless networks, which will boost smartphone use, and enable new technologies, such as driverless cars. Huawei is looking to win a large chunk of work in this 5G network, and aims to work closely with UK telecoms provider like Vodafone and O2.
But it is hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. As mentioned, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was accused of leaking details of a report into whether Huawei would be given the go-ahead to build parts of the UK network, and was sacked by UK Prime minister Theresa May. Those details revealed that the government was prepared to allow Huawei to supply non-core technology for 5G, which could include antennae and other network components.
Espionage threatBut why is this such a big issue? Well, put simply, Huawei has been accused ..