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The government received a report at Huawei that is likely to change its policy on the Chinese company’s role in the UK’s telecommunications networks.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said the GCHQ National Cybersecurity Center has presented its findings, and officials now examine them before advising the Prime Minister.
The NCSC is believed to have said it can no longer guarantee the safety of Huawei products because of new U.S. sanctions.
Huawei said it was open to discussions.
But one of the company’s spokespeople took a tougher stance over the weekend, after newspaper reports that the government could ban the purchase of new Huawei 5G equipment by the end of the year.
“UK policy is being dictated by [the] The Trump administration … shouldn’t the US respect a UK in the post-Brexit era, being in a position to choose its own telecommunications strategy? ” tweeted Paul Harrison, head of international media for Huawei, UK.
High risk supplier
Huawei’s role in the UK appeared to have been resolved in January, when the government limited its market share in mobile broadband and fixed fiber broadband networks and excluded its involvement in the most sensitive parts of 5G known as “testimony” ‘.
However, the USA subsequently announced new sanctions that prohibit the Chinese company and third parties that manufacture its chips from using “US technology and software to design and manufacture” its products.
Washington says Huawei is supported by the Chinese armed forces and poses a risk to national security, the company says.
The NCSC examined the impact of the sanctions, including the fact that it effectively prevented the company from using critical software to design and simulate chips prior to their manufacture, as well as preventing third-party manufacturers from using the equipment necessary to produce some of Huawei’s most advanced processors.
The risk is that, as a consequence, Huawei may have to start buying chips from elsewhere, which UK security officials may not be able to properly assess.
“The purpose of ordering this NCSC advice was to understand the implications of US sanctions,” Dowden told BBC Radio 4 Today.
“Clearly, U.S. sanctions will present challenges and that is what this advice is about.”
The minister suggested that a final decision had not yet been taken.
But he added: “We want to diversify these so-called high-risk suppliers, of which Huawei is the main one. We want to be in a position where we do not have high-risk suppliers in our networks. At all.”
Once the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport delivers its findings to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he will take the matter to the National Security Council.
A decision is not expected to be released before next week.
But on Thursday, Parliamentarians will discuss the issue in the House of Commons science and technology committee when it questions Huawei, Vodafone and BT about the implications of a possible ban.