Huawei is too closely associated with the Chinese government – Conservative Article
The UK Government recently banned telecoms providers from buying Huawei 5G kits which will take effect by the end of the year. Moreover, all Huawei equipment must be removed by 2027. This is a positive change from the government’s previous decision of using Huawei equipment in non-critical infrastructure.
Huawei has always claimed that they are not a security risk. This is false. As a company based in China, they are ultimately answerable to the Communist Party. Regardless of where Huawei work, they will face the consequences if they do not work with the Communist Party. It routinely asks both foreign and domestic companies to give up data. Huawei is obliged to work with the Chinese intelligence network, meaning it could use data gathered for malicious intent.
China is untrustworthy. The fact that the Communist Party’s influence in Huawei is unable to be determined shows a lack of transparency. 5G will allow for technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and much more. Giving any amount of control to a country that is as untrustworthy as China is dangerous as it allows for major disruption. This has even been shown during the coronavirus pandemic with their death toll being questioned and initial suppression of knowledge about the outbreak.
Our allies’ decision regarding Huawei must be taken into account. I mentioned in my response about Yemen the importance of allies. It is true in this case too. The USA has already banned Huawei from its 5G networks. In February, Mike Pence hinted that the UK’s decision to use the company could hurt UK-USA relations, especially regarding a potential trade deal. Trump was allegedly enraged. While we shouldn’t let the decisions of our allies make ours too, we must take their concerns seriously.
The NCSC cited the US sanctions introduced on China as the primary reason for the change. This might look like allies making our decision for us, but it is not. It is important to note China’s behaviour. The security law on Hong Kong means China has violated the 1984 Joint Declaration; their actions in the South China Sea are dangerous; the Uighur Muslim camps are a human rights violation. The UK should be doing more to stand up to China and removing Huawei is a good start. China must understand there are consequences to its actions.
Most major Western tech companies are banned in China, with state-controlled equivalents in their place. Chinese tech companies have a monopoly over companies from other countries. This is clearly an unfair advantage given by the state. China should not be surprised when their companies are removed from 5G in the West. This is not to suggest we should be banning Chinese companies tit-for-tat, but it is something to consider.
Beijing must reform if its companies are to be used in major mobile infrastructures. It must become more transparent to the international community. It is too much of a security risk to employ in mobile technologies as it currently stands. While this introduces a longer wait time for the introduction of 5G, national security must be put ahead of that. 2027 ensures minimal disruption for tech companies. The world must continue to stand up to China. Its tech companies must be safe for use.
Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
Point of Information
People who think they understand technology in politics rarely do. We see the same here in the context of Huawei – a Liberal response
Kieran’s article boils down to one thing; the untrustworthy nature of the Chinese. That in itself is a different debate, and unfortunately, Kieran hasn’t actually discussed Hauwei at all, just China.
To say China ‘could use data gathered for malicious intent’ is laughable. Most first-world countries in the world can already do this without the help of Huawei. The US government is well known to have used Whatsapp for its dealings with terrorism which Whatsapp has only just managed to stop. The US military still abuses other data gathering apps. It has even forced its way passed ICloud encryption in the past for its personal use. Basically, if a country wants your data, it can easily get your data. It is even likely that your laptop right now is used and controlled for DDOS attacks against companies.
A company could buy your data for campaign marketing; Cambridge Analytica for example.
So this debate is nothing to do with data. Even if it was, Huawei is setting up outside the UK’s structure of 5G. This effectively means the governments, NHS, and all central networking features will be secure.
I only have roughly 300 words to sum up an incredibly detailed technological thing that not even I can fully understand. However, this conversation is not about data. It is not a conversation we should have at all. I can only touch the surface of this debate because I have set up websites, I have friends and family who are very invested in tech and even I sit here saying my knowledge is limited.
There is a reason why tech is so unregulated; people in politics don’t understand it at all. Kieran, my friend, you are the same. An incredibly important article which should be tech-focused spends the whole time on China. Yes, if we went to war and Huawei built our 5G, they could shut down our network. They probably would be able to do that anyway. If you think China is untrustworthy, we can have this debate. But it is not the be-all and end-all; far from it.
Do not be arrogant enough to claim you know the consequences of Huawei when you clearly don’t.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
The US is a bad shepherd for the UK to follow – a Labour response
Kieran’s article is very interesting and in general, I agree with him. Huawei does have the potential to pose a significant threat to the UK’s digital infrastructure and it is right that their technology is removed. Moreover, it is right to credit the Government for allowing seven years, ensuring that the transition to post Huawei life is smooth for both consumers and the companies involved. Although, they should not have proceeded with this tech deal in the first place if they believed there was a genuine threat to national security.
The article presents China in a negative light. Kieran is quick to refer to our ‘allies’ in America yet in many instances they too are acting in ways the UK should be condemning. I think it is vitally important we hold all countries to the same standards and do not let economic interests guide our national principles.
It is therefore important to highlight that the UK is changing our decision because of the US sanctions. The NCSC has stated the reason it no longer feels able to manage the potential threat is due to the US banning the use of American computer chips. This leaves Huawei using, in western eyes, “untrusted replacement technologies”.
Kieran protests that the UK is not being led by the US, but the stated reason for the change in the threat level is down to petty US sanctions. I describe them as petty as there is no evidence of Huawei passing information or manufacturing faulty technology. There is, however, a lot of evidence suggesting Donald Trump has entered a misguided erratic trade war with China.
The situation is not changed by this revelation, but we need to be honest about where the UK is right now in the global hierarchy. The idea of Global Britain post-Brexit is clearly flawed. We do not trust China or Russia and are seemingly aligning with America ahead of what Kieran clearly thinks is an imminent Cold War 2.0.
Written by Guest Liberal Writer, Henry Mckeever
Hello, my name is Kieran Burt and I am going into second year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. I first developed an interest in politics through reading the Dictator’s Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, when I was 16, and have furthered my interest by studying politics at A level and now at university.
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
I am entering the third year of a BA in History and Ancient History at the University of Exeter. I have a fascination with the past otherwise and you would hope so, otherwise I may have chosen the wrong degree. But, writing for POI gives me the opportunity to talk politics which is something I simply can’t avoid.