By Franchetta Groves
The United Kingdom has allowed the Chinese technology company Huawei to become involved in “periphery” 5G systems, but will not be granted access to secure core systems. The United States has not supported this decision and continues to lobby the UK in hopes that it will reverse this decision.
The United Kingdom’s decision was based on the reasoning that Huawei provides fast 5G technology at inexpensive prices. Having a global alliance for 5G networks could create a market in which prices are low and margins are high. The increased speed and bandwidth of 5G technology could be an improvement to 4G LTE technology. However this decision is one which could come at a risk.
“Huawei was created by a former technical officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army and is supported by the Chinese state,” said Dr. Nicholas Dujmovic, an intelligence professor at Catholic University. “Its equipment is reliable and cheaper than that of competitors, but our allies’ desire to save money means we may well see a rift between the US and our closest friends, because we will consider their systems to be compromised and a potential collection tool for Beijing.”
These concerns about Huawei has led House Republicans to pass a resolution which states that all Chinese companies are under the effective control of the Communist party, regardless of if they are privately run or supported by the state. The added factor that the company is financially backed by the Chinese state is further fueling the fear of Huawei. The sponsors in the bill shared the same sentiment that they were “extremely disappointed” in the United Kingdom’s decision.
“The Chinese are infamous for their rampant intellectual property theft,” said president of College Republicans Michael Klein. “If the UK or USA were to accept Huawei products in their respective markets it would be a tacit endorsement of Chinese corporate cronyism.”
This is not the first time that concerns about Huawei have been discussed by the United States. In 2019 the FBI indicted the company on charges of financial fraud and attempting to exploit American businesses.
Other Federal agencies have also taken action against Huawei. The Department of Commerce added the company to its entity list, which states that the company is engaging in activities which the department and the United States do not support. The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) also responded by adding the company to be covered as a National Risk to the United States.
Evolutions with 5G technology will continue to affect every individual as well as their data security. Some respond with fear to Huawei’s rise while others are excited about the advances of a 5G global network.
“Overall, Huawei is like every other corporation, they want to make money,” said Benjamin Hewitt, president of the Intelligence club at Catholic. “National security concerns are quite relevant to the common person. It would be Huawei’s job to gain the trust of their customers and the British government to ensure profits.”