Opening the UK’s future 5G infrastructure to Huawei technology would be “naïve” and “irresponsible”, according to a report by British defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, as pressure mounts on policymakers to resist the Chinese telecoms group’s spreading influence.
Earlier this week the National Cyber Security Centre, an arm of intelligence agency GCHQ, determined that any risks posed by Huawei could be mitigated, potentially pitting the UK at odds with more hawkish Western nations.
In the RUSI report however, former British diplomat and old China hand Charles Parton warns that Chinese cyber espionage capabilities will outstrip the UK’s existing defences, according to the Financial Times.
“Allowing Huawei’s participation is at best naïve, at worst irresponsible,” said Parton. “The history of China’s cyber attacks show that an integral part of [Chinese state] interference abroad is getting access to a wide variety of information, whether related to industry, commerce, technology, defence, personal details or politics.”
Parton added that if the government follows advice from its security chiefs, this may undermine intelligence alliances with partners such as the US, France, and Japan.