US Urges UK to Avoid Relations with Chinese Company, Huawei

Laura BednarCybersecurityLeave a Comment

US and UK Debate Huawei Telecommunications

The US government uses the term “global espionage” to describe technology conglomerate Huawei, giving some indication of strained relations between the US and the Chinese corporation. Currently, the US is warning the UK not to use Huawei for telecommunications on the premise that the company poses a national cybersecurity risk based on its ability to provide China’s Communist Party with vulnerable backdoor access. US officials are so opposed to the Chinese tech company that they have threatened to deny access to intelligence data with countries that use the Chinese telecommunications entity for their high-speed wireless networks.

Opposition to a US-Huawei partnership

One of the primary reasons that the US government is opposed to the Chinese corporation comes down to consumer privacy, which is an increasing concern. As statistics show, consumers are concerned about their right to their personal data protection, and for good reason:

  • Only 27% of US states have online privacy laws
  • 95% of Americans worry about their personal information being collected and sold
  • Identity theft occurs every two seconds
  • Over 60 million Americans have been victimized by identity theft
  • Identity theft caused a loss of $16 billion in 2017

One way that cybercrimes are committed is through back doors. The definition of “back door” is gaining access to encrypted data or a computer system that bypasses the system’s security measures. When it is used correctly, back door access can give a developer critical access to an operating system. However, it is also often used by cyber criminals to carry out attacks. Therefore, it is a controversial issue that often pins the government against consumers and tech companies.

How the US exposed Huawei for accessing mobile phone data

For over 10 years, US authorities have claimed that the Chinese tech company has used backdoor methods to collect mobile phone data and personal information without users’ knowledge or consent. This information was released through reports from the Wall Street Journal. In 2020, the US Justice Department brought accusations against the Chinese company in a global racketeering scandal that it also tied to North Korea and Iran.

What will the US do if UK doesn’t agree?

Ideally, American officials hope to find an amicable solution with UK leaders to find alternative companies that can provide top-notch telecommunications services without using questionable tactics that pose a risk to consumer data. Officials say that relying on certain vendors could put many critical systems in jeopardy from malicious tactics such as manipulation, espionage, and disruption. Such interactions could also disrupt communication and intelligence-sharing capabilities internally and among allies. Therefore, the US is proposing strong penalties against the nation if it does not cooperate with requests. The US recommends that the National Security Council initiates an inter-agency review to determine what intelligence and military assets should be cut off from its overseas ally if the UK goes ahead with its plan to use the Chinese tech conglomerate. Currently, the UK is considering using the Chinese company to provide up to 35% of its 5G network system.

Where does the UK stand on final decision?

The US is warning the UK to avoid all interactions with the Chinese telecommunications company. So far, its requests have been met with very mixed reactions. Some UK leaders have voted in favor of US officials’ requests, while others have not. The House of Parliament remains divided on the prospect of a partnership with the Chinese telecommunications firm, with some members voting in favor of partnering with the company and others siding with the US and other allies on choosing to avoid a partnership with the company.

No Backdoors, Only Security

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